Abbot Nicholas Wetz was born in Bromley, Kent on 5th July 1961. He was educated at Belmont Abbey School in Hereford. After completing his secular studies with a BA (Hons) degree in Policy Making Administration he worked for Unwins Ltd, his family’s large wine company, until he joined the novitiate at Belmont Abbey.
Dom Nicholas was clothed by Abbot Jerome Hodkinson on 7th December 1985 and professed a year later on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In October 1988 he joined the community at Sant’Anselmo and studied theology at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas completing his STB in 1991. He was ordained to the diaconate at Sant’Anselmo by Archbishop Cassidy in December 1990 and on 21st September 1991 to the sacred priesthood by Archbishop Ward at Belmont Abbey. Dom Nicholas taught in the school until its closure in 1994 and was then appointed Prior and Novice Master until 1996 when he was appointed the monastery’s commercial director. In 2005 he was appointed as Parish Priest of Belmont Abbey and in 2009 resumed the position of Claustral Prior, holding both positions until his appointment as Prior Administrator of Downside Abbey in September 2018. On 26th August 2020 he was elected 13th Abbot of Downside.
A day after his election, Abbot Nicholas announced that the Community of St Gregory the Great founded in 1606 in Douai in the Spanish Netherlands had unanimously decided to leave Stratton-on-the-Fosse, their home since 1814. With smaller numbers and changing circumstances, the current monastery buildings are no longer suitable or financially viable.
Abbot Nicholas said “It is always sad when you make a decision to leave or downsize from a familiar place. However, the Community has already moved twice in its 400-year history and the monks have recognised that it is time for a change and they have embraced with great optimism the opportunities a new start will bring”