Thursday, August 30, 2012


Thank you David for this wonderful video of the procession through Usk to St Mary's Priory Church. God is glorious in his saints and martyrs, St David Lewis, Pray for us.

Monday, August 27, 2012

St David Lewis, Beautiful Weather Brought out the Usk Crowds


    Yesterday at Usk, glorious warm weather brought out the crowds for the annual pilgrimage for St David Lewis. These pilgrimages have taken place annually for over a hundred years and comemmorate the Martyrdom of  Father Lewis in 1697.Father Lewis was the son of an Abergavenny headmaster, who was a convert, studied in France and maintained his witness in South Wales, ministering to the many secret Catholics in South Wales. Infact the Abergavenny area was never without Catholics, many nobility and people never leaving the Church. It was said at the time of the Titus Oates lies, that Monmouthshire was a 'true daughter of Rome' and not 40 people attended Church of England services, while hundreds went to Mass in the Gunter House. There is also a small staue of the Saint in Abergavenny at Our Lady and St Michaels Church in Abergavenny. Father Tom  OSB was present at the Pilgrimage.I have told the story of St David Lewis on a previous blogspot, so I wont repeat again. If you type 'St David Lewis' in 'search' on the left hand search box, you should find the previous post.

Numbers were slightly down on recent years and there was a feeling of sadness. Unfortunately, no cndles were lit in the church, which gave a bleak feel, until the altar candles were lit. Father Julian of the Anglican Church said he was sad that the historic parish now no longer had a resident priest, and there was a slight feeling of something missing.However, there was joy in the beautiful traditional Benediction service. It was all led by Father Adrian Wiltshire, who sang confidently with his beautiful voice. It seemed clergy from other churches were also present. It was the first time, since I had been going that there was Benediction instead of Mass.


The procession left the Church, reciting the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary for the benefit of the Soul of the saint, and  arrived at the grave side in glorious sunshine, Fr Adrian carrying the relic of St David Lewis.In his final speech from the hastily prepared gallows, Fr Lewis had quoted from theScriptures, from 1 Peter 3, about how to die for what is right .

 'Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you do suffer for righteousness sake you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christhe Lord. Always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls yu to account for the Hope that is within you, yet d it with gentleness and reverence, and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame
For it is better to suffer for what is right, if that should be God's will, tan for doing wrong. ForCrist also died for sins once for all, he rightous for the unrighteous , that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.
The botched execution caused more pain to Father Lewis, but finally two Protestants he had helped made sure he had died at the hanging, dragging at his hands, s there was no drawing and quartering,and the body was laid in the graveyard in the parish church, where it was later found during excavation and buried in a more prominent place at the Church door of the former priory, now Anglican Church.At he graveside, the relic was brought to each member of the congregation for veneration, as the Faithful sang 'Faith of Our Fathers'.Flowers had been placed on the grave and a photograph of a portrait of the saint, I think painted while he was in France as a youngish man. Father Adrian then knelt to venerate the gravestone, which all the other pilgrims also did. No 'Salve Regina' this time, sadly. In attendance were also the sisters of St Joseph of Annecy at Llantarnam, and some monks from Belmont. Father Adrian goes to Ledbury and Ross from Cwmbran, but I do hope that he keeps his association with the pilgrimage. After refreshments at the Parish Hall for some and The Three Salmons for others, people took their cars and coaches home, happy the saint had been venerated, thanked and remembered for another year, and he will continue to intercede for all those in the persecuted Church.
Hymn of St David Lewis
Holy Martyr David Lewis
Monmouth Martyr’s Glorious Saint
‘Father of the Poor’ they named you
When you lived and toiled in Gwent.
Priestly work was undertaken                        
Danger-fraught from dawn till dusk
Gladly still you served your people
‘Till you died for Christ at Usk.

From your capture at Llantarnam
Through your time in Monmouth gaol.
Threats and torture could not shake you
For your faith would never fail.
Bravely then you faced the gallows
Crudely fashioned for your death,
Further torment someone spared you
Till you drew your latest breath

Great and glorious David Lewis,
Staunch and steadfast in the strife,

Bless your people here in Monmouth,
Those for whom you gave your life.
Help us to be strong, courageous,
Loyal to our loving God,
To Him then will glory flourish,
In the places you have trod.

Tune :Hyfrydol (Welsh tune for 'Love Divine')