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Douai Abbey elects its first new abbot in nearly 25 years



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A Berkshire Benedictine monastery elected a new abbot in its first change of leadership for nearly 25 years.

Father Paul Gunter was elected abbot of Douai Abbey on Wednesday, May 11, succeeding Abbot Geoffrey Scott, who had been the abbot of the monastery since 1998.

Abbot Paul said: “The whirlwind of the Holy Spirit has taken me unawares, but we are all in God’s hands. Abbot Geoffrey has given exemplary and faithful service over 24 years; may God bless and reward him.

From left to right: Abbot president Christopher Jamison, the new Abbot of Douai Abbey, Paul Gunter, and Abbot Emeritus Geoffrey, credit: Hugh Somerville Knapman (56689769)
From left to right: Abbot president Christopher Jamison, the new Abbot of Douai Abbey, Paul Gunter, and Abbot Emeritus Geoffrey, credit: Hugh Somerville Knapman (56689769)

“Please pray for the community who have shown such faith in me and ask God that I be worthy to fulfil what has been asked of me for the benefit of all whom we serve.”

Abbot Paul was born in Wolverhampton in 1966. He joined the Douai community in 1985 and studied philosophy and theology at Heythrop College in London.

He was assistant priest in Cheltenham from 1992 to 1999 and then parish priest of Studley, a Douai parish in the Archdiocese of Birmingham from 1999 to 2002.

He studied at Sant’ Anselmo, the Benedictine International College in Rome for a doctorate after his time in Studley, and also became a professor at the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy for ten years from 2006.

In 2012 he became secretary of the Department of Christian Life and Worship to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and in 2016 he returned to England to become parish priest of Alcester in Warwickshire.

Abbot Paul has been a member of the abbot’s council since 2017.



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