Stop the World Songs of Praise


Stop the World

David Grant learns how to Gregorian chant, Sally Magnusson goes cider-tasting in an ancient orchard and the Songs of Praise family try a religious retreat.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

-Right.

-Up and down the country...

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Oops, forgot the drum.

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I'm delighted to say we've got a new member.

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Nice of them to let us out of the office.

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Do you think they even know we've gone?

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-This is lovely!

-It is!

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It's Ampleforth Abbey, near York,

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and listen...silence, it's so peaceful!

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And it ought to be because the

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monastery here is home to the biggest

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Benedictine community of monks in the UK and they're,

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kind of, experts at being tranquil.

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Hmmm...and perhaps there's something in it for all of us.

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I'm going to learn to Gregorian Chant,

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which apparently can lower blood pressure and reduce stress levels.

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HE SIGHS

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And while he's chanting I'll be drinking, actually.

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It's cider, this is a great cider making community here -

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it's part of the monk's self sufficiency rule.

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I definitely drew the short straw.

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Also on today's programme,

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it's the Songs Of Praise family's final challenge,

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as the chatty Corrs spend hours in silence on a religious retreat.

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And there are beautiful, soothing hymns to match the mood.

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Monks have been here in Ampleforth since 1802,

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when the estate was donated to the Benedictine community.

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But their history stretches back hundreds of years before.

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Here they live by the ancient rule of St Benedict,

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a man who lived in a cave 1,500 years ago.

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The thing about St Benedict is that even though

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he decided to live his life like a hermit, like a monk,

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people from far and wide sought him out to ask him

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for advice for their walk with God and he responded.

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But he found himself advising them not to do it alone

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but to do it together, as a community.

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So, he took his own advice, left the cave, founded his first monastery

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and went on to establish 11 more in his lifetime.

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His vision of how to live the monastic life is still

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followed by the monks here today.

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It's not all scripture and solemnity at Ampleforth,

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there's also the chance to explore the ancient apple orchard

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and even try the cider they make. Hello there.

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Cameron Smith is the orchard manager at Ampleforth

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and he's putting me to work, bottling the latest vintage.

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-You could get a job...

-I'm enjoying this, I have to say!

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It is funny, you know, though, to think of this being a monastery.

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I mean, it shouldn't be if you know your history, I suppose.

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It's so hi tech, isn't it?

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-Yes...ish.

-Well, compared to the picture you would have of monks.

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For an artisan production, which is what we are.

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In terms of the monks,

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the Benedictine Order has always had a history of being

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commercially savvy and making sure they get the most out of what

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they have and this is just another aspect of that.

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-I think I'm outpacing your lid making.

-No, I've run out of caps!

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LAUGHTER

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Shortage of caps but that's super!

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Yeah, great! Well, I think we should go outside

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because I think I fancy a drink.

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Right, let's go.

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What on earth have you got for me here?

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Before I find out, though, what's it like working with monks?

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Well, I enjoy it because of the Benedictine values.

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They've got some lovely values where, basically, treat

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people like you'd like to be treated yourself.

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The edict of half a day's prayer,

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half a day's hard labour fits with this work and it's just

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the natural coming together of their values and what I enjoy doing.

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Tell me what I've got here.

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I've got to warn you that I get very tiddly very quickly on

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-very little, so, erm...

-This could be a headache then.

-Yes.

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Right, we've got three sorts of cider.

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We've got an 8.3 cider, a sparkling 6.5 and a still 6.5

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and more than anything I'd like to know what you think of them,

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-which would you prefer to drink if you were drinking cider.

-OK.

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-Right, so...

-There we go with that one.

-So, this is the 8.3?

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It's supposed to be a mystery but I'll let you cheat.

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This is actually the one that you've just bottled,

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only this is in its finished state.

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-Yeah, that's quite nice. It doesn't taste too strong, actually.

-No.

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-OK...right.

-Next one's sparkling.

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-I like a bit of sparkle.

-Yeah.

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Oooh, now, I'm liking that!

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-You like that one?

-Yes, uh-huh!

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That's lost a bit of bubble but it's still got some there.

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Says she, gulping back another one.

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I'm going to have to stop here, right.

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Last but not least, something else that we can do with cider

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and do do with cider, make it into cider brandy.

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Yorkshire's Calvados!

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Cameron, you know I have a programme to present here!

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You can sleep later.

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Oooh, boy, that's strong!

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Yeah.

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It's a fierce spirit but it warms you on a cold day in the North.

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Cheers, David!

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Morning mass at Ampleforth Abbey.

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Gregorian chant is at the heart of their daily worship

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and I wanted to hear it first-hand.

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THEY CHANT

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Monks have been singing like this for thousands of years

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and it's something that Father Alexander, choir master

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and Gregorian chant composer takes very seriously.

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How important is Gregorian chant to the community here?

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It is so important that we don't talk about it.

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It's too deeply embedded in our culture, in our monastic culture.

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It is something, I believe, that feeds souls...

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it nourishes them.

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It brings people into a much closer relationship with God.

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How important are the acoustics of this abbey to Gregorian chant?

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Well, the acoustics of this abbey serve

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the purpose of Gregorian chant better than any I've ever

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been in really because it has this amazing echo,

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-which lasts, believe it or not, six seconds.

-Six seconds?!

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-Shall we try it?

-Go on, show me, show me!

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OK, erm...

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# La. #

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NOTES ECHO

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You're right!

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With the sound still ringing in my ears,

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I wanted to know just how the choir master wrote this sacred plainsong.

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I start with the words first.

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Everything starts with the words, with the text.

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-So, you don't need a bass clef, you don't need a treble clef?

-No, no.

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-You don't need to have a time signature?

-No, you don't.

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You read these notes because they all represent pitches,

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particular pitches, F...

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'And then he began to compose,

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'in a way completely different to anything I'd ever seen before.'

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So, the text here,

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"The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy,"

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I have in my mind...a particular

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mood that I want to create.

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Intimacy, a sense of closeness and you've got to find

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the notes that will reflect these particular divine qualities.

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And within a few minutes, the line from Psalm 103 was coming together.

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So, the architecture of the thing is that you've got a phrase that

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actually moves out into the world and then moves slowly back.

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# The Lord is compassion and love

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# Slow to anger and rich in mercy

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# The Lord is compassion and love

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# Slow to anger and rich in mercy. #

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-Wow!

-That was brilliant, congratulations!

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-It's beautiful!

-That's your first ever, isn't it?

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That is beautiful! I can't believe you just wrote that.

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# The lord is my shepherd

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# I shall not want

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# He maketh me to lie down in green pastures

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# He leadeth me

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# Beside the still waters

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# The lord is my shepherd

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# I shall not want

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# He maketh me to lie down in green pastures

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# He leadeth me

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# Beside the still waters

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# Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

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# I will fear no evil

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# Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

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# I will fear no evil

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# For you are with me

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# You will comfort me

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# You are with me

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# You will comfort me

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# Comfort me

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# Surely goodness and mercy

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# Shall follow me all the days of my life

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# And I will dwell

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# In the house of the Lord

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# For ever

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# For ever

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# For ever

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# For ever. #

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The Corrs, a Catholic family from Essex.

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Earlier this year, they responded to our appeal for a family to

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take part in some of our programmes over the summer.

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The idea is that we set them some challenges, so that you find

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out how their Christian faith is woven into their lives.

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This week it's their final challenge and we're really putting them

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to the test.

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The gadget lovers are off on a religious retreat

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but they don't quite realise it yet.

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So this is Aylesford Priory

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and I'm guessing you don't know why you're here.

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-No.

-No idea.

-No idea, whatsoever?

-No.

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You, for the next 24 hours, are going to enter into a time of retreat.

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And not any old retreat, a tough one.

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So, if you've got a mobile telephone,

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can you put it in there, please?

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With a no-screens weekend ahead...

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Phone amnesty.

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..the family were split up into sparse separate rooms,

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including Mum and Dad.

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When we arrived we were a little bit anxious about the challenge ahead.

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Before they knew it,

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they were thrown into a situation quite alien to such a chatty family.

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So, here we are in the peace garden

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and the hour of silence is about to begin.

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The idea of silence is a very good idea for any person,

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simply because it confronts us with something very real.

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And for the Christian person it's an opportunity to be open to

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something which is greater than ourselves.

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Although initially there were a few moments of Sam and Sophie

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bending the rules, the family seemed quickly to embrace the challenge.

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After the first hour in the peace garden

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the silent challenge continued.

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Silent prayer in church, silent prayer through dinner

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and even back in their rooms.

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The rules were to stay apart and to stay quiet,

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while reflecting on their faith on paper.

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But they kept it up right up until bedtime prayers with Father Brendan.

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Our God, you search me and you know me.

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All my ways lie open to your gaze.

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On their weekend retreat, the Corrs had spent much of their first day

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in silence and the next morning they were in reflective mood.

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It was really hard but actually it really made you think,

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"Hang on a minute, there's more to life than just talking."

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Sometimes, you just need to sit and reflect.

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And the girls, with a new-found relationship with a proper friar,

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decided that they wanted to know

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more about life in the habit, so they put him in the hot seat.

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As a friar, why do you wear funny clothes?

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You think my clothes are funny?

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I noticed last night

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when we had our night prayer that you were all in your onesies.

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Erm, this is my threesy, OK.

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So, it's actually three pieces of clothing

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and actually underneath I've got normal clothes.

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I'm wearing my jeans underneath.

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This is called the tunic but if you think back to when we started,

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it was back in the 13th century, people wore tunics

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and friars really wanted to be amongst the ordinary people.

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Do you wish you had a family of your own? Do you ever get slightly lonely?

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Yes, it would be lovely to have my own family

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and I feel that especially when I see my sister's family

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and my brother's family.

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So, sometimes, I wouldn't say I'm jealous but I think,

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"Mmm, that would have been nice."

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The girls were preparing for their upcoming confirmation

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and so they also wanted to get to the bottom of something that

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had been really worrying them.

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Can you give me some advice on going to confession?

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Rule number one, always be yourselves.

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You don't have to be at confession cos you're holy.

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Be honest, there's no point going in and pretending and there's

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absolutely nothing we can do in our lives that God can't forgive.

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I think it was a really good idea for us to have silence

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and to have solitude

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because actually my pace of life is too fast and sometimes I do need to

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slow it down and to think of having some time with just me and God.

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Well, there is this phrase, isn't there,

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"If you're too busy for God, you're too busy."

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# When I survive the wondrous cross

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# On which the Prince of glory died

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# My richest gain I count but loss

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# And pour contempt on all my pride

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# Forbid it, Lord

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# That I should boast

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# Save in the death

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# Of Christ my God!

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# All the vain things

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# That charm me most

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# I sacrifice them

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# To His blood

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# Were the whole realm of nature mine

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# That were a present far too small

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# Love so amazing

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# So divine

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# Demands my soul

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# My life, my all. #

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BELL RINGS

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MONKS CHANT

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Back at Ampleforth, I was really getting

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stuck into Gregorian chanting.

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Father Alexander, I can't believe you said you were going to teach me

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and you have! That's brilliant!

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Hang on a minute, David, there's a little bit more to this.

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Why don't you come and join us at vespers

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if you want to sing some more plainchant? That's the real thing.

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And I could teach you a nice little phrase that you would get used to.

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Singing with you and the other monks?

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And the other monks...would you like to do that?

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I'd love to, I'd love to, I'd love to!

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But then it dawned on me that what he wanted me

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to learn wasn't English Gregorian chant,

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it was Latin!

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Quoniam in aeternum misericordia eius.

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As you can probably tell,

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there wasn't a big call for Latin in East London when I was growing up.

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I think you're doing very well.

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What does it mean?

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It means, for - quoniam, for ever - in aeternum,

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misecordia eius - His love.

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So, His love lasts or endures for ever.

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I'm going to have to work at that, aren't I?

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Oh, by the way, I forgot, there are notes to it as well, aren't there?

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There are notes as well.

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-I think the time has come, don't you?

-Yes.

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Are you prepared for this, ready?

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OK, so...

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# Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus...#

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Now this is your phrase.

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# Quoniam in aeternum misericordia eius.

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# Quoniam in aeternum misericordia eius...#

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Essentially it is, yes.

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# Corida eius. #

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Two notes on the A, those two notes go on the A.

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And although it was only one short line, it did take a bit of practice.

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# Quoniam in aeternum misericordia eius. #

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MONKS CHANT

0:26:370:26:39

Later, at their evening service, as promised, Father Alexander gave me

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the chance to be part of an ancient monastic tradition

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that has been sung for centuries.

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I felt quite nervous.

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At least there was a familiar face in there too.

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I only knew one line and I didn't know when it was coming exactly

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but luckily it was a phrase that was

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sung over and over and over, giving me plenty of chances to get it right.

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# Quoniam in aeternum misericordia eius. #

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And it's true what Father Alexander says, it does feed the soul.

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# Quoniam in aeternum misericordia eius. #

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THE MONKS CHANT

0:27:370:27:40

Well, how was it?

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It was really kind of strange and then beautiful.

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It was actually very moving, I found.

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I think it shows that if something's sung with sincerity, you don't

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necessarily have to understand the words to be touched by it,

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cos I was really touched by it.

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-You did very well.

-Thank you.

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# Pie Jesu

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# Domine

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# Dona eis

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# Requiem

0:28:190:28:23

# Dona

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# Dona eis

0:28:280:28:32

# Requiem

0:28:340:28:38

# Pie Jesu

0:28:430:28:47

# Domine

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# Dona eis

0:28:550:29:01

# Sempiternam

0:29:030:29:09

# Requiem

0:29:190:29:23

# Dona eis

0:29:290:29:31

# Requiem

0:29:330:29:36

# Dona eis

0:29:370:29:41

# Requiem

0:29:420:29:45

# Dona eis

0:29:470:29:51

# Requiem. #

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I don't know about you but I'm beginning to feel quite relaxed

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after my day at Ampleforth but before I go I had to show you this.

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Look at it, the Millennium Cross, isn't it splendid?

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It's on a little hill, just above the abbey

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and it towers over North Yorkshire for miles!

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This cross, four and a half tonnes and 50 foot high,

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is dedicated to the life of the late Cardinal Basil Hume,

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former leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

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The Cardinal lived here in Ampleforth, man and boy,

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eventually becoming the Abbot.

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The cross began life outside Westminster Cathedral, in London,

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where Basil Hume was Archbishop but a few years after his death,

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it was winched by helicopter here, to stand beside his old home.

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-Wow!

-Amazing, isn't it?

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Yeah, it's fantastic! It's time for us to get on the road.

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-It is.

-I'll drive.

-Probably very wise.

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-We've had such a good day at Ampleforth, haven't we?

-We have.

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-Hope you've enjoyed it too, bye-bye.

-Bye-bye.

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Next week, it's carnival time in Leeds and Pam's there to meet

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some of the participants and explore the city's vibrant cultural life.

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She also introduces soloist Christina Miles

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and there are toe-tapping hymns from our congregation.

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As the peak of the holiday period approaches, David and Sally take their own break seeking peace and reflection.

At Ampleforth Abbey near York, David learns how to Gregorian chant with Benedictine monks and Sally goes cider-tasting in the ancient orchard.

The Songs of Praise family try a religious retreat and decide to take life at a slower pace and there are beautiful and soothing hymns from around the UK.


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