Sunday, 7 February 2021

FREE BOOK

In December 2020, Pope Francis announced that the year, from 8th  December 2020 to 8th December 2021, would be dedicated to St Joseph.

Cardinal Herbert Vaughan, third Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, had a great devotion to St Joseph.  When he was Bishop of Salford he compiled a little booklet of his favorite devotions in honour of St Joseph. It was published in 1911.  Recently, the Catholic Truth Society, which was founded by Cardinal Vaughan, republished this little book in their Onefifties Heritage Series.  
CTS BOOKLET, WHO IS ST JOSEPH?
They are lovely little books and I have six to give awayI will send a book to the first six to send name and address to breadgirl1@gmail.com.  

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

A CHRISTMAS CHUCKLE

This very short video was sent to me by my friend, Carole.  It gave us a good laugh and, in the current Covid situation, I firmly believe that a good laugh is what we all need.  Enjoy!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE


Saturday, 19 December 2020

ON THIS DAY, 342 YEARS AGO

On 19 December 1678, 342 years ago today, the Jesuit College of St Francis Xavier at the Cwm, on the Monmouthshire Hereford border, was raided .  An order had been sent from the House of Lords on 7 December to Bishop Herbert Croft of Hereford to “find out the truth of the matter of fact concerning the said place called Combe, and to give this house a full account.”

THE SITE OF THE CWM
Bishop Croft organized the raid which was carried out by Captain John Scudamore. Captain Scudamore was energetically assisted by fanatical anti-Catholics, John Arnold and Charles Price.

ST DAVID LEWIS
Fr David Lewis was Superior of the Cwm and realizing the danger, he had the College evacuated and the priests had removed or hidden as much property as possible.  The community was dispersed and the priests found shelter where they could.  Some were sheltered in the homes of local Catholics while others had to fend for themselves, sheltering in woods, barns or even pig stys.

They were dark days indeed and, for the priests of the Cwm, they were about to become darker.

THE SACK OF THE JESUIT COLLEGE

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Welsh Benedictine Martyr, St John Roberts, whose feast we celebrate today, was born at Trawsfynydd, Merionethshire, in 1577.  He was the first prior of Douai.   He was sent on the English Mission in December 1602 and arrived in England in April 1603, the first monastic to enter England since the Reformation.  

ST JOHN ROBERTS, OSB
Dom John Roberts was executed at Tyburn on 10 December  1610.  On Sunday, 25 October 1970, Pope Paul VI canonised forty men and women who had surrendered their lives for their Catholic faith.  They are known collectively as The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. St John Roberts is numbered among the Forty.

SITE OF TYBURN TREE, LONDON

ST JOHN ROBERTS, PRAY FOR US

QUEEN OF MARTYRS, PRAY FOR US

Sunday, 29 November 2020

OUR LADY OF ADVENT

I am sure you are all aware that today is the first Sunday of Advent.  It is (or it should be) that quiet time to prepare our hearts and souls as we wait with Mary for the coming of her Holy Child. 

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
Cardinal Leon Joseph Suenens wrote: "Always and everywhere, Mary is 'Our Lady of Advent': she who predisposes us, opens our hearts, strengthens our weakness, and overcomes our resistance.  It is her special function to free us from all that is opposed to God's action in us.  She detaches us from ourselves, purifies us, and unburdens us so as to prepare ample room in us for Our Lord.  For such, in fine, is her whole office.  I unite myself to her, and to her influence, now in order that Christ may grow in me"

Holy Mother of God, pray for us.

Mother of Christ, pray for us.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

ARRESTED AT LLANTARNAM

Abergavenny born Jesuit, Fr David Lewis, had been staying with his relatives, the Morgans of Llantarnam, but was concerned that they would suffer because of him should he become  implicated in the anti Catholic hysteria that was then sweeping the country. The warped minds of the despicable Titus Oates and Israel Tonge had concocted a vile story of a Catholic plot to kill the King, Charles II, and place his Catholic brother, James, on the throne.  Of course, the leaders of this fabricated plot were supposed to be the Jesuits.  Therefore, the priest moved into a rented cottage opposite the Morgan estate.

St David Lewis, window in Catholic Church, Usk
The Oates/Popish Plot was an opportunity for some politicians to further their own interests.  Although the King did not believe the snivelling little miscreant, Oates, he nevertheless had to bow to pressure from his ministers. Hence, harsh laws and punishments were enacted against all Catholics, particularly priests!

King Charles II
Early on the Sunday morning of  17 November, 1678, the good priest was preparing to celebrate Holy Mass.  Suddenly a troop of armed dragoons burst into the little house, arrested Fr Lewis, and dragged him away.  We have, in his own words, a description of that terrifying event.  Fr Lewis described his arrest: “After my full thirty years poor missionary labours in South Wales, on Sunday morning, a little before day, being the 17th November 1678, I was taken by six armed men sent by Mr John Arnold and Mr Charles Price, until then my two very good friends and acquaintances.  I was taken in a little house in the parish of St Michael-Llantarnam in the County of Monmouth.  From thence by the soldiers, together with such church stuff of mine they there found, carried I was to the house of Mr Charles Price in Llanfoist”.

Though innocent of any wrong doing (for there was no plot!) the Jesuit was found guilty of High Treason and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered.  After nearly a year of incarceration, first at Monmouth Gaol then at Usk Gaol, the barbaric sentence was carried out.  Fr David Lewis S J was martyred at Usk on 29 August 1679.  His crime?  He was a Catholic priest and he celebrated Holy Mass! 

Site of the arrest of St David Lewis, 
Fr David Lewis was canonised on 25 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI. Today, 17 November, is the anniversary of his arrest so we remember and give thanks for the life and legacy of one of our brave and faithful priests.

For more on the arrest of St David Lewis, just click HERE, and HERE.

St David Lewis, pray for us.

 Mary, Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.

Saturday, 31 October 2020

OCTOBER, A MARIAN MONTH

The month is quickly slipping into the past and I should not allow that to happen without speaking of its significance in the Church’s year.  This month, October, is designated by the Church as a Marian month, the month of the Holy Rosary.  The Rosary’s roots can be found in several early Christian traditions which share similar formats to the rosary with repetitive prayers. The earliest form of the Rosary developed when Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) popularized an earlier version of the Hail Mary by having it prayed on the fourth Sunday of Advent.  Many people then began praying the Hail Mary in a repetitive fashion using a string of beads to keep track of the prayers.

Without doubt, the Hail Mary, also known as the Angelic Salutation, is the most well known and most beloved of Marian prayers. It took many years to come together as the prayer we know today.  The earliest version simply added Mary’s name to the message of the Angel Gabriel to Mary: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” (Luke 1:28)

The Angel Gabriel and Mary
Sometime around the year 1050, the words of Elizabeth’s greeting to her cousin Mary, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Luke 1:42) were added.  

The Holy name of Jesus” was added to the Angelic Salutation by Pope Urban IV in 1261.

Pope Urban IV
In 1555, St Peter Canisius published the Hail Mary in his Catechism with the initial part of the final petition: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners”.

In 1566, the Catechism of the Council of Trent included the final petition, concluding with the words “now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.” 

St Peter Canisius
The Hail Mary that we pray today was given official approval in 1568.  The term “Rosary” was finally given in 1597.

So, today, we have that beautiful prayer: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

A house/shop in France
For more than 300 years the form of the Rosary remained the same.  In 1917, Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal.  Mary asked them to return to the spot on the 13 of each month for the next six months. During these apparitions, Mary told the children to pray the Rosary every day for world peace.  She also instructed them to finish each decade with the short prayer: “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who have most need of thy mercy.”  This is known as the Fatima prayer and, in accordance with Our Blessed Lady’s request, many Catholics incorporate the prayer into the Rosary.

Our Lady of Fatima
The Rosary has an interesting history and it is worthwhile browsing the plentiful information available in books and on the internet.  Oh, and think seriously about Mary’s request to pray the rosary every day.

 Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.

Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us.

Sunday, 25 October 2020

FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY

On Sunday, 25 October, 1970, Pope Paul VI canonised 40 of the almost 400 men and women who gave their lives rather than deny their Catholic faith during the terrible religious persecutions of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Pope Paul VI and Cardinal Heenan,
Almost all the hierarchy of England and Wales were in Rome on that glorious day.  The canonisation ceremony took place during Mass and was begun by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Causes of Saints, Cardinal Bertoli.  Speaking in Latin, Cardinal Bertoli asked "That your Holiness inscribes in the catalogue of saints the Forty Blessed Martyrs of England and Wales so that all Christ's faithful may proclaim them as saints." 

The vice-postulator of the cause, Fr James Walsh S J, then read a plea for the canonisation, including short profiles of each of the martyrs.  The Litany of the Saints was sung before the Pope started the solemn proclamation: "to the glory of the holy and undivided Trinity, for the honour of the universal faith and the advancement of Christian life ...... we decree and define the Forty Blessed Martyrs of England and Wales to be saints." His Holiness then recited the names of the newly canonised using the Latinised Christian names for each of the martyrs.  In his homily on the martyrs, Pope Paul said that the 40 Martyrs had been "loyal to the Crown  but faced with the choice of remaining faithful to the revealed truths of their faith, or of denying them and saving their lives, without hesitation they chose martyrdom."

To read more about the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales just follow this link,  "BUT JUST WHO WERE THEY?" HERE

Six of the Martyrs were Welsh.  They were:

ST RICHARD GWYN, martyred at Wrexham on 15 October 1584

ST JOHN JONES SFM, martyred at Southwark on 12 July 1598

ST JOHN ROBERTS OSB, martyred at Tyburn on10 December 1679

ST PHILIP EVANS SJ, martyred at Cardiff on 22 July 1679

ST JOHN LLOYD, martyred at Cardiff on 22 July 1679

ST DAVID LEWIS SJ, martyred at Usk on 27 August 1679.  He was the last Welsh Martyr.

To read more of the six Welsh Martyrs, please follow this link SIX OF THE FORTY HERE

You can find more information about the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales by using the search box at the top left hand corner of the Blog.

FORTY MARTYRS OF ENGLAND AND WALES, PRAY FOR US.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

ST RICHARD GWYN, HUSBAND, FATHER, TEACHER

St Richard Gwyn (Richard White in English)  is the protomartyr of Wales.  Born in Montgomeryshire, Wales, around 1537, he attended Oxford and Cambridge Universities and eventually returned to Wales.  He married, had six children and became a school teacher.  In 1579 he was arrested for his Catholic Faith.  On this date, 15 October, in 1584, Richard Gwyn was hanged drawn and quartered at Wrexham.  He and 39 other Catholic Martyrs were canonised by Pope Paul VI in October 1970.  They are known collectively as 'The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales'.  St Richard Gwyn's feast day is celebrated on 17 October. 

St Richard Gwyn and scenes depicting his life

ST RICHARD GWYN, PRAY FOR US.

For more on St Richard Gwyn, click here ST RICHARD GWYN:

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

ON THIS DAY, 13 OCTOBER 1930

In 1917, three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos, and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, witnessed Marian apparitions  at the Cova da Irea, in Fatima, Portugal.  On this day, 13 October 1930, Bishop Jose Alves Correia declared the events worthy of belief. 

"Pray the Rosary every day"
Lucia later became  a Nun and lived to the grand old age of 97, dying on 13 February 2005.  Her cousin, Francisco, died on 4 April, 1919, aged just 10 years.  His sister, Jacinta, died in a Lisbon Hospital on 20 February 1920.  Little Jacinta was 9 years old.  They are buried at the Sanctuary of Fatima. Young Francisco and Jacinta were victims of the flu pandemic that began in 1918 and swept the world for two long years.  The young visionaries were  canonised by Pope Francis on 13 May 2017.

As the world continues to struggle with the current pandemic, Covid19, let us seek the aid of Our Lady of Fatima and  the two little Saints of Fatima, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. 

OUR LADY OF FATIMA, PRAY FOR US.

ST FRANCISCO MARTO, PRAY FOR US.

ST JACINTA MARTO, PRAY FOR US.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

ST MICHAEL AND THE ROMAN PLAGUE OF 590

Who is St Michael?  Revelation 12:7-9 shows us Michael as the champion and leader of the faithful angels in their struggle against the rebel angels who were led by Lucifer.  St Michael, whose name translates as "Who is like God", is the Guardian Angel of the Church.  He has long figured prominently in Christian tradition and is patron of policemen, sailors, soldiers, radiologists and the sick. 

St Michael, Belmont Abbey (Photo J D Smith)
Abergavenny, birthplace of our own St David Lewis, has an ancient connection to St Michael.  Legend has it that a nobleman, praying atop Skirrid Fawr, had a vision of St Michael.  The nobleman erected a chapel there and dedicated it to Michael. (Skirrid Fawr is also known as St Michael's Mount or the Holy Mountain.)  For centuries this Chapel was a centre of pilgrimage and generations of Catholics wended their way to the top of the mountain.  On Good Friday and on 29th September, Michael's feast, priests celebrated Holy Mass and led the faithful in prayer.  Even during the persecutions of the 16th and 17th centuries the pilgrimages continued and St David Lewis was among the priests who conducted services atop the Holy Mountain.

Early in the year 590, a severe plague broke out in Rome.  (According to Wikipedia, it was probably Bubonic Plague.)  As we can well imagine, it was a difficult time for the people!  This plague ravaged the city and many died, including the Pope, Pelagius II.  His successor was Pope Gregory I (St Gregory the Great).  

Pope St Gregory the Great (Photo J D Smith)
Gregory organised a massive procession around the city, asking the people to pray to God for an end to the plague.  The procession took place on 25th April 590.  The people carried an ancient image of the Virgin Mary as they chanted litanies and prayers.  When the procession reached the Mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian, the Pope saw an Angel of the Lord standing at the top of the Castle of Crescentius, wiping a bloody sword then sheathing it.  Gregory took this as a sign that the plague was ended, as indeed it was.  Thereafter, the castle was called the Castle of the Holy Angel.  

In 1753 a bronze statue of St Michael the Archangel, in Roman armor, and sheathing his sword, was placed on the top of Castel Sant' Angelo.  It was executed by Peter Anton von Verschaffelt, a Flemish sculptor and architect.

Now, in our own Covid 19 ravaged world, I definitely would NOT advocate any processions!  Even during Pope Gregory's procession, eighty people collapsed as a result of being infected by the Rome Plague!  However, I would heartily recommend putting in some extra prayers.  Today, his special feast day, might be a very good time to turn to St Michael the Archangel and ask his help in cleansing the world of our present pandemic.        

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

HELPFUL - HOPEFULLY?

God help us, it seems that the Covid Virus is on the rise again.  The wearing of masks and face coverings is now mandatory in shops and on public transport.  This little article appeared in the July/August 2020 edition of the Messenger of St Anthony.  (I thank my family members for passing it on to me.) I am posting it here in the hope that you will find it helpful.

HINTS FROM ST ANTHONY MAGAZINE,
 JULY/AUGUST 2020

Stay safe, stay well, follow the guidelines and PRAY 

Saturday, 29 August 2020

341 YEARS AGO TODAY

ABERGAVENNY, BIRTHPLACE OF ST DAVID LEWIS
David Henry Lewis was born in Abergavenny in 1616. He attended King Henry VIII Grammar School in the town. At that time his father, Morgan Lewis, was Headmaster.  David then went to London to study law.  During a stay in Paris, David converted to Catholicism.  Returning to Abergavenny, David lived with his parents until their deaths.  After their deaths, he set out for Rome to study for the priesthood. Shortly after ordination, Fr Lewis joined the Jesuits.

KING HENRY VIII GRAMMAR SCHOOL
Sent on the "English Mission",   Fr David Lewis S J returned to his homeland. During that time of persecution it was usual for priests to work under an assumed name so David Lewis adopted the alias of Charles Baker.  For more than 30 years Fr Lewis laboured tirelessly for his flock. 

THE SITE OF THE CWM

Based at the Jesuit College of St Francis Xavier at The Cwm, David Lewis traversed the area, usually at night and on foot, ministering to the needs of the people.  His kindness and compassion knew no bounds and extended to all in need.  He was well loved and because of his care to all, he became known as "Tad y Tlodion", "Father of the Poor".

THE GUNTER MANSION, CROSS ST, ABERGAVENNY
It is recorded that Fr Lewis, as well as his fellow Jesuit, Fr Philip Evans, stayed with the Gunters of Cross Street, Abergavenny.  Relatives of David Lewis, the Gunters were staunch Catholics who had a secret chapel in their home.  The priests regularly said Mass there and conducted Catholic services.  David Lewis also stayed at the home of his aunt, Lady Frances Morgan, at Llantarnam.  The Morgans also had a chapel in their home where the priest celebrated Mass and ministered to the people of that area.

LLANTARNAM ABBEY, HOME OF THE MORGANS
The Popish Plot was a fabricated plot spread by the vile Titus Oates and his sordid ilk. When its poison  spread to Wales, Fr Lewis moved from the Morgan's home in an attempt to spare them any trouble that might befall him.  He rented a little cottage at Llantarnam, roughly opposite where the lovely old Church of St Michael and All Angels is situated.  

PLAQUE MARKING SITE OF ARREST OF ST DAVID LEWIS
Early on Sunday morning, 17 November 1678, Fr Lewis was preparing to celebrate Holy Mass. Suddenly, a group of armed dragoons burst into the cottage and arrested him.  Several days later he was incarcerated in Monmouth Gaol.  On a freezing cold day in January 1679, the Jesuit was moved to the prison at Usk. He had been found guilty of high treason for the 'crime' of being a Catholic priest and saying Mass!  Here he remained to await his execution.

THE FORMER USK GAOL 
On 29 August 1679, 341 years ago today, Fr David Lewis was taken from the Gaol on Bridge St and dragged on a hurdle along the river path to the place of his execution.  It was on a makeshift gallows at the hands of a makeshift hangman that Fr David Lewis  met his martyrdom.

THE RIVER PATH TODAY
On 25 October 1970, Pope Paul VI canonised Fr David Lewis S J and 39 other Reformation Martyrs.  They are known collectively as the "Forty Martyrs of England and Wales".  Today, the Catholic Church of Ss David Lewis and Francis Xavier stands opposite the site of his martyrdom and St David Lewis is remembered with a lovely shrine in his honour.  

ST DAVID LEWIS

"Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints".

Saturday, 20 June 2020

BLESSED JOHN ROCHE

John Roche was born in Ireland and, as a young man, he went to London where he found work as a servant and a waterman.  As was common at that time, Catholics often worked under an alias and Roche sometimes used the name of John Neale.  A devout Catholic, he became involved with Margaret Ward and others who were aiding persecuted priests.  One such priest was Fr William/Richard Watson.  
Blessed John Roche
Fr Watson had been arrested and tortured and, upon learning of this, Margaret Ward began visiting the priest in Bridewell Prison.  Eventually she devised a plan to help the priest escape.  She smuggled a length of rope into the priest and , at a prearranged time, he was to let himself down from his cell at the top of the prison.  She found two Catholic watermen who would be waiting nearby with a boat to spirit the priest away.  However, the two watermen lost their nerve and backed out.  Margaret did not give up!  John Roche readily agreed to assist the priest.  Disastrously, the rope was too short and the priest had to jump the remaining distance.  He crashed down onto a shed below, breaking his right arm and leg.  Immediately, John Roche ran to his assistance and carried him to the boat. 

Of course, the clatter had alerted the jailor and others and the rope, still dangling from the cornice, was discovered.  Margaret Ward, being Fr Watson's only visitor, was swiftly arrested.  

John had managed to get the priest to safety and he was recuperating in John's house.  When he had recovered, John swapped clothes with him and the priest got safely away.  Sadly, John, in the priest's clothes, was spotted by the jailor who arrested him. He was vigorously interrogated and  eventually admitted his role in the escape of Fr Watson.  He was charged with treason and condemned to death.  Offered a full pardon if he would seek the Queen's forgiveness and attend a Protestant service, John Roche refused both!

On 30th August 1588, John Roche and Margaret Ward were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. Four other Catholics, including Welshman Richard Flowers, were executed with them that day.  

On 15th December 1929, Pope Pius XI beatified John Roche. He is counted among the English Martyrs and is also venerated in Ireland where his feast is celebrated on 20th June. 

Monday, 15 June 2020

OUR AMAZING PRIESTS

Throughout this awful Covid 19 pandemic, our amazing priests have been there for us.  Here in Wales, as well as in the rest of the U K, our priests have used YouTube, Facebook and all the modern technology to bring us the comforts of our Catholic Faith.  Such devoted pastoral care is not confined to this country either as priests all over the world are doing their very best for their parishioners.  Just as our priests are doing, priests everywhere are live streaming Holy Mass, Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament,  the Rosary and Stations of the Cross.  
Holy Mass, live streamed
God has blessed us with wonderful priests and we owe them so very much. So, we say a heartfelt "Thank You" to priests everywhere.  May God shower blessings galore upon you all and keep you safe.
Related Posts with Thumbnails