Monday, June 10, 2024

Belmont Abbey elects new abbot

The monks of Belmont Abbey have elected Dom Brendan Thomas to be their new abbot.

During his 8-year tenure, the new abbot will oversee a community of just under 40 monks; Belmont Abbey’s daughter house is the Monastery of the “Sanitsima Trinidad” in Lurin, Peru. Fr Brendan will become the abbey’s 12th abbot following his selection by the monastic community on 4 June 2024.

Founded in 1859 as the common novitiate for The English Benedictine Congregation, Belmont was raised to the status of an Abbey in 1920, and is in the Archdiocese of Cardiff, located close to the border of England and Wales.

The community is engaged in various apostolates which involve the care of parishes in the dioceses of Cardiff, Birmingham and Lancaster, as well as leading retreats and providing hospitality.

Fr Brendan was born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales in 1964, and was educated at Belmont Abbey School and holds a degree in accountancy.

Clothed in 1987, he made Solemn Profession in 1992. He did his theological studies in Rome at the Angelicum. He was ordained a priest in 1993 and completed a license at the Monastic Institute of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome.

For nearly thirty years Fr Brendan organised the monastery’s retreat programme. In 2000 he became Novice Master, a responsibility he held for 22 years. After a period as the monastery’s prior, in 2022 he was appointed Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier’s Church in Hereford, where he served until his election as Abbot.

A statement released by the abbey notes that Fr Brendan is well known in the monastic world due to his leadership of the Monastic Formators’ Programme, which he started alongside Fr Mark Butlin, OSB, of Ampleforth Abbey, in 2002. The statement adds that Fr Brendan has always considered it to be a great grace and blessing to assist in the valuable work of formation of Benedictines and Cistercians from so many different countries.

He will be blessed as abbot on Friday 12 July by the Archbishop of Cardiff, the Most Rev Mark O’Toole.