Do you remember, or even know, St Benet’s Hall at Mount St Benedict, just above the New Life Ministries Drug Rehab Centre?
Benet Hall, as it is affectionately known, has a scenic charm that lends itself to varied events. Held there for many years was the annual School of Liturgy, with Miss Diane shepherding participants into a wash-up crew downstairs after a rousing morning upstairs that started with Br Paschal Jordan OSB directing us in the glorious beauty of Morning Prayer.
There, too, was Fr Garfield Rochard, hushing the babble at plenary session to school us in the finer points of Catholic liturgy. “The exaltation is for adoration”, his sonorous authority sounded through the hall and murmured questioning ceased.
Such respect and wonder was aroused as our understanding and experience of Church grew. What a glorious time of learning, growing and embracing our faith. There were less formal events too, such as the Choice Conference organised by young adults yet featuring mature exemplars: Birmingham, Rostant, Pantin—men who were unafraid to expose their own struggles in finding and being strengthened by their faith.
This was church where old and young embraced and edified each other into one body. From baptisms to weddings; from movie nights to ladies’ tea parties; from youth concerts to candle-night dinners; the natural mountain beauty at Benet Hall nurtured our identity of Church as a family of families. Thank you God, for these and other marvellous opportunities offered by the monks’ facilities.
With a commanding view of the foothills of the Northern Range and the Caroni plains, Benet Hall was founded in 1943 as part of Pax College, later known as Abbey School. St Benet’s Hall served as school auditorium and refectory for the many boarders of the college.
Pax College closed in 1985 and the classrooms were leased to New Life Ministries. Unfortunately, in the early 1990s, maintenance of St Benet’s Hall, just above the classroom building, became increasingly difficult and the structure gradually deteriorated. Our God always has a plan in motion.
In 2018, Couples for Christ (CFC), as part of its celebration of 20 years present in Trinidad and Tobago approached the Benedictine monks. CFC as a member of the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission knew about the local shortage of affordable venues.
With an agreement reached to restore and use the building for activities of a family-based nature, the CFC love flowed. CFC volunteers have been gathering since March 11 armed with cobweb brooms, blowers, plumbing tools, and buckets. They have been stripping, sweeping, mopping, power washing, trimming and more. Considerable work still needs to be done but, undaunted they are inviting you back to Benet Hall.
Join us at our Praise Breakfast, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. at St Benet’s Hall, top of Mt St Benedict Abbey, St Augustine. Be part of restoring praise and worship in Benet Hall. St Anthony’s Music Ministry from Point Fortin will animate the dynamic worship experience.
Parking is available at the recreation grounds with a free shuttle to the hall. Tickets are priced at $150.00 and are available from Neil 678-1107, Claire 723-1991, Arlene 726-9539 and Kevon 310-0518. All proceeds go toward restoration works.