Archive for November, 2018

This Advent the Jesse Tree and the Advent Jesse will feature heavily in our worship public and private – Do experience the Jesse Journey 2018.
As part of the Proclaiming it Afresh initiative a new devotional guide has been put together for Advent using the Jesse Window in the St Joseph Chapel. The Journey focuses on key figures and bible passages, and reflects on how Jesus was prefigured in the Old Testament and revealed in the New. As this busy season of preparation is upon us why not make some time for God and yourself to reflect upon the greatest gift of all? The sheets for the Jesse journey 2018 will be available in the St Joseph Chapel from Advent Sunday.


At 930am All Age Worship on Advent Sunday we will decorate and dedicate the Advent Jesse Tree .

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In addition  to joining in the Ecumenical Nativity in the town centre we will take out the good news of Christmas in other ways.

ShoeBoxes to Romania & Moldova

We have dispatched over 90 shoe boxes of Christmas gifts to those in need Romania and Moldova.


Gifts for those in need locally.

 We are currently collecting gifts teenagers and young people who are on their own this Christmas. They have come out of the care system but are still being ’looked after’.

Gift ideas  for these 16-24 year olds include socks, gloves, toiletries, sweets, puzzles, stationery


December 19th: Beers & Carols- we will be visiting some of the Town’s Public houses bringing Christmas cheer. We will do the same in the town’s Residential Homes on Saturday afternoon, December 15th & 22nd.

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“HRH The Prince of Wale has made an official visit to the Priory every 8 years since he became Royal Patron, but HRH’s interest in what goes on here goes beyond the visits”, said the Vicar Canon Mark Soady.


HRH and the Vicar singing a hymn during his last official visit in 2016


HRH with Sir Trefor Morris, Chairman of the Priory Development Trust and our Archeologist -in- Residence, Dr George Nash


A Flower display marking HRH’s 70th Birthday


Priory Officials celebrating HRH’s 70th Birthday at Buckingham Palace

Letters between HRH and the Vicar


HRH visiting in 2008 with the then Vicar, Fr Jeremy Winston

HRH opened the newly built  Priory Centre in 2000, the newly restored Tithe Barn in 2008 and was present  at the Dedication of the new Jesse Window in 2016. In  2017 HM The Queen renamed the courtyard between the Priory Centre and the Tithe Barn The Prince of Wales Courtyard in recognition of HRH’s long association with the Priory.

A much younger HRH and Sir Trefor with Fr Jeremy (2000)

The Priory Church has within its walls a seat constructed for an earlier Prince of Wales, Arthur the elder brother of King Henry VIII; and some believe it also contains the tomb of a Plantagenet Princess.

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We start with a full weekend of activities on December 1st and 2nd, for details of Advent Carols , Jesse Trees and more 


Ecumenical Carols & Nativity from Scratch

On December 8th we join with other Christian Churches in the town to proclaim the Good news of Christmas.

Fr Mark, as a grumpy Inn Keeper, will narrate the story while we walk through town. We will leave the Methodist Church on Castle Street at 2pm , arriving on Monk Street by 3pm – so do look out for us while you do your Christmas shopping!

Join us at 4pm at Gateway Church, next to St Mary’s on Monk Street, to sing carols, eat mince pies and drink tea or coffee.


Community & School Carol Services & Concerts

Tuesday, December 4th at 6pm Cantref School

Friday, December 7th at 7pm Tenovous Light up a Life Wednesday, December 5th at 7pm

St John Cymru/Wales in Gwent Carol Service & Stalls

Saturday, December 15th at 6pm Vision of Hope Carol Service

Tuesday, December 18th at 7pm King Henry VIII School Carol Concert

Thursday, December 20th at 5.30pm Deri View School Carol Concert

Outreach Activities

December 19th Beers & Carols- we will be visiting some of the Town’s Public houses bringing Christmas cheer. We will do the same in the town’s Residential Homes on Saturday afternoon, December 15th & 22nd.

Christingle & Carol Service

Sunday, December 23rd 6pm Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols

Monday, December 24th 4pm Christingle and Nativity play – fun for all the family.



December 24th

11.30pm Midnight Mass

December 25th

8am Holy Eucharist

11am Sung Eucharist with Carols – come along and show off your presents.

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Preaching at Abergavenny Town War Memorial at 11am on November 11th, 100 years after the first Armistice, Canon Mark Soady reminded us that without forgiveness, there will never be peace.


Fr Mark when he was an Army Chaplain

He said:

Today  we give thanks for the ending of conflict exactly 100 YEARS ago of the war that was to end all wars. Sadly after less than 20 years the world was at war again. That war like many of the other wars of the last century came about because of the Treaty of Versailles was seen by the allies as an opportunity to punish Germany and her allies. The German economy was decimated the Austro-Hungary & Ottoman Empires had their internal and external boundaries carved up.

That tone of punishment led to resentment and anger among the German people, among them Adolf Hitler and his fellow Nazis . If the victors had rather been able to show forgiveness, the 2nd World War and many subsequent conflicts, like the Balkans, may never have happened.

Such signs of forgiveness was very much in evidence in Pembrokeshire in the 1950’s, when less than a decade after the ending of the 1939-45 War, a German tank regiment started training on the Castlemartin Range. Years later I would serve as Chaplain to the range. The Remembrance Service was held in a former Anglican Church taken over and restored by the German Army; we would end the service with the Welsh, British, German National Anthems sung below the three respective flags, and the Military Attaché of the German Embassy would read one of the lessons often in German.  It was moving because it was a portrayal of Forgiveness.

When Our Lord and Saviour was asked how many times we should forgive, he said not seven times, but seventy times seven. That is to say, he is calling on us to be constantly forgiving; if we don’t do that, we cannot begin to bury our differences and build peace.

I read recently of the meeting of two former inmates at Belsen; one of them said I shall never forgive what those Nazis did to me. His fellow captor replied, until you can forgive them you will still be mentally captive to them, though you have been physically free for decades.

As we gather to remember in thanksgiving the lives lost for our freedom, let our commitment in return to them be to try harder to forgive, and so work for peace.

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Christmas in the Courtyard- December 1st

The weekend kicks of on Saturday, December 1st with Made in Monmouthshire Market in the Prince of Wales Courtyard.

Come and buy your Christmas presents from local craftsmen, enjoy the seasonal food and drink and listen to local musicians play seasonal music.



Advent Sunday, December 2nd  – Carols & Jesse Tree

9.30am All Age Eucharist for Advent Sunday, including the Blessing for the Advent Jesse Tree.

The Jesse Tree takes its name from a passage in the book of the prophet Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, a branch out of his roots.” It is, in short and simple terms, the family tree of Jesus illustrating his descent from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of David.In  St Mary’s Priory w have the remains of  wood carved Jesse tree.

In the New Testament the lineage of Jesus is illustrated by two of the Gospel writers: Matthew and Luke. Luke describes the ‘generations of Christ’ in Chapter 3, beginning with Jesus and tracing backwards through his ‘earthly father’ Joseph all the way to Adam. The Gospel according to Matthew opens with the words, ‘The genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham. (1:1). Jesus is explicitly represented as being from God’s holy people, descending from Jesse and even farther back to Abraham. The Jesse Tree has often been represented in art, particularly during the Medieval period , like here at the Priory.

Each week the symbols added to the tree. All of the following figures / events are incorporated: The Creation of the World, Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, David, Elijah, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Habbakuk, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, Jesus.


Left: The Jesse tree being dressed   Right: Symbols from the tree in our Jesse Window

6pm Advent Carols. In Words and Music we will tell the story of God’s redeeming work. As we progress through the service the church turns from darkness to light.

The service opens with these words, which sum up the service’s theme

Dear friends, we celebrate the joyful season of Advent: a time of expectancy, a season pregnant with hope and anticipation. Raising our hearts to heaven, may we be alert to the coming of Christ in glory to judge the living and the dead.  Let us welcome his coming into the world, and prepare ourselves for the completion of all things when Christ will come in glory to judge the living and the dead.

In song and silence, in prayer and the reading of Scripture, we seek the purposes of God.  Let us listen attentively to his word that he may teach us his ways and we may we walk in his paths: holy, and blameless, ready for the Day of Christ.

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We started our services and acts of remembrance at St Mary’s Priory today, with a specially designed Godly Play Act of Remembrance being  used at All Age Worship.


Fr Mark will lead an Act of Remembrance at King Henry VII School early on Friday morning, before joining other Gwent Police Forces Chaplains at Police HQ in Cwmbran for an Act of Remembrance.


World War1 marked in flowers


On Saturday evening at 7pm  we will host a Concert by Gwent Bach Choir. The Programme includes: Mozart’s Requiem; Purcell’s Funeral Sentences and
Handel’s The Ways of Zion do Mourn

On Armistice Day, Fr Mark will lead the Town’s Remembrance first at the Memorials in the Market Hall and then at the Monmouthshire Regimental Memorial.

Fr Tom will lead the Remembrance here at the Priory Church from 10.50am.

At 12.15pm the Town Council are hosting an event in the Priory Centre during which local school children will read a selection of War Poems and the Priory Choir will sing.

Our remembrance will end with our  bell ringers joining  a national peel of church bells at 7.10pm on Sunday, November 11th. Church bells across the UK remained restricted throughout the course of the war and only rang freely once Armistice was declared on 11 November 1918.

The Priory Choir’s CD of Remembrancetide music is on sale in the Tithe Barn.

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