Archive for May, 2014

June Jamboree

June sees three Civic Services and the a Licensing of our new Area Dean. We will welcome the Bishop of Monmouth to preach twice and mark two major Anniversaries.


June 1st 11am Parish Eucharist. Celebrant: The Vicar  Preacher: Fr Malcolm Lane, Mayor’s Chaplain



June 7th, 7pm A Concert with Abergavenny Brass Band, Singers from St Mary’s Priory Church and Llanfiost School Choir



June 8th, 3pm  with the Chairman’s Chaplain and Vicar, Fr Mark Soady  Preacher: Bishop of Monmouth



June 13th, 7pm Our Vicar will be licensed as Area Dean by the Bishop of Monmouth



June 28th  6pm in the Tithe Barn Courtyard

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We will mark the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth on Saturday, May 31st with a Mass, Concert and Family day

9am Holy Eucharist


10am-4pm Medieval Family Day

Something for all the family  Details 


6pm Concert

To mark the Feast the Priory Choir will be in Concert with Les Chouers de St Maur from France

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A new religious community called the Holywell Community and following the Rule of St Benedict will come in to being in September , 860 years after St Mary’s was raised to a Conventual Benedictine Priory.

On September 1st the community consisting of one Priest (The Vicar) and three lay members ( two girls and one boy) will come in existence.  The Lay members of the Community will live in a house on the  town’s Holywell Estate.

Welcoming the news the Vicar, Fr Mark said, “It is exciting to be re-creating a Benedictine community here after a 500 year gap- and thus going back to our roots.”

images-2A Benedictine priory was established on the site in 1087 and remained in existence until the reforms of King Henry VIII when the Priory Church became the Parish Church of Abergavenny. It was raised to a Conventual Priory 860 years ago,

The Rule of St Benedict speaks of ‘ a school for God’s Service’, this is the foundation of all the Community does. The Community, like any monastic community, will be rooted in prayer.

In return for their keep the Community Lay members will assist with tasks such as caretaking and gardening at St Mary’s Priory.

They will also do Outreach and Mission work, with schools, community groups and elsewhere, encouraging a new generation of young people from the area to engage with our community.

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AT this afternoon’s Deanery Chapter Meeting the Archdeacon of Monmouth announced that the Bishop has appointed our Vicar as the new Area Dean of Abergavenny.

Fr Mark Soady

Fr Mark Soady                                 (c) Brian Griffiths

Responding Fr Mark said, “I see the role as one of being a servant to the Servants of Christ – as a Pastor to those in licensed ministry in the Deanery.

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Meet the Bishop

St Mary’s Priory hosted the Diocesan  Children’s Day  Meet the Bishop  on Saturday, May 17th.

Lots of Fun was had from the Bouncy Castle to put the Mitre on the Bishop

Preparing for the act of worship

Preparing for the act of worship


The Bishop joins in making cakes

The Bishop joins in making cakes

Which is the real Bishop?

Which is the real Bishop?

Make music

Make music

Put his mitre on

Put his mitre on


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United Service at the URC Church, Castle Street at 12noon. Preacher Revd Carol Wardmen, Church in Wales, Bishops’ Church & Society Officer.



Collection in the Market Hall n market day



Quiz & Fish and Chip Supper in the Priory Centre a

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BBC Radio Wales ‘ Celebration came from St Mary’s Priory this morning, in his address the Vicar said:

Julian of Norwich chose a life separated from the world. She chose a life in a cell so she could get closer to God. A cell with three windows:  One window looked in the church she had attached her cell to so she could be part of the worship, a window through which food could be past to her and the third window through which she could share her spiritual insights.

Others have such a life of separation forced upon them – those who are exiled from their homeland, family and friends; those imprisoned, some of whom are there because of their conscience.  Some of us may feel trapped in our own homes by our physical or other ailments.

Whatever the cause of our isolation, God is with us.

As we heard in our opening Psalm God is with us even ‘in the valley of the shadow of death’. God is able to come alongside us in our loneliness because he was once there himself.

Some times in that place we can come close to God, we can have a profound spiritual experience, as Julian did.

photo 3 1896817_10151942729021333_1264914395_n

Central to the understanding of Julian is writings known as ‘The Shewings’ and account written by her later of an intense experience she encountered over  a few days and nights  in May  1373. Those who observed her during this period thought she was close to death. She would later write,

“He said not ‘Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased’; but he said, ‘Thou shalt not be overcome.”

The writings explain God’s Trinity, the nature of sin and the process of prayer.

The early disciples would have felt at an all time low huddled in the upper room in the days between Good Friday and Easter Day. All seemed lost, their emptiness churning their stomachs, their minds questioning ‘what if’.

Have you noticed how it always seems darker just before the dawn, just when we are at our lowest point things seem to get brighter. God comes to us in those dark, lonely moments – perhaps because that is when we are at our most open to him.

So the darkness roles away as it id did for the disciples on that first Easter Day.

We are an Easter people and it is our duty to bring that Easter joy to those in exile, in prison for conscience sake or in any state of isolation.  We can do so by praying for them, by writing to them and by campaigning / by lobbying the authorities on their behalf.

Unknown-2Terry Waite , Archbishop Runcie’s’ Mediator who was held in isolation for  1,763 days in Lebanon reflects how a postcard from a stranger – the only communication he got while held hostage-  helped him realize that he was not alone and forgotten.  Others in similar situations who I have written to while unfairly imprisoned have told on their release how those writings can bring a hope in to the hopelessness.

That hope is at the center of our faith.  For what ever reason we feel isolated, lonely and imprisoned we can be sure that God is with us – HE has not abandoned us!

Listen to the whole broadcast

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