Saturday 6 May 2023


 In celebration of the Coronation of King Charles III, copies of these leaflets were recently distributed in our churches. As well as a message from Cardinal Nichols, they contain a lovely prayer for King Charles III and his Queen. Thank God we have moved on since the reign of King Charles II.


Sunday 30 April 2023


For almost 80 years the good Sisters of St Joseph of Annecy have resided at Llantarnam Abbey.  From there they graced our town and parish communities. They welcomed us into their home on many occasions, rejoiced with us in our happy times and grieved with us in the sad times. Now they are leaving the Abbey for pastures new. 

Last Welsh Martyr, St David Lewis, was a relative of the Morgan family who owned the property in the 1600s. He lived there for a time and frequently
celebrated Mass there. He was arrested at Llantarnam, opposite the Abbey, in November 1678 and martyred at Usk on 27 August 1679. In 1970 David Lewis S J, was canonised by Pope Paul VI.

The Sisters have guarded the Martyr's legacy well and honoured him with a large portrait which was prominently displayed. They also had the very great priviledge of owning a precious relic of the saint. The late, well loved Sr Celsus of Llantarnam Abbey had a special devotion to St David Lewis.  In 2008 Sister set up the Group, Friends of St David Lewis, in Our Lady's Parish where the friends met monthly. Sadly, Sister Celsus has gone to her heavenly reward but she will always be in the hearts of those who had the good fortune of knowing her. 

As the Sisters prepare to leave Llantarnam Abbey, they have bestowed upon the Parish of Our Lady and St David the honour of being custodian of the portrait and holy relic of our local saint and martyr, St David Lewis. 
Sr Susan SSJA presenting the portrait to Fr Daniel Stanton

Portrait and relic of St David Lewis

Thank you Sisters. May St David Lewis bring blessings on the parish and on you, dear Sisters, wherever you may be.

Sunday 7 February 2021


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.  
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  

Tuesday 22 December 2020


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!


Saturday 19 December 2020


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.”

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.

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.


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.  

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.




Sunday 29 November 2020


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


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


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


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.


Thursday 15 October 2020


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


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

Tuesday 13 October 2020


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. 




Tuesday 29 September 2020


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


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.


Stay safe, stay well, follow the guidelines and PRAY 

Related Posts with Thumbnails