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FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 24th NOVEMBER 2011

A meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis was held on 24th November 2011. Sr Celsus opened the meeting with a prayer and the Hymn in Honour of St David Lewis was sung. Present at the meeting were; Carole Morgan, Veronica Williams, Colleen Brocklehurst, Michael Brocklehurst, John Smith, Brian Foster, Cyril Daley, Sr Francis Xavier, Mary Cook, Lucy Kembrey, Annette Williams, Carole Penny, Katie McLoughlin, Sr Celsus and Beth Smith. Apologies were received from Angela Dean and John Gray.

The Minutes of the October meeting were read then Sr Celsus reported on the spreading of the soil at the remembrance garden at the Old Post Office, Llantarnam. At 9:30 Mass on 17th November, the anniversary of the arrest of St David Lewis, Fr Adrian blessed the soil collected at St Michael’s Mount on 29th September. In his homily, Fr Adrian pointed out that both St David Lewis and St Elizabeth of Hungary, whose feast day it was, were devoted to the poor. After Mass, twelve or thirteen people travelled to the remembrance garden for the spreading of the soil and a service which John Gray had prepared. This was followed by tea at Llantarnam Abbey. Sister said the event had been enjoyed by all who attended and it was a lovely tribute to our Patron, St David Lewis.

Sr Celsus then invited John Smith to give an account of the trip to Trivor, where St John Lloyd regularly celebrated holy Mass. John said that seven members of Friends of Saint David Lewis had enjoyed a visit to Trivor on 1st November. The owner, Mr Harries, said they were the first Catholic group to visit and he looked forward to welcoming them again in the spring.

Michael Brocklehurst then treated the meeting to an excellent talk on the history of Llanarth. His talk covered the village of Llanarth, Llanarth Court, the church, Pitt House, etc. Our speaker had personal and firsthand knowledge of his subject as his family moved there in 1949 and he spent much of his formative years in the village where he attended school and was immersed in the Catholic life of the community. In fact, one of his uncles was the Parish Priest from 1956-1959.

Among the many interesting facts gleaned from Mike’s talk, we learned that “Llanarth” actually means “Church on the hill or ridge”. From the fifteenth century, Llanarth was the seat of the Jones family, who were renowned Catholics. The family was involved with the establishment of the Jesuit College at the Cwm, where St David Lewis was twice Superior. In Penal Times, the family sheltered priests and secret Masses were said in the house. When the Catholic population grew, the house chapel became too small to accommodate them all. About 1750 John Jones and his wife had a chapel, disguised as a tool shed, erected in the kitchen garden. Pitt House, now a listed building, was once used as the presbytery and the house contains a priest hole. John Arthur Jones, in 1848, obtained for himself and his siblings a royal licence to assume the surname of Herbert in lieu of Jones. In 1846 he married Augusta Hall, heir of Lord Llanover, Benjamin Hall. Augusta built Our Lady of Peace Church in Newbridge in memory of her brother, killed in Palestine in World War I.

The group greatly enjoyed Mike’s comprehensive talk and expressed a wish to one day visit Llanarth. Sr Celsus thanked Mike on behalf of the group and he received a hearty round of applause for his most interesting talk.

Sr Celsus remembered in prayer Canon Jeremy Winston, Dean of St Woolos Cathedral, who died recently. Canon Jeremy was for eighteen years Vicar of St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny, and he had supplied us with some information on St David Lewis, who was brought up in the Anglican Religion.

Any Other Business:
John Smith informed the meeting that there is now a two minute video on YouTube which gives a brief history of the life of St David Lewis.

The date of the next meeting is 15th December 2011.

Closing prayers were said and the meeting adjourned at approximately 3:10.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 27th OCTOBER 2011

 

The monthly meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis was held on 27th October in the Crying Room, Our Lady of the Angels. At 2 o’clock Sr Celsus opened the meeting with a prayer then the Hymn in Honour of St David Lewis was sung.

 Veronica Williams, Annette Williams, Katie McLoughlin, Pat Price, Evelyn Fitzgerald, Mary Cook, Brian Foster, Cyril Daley, Sr Celsus, John Smith and Beth Smith attended.

Apologies for absence were received from John Gray and Angela Dean.

After the Minutes of the September meeting had been read, Sr Celsus reported on the very successful celebration of the Feast of St Michael. John Gray and three companions had completed the now annual pilgrimage to the ruined chapel of St Michael at the summit of the Skirrid Mountain. Here, where St David Lewis is thought to have led pilgrims in Penal Times, John led the group in prayer. Those of the group who did not walk up the mountain went into Abergavenny where they visited several sites associated with St David Lewis and joined their prayers to the energetic walkers. The day was greatly enjoyed by all who participated. Veronica Williams suggested that perhaps next year something could be arranged with Fr Regan at the Catholic Church in Abergavenny for those who did not undertake the walk. It was agreed that this was a good idea and it would be considered for next year’s pilgrimage.

Sr Celsus said that on the anniversary of the arrest of St David Lewis, 17th November, soil collected at the summit will be blessed at the morning Mass at St David’s Church. A service will then follow at the Remembrance Garden at The Old Post Office, the site of our Saint’s arrest in 1678. All parishioners are welcome to attend and members of Friends of Saint David Lewis are especially encouraged to attend.

Katie McLoughlin inquired if John Smith had been able to find out anything about Trivor, where St John Lloyd often stayed and said Mass. John said that he and Beth had an appointment to visit on 1st November and any members who wished to join them would be more than welcome. Pat Price then said she had been unable to attend the September meeting and wondered if it would be possible for John to repeat, at a later date, the talk on ‘Safe Houses and Priest Hides’ which he had given at that meeting.

Our October speaker was group member and local author, Brian Foster. Brian, whose knowledge of local history is extensive, gripped his hearers with his talk on ‘Usk House of Correction’. All agreed that, as well as interesting and informative, Brian’s talk was very entertaining. Sr Celsus thanked Brian on behalf of the group, which then showed its gratitude with a round of applause.

There was no other business and the date of the next meeting was set for 24th November 2011.

The closing prayers were said and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 3:20.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MEETING HELD ON 22nd SEPTEMBER 2011

 

The meeting opened at 2 o’clock and Sr Celsus welcomed all present. A special welcome was extended to Joan Laurence who has been absent for several months due to an accident, and to John Gray’s sister-in-law, Gill Lower, who is visiting from Hayling Island. The usual opening prayers were said & the hymn sung.

Apologies for absence were received from Annette Williams and Angiolina Bertorelli.

John Gray, Sr Celsus, John Smith, Beth Smith, Gill Lower, Brenda Werrett, Angela Dean, John Kane, Katie McLoughlan, Cyril Daley, Brian Foster, Joan Laurence, Veronica Williams, Lucy Kembrey, Mary Cook, Sr Francis Xavier, Evelyn Fitzgerald & Carole Penny were in attendance.

The minutes of the August meeting were read.

John Gray then introduced this month’s speaker, John Smith, a member of the group. John’s well researched topic was “Safe Houses and Priest Hides”. John began his talk with an explanation of why safe houses & priest hides were necessary then moved on to the master builder of priest hides, Nicholas Owen. We learned of several of the more important recusant Mass centres which dotted the country in Penal Times before our speaker brought us back to our own area mentioning, among others, Court Farm, Trivor and Llangybi. John illustrated this excellent talk with photos and sketches.

John Gray thanked John for his very interesting talk and the group showed its appreciation with a round of applause.

John Gray informed the meeting that the now Annual Pilgrimage to St Michael’s Mount will take place on Thursday, 29th September. With a reminder that St David Lewis had led pilgrimages to this holy site, John invited all who were able to join either the walkers or those who were going to Abergavenny with them. As usual, soil will be collected from the summit of the mountain and, on 17th November, placed in the Remembrance Garden at the Old Post Office, Llantarnam. St David Lewis was arrested at this spot on 17th November 1678.

Sr Celsus welcomed Carole Penny who was attending for the first time.

There was no other business.

The date of the next meeting is 27th October and Brian Foster will give a talk on Usk House of Correction.

At approximately 3 o’clock closing prayers were said and the meeting was adjourned.

 

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 25th AUGUST 2011

 

Sr Celsus opened the meeting at 2 o’clock.

Following the opening prayers, the hymn in honour of St David Lewis was sung. The singing was greatly enhanced by the accompaniment of a recorded rendition kindly made for Friends of Saint David Lewis by Our Lady of the Angels Choir. This recording was procured through the efforts of Andrew Butcher.

Present at the meeting were: Cyril Daley, Evelyn Fitzgerald, Pat Price, Sr Francis Xavier, Katie McLaughlin, Annette Williams, Pat Jones, Sr Celsus, Angela Dean, Angiolina Bertorelli, Brian Foster, John Smith, John Gray and Beth Smith.

Sr Celsus welcomed all to the meeting. A special welcome was extended to three new members; Katie McLaughlin, Annette Williams and Pat Jones.

Beth Smith then read the Minutes of the last meeting.

An extremely informative and interesting talk was given by Pat Price. Pat spoke on the Welsh Martyrs and each Martyr’s story was an inspiring one. Pat pointed out that not all had been executed. Many had died on the run or from the brutal treatment they endured in prisons up and down the country. Pat concluded her talk with the question, “Why make pilgrimages?” She answered her own question with a quote from T S Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. “For wherever a saint has dwelt, wherever a martyr has given his blood for the blood of Christ, there is holy ground, and the sanctity shall not depart from it though armies trample over it, though sightseers come with guide-books looking over it.”

On behalf of the group, Sr Celsus thanked Pat for a most enlightening talk.

Sr Celsus then reminded the group that a Mass in honour of St David Lewis would be celebrated at 9:30 the next morning here at Our Lady of the Angels. All were encouraged to attend.

John Gray informed those present that the coach taking parishioners to Usk for the pilgrimage to the grave of St David Lewis would leave Our Lady’s promptly at 2 o’clock on Sunday. John said that he hoped as many as possible would attend.

There was no other business and the date of the next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis was set for 22nd September.

 At approximately 3 o’clock closing prayers were said and the meeting adjourned.

The usual refreshments were then enjoyed.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
 MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 28th JULY 2011

On 28th July 2011, a meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis was held in the Crying Room of Our Lady of the Angels Church. At approximately 2 o’clock, Sr Celsus welcomed the members and opened the meeting with a prayer and the hymn in honour of St David Lewis.

Those present were: Sr Francis Xavier, Mary Cook, Angela Dean, Angiolina Bertorelli, John Gray, Cyril Daley, Veronica Williams, John Smith, Sr Celsus, Brian Foster, and Beth Smith.

Apologies for absence were received from Pat Price.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read by Beth Smith.

Sr Celsus read the article, “The Spirituality of St David Lewis S J,” from the Sunday Bulletin of 24th July and a brief discussion followed. John Gray informed the meeting that copies of the article, and of the articles from the two previous months, were available for those who would like a copy.

The annual pilgrimage to Usk in honour of St David Lewis was discussed. This year the pilgrimage will take place on Sunday, 28th August and it is hoped that our new Archbishop will be present. Those wishing to attend were asked to put their names on the list in the porch. A coach will leave Our Lady’s at 2 o’clock, stopping on the way at Bettws to pick up pilgrims from St David Lewis Parish.

John Gray then told the group of the problem that had arisen with the Historic Churches Committee over the plaque erected by Friends of Saint David Lewis last October at the Catholic Church in Usk. He explained that for a time it looked likely that the plaque would have to be removed. However, after a site meeting attended by Sr Celsus and John another meeting was held to decide on this and other matters. John was asked to attend this second meeting and, having presented our case, he was asked to leave the room while the committee voted. After a few minutes, John was recalled and informed that the committee had voted unanimously that the plaque should remain in place.

Beth said that through the blog, LAST WELSH MARTYR, she had received a request from Dom Thomas Regan of Abergavenny for 500 St David Lewis prayer cards. He wished to distribute them to his parishioners and to the many visitors who come from far and near to see the medieval vestments. It is not possible for John Gray to produce such a large volume of cards but not wanting to miss this excellent opportunity to spread knowledge of St David Lewis, John Smith made inquiries at local printers and found that the required number of cards could be obtained for £84.00, inclusive of VAT. Beth said that Fr Regan was willing to make a donation towards the cost of printing and she asked if the group was willing to make up the difference form group funds, which at present stand at £144. This was agreed so John and Beth were given the go ahead to order the cards.

John Gray then told the group of a proposal to take St David Lewis around to other parishes and asked if they were in agreement with such a proposal. All agreed that it was a good idea. John asked for ideas and suggestions as to how this could be best presented and encouraged input from all members of the group.
The trip to London and the Martyrs’ Shrine at Tyburn Convent was discussed. Members were reminded that the coach will leave Our Lady’s at 8:00 am on 18th August. It was noted that all members of the group who are going have paid in full.

Sr Celsus reminded the meeting that the Feast Day of St David Lewis is kept on 26th August. This year that falls on a Friday and Sister said that Holy Mass in his honour will be offered here at Our Lady of the Angels on that day. Members of Friends of Saint David Lewis are strongly urged to attend. Light refreshments will be served in the Crying Room after Mass.

 There was no other business so Sr Celsus lead the closing prayers and at 3:10 p m the meeting adjourned.

The usual refreshments were then served.

The next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis will take place on 25th August 2011.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

MEETING OF FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
THURSDAY 23rd JUNE 2011

John Gray opened the Meeting at approximately 2 o’clock. Those present were Angela Dean, Angelina Bertorelli, Brian Foster, Brenda Werrett, Cyril Daley, Colleen and Michael Brocklehurst, Evelyn Fitzgerald, John Kane, John Gray, Mary Cook, Peg Clack, Pat Price, Sister Francis Xavier, Sister Celsus.

Apologies for absence were received from Beth and John Smith, Sheila Forthingham and Veronica Williams.

At the beginning of the Meeting, prayers were offered in memory of Muriel Bevan, one of our very devoted members, who will be sadly missed from our Group. A prayer was also said for Joan Lawrence, who is in hospital with an injured foot as the result of a fall. We pray that she will make a good recovery and return to us soon.

In the absence of our Secretary, Beth Smith, Sister Celsus took the Minutes and John Gray led the Meeting. Having read the Minutes, he introduced the Agenda for the Meeting. He reported the progress of the financial arrangement for our Account at Lloyds Bank, Cwmbran. This has now been completed and our current account is £130.97.
At the last Meeting, 26th May, it had been decided that a few members of our Group would attend the Auction at Usk on Saturday 11th June, which was in aid of the rebuilding of the Tower of SS. Francis Xavier and David Lewis Church, and present a cheque towards the cost of this work.
The money for this project was raised, partly by donations. which eventually amounted to £161. With a supplement from our own fund, we were able to donate £200 to the Appeal. John Gray, Evelyn Fitzgerald, Pat Price and Sister Celsus agreed to go along to the Auction and they gave us an account of the event.
They reported that the cheque was gratefully received by the promoter of the Appeal, Julie McGowan, and her Treasurer. They met Fr. Richard Reardon, who welcomed them and was pleased that they had attended the Auction. This was a morning event and was quite enjoyable and interesting, although business was not very brisk!

Having completed the business part of our Meeting, we turned our attention to the Article in last Sunday’s Bulletin, The Arrest of Father David Lewis. John read the account and invited the Group to spend a few minutes reflecting on this sad event as this would give us a better understanding and love for our dear Martyr Saint.
In our reflection, we discussed how Fr. David Lewis could have been affected by his arrest; was he feeling humiliated; saddened that he had to disappoint his people, who had been waiting for him to celebrate Holy Mass with them; frightened, maybe, at the thought of his forthcoming Martyrdom; finally, how would we feel in similar circumstances?

At about 3 o’clock, the closing prayers were said and the Meeting adjourned.
The usual Light Refreshments and a chat followed.

The date of the next Meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis is arranged for 28th July 2011.

The minutes were taken by: Sister Celsus.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 26TH MAY 2011

Sr Celsus opened the meeting at approximately 2 o’clock. Those present were Angela Dean, Angelina Bertolli, Brian Foster, John Smith, Pat Price, Joan Lawrence, Peg Clack, Brenda Werrett, John Gray, Beth Smith, Evelyn Fitzgerald, John Kane, Michael Brocklehurst, Colleen Brocklehurst, Sr Francis Xavier, Sr Celsus and Mary Cook.

Apologies for absence were received from Jean Beavan, Marie Bowkett, Cyril Daley and Muriel Bevan.

Group member Muriel Bevan, who is seriously ill, was especially remembered during the opening prayers. After the singing of our hymn, Sr Celsus welcomed all and a special welcome was extended to Peg Clack and Angelina Bertolli, who were attending for the first time.

John Gray then distributed the new handbooks which have been prepared for all members of the group. The book contains the opening and closing prayers, the words of the hymn in Honour of St David Lewis, a brief account of the life of our Patron Saint, and other information relating to St David Lewis and to Friends of Saint David Lewis.

Sr Celsus thanked John Gray and Evelyn Fitzgerald for taking responsibility for the Group’s finances. John informed the meeting that an account in the name of Friends of Saint David Lewis has now been opened at Lloyds Bank in Cwmbran.

 Sr Francis Xavier had recently returned from a pilgrimage to Lourdes where she had requested a Mass for Friends of Saint David Lewis. The beautiful Mass card was passed around for all to see.

Sr Celsus said that she has received donations totalling £57 towards the cost of the repairs to the tower of the Catholic Church at Usk. Sister pointed out that the church is important to all devotees of St David Lewis because it lies between the site of his execution and the site of his grave. It was agreed that Friends of Saint David Lewis would add £43 to the donations received and present Fr Reardon, parish priest of Usk, with a cheque for £100. The presentation will be made on 11th June when some members of the group will attend a Fund Raising Event at Usk.

John Gray asked Beth Smith to tell the members about her ideas for generating more local interest in St David Lewis. She said that she had asked Fr Adrian if, once a month, Friends of Saint David Lewis could have a short article about the Saint printed on the blank side of the Parish Bulletin. Fr Adrian readily agreed and the first article appeared on the Sunday Bulletin for 22nd May 2011. This arrangement will continue for the next twelve months, with the monthly article appearing on the weekend before the Group’s meeting.

Beth said that she had also e-mailed details of our group’s meeting to Fr Regan, Fr Hayman, Fr Reardon and Fr Kelly, requesting that they include them in their Sunday Bulletin. Fr Kelly replied that his Bulletin for that Sunday was full but he asked that we send him details of future meetings. No one else replied but Angelina, who is a member of St Alban’s Parish, confirmed that Fr Hayman had indeed included the details in his Parish Bulletin. Pat Price suggested that, as many people come from the other valleys to the Annual Usk Pilgrimage, notification of meetings could be sent to these parishes also. Beth agreed that she would do that.

 John Smith suggested that it would be interesting and informative if, at each future meeting, the group could hear a talk on Saint David Lewis, on some aspect of his life and times, or on the history of the area. John maintained that this could give us a better understanding of St David Lewis and of life and conditions in earlier and more dangerous times. The members thought this was a good idea and four members agreed to give talks. John Smith will give the first talk in September followed by Brian Foster in October, Michael Brocklehurst in November and Sr Francis Xavier in December.

About 3:10 pm the Prayer for Wales was said and the meeting adjourned. Light refreshments and friendly chat followed.

The date of the next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis is scheduled for 23rd June 2011.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 28th APRIL 2011

A meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis was held on 28th April 2011. The meeting, which opened at 2:00 p m, was held in the Crying Room of Our Lady of the Angels Church. Brian Foster, Cyril Daley, John Smith, Sr Francis Xavier, Evelyn FitzGerald, Sr Celsus, John Gray and Beth Smith were in attendance. Apologies for absence were received from Angela Dean, Muriel Bevan and Brenda Werrett.

Following the usual opening prayers and hymn, the minutes of the previous meeting were read by Beth Smith.

John Gray told members that a Friends of Saint David Lewis Handbook is in preparation and it should be ready for distribution by the next meeting.

Sr Celsus informed the meeting that the Tuesday Club had donated £21.00 for the Usk Church roof fund. The need for a treasurer, assistant treasurer and a Bank or Building Society account was then discussed. Evelyn FitzGerald volunteered her services as assistant treasurer and, as no one else came forward, John Gray said he would assume the position of treasurer as long as he could continue as vice-chairman as well. John Smith proposed opening a Building Society Account because, although interest rates at present are paltry, some interest would accrue. He pointed out that whether the interest was little or much it was still free money. John Gray said he thought a Bank Account was better and he would arrange for the account to be opened at Lloyds Bank, Cwmbran.

John Gray suggested that an Annual General Meeting be held around the time of the group’s anniversary in February.

John Smith then gave a brief talk on the Tyburn Gallows and the Martyrs’ Shrine at Tyburn Convent. He then proposed a Day Trip to London with a visit to Tyburn Convent. This proposal was enthusiastically accepted by those present and Brian Foster and Evelyn FitzGerald immediately paid the required £5.00 deposit.

Before the meeting adjourned at approximately 3:00 pm, the date of the next meeting was fixed for 26th May 2011.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 24th MARCH 2011

Friends of Saint David Lewis met for their first meeting of 2011 on 24th March at 2pm. The meeting was held in the Crying Room of Our Lady of the Angels Church, its regular venue since the Canon O’Donnell Pastoral Centre is no longer available for use by Parish groups.

Sr Celsus, Sr Francis Xavier, John Smith, Brenda Werrett, Angela Dean, Cyril Daley, Brian Foster, Mary Cook, Lucy Kembrey, Joan Laurence, John Gray and Beth Smith attended. Apologies for absence were received from Muriel Bevan, Evelyn Fitzgerald and Jean Beavan.

John Gray, who chaired the meeting, welcomed Cyril Daley who was attending for the first time. John also welcomed back Sr Celsus and John Smith, and expressed the groups delight at their improved health. The prayer was then said and the Hymn in Honour of St David Lewis was sung.

Beth Smith read the minutes of the last meeting. She also reported how Friends of Saint David Lewis is spreading the story of St David Lewis. Through the blog, Last Welsh Martyr, at least two dozen books, including John Gray’s excellent book, “All for the Glory of God”, have been sent to people in many countries. Approximately 100 of the cards printed by John were also sent to people in various countries around the globe. This was all done free of charge.

It was stated that the group has accumulated a small amount of money with cash left over from the money raised for the erection of the plaque at the site of the old gravestone at Usk. A report was given on the monies collected and it was revealed that a total of £674 pounds was collected and £527.73 was paid out. This left the group with a kitty of £146.27. John Gray expressed the opinion that the group needs to have capital and that we could start by putting out a plate for donations at each meeting. This was done immediately and a sum of £13.50 was realized.

 John Smith queried the necessity for the group to retain funds at all. It was then mentioned that, if money was collected, a treasurer, a bank or Building Society Account, and another person to co-sign would be necessary. The group was asked to consider all aspects of this matter and to report back at the next meeting.

 John Gray brought up the matter of the fund raising project of the Catholic Church at Usk. It was suggested that Friends of St David Lewis might do some fund raising on their behalf. Beth Smith commented that, while she thought it was a good and generous idea, she didn’t think it reasonable to involve our own Parish and parishioners in such an undertaking. She suggested that we could support the Usk parishioners by attending the events which they are staging. Brian Foster and Angela Dean said that they had attended one of the events, a Coffee Morning. John Gray said that perhaps we, as a group, could think of some ways of raising money, e g coffee mornings, cake sales, etc. Again the group was asked to consider this and report back next meeting.

John Gray showed the assembled members a new painting of St David Lewis. Sr Celsus told the interesting story behind the painting. Sister said that several years ago Fr Joseph Johnson, an American priest who is a descendant of the Morgans of Llantarnam, had visited Llantarnam Abbey. He was intrigued by the story of St David Lewis and his connection to the Abbey and the Morgans and promised that, when he returned to the U S A, he would have his artist friend paint a picture. True to his word, the painting duly arrived and one copy of it has been given to Friends of Saint David Lewis. The beautiful painting depicts St David Lewis, hands joined in prayer, with Llantarnam Abbey as the backdrop.

It was agreed that Friends of Saint David Lewis would next meet at 2 pm on Thursday 28th April 2011. The usual refreshments were served and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 4 o’clock.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

MAKING ST DAVID LEWIS KNOWN THROUGH
THE MEDIUM OF CYBERSPACE

One of the aims of Friends of St David Lewis is to spread knowledge of and devotion to St David Lewis. To that end, John Gray has printed several hundred pictures and cards. He has even printed several hundred copies of his own book, “All For the Glory of God”. These cards and books had been distributed locally and, to a limited extent, in England and other countries.

As you know, a website, FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS and a blog, LAST WELSH MARTYR, have been set up as means of bringing St David Lewis into the 21st century. I am happy to report that we are achieving some success in this area. We have featured several book giveaways on the blog and these have been very successful. In total we have sent about two dozen books around the world. The book giveaways have consisted mainly of John’s book but ‘In Thoroughgoing Service’ by Fr Gareth Jones and the little C T S Book, ‘Forty Martyrs of England and Wales’ have also been distributed. These books have been requested by and sent to people in Newport, Bridgend, London, Birmingham, Scotland, Trinidad, various parts of the U S A, including Hawaii, various provinces of Canada, the Philippines, and even East Malaysia.

 Through the blog we also gave away about 100 of John’s cards. Requests for them came from far and near and we sent them, free of charge, to Newport, Bridgend, Haverford West, Llanelli, Cardiff, London, Birmingham, Scotland, Belfast, Hawaii and other parts of U S A, Australia, the Philippines, East Malaysia and various provinces of Canada,.

We will continue with book giveaways from time to time. We are at present out of cards but John will print more and I will again feature them on the blog and send them out to anyone who requests them.

As you can see, although we haven’t held a meeting for several months, we haven’t been idle! Through the medium of cyberspace we have continued to work to make St David Lewis known.

Article by: Mrs Beth Smith. (March 2011)

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 14th OCTOBER 2010

 Friends of St David Lewis met at Our Lady of the Angels Church on Thursday, 14th October 2010. The meeting, which opened at 2:00 p m, was chaired by Sr Celsus. After the opening prayer was said and the hymn sung, Beth Smith read the Minutes of the previous meeting.

Present at the meeting were: Pat Price, Veronica Williams, Evelyn Fitzgerald, Sr Francis Xavier, Brenda Werrett, John Smith, Jean Beavan, Angela Dean, Sr Celsus, Brian Foster, John Gray and Beth Smith.

Apologies for absence were received from: Muriel Bevan, Lucy Pembrey, Marie Bowkett, Elizabeth Wood and Chris O’Brien.

John Gray reported on the progress of the memorial plaque for Usk. He said that the plaque will be finished this week and showed the group a picture of what it will be like. John informed the members that the exact cost is not yet known but there will be money left over from the funds raised.

Beth Smith suggested that Sr Celsus, being the founder of Friends of St David Lewis, should unveil the plaque. This was agreed unamiously. Veronica Williams proposed that John Gray, because of all his work, should stand with Sr Celsus at the unveiling. However, John declined, explaining that he would be busy taking photos of the event. Sr Celsus said she had spoken to David Jones and he will try to be present at the unveiling and blessing of the plaque. It was decided that those who were going to the event on 24th October would assemble at Our Lady of the Angels at 9:00 a m and, with members providing transport, set off for Usk to arrive in time for 10:00 a m Mass at the Church of SS Francis Xavier and David Lewis.

Sr Celsus informed the meeting that the Sisters of St Joseph are this month celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of their founder, Fr Jean Pierre Médaille S J. A special Mass will be celebrated at St Mary’s, Stowe Hill, Newport, on Saturday, 16th October. There will also be an exhibition of the work of the Sisters and refreshments will be served in the adjoining Parish Centre. Sister said all are invited to join them in this celebration.

A report was given on the pilgrimage to St Michael’s Mount (the Skirrid Mountain) which was led by John Gray on 29th September. John said it was a successful and enjoyable outing for those who climbed to the top and those who went on to Abergavenny. The two groups had united in prayer at the beginning of the pilgrimage and at 1:30 p m when the walkers reached the summit. The groups met at the end of the pilgrimage and again united in prayer.

The next meeting of Friends of St David Lewis will take place on 17th November. For November only, the day of the meeting is being changed to Wednesday to coincide with the date of the arrest of St David Lewis at Llantarnam on 17th November 1678.

At approximately 3:00pm, the meeting closed with a prayer. The usual refreshments were then served.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 9th SEPTEMBER 2010

A meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis was held on 9th September 2010. The meeting took place in the Crying Room of Our Lady of the Angels Church and was attended by Brian Foster, John Smith, Evelyn Fitzgerald, Sr Francis Xavier, Sr Celsus, Muriel Bevan, John Gray and Beth Smith.

Apologies for absence were received from Angela Dean, Veronica Williams and Chris O’Brien.

At 2:00 pm, Sr Celsus opened the meeting with a prayer and the Hymn in honour of St David Lewis was sung. Beth Smith then read the Minutes of the previous meeting.

Sr Celsus reported on the Annual Pilgrimage to mark the feast day of St David Lewis. This year the pilgrimage took place on 29th August and a larger than anticipated group of parishioners attended. Sister said that a forty seater coach had to be arranged. The day had started with rain but, to the delight of all, it soon cleared.

John Gray showed the group pictures of the progress which he has made on the plinth for the plaque marking the original gravestone of St David Lewis. John said that the plaque will be in place for the ceremony, which will take place on 24th October. Following 10:00 am Mass at the Catholic Church, Usk, the plaque will be unveiled and blessed. Light refreshments will then be served in the Parish Hall.

 John Gray then spoke of his plans to once again make the pilgrimage to the site of the ruined chapel at the top of the Skirrid Mountain, or St Michael’s Mount as it is also known. The ancient chapel was dedicated to St Michael the Archangel and John plans his walk for the feast of St Michael, 29th September. He hopes to be joined by other walkers. To make it a parish affair, John will invite those unable or not wishing to go up the mountain to join the pilgrimage for the opening prayers at the foot of the Skirrid and then spend time in Abergavenny before rejoining the walkers on their return from the summit.

Sr Celsus told of an American priest who had visited Llantarnam Abbey during the year of the Priest. He had recently sent Sr Anne Gabrielle a beautiful painting of St David Lewis with Llantarnam Abbey in the background. This priest is somehow connected to the Morgans of Llantarnam.

The date of the next meeting was set for 14th October 2010. The closing prayer was said and the meeting adjourned at approximately 3:00 p m. Refreshments were then served.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 12th AUGUST 2010

On 12th August 2010, Friends of Saint David Lewis met in the Crying Room of Our Lady of the Angels Church. At 2:00 p m, the opening prayer was said and the Hymn in honour of St David Lewis was sung. The group was happy to have Sr Celsus back again to chair the meeting.

In attendance were: Brian Foster, Jean Beavan, John Gray, Angela Dean, Sr Francis Xavier, Pat Price, Mary Cook, Evelyn Fitzgerald, Muriel Bevan, Brenda Werrett, Sr Celsus and Beth Smith.

Apologies for absence were received from: Lucy Kembrey, Veronica Williams, Joan Laurence, John Smith, Pauline Turner and Bernadette Davies.

Sr Celsus reported on the recent trip to Usk. On 8th July a group of fourteen travelled to Usk where they were met at the Catholic Church by Fr Richard Reardon and Kate McLaughlin. Sister commented that transport was available for just fourteen so every available seat was taken. A short time was spent in prayer in the church then the group visited the old gravestone of St David Lewis, which lies beside the church. This was followed by a walk along Bridge Street to the site of Usk Gaol or the ‘Old Bridewell’ where Fr David Lewis was incarcerated. They then followed the River Path along which Fr Lewis was dragged to the place of execution, now marked by a blue Usk Civic Society Plaque. After refreshments in the Parish Hall, the group finished their pilgrimage with a prayer and a hymn at the Saint’s graveside and a visit to an exhibition in the Priory Church.

John Gray said that he had discussed with Fr Reardon the idea of better protecting the old gravestone by installing it in the church but Fr Reardon vetoed this idea. John informed the meeting that £649 has been raised for the erection of the plaque to mark the gravestone. Sr Celsus said it is hoped that the plaque will be unveiled on Sunday, 24th October, the day before the 40th Anniversary of the canonisation of St David Lewis.

Sr Celsus said that a twenty-nine seater coach has been booked for the annual pilgrimage to Usk, which will take place on 29th August.

At 3:00 p m the closing prayer was said, the meeting adjourned and the usual light refreshments were enjoyed.

The next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis will be held on 9th September 2010.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

FRIENDS OF ST DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 24th JUNE 2010

In the absence of Sr Celsus, John Gray chaired the meeting, which was held in the Crying Room of Our Lady of the Angels Church. The meeting was opened at 2:00 pm with a prayer and the Hymn in Honour of St David Lewis.

Present at the meeting were: Brenda Werrett, Sr Francis Xavier, Joan Lawrence, Evelyn Williams, Beth Smith, John Smith, Angela Dean, Brian Foster, Chris O’Brien and John Gray.

Apologies for absence were received from Sr Celsus, Jean Beavan, Elizabeth Wood, Marie Bowkett, John Kane and Muriel Bevan.

John Gray read the minutes of the previous meeting and, on behalf of the group, offered condolences to Beth and John Smith on their recent bereavements.

A trip to Usk was to have taken place today but, due to the small number able to attend, it has been postponed and will now take place on Thursday 8th July.

The proposed coach trip to Westminster Cathedral on 17th July has been cancelled due to lack of interest.

Two “Tea in The Garden” afternoons were held to raise funds for the erection of a plaque to mark the old gravestone of St David Lewis. On 27th May, Jean Beavan and friends hosted a tea party at Jean’s home in Abergavenny. £152.00 was raised. A further £200.00 was raised when Chris O’Brien and Angela Ashley-Smith hosted a tea party on 29th May. With the two tea parties and various donations, the total amount raised to date is £529.00.

John showed the group a draft copy of the inscription for the plaque, which is subject to approval of Fr Richard Reardon, parish priest at Usk. John Smith suggested that the gravestone would be better preserved and safer if it was moved into the church and not left open to weather conditions and vandalism. Members of the group agreed with this and John Gray said he would bring it up with Fr Reardon.

John Gray said he had sent a copy of his booklet to the Holy Father. He has received a letter of thanks on behalf of His Holiness.

At approximately 3:00 pm the closing prayer was said and the meeting adjourned.
Refreshments were then served.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

FRIENDS OF ST DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 20th MAY 2010

A meeting of the Friends of Saint David Lewis was held on 20th May in the Lady Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels Church, Wesley Street.

Those present were – Sister Celsus, Sister Francis Xavier, Evelyn Williams, Angela Dean, Veronica Williams, Joan Lawrence, Frian Foster, Lucille Kembrey, Mary Cook, Brenda Werrett, Colleen Brocklehurst and John Gray.

Apologies for Absence were received from Jean Beavan, Muriel Bevan, Brenda Werrett, Elizabeth Wood and Mike Brocklehurst.

Sister Celsus lead the prayers and a hymn in honour of St David Lewis was sung.

Sister Celsus asked the members to pray for Muriel who is ill and also to remember Beth Smith in their prayers. Two of Beth’s brothers have died while she has been in Canada.

Colleen Brocklehurst, who is Acting Secretary in Beth’s absence, read the Minutes of the previous meeting.

Matters Arising from the Minutes – Sister Celsus said very few people had put their names on the list for the Pilgrimage to Westminster Cathedral. It was agreed that the list should be left in the Church Porch until the middle of June.

John Gray stated that Usk Church is a Grade 2 Listed building and, as such, it would not be possible to affix a Plaque to the Church itself. It would need to be mounted on a plinth at an additional cost of approximately £100. The total cost of the work would therefore be in the region of £500. Evelyn Williams had approached our MP, Mr Paul Murphy, regarding a possible donation. It looks highly likely that a donation will be forthcoming but John will send a letter to back-up our request. If the work could be finished by August the plaque could perhaps be unveiled on the occasion of the Annual Pilgrimage if Father Reardon, the Parish Priest, is agreeable.

With regards to raising the necessary funds, Jean Beavan is holding her Garden Party in Abergavenny on 26th May and Chris and her sister, Angela, will have theirs on 29th May. John showed the members a crystal that he proposed to auction on that day. Chris will be approached to see if she needs help with cake making.

Sister Celsus proposed a mini pilgrimage to Usk to take place on Thursday, 24th June when we could follow the route of St David Lewis’ martyrdom. Those members who have cars would act as chauffeurs so that we would not need to hire a minibus. This would replace our June meeting.

The meeting closed with a final prayer at 3pm.

The Minutes were taken by: Mrs Colleen Brocklehurst.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 22nd APRIL 2010

A meeting of the Friends of Saint David Lewis was held on 22nd April in the Crying Room of Our Lady of the Angels Church, Wesley Street.

Those present were – Sister Celsus, John Gray, Brenda Werrett, Evelyn Williams, Elizabeth Wood, Jean Beavan, Chris O’Brien, Pat Price, John Kane, Colleen Brocklehurst, Joan Lawrence and Marie Bowkett.

Apologies for Absence were received from Brian Foster, Mike Brocklehurst, Muriel Bevan and Lucy Pembrey.

Sister Celsus lead the opening prayers and a hymn in honour of Saint David Lewis was sung.

Colleen Brocklehurst, who is Acting Secretary while Beth and John Smith are away in Canada, read the Minutes of the previous meeting.

John Gray drew attention to his book ‘All for the Glory of God’ and suggested that it should be read with prayerful reflection. Sister Celsus suggested that we could read part of the book and discuss it at our next meeting. Sister also drew our attention to an article on Saint David Lewis that had appeared in ‘The Catholic Companion’.

Some discussion took place as to ways in which we could make the name of Saint David Lewis better known. Jean Beavan suggested that the name could be used as a sort of ‘umbrella’ under which we could carry out various activities i.e. fundraising events.

It was also suggested that we could contact the School with regard to having a picture of Saint David Lewis on display and maybe someone could talk to the children about our Saint. It was felt that this would eventually feed back to the parents.

The proposed pilgrimage to Westminster Cathedral was again discussed. Sister mentioned that a mosaic of Saint David, our Patron Saint, is to be unveiled on this special occasion. Sister had been in touch with the gentleman who is organising the coaches for travel to London and was told that there will be coaches making the journey there and back in the day. It would appear that our Archbishop is to be approached regarding a request for him to make an appeal to the Parishes to support this day.

John Gray had spoken to the artist Ned Heywood regarding the possibility of his making a plaque to be erected in the grounds of the Usk Church of Saints David Lewis and Saint Francis Xavier which would serve as a focus for Saint David Lewis’ gravestone which rests there.

Father Reardon, the Parish Priest, will give his permission for the plaque to be placed at his Church but would need to be kept informed of proceedings. The plaque would cost approximately £400 and take about six weeks to make. Some discussion took place as to how this money would be raised and Jean Beavan, Marie Bowkett and Elizabeth Wood agreed to set the ball rolling with a Tea Party in Jean’s garden.

The Meeting closed with a final prayer and all enjoyed tea and cake.

The next meeting will be on Thursday, 20th May at 2.00 p.m.

The Minutes were taken by: Mrs Colleen Brocklehurst.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 18TH MARCH 2010.

A meeting of the Friends of Saint David Lewis was held on 18th March 2010 in the Crying Room of Our Lady of the Angels Church, Wesley Street.

Present at the Meeting were; Joan Laurence, Sister Francis Xavier, Pat Jones Chris O’Brien, Brian Foster, Carole Morgan, John Gray, John Kane, Evelyn Williams, Muriel Bevan, Colleen Brocklehurst, Lucille Kembrey, Angela Ashley-Smith, Pat Price, Sister Celsus. Mary Cook.

Apologies were received from Jean Bevan, Marie Bowkett and ElizabethWood. They were unable to attend because Jean had an accident in the garden which left her with painful ribs but, fortunately no broken bones. Sister Celsus said that she would send her a message from the group with their love and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

The Meeting opened with prayer to the Holy Spirit and Saint David Lewis and a special prayer for the success of our Holy Father’s visit in September. The Hymn in honour of Saint David Lewis was then sung.

Sister Celsus recalled that our first Meeting which was due to take place on Thursday 16th February to celebrate our Second Anniversary of the Friends of Saint David Lewis had to be cancelled because of very bad weather condition. The four members who were brave enough to attend, John Gray, Evelyn Williams, Joan Laurence and Sister Celsus celebrated with a chat and a nice cup of tea and cake.

Having read and discussed the minutes of the Meeting held on 15th October 2009, Sister Celsus reminded the group that an account of the Day in Honour of the 330th Anniversary of our Four Local Martyrs was included in the February Issue of the Catholic People which summed up the events of that happy occasion.

John Gray spoke of the launching of his booklet ‘All For The Glory of God’ which took place on that day. He encouraged the group to read, study, reflect and pray on it, as he had written it with the intention of helping people to gain a deeper insight into the character and the spirit of David Lewis which motivated his life of self-sacrifice, love for the poor and the Holy Mass. John spoke of the many hours he had spent in collecting the material for the Booklet to ensure that every detail was correct. Hopefully, everyone interested in Saint David Lewis will obtain a copy.

Plans for this Year to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Canonization of
Saint David Lewis and the Welsh Martyrs, 25th October 1970.

1. The Pilgrimage in honour of the Welsh Martyrs to Westminster Cathedral 17th July as advertised in the Catholic People was discussed It was decided that this should be advertised in the Parish Newsletter and people encouraged to-sign their names on the sheet provided in the porch if they wished to participate.

2. The suggestion of erecting a plaque by the original gravestone in the grounds of St. Francis Xavier and St. David Lewis Church, Usk was considered and will be followed up provided Fr. Richard Reardon gives permission.

That a request will be made to Fr. Richard for Mass to be celebrated on the day of the Pilgrimage for St. David Lewis as in previous year was agreed on by the group.

Once again the subject of a Banner was discussed. Sister Celsus showed samples of Irish hand- painted designs which might prove suitable. She agreed to make further enquiries.

The Meeting closed with a final prayer and tea with a special cake to celebrate the 2nd Anniversary.

Next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis was scheduled for Thursday 22nd April.

The minutes were taken by: Sister Celsus.

FRIENDS OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 15th OCTOBER 2009

A meeting of Friends of St David Lewis was held on 15th October 2009 in the Crying Room of Our Lady of the Angels Church, Wesley Street. The Crying Room will be the venue for future meetings of Friends of Saint David Lewis. At approximately 2 o’clock, Sister Celsus opened the meeting with a prayer. Present for the meeting were: Chris O’Brien, Marie Bowkett, Jean Beavan, Carole Morgan, Pat Price, Colleen Brocklehurst, Michael Brocklehurst, Brenda Werrett, Joan Lawrence, Mary Cook, Veronica Williams, Muriel Bevan, Brian Foster, Richard Morgan, Pat Jones, John Smith, Beth Smith, John Gray and Sister Celsus.

Apologies were received from: Elizabeth Wood and Sister Francis Xavier.

The group’s visit to St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny, was discussed and all agreed that it had been an interesting and very pleasant day. The guide was very informative, with the exception of his reference to the real name of St David Lewis. He claimed that the Saint’s real name was Baker and he had taken the name, David Lewis, as an alias. Sr Celsus and John Smith put him right on that and it is to be hoped that he will remember it when giving future tours of the Church! Jean Beavan said there is a video available of the restoration of the Church and, if the group wishes, she could probably borrow it. On behalf of all, Sister Celsus thanked Jean and her friends for the lavish afternoon tea which they hosted in Jean’s beautiful garden.

Sr Celsus reported on the Pilgrimage to Usk. Happily, Holy Mass was celebrated, the first time for several years. Fr Richard Reardon had obtained permission of the owners of Porth-Y-Carne House for the pilgrims to pray at the actual site of the Martyr’s execution, which is in the grounds of Porth-Y-Carne House. The pilgrims then processed to the grave of St David Lewis where a short service was held. This was followed by refreshments in the Parish Hall.

John Gray gave a very interesting account of the pilgrimage he led to the site of St Michael’s Chapel at the top of the Skirrid Mountain. On the 29th September, John, Pat Jones, Richard Morgan, Bernadette Davies and Michael Brocklehurst completed the difficult climb in honour of the feast of St Michael and in memory of St David Lewis, who, it is said, celebrated Holy Mass there. John thanked those who had sponsored the intrepid pilgrims.

Plans were finalised for the Day in honour of the 330th anniversary of the execution of our four local martyrs. The date decided on was Saturday 14th November and the venue would again be Llantarnam Abbey. John Gray said his new booklet on St David Lewis would also be launched on that day.

Refreshments were served then the meeting closed with a short prayer.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

FRIENDS OF ST DAVID LEWIS
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD 23rd JULY 2009

A meeting of Friends of St David Lewis was held at the Canon O’Donnell Pastoral Centre on 23rd July 2009. At approximately 2:00 p m, Sr Celsus opened the meeting with a prayer then all joined in the singing of the hymn in honour of St David Lewis.

Those in attendance were John Kane, Angela Ashley-Smith, Sr Francis Xavier, Jean Beavan, Joan Lawrence, Brenda Werrett, Lucy Kembrey, Muriel Bevan, Marie Bowkett, Pat Price, Brian Foster, Sr Celsus, John Gray, John Smith and Beth Smith.

Apologies for absence were received from Veronica Williams, Colleen Brocklehurst, Mike Brocklehurst, Chris O’Brien, Elizabeth Wood and Carole Morgan.

Beth Smith read the Minutes of the previous meeting which was held on 18th June. Jean Beavan asked if Marie Bowkett’s name could be added to apologies for absence for that meeting as she had forgotten to convey Marie’s apologies on that day. This was duly noted.

The matter of a Banner was again discussed. Sr Celsus said that St David Lewis Church in Bettws had two banners. She will try to get a contact number from Fr Jimmy Thomas and see if anything comes from that. Sister also said that she will try to obtain a catalogue from a person in Cork who paints emblems on banners.

John Smith thanked everyone for their support of the Harvington Hall trip. He said that 46 out of 49 seats had been taken. Because of this, all costs had been met and those who had paid any money but were unable to go would receive refunds. John said that in itself made the trip a success.

A visit to St Mary’s Priory Church and the Tithe Barn, Abergavenny, was arranged for Thursday, 13th August. Approximately 20 people expressed an interest in going. It was agreed that members with cars would provide transportation for the group, which will leave from Our Lady’s car park at 1:15 pm.

The group feels strongly about the cleaning and preservation of the old marker from the grave of St David Lewis, which is at present, at the side of the church in Usk, unattended and exposed to the elements. It was suggested that the Parish Priest, Fr Richard Reardon, be contacted and our concerns passed on to him, with an offer of help in cleaning the stone. Sr Celsus asked John Smith if he would contact Fr Reardon and John agreed.

Sr Celsus informed the meeting that a coach has been booked for 30th August for the Annual Pilgrimage to Usk in honour of St David Lewis. Cost per person is £5. Sister has spoken to Fr Reardon and confirmed that, instead of Benediction, Mass will be celebrated on the day.

Sister was pleased to report that three young priests, two American and one English, had called unexpectedly at the Abbey and asked permission to celebrate Mass in honour of St David Lewis. In this year for priests, they wished to say Mass where the Saint had frequently celebrated Holy Mass. Sister pointed out that this illustrates the important part the web site plays in spreading the word about St David Lewis worldwide.

Sister reported that five members of our group had gone to Cardiff on Sunday, 19th July to attend the celebrations commemorating the martyrdom of Ss John Lloyd and Philip Evans. After the Latin Mass in St Peter’s Church, the congregation went in procession, reciting the Rosary, to the site of their execution. A short service was held there.

The meeting was reminded that the Day in Honour of our four local Martyrs will be held at Llantarnam Abbey on Saturday, 14th November 2009, from 10 am – 4 pm. Fr John Edwards S J and Madge Cusack O’Keeffe will attend. Further details will be made available at a future meeting.

After a short prayer, the ladies served tea and cakes and the meeting closed at 4:00 pm.

The next meeting of Friends of St David Lewis will be on 13th August, when we visit Abergavenny.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

Friends of Saint David Lewis
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 18th June 2009
At The Canon O’Donnell Pastoral Centre

Present: Sr. Celsus, John Gray, Brian Foster, Sr. Francis Xavier, Mike Brocklehurst, Colleen Brocklehurst, Chris O’Brien, Carole Morgan, Muriel Bevan, Veronica Williams, Angela Ashley-Smith and Joan Lawrence.

Apologies for absence: were received from John and Beth Smith, Jean Bevan, John Kane, Pat Jones, Pat Price and Judith Simmonds.

On 18th April 2009. At 2:00 pm, Sr. Celsus opened the meeting with prayer and then the usual Hymn in honour of St. David Lewis was sung.

Colleen Brocklehurst read the minutes of the previous meeting.

Matters Arising from the Minutes: Chris O’Brien reported that the Craft Group would not be able to undertake the work of making a Banner as they are all beginners. Some discussion took place as to what should be incorporated into the Banner and Veronica Williams kindly went to fetch the Mother’s Union Banner for us to see.

Sr. Celsus confirmed that the day at the Abbey in honour of our four local Saints will take place on the 14th November and that Madge Cusack O’Keefe, M.A. and Father John Edwards S.J. would attend.

The coach will leave for Harvington Hall at 10.15 following Mass at 9.30 in Our Lady’s Church. A packed lunch will be necessary as our numbers will be too large for the limited catering facilities.

John Gray reported that on the 14th May he and Sr. Celsus had gone to the Wheelwright’s Shop at Llantarnam. This building and the cottage would have been there in the days of St. David Lewis. Sr. Celsus passed around an up-to-date picture of the Shrine.

Some discussion took place with regards to the cleaning of the original gravestone of St. David Lewis. Colleen Brocklehurst read some information that she had obtained from the internet the gist of which was, if in doubt leave well alone. The information would be passed to John Smith for his opinion.

Jean Bevan had phoned Sister to suggest that we make a visit to the Tythe Barn and St. Mary’s Priory at Abergavenny and that we would be welcome at her home afterwards for a cup of tea. Thursday, 13th August was suggested as a possible date.

John Gray read out some information regarding St Mary’s Priory which had been put together by Beth Smith.

St. David Lewis pilgrimage at Usk. Inquiries had been made as to whether it would be possible to have Mass on that day instead of Benediction. Usk have a new Parish Priest so we await his decision.

The next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis was scheduled for Thursday 23rd July 2009.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Colleen Brocklehurst.

Friends of Saint David Lewis
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 23rd April 2009
At The Canon O’Donnell Pastoral Centre

The Feast of Saint George

Present: John Kane, Angela Ashley-Smith, Evelyn Williams, Judith Simmonds, Colleen Brocklehurst, Mike Brocklehurst, Veronica Williams, Muriel Bevan, Brian Foster, Pat Price, Sr. Celsus, John Gray, John Smith and Beth Smith.

Apologies for absence: were received from Carole Morgan, Pat Jones, and Tom Forward who was in hospital.

On the Feast of Saint George, 23rd April 2009. At 2:00 pm, Sr. Celsus opened the meeting with prayer and then the usual Hymn in honour of St. David Lewis was sung.

Beth Smith read the minutes of the previous meeting.

With reference to a Group Banner, Mike said that he was unable to help in this matter as his cousin had now retired. Angela said that her sister, Chris O’Brien, belonged to a craft group. The craft group had just finished a project and they might be willing and able to help with a banner. She would speak to Chris about it and report back at the next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis.

Sr. Celsus reported that she has booked Llantarnam Abbey for a day in remembrance of the 330th anniversary of the deaths of Saints Philip Evans, John Lloyd, John Kemble and David Lewis. The date is 14th November and Fr. John Edwards S.J. has agreed to come. Madge Cusack O’Keeffe, M.A. will again be invited to speak.

John Smith gave an update on the Harvington Hall Trip. He stressed that deposits must be received by 7th June. Since he and Beth will be away for all of the month of May, Sr. Celsus and John Gray agreed to accept deposits. Beth said she would put a notice in the Sunday Bulletin to this effect.

John said he had made inquiries regarding the dates of this year’s Open Days at Llanvhiangel Court, John Arnold’s home. The dates are from 8th – 18th August so he said that if the group wished to visit, it could be discussed at a later meeting.

John Gray said that the prayer cards and bookmarks he gave out on Palm Sunday had been very well received. He made approximately 450 and distributed them at Our Lady’s, St. David’s and Llantarnam Abbey. In response to a suggestion that he should charge for the numerous prayer cards he distributes, John replied that he would gladly accept donations towards the web site but he will not sell prayer cards or leaflets.

Sr. Celsus spoke about how St. David Lewis was treated after his arrest. In her most interesting talk, she told of his very human approach to his martyrdom. It was brought home to the group that this Welsh gentleman, going to an un-gentlemanly death, had won the love of Catholics and the respect of Protestants. The crudely constructed gallows was proof in itself of the people’s love for him.

As Beth Smith will be away, Colleen Brocklehurst agreed to take the minutes at the next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis. This meeting will take place on 18th June 2009.

The meeting closed with a prayer and then, through the generosity of Sr. Celsus and Muriel Bevan, tea and cakes were served in honour of St. George.

The next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis was scheduled for Thursday 18th June 2009.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

Friends of Saint David Lewis
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 19th March 2009
At The Canon O’Donnell Pastoral Centre

The Feast of Saint Joseph

Present: John Kane, Mary Cook, Pat Price, Carole Morgan, Chris O’Brian, Jean Beavan, Tom Forward, Marie Bowkett, Brian Foster, Pat Jones, Joan Lawrence, Muriel Bevan, Betty Brennan, John Smith, John Gray, Sister Celsus SSJ, and Beth Smith.

Apologies for absence: were received from Veronica Williams.

On the Feast of Saint Joseph, 19th March 2009, at 2:00 pm, Sr. Celsus opened the meeting with prayer, and the hymn in honour of St. David Lewis was sung.

Beth Smith read the minutes of the previous meeting, and Carole Morgan pointed out that the meeting had been held on 12th February, not 12th March as stated in the minutes. This was duly noted.

John Smith gave an update on the forthcoming trip to Harvington Hall. The trip is now oversubscribed and a deposit of £10.00 per person must be received by 7th June. Several members paid their deposits there and then. John pointed out a slight link with Harvington Hall and our Patron, St. David Lewis, through St. John Wall. St. John Wall, a fellow student and friend of St. David Lewis, frequently said Mass at Harvington Hall and mementoes of the Saint can be seen there today.

John Gray showed the group a leaflet that he is preparing for Easter. John said the leaflets would be distributed at Mass on Palm Sunday.

A banner for the group was suggested and that, perhaps, Mike and Colleen Brocklehurst might have some idea as to the cost of such banner.

Many people would like a return to a Mass at Usk on the feast of St. David Lewis. Sr. Celsus said that she would approach the Dean, Fr. John Meredith, with this request.

All agreed with Sr. Celsus that, in honour of the 330th Anniversary of the executions of Sts. Philip Evans, John Lloyd, John Kemble and David Lewis the four martyrs should be honoured at the special day to be held at Llantarnam Abbey in November.

Sr. Celsus gave a very interesting talk on what happened to Fr. David Lewis between his arrest at Llantarnam on 17th November 1678 and his execution at Usk on 27th August 1679. Sr. Celsus drew attention to the fact that Jesus had been betrayed by his friends and St. David Lewis had been betrayed by those whom he considered friends, particularly John Arnold.

To celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph, the meeting closed with tea and special cakes, provided by Sr. Celsus.

The next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis was scheduled for Thursday 23rd April 2009.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

Friends of Saint David Lewis
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 12th February 2009
At The Canon O’Donnell Pastoral Centre

Present: Joan Lawrence, Veronica Williams, Carole Morgan, Muriel Bevan, Pat Jones, Sister Celsus SSJ, Michael Brocklehurst, Colleen Brocklehurst, John Kane, John Smith, Beth Smith, Tom Forward, Jean Beavan, and John Gray.

Apologies for absence: were received from Marie Bowkett and Elizabeth Wood.

Sr. Celsus opened the meeting with prayer and the hymn in honour of St. David Lewis was sung. Sr. Celsus welcomed all to this First Anniversary meeting and reviewed the events of the past year. Recalling the aims of Friends of St. David Lewis, set out at the first meeting on 13th February 2008, it was agreed that the group was working diligently towards those aims and had even achieved a little success. Sister reminded us that 2009 is the 330th Anniversary of our Patron’s martyrdom and all agreed that something special should be done to mark this anniversary.

Beth Smith gave a talk on John Arnold, the notorious Priest Hunter. In the brief discussion that followed, Jean Beavan said that she understood from Madge Cusack O’Keeffe, M.A. that John Arnold was a Catholic. Beth replied that she had not come across that in her research but thought that if Madge said it, it was most likely correct. Beth added that she would see what else she could find about Arnold’s religion.

John Smith gave a brief talk on Priest Holes. This was accompanied by photographs, which he had taken of the priest holes at Harvington Hall. A lively discussion ensued and John suggested a summer trip to Harvington Hall. This suggestion was well received and it was agreed to open it up to the parish, as more people would mean lower coach costs!

Refreshments, kindly provided by Muriel Bevan, were served and then John Gray gave an explanatory talk on how to use the Web Site and what could be found on it.
He stated that to date, the site had received 8,200 hits but he would like people to contribute more articles and comments to the site.

The next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis was scheduled for Thursday 19th March 2009.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

Friends of Saint David Lewis
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 16th October 2008
At The Canon O’Donnell Pastoral Centre

Present at the meeting were: Sister Celsus SSJ, Sister Francis Xavier SSJ, Tom Forward, John Smith, Beth Smith, John Gray, Veronica Williams, Pat Jones, Pat Price, Angela Ashley-Smith, Chris O’Brien.

Apologies for absence: were received from Carole Morgan.

The meeting opened at 2 pm with a prayer and the singing of the Hymn in Honour of Saint David Lewis. Sister Celsus told the group that in 1970, Sister Canisius SSJ of Llantarnam Abbey wrote the hymn for the canonisation of Saint David Lewis. She said that a member of our group had expressed a wish to meet Sister Canisius and that it might possibly be arranged when we meet at the Abbey on 16th November.

Referring to our 17th July outing to Abergavenny, Sister Celsus thanked the members who had provided transport for the 18 people who went. An account of our visit to Abergavenny appeared in the October edition of the ‘Catholic People’.

It was happily noted that, Saint David Lewis has received some wider publicity, i.e. Paul Murphy’s Reflection in the ‘Catholic People’, October 2008, and Monseigneur John Dale’s article in the A P F magazine, ‘Mission Today’. Sister Celsus informed us that, during a recent retreat at the Abbey, the Carmelite Retreat Master had read out the article from ‘Mission Today’. John Gray said that Mgr Dale had asked permission to use material from our Website and John estimated that 70% of the article was taken from the site. Sister Celsus pointed out that our group was also helping to make our Saint better known abroad through friends in Africa, Philippines and Newfoundland. However, it was very firmly decided NOT to remove references to ‘Wales’ and ‘local Saint’ from the prayer cards!

John Gray gave a talk on how the Metal Ring, preserved in honour of Saint David Lewis by Mr & Mrs John O’Neill at the site of the old post office, was used by the blacksmith to put a rim on a wheel. He illustrated his talk with old and current photographs.

The forthcoming Day in Honour of the 330th Anniversary of the Arrest of Saint David Lewis and the tentative summary of events was discussed. In honour of the anniversary, it was agreed that a small shrub be planted in the Remembrance Garden at John O’Neill’s house. Chris O’Brien kindly offered to donate the shrub.

The next meeting of Friends of Saint David Lewis will be on 16th November at Llantarnam Abbey, 10 am – 4 pm.

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.

Friends of Saint David Lewis
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 19th June 2008
At the Canon O’Donnell Pastoral Centre

Present: Sister Celsus SSJ, Sister Francis Xavier SSJ, Sister Ann Gabrielle SSJ, Jean Bevan, Muriel Bevan, Ann Brennan, Marie Bowkett, T. Forward, John Gray, John King, Susan Miller, Derick Miller, Carole Morgan, Pat Parsons, Pat Price, Beth Smith, John Smith, C Tuck, Veronica Williams, Elizabeth Wood.

After the hymn in honour of Saint David Lewis, Sister Celsus led the group in prayer.

Sister Celsus welcomed the group and thanked everyone for attending.

Carole Morgan read the minutes of the previous meeting. Omitted from these minutes was the invitation from the Saint David Lewis Prayer Group, Abergavenny to visit places of interest in Abergavenny known to Saint David Lewis, visit the parish Church to view the medieval vestments and to have tea in Jean’s garden.

It was suggested to visit Abergavenny on Thursday 17th July 2008. Jean Bevan would liaise with Sister Celsus to confirm date.

Sister Ann Gabriel, a Sister of St. Joseph of Annecy from Llantarnam Abbey, gave a talk on the history of the Abbey and told the group of its connection with Saint David Lewis. His Aunt, Lady Francis Morgan had resided at the Abbey. Sister Ann Gabriel issued an invitation for the group to visit the Abbey sometime.

John Gray gave a brief talk about the web site and encouraged people to log on and write articles.

Sr. Celsus explained our interest in the Jesuits and reminded everyone of the celebration of the anniversary of Saint David Lewis to be held on 16th November 2008 at Llantarnam Abbey. Father John Edwards S.J. will be attending the celebration.

Diary Events: The visit to Abergavenny date to be confirmed.

Annual pilgrimage in Honour of Saint David Lewis 30th August at Usk.

After the final hymn the meeting closed at 3.15pm

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Carole Morgan.

Friends of St David Lewis
Meeting held on Thursday, 17th April 2008

Present: Sister Celsus SSJ, Sister Francis Xavier SSJ, Jean Bevan, Marie Bowkett, T. Forward, John Gray, Pat Jones, Carole Morgan, Pat Price, Beth Smith, John Smith, Veronica Williams. Pat Edwards, James, Jordan, Christiana and Gareth representing O.L.A. school.
The meeting took place in the Canon ODonnell Pastoral Centre.
After a hymn in honour of St David Lewis, Sister Celsus led the group in prayer.

Sr Celsus welcomed the group and thanked everyone for attending especially the representatives from the school.

The children were the link between the school and the parish and wished to learn more about St David Lewis to share with others in the school.

John Gray reported that the building of the web site was still ongoing and suggested that the school write an article for the site.

Jean Bevan gave an informative and interesting talk on St David Lewis. Jean intends to formulate her notes into an article for the web site and also send a copy to OLA school.

John Gray gave a brief explanation of the origin of the Daily Offering of St Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits.

Sr Celsus reported that Fr John Edwards SJ had accepted the invitation to attend the special celebration and would be available on 16/17 November. If possible the group will visit the site of the old post office to pray at the plaque.

The final hymn was based on the prayer of St Ignatius.

The meeting closed at 3.30pm

Date of next meeting Thursday, 19th June 2008

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Carole Morgan.

Friends of St David Lewis
Meeting held on Wednesday, 12th March 2008

Present: Sister Celsus SSJ, Sister Francis Xavier SSJ, Jean Bevan, Marie Bowkett, John Gray, David Jones, Antonetta Jones, John Kane, Carole Morgan and Joseph Rigby.
The meeting took place in the Canon ODonnell Pastoral Centre on Wednesday, 12th March 2008.

After the opening hymn in honour of St David Lewis, Sister Celsus led the group in a prayer to the Holy Spirit and to St David Lewis.
Sister Celsus welcomed all those present and explained that the purpose of the group is to keep alive the memory of St David Lewis, to promote devotion to him and to pray for his help and guidance in our lives.
Carole Morgan read the minutes of the previous meeting.

Matters arising from the previous meeting:
Father John Edwards SJ would be delighted to speak at the special celebration to be held on 17th November 2008, the anniversary of the arrest of David Lewis.
A notice of the next meeting had been placed in the Catholic People.

New Business:
John Gray gave a talk on the setting up of the website of Friends of St David Lewis. John told the group the development of the site was still ongoing but he was very pleased with the number of hits on the site and asked those who had accessed the site to sign the guest book. He concluded with an interesting talk on the Julian calendar versus the Gregorian calendar.
Sister Celsus thanked John and his son Mark for their work and time spent in developing the web site. In the general discussion which followed it was noted that the original gravestone was now in the grounds of Usk Catholic Church, that a plaque marked the place where St David Lewis was hanged and that for several years Abergavenny parish had had a prayer group dedicated to St David Lewis. Sister asked Jean Bevan of Abergavenny parish to give a talk on David Lewis at the next meeting.
Sister Celsus read an extract from Father Gareth Jones book of the death and burial of David Lewis. Sister told the group that a piece of cloth which was dipped into the blood of David Lewis is kept at Llantarnam Abbey. One of the Sisters from the Abbey was diagnosed with cancer but following novenas, prayers and looking at the relic, she was cured.
A hymn, based on the spirituality of St. Ignatius, was sung to conclude the meeting. The meeting ended at 3.30 pm.

Date of next meeting Thursday, 17th April 2008

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Carole Morgan.

Friends of St. David Lewis
Meeting held on Wednesday 13th February 2008  

The first meeting of Friends of St. David Lewis took place in the Crying Room on Wednesday 13th February 2008. The meeting began at 2:00 pm and, following the Hymn in Honour of St. David Lewis, Sr. Celsus led the group in a prayer to the Holy Spirit and a prayer to St. David Lewis. Beautiful cards, with the prayer to St. David Lewis on one side and his picture on the other, were made and donated by Mr John Gray. Present at this first meeting were Mrs Pat Price, Sr. Celsus, Mrs Beth Smith, Sr. Francis Xavier, Mr Tom Forward, Mrs Pat Jones and Mr John Gray. It was noted that this was an historic occasion as it is the first group, in this area, dedicated to St. David Lewis. The object of the group is to keep alive the memory of St. David Lewis; to promote devotion to him; to pray for his help and guidance in our lives. It was decided that a meeting should be held monthly, perhaps on a Thursday, with the venue being the Cannon ODonnell pastoral centre. Ways of bringing Friends of St. David Lewis to the attention of the wider community were discussed and it was thought that notices could be placed in our Sunday Bulletin and the parish magazine as well as Catholic newspapers, particularly our own Catholic People.

We have so far been unsuccessful in determining our Patrons birth date. However, from information in the book by Fr. Gareth Jones, John Gray proposes it could be somewhere between 7th November and 31st December 1616. John will continue to try to find the exact date.

It was agreed that 17th November, the date of the arrest of David Lewis, should be marked by a special celebration. Although nothing definite was decided, it was thought that something could be held at the Abbey. It was suggested that it might be possible to invite Fr. John Edwards, SJ, to speak.

St. David Lewis was a Jesuit and his life; and work, were sustained by Jesuit Spirituality. Sr. Celsus gave a brief but interesting and enlightening account of the life of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, i.e. Jesuits. The Jesuit Motto; All For The Glory Of God, was wholeheartedly adopted by David Lewis. A Man of prayer as well as action, St. David Lewis closely imitated the example of St. Ignatius.

John Gray gave an update on the progress of our website, which he and his son have set up. John reported that the Forum is up and running. The Main Website is still being worked on but it has a guest book for comments, etc. It also has a hit counter and already it has had nearly 500 hits.

Sr. Celsus gave each person present a copy of the Saints Last Speech, which he delivered on the gallows.

The meeting closed at approximately 3:30 pm. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 12th March 2008 in the Cannon ODonnell Pastoral centre.  

The minutes were taken by: Mrs Beth Smith.



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