BY MICHAEL MORRISSEY
THE NEW Abbot of Ampleforth has complained that training for the eight-year post is "non-existent."
Abbot Timothy Wright OSB told a 1,500-strong congregation at his Installation Mass at Ampleforth Abbey, North Yorkshire, that advice he had received, from Cardinal Hume and other predecessors, included: "Make sure you take a holiday and make sure they don't get on top of you" without defining to whom "they" referred.
Cardinal Hume said that he and the two other former abbots, Bishop Ambrose Griffiths and Abbot Patrick Barry, would be "watching you, Timothy!"
He added: "But not critically, because we know the difficulties and problems of an abbot. You have great advantage of learning from the mistakes of three abbots.
"It is not easy to handle people correctly all the time, especially when tired or preoccupied or with too much on the mind, but it is the key to being a good father of the community.
He told the 55-year-old he would discover the monks were tolerant and "always forgiving and charitable".
Abbot Timothy said that although no actual training was provided for new abbots, he gained some knowledge from two colleagues when he visited Ealing Abbey the week before the service. "They calmed my fears," he said.
The abbot, who is gaining a reputation of being a "smiling abbot," said he wanted to open up the abbey and school more to the service of the wider Church.
Abbey spokesman, Blaise Davies, said that the community today is "playing a more prominent role in partnership with the Church nationally".
He said that there are plans to attract more than the present 10,000 visitors a year.
A vocations service for England and Wales has been started with a poster campaign.
The Mass, which was celebrated by Bishop John Crowley of Middlesborough, attracted clergy and laity from all over the country and from abroad. The Archbishop of York was represented by the Bishop of Selby.