Friday, 7 August 2015

ST DAVID LEWIS: PILGRIMAGE 2015

THE ANNUAL PILGRIMAGE IN HONOUR OF ST DAVID LEWIS WILL TAKE PLACE ON SUNDAY, 30th AUGUST 2015.  THE CEREMONY WILL COMMENCE AT 3:00 pm WITH BENEDICTION AT THE CHURCH OF SS FRANCIS XAVIER AND DAVID LEWIS, PORTH-Y-CARNE ST, USK.  PILGRIMS WILL THEN PROCESS TO THE MARTYR’S GRAVE AT ST MARY’S PRIORY CHURCH, USK, FOR A SHORT SERVICE. FOLLOWING THIS SERVICE, ALL ARE INVITED TO RETURN TO THE PARISH HALL FOR LIGHT REFRESHMENTS.


The Church of SS Francis Xavier and David Lewis,
Porth-Y-Carne St, Usk

St David Lewis was a Jesuit priest who was falsely accused of taking part in the Popish Plot.  The Popish Plot was spawned in the disordered brain of one Titus Oates.  Although the so called plot was a figment of the imagination of the despicable Oates, terror and suspicion swept the country and many innocent people suffered and died.  Among those executed for their faith was Abergavenny born Fr David Lewis S J, (alias Charles Baker).

St David Lewis depicted in a stained glass window in the
Catholic Church at Abergavenny
Fr David Lewis laboured on the Hereford-Monmouth border for more than 30 years.  His kindness to all merited him the designation “Father of the Poor”.  Amidst the mayhem of the Oates Plot, he was arrested as he prepared to offer Holy Mass at Llantarnam, Cwmbran on 17th November 1678.  At that time, the law of the land deemed it High Treason to be a Catholic Priest and to say Mass in the country.   Having been found guilty of High Treason, Fr Lewis was condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered, the usual punishment meted out to those convicted of the crime of High Treason.  On 27th August 1679 he was taken from his cell in Usk Gaol and dragged on a hurdle to a place knows as the Coniger and there executed for his faith, his priesthood, and for the Mass.  The site of the Saint’s execution is near the Catholic Church in Porth-Y-Carne St.
 
The plaque marking the site of the execution of St David Lewis
The martyred Jesuit was given a decent burial, an indication of the esteem in which the priest was held by all classes.  His butchered remains were reverently carried in procession to the Priory Church of St Mary, Usk, where the incumbent was Phineas Rogers, and interred in the Churchyard, just outside the west porch.  Fr David Lewis S J was the Last Welsh Martyr.
 
The grave of St David Lewis, just outside the west
porch of the Priory Church of St Mary, Usk
In October 1970, Fr David Lewis, along with his kinsman, Fr John Kemble, and thirty-eight others, was canonised by Pope Paul VI.  Collectively, this group of men and women, who gave their all for their faith, is known as THE FORTY MARTYRS OF ENGLAND AND WALES.   

The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hi Victor, my friend
      Thanks for looking in. May God bless you too!

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  2. Dear Breadgirl -

    Thank you for this post. I Hope you post more about the martyrs of the British Isles. I find your blog very interesting. My life now as a Catholic deacon is so easy compared to what Father Lewis and those of his time had to suffer. These were true Christian heroes. God bless them all.

    Best wishes to you and yours !

    Deacon Brian Murphy
    New Jersey, USA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Deacon Brian
      How nice to hear from you! Yes, we certainly have things easy don't we? The martyrs really were heroes &, sadly, there are parts of the world today where Christians still have to suffer & die for their faith. They too are heroes & in great need of our prayers. May God help & bless them all. Thanks for looking in & I hope you will keep in touch. May God bless you, your loved ones & your work.

      Delete

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