Note: With this issue, The Current begins monthly publication for the summer (June, July, and August).
As we anticipate our double commencement experience, recognizing the classes of 2021 and then 2020, the community transitions into summer. On May 30 and on June 13, Mass will be under the tent, with reservations required and restricted to those attending the graduation events. From June 6, and then from June 20, the Abbey will celebrate Mass on Sundays at 8:30 AM, and on weekdays and Saturdays at 7:20 AM. Those attending services recently will already notice the blue tape to mark distancing and the pew barriers are removed, and entrance to the church is again possible through all doors. The State of Rhode island has removed capacity restrictions for religious services. Some protocols do remain in place at the Abbey, particularly for anyone who is not fully vaccinated. Those not fully vaccinated must: (1) Wear a face mask; (2) Maintain a six-foot distance from other worshippers. Additionally, communion will still be distributed from the side aisles, with worshippers approaching in single file. Communion will be under the species of bread only.
And with this issue of The Current, we enter our summer publication pace, sending out monthly editions for June, July, and August. While life in the monastery may take on a slower pace, we also anticipate the next phase of renovations, displacing several monks from their rooms and leaving the northern segment of the monastery less accessible. This stage of the extensive and necessary refurbishment hopefully represents the last major disruption of house life for some time. Life on the campus and grounds will continue apace, including the commencement events, extended faculty workshops, and additional programs. The Portsmouth Institute will remain quite active, offering its Summer Conference online, and also beginning at the end of the month its PIETAS program for educators. The Summer Conference, entitled “As I Have Loved You,” offers an extended reflection on “the heart of the gospel,” Christ’s commandment to love. As Pope Benedict XVI states: “Since God has first loved us, love is now no longer a mere ‘command’; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us.” The PIETAS program, an increasingly reflective retreat program for Catholic teachers, features for 2021 Dr. Jessica Hooten Wilson, focusing on the writings of Flannery O’Connor. (Registration is closed for PIETAS 2021).