in preparation for their feast on the 4th May
For the description of these reflections, please follow the post:
English and Welsh Martyrs – Prayer
Invocations to the Martyrs of Wales: 24th April – 3rd May
Sunday 24th April
Blessed Edward Powell
“But the man who lives by the truth comes into the light,
that it may be clearly seen that what he does is done in God”.
The “glory of the university” of Oxford, Blessed Edward (1478-1540) was court preacher to King Henry VIII, a priest of great learning and tender pastoral skills. He defended the faith against Luther, and Katherine of Aragon against the attempts to dissolve her marriage. For his fidelity to Christ’s teaching on marriage, he was put to death. A servant of the truth, he compels us to embrace and live the truth of Christ.
Hear us, O Father, blessed and faithful. In your mercy, through the intercession of your priest, Blessed Edward, form the hearts of your children in fidelity to the Gospel.
Monday 25th April
Saint Richard Gywn
“Set me as a seal upon your heart
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death”
The first Welsh martyr of Elizabeth I’s reign, was born in Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire. Husband, father and teacher, St Richard (1537-1584), in the midst of tribulation, remained faithful to the Catholic faith and the Holy Mass, forming his children and students through his example and piety. A fugitive from persecutors, he was captured in 1580.
After being tried and remanded several times at the Assizes, he was finally condemned to death at Wrexham, in October 1584, for refusing to recognise the Queen as head of the Church in England and persuading others to become Catholics. Two days before his death he was offered his freedom if he would conform to the State religion. His loving wife Catherine at great risk to her own life attested in public to his goodness; he is a model and patron for married couples.
Hear us, O Father, loving and wise. In your mercy, through the intercession of your faithful son, St Richard, confirm in your grace those children of yours united in the sacrament of marriage.
Tuesday 26th April
Blessed Richard Flower
“How wise you became in your youth!
You overflowed like a river with understanding.
Your soul covered the earth.”
A young man whose life was lived in the shadows, Richard Flower (1566-1588) emerged to assist priests on the run. “The chiefest reliever of priests” they called him as they condemned him for his charity. The flower of his youth bloomed in martyrdom, his short heroic life offers an evangelical example for our young people.
Hear us, O Father, tender and kind. In your mercy, through the intercession of your youthful martyr, Blessed Richard, fill with the fragrance of your love our young people.
Wednesday 27th April
Blessed Humphrey Pritchard
“He leads the humble in what is right,
He teaches his ways to the poor.”
Taunted for being unlearned at his execution Blessed Humphrey (d. 1589), serving man at an inn in Oxford, declared “What I cannot say in words, I will seal with my blood”. He suffered for offering hospitality to priests on the run. A faithful servant to a widow, he was reliable, honest and hard working. May he intercede for all whose work is hard.
Hear us, O Father, our Creator and sustainer. In your mercy, through the intercession of your humble son, Blessed Humphrey, fill with the hearts of your children with a spirit of generosity and kindness.
Thursday 28th April
Blessed William Davies
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me;
and whoever receives me, receives not me, but the one who sent me.”
Captured as he was trying to send hopeful young men to seminary, Blessed William (d. 1593) was a zealous missionary, tending his flock, nurturing vocations and printing Catholic works to edify the faithful.
Even in prison Catholics sought his wise counsel as he continued to teach his seminarians, leading them in a life of prayer and study in their prison cell. For his tender care of these young men responding to God’s call, he is an advocate for those discerning a vocation, and a protector of the young.
Hear us, O Father, our helper and our strength. In your mercy, through the intercession of your zealous priest, Blessed William, grant courage and clarity to those children you are calling to serve in your Holy Church.
Friday 29th April
Saint John Jones
“My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people.
O precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful.”
(Ps 116:14, 15)
Saint John was born at Clynnog Fawr near Caernarvon in 1559. Franciscan friar, he combined the religious life with the life of a missionary priest until his capture, which happened in 1597. Saint John was imprisoned in the Clink, before being brought to trial one year later, where he was visited by many Catholics who came to see him for spiritual counselling. Enduring terrible tortures, he professed he had come to save souls for Christ.
John Jones was tried alongside Robert Barnes and Jane Wiseman. Against Fr Jones the charge was that he was a priest ordained abroad by authority received from the see of Rome, and the charge against the other two defendants was that they had feloniously received and comforted him. On 12th July 1598 he was taken to St Thomas Waterings, Southwark for execution.
At the scaffold, Fr Jones declared he had never spoken a word or entertained any thought in his whole life against the Queen or his country but had daily prayed for their good. Sustaining future martyrs in prison with his fatherly care and holiness, he prayerfully yielded up his spirit with great serenity and joy, a true son of St Francis. In his dedication to the consecrated life, he is a worthy intercessor for our religious.
Hear us, O Father, almighty and steadfast. In your mercy, through the intercession of your consecrated son, Saint John, renew in the hearts of your Religious the joy of their consecration.
Saturday 30th April
Saint John Roberts
“Into your hands commit my spirit,
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.”
Brought up a Protestant, Saint John (1577-1610) was reconciled to the Catholic Church in Paris, when on a visit there in 1598. Benedictine monk and prior, he spent ten fruitful years on the mission. In a time of plague he risked his life to bring relief to the sick and dying. During his seven years on the mission he was arrested and imprisoned ﬁve times and banished from England on three separate occasions. His ﬁnal arrest took place in London on the ﬁrst Sunday of Advent in 1610, as he was saying Mass.
On the day of his death, dressed in his habit, with great cheerfulness he preached from the gallows reminding the crowds “Let every man remember his end. We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ”. He was thrown from the gallows after he imparted his blessing. May he intercede for the sick and all who are preparing to die.
Hear us, O Father, our Judge and our defender. In your mercy, through the intercession of your joyful servant, St John, strengthen in faith and hope your children who are preparing to leave this life.
Sunday 1st May
Blessed Philip Powel
“For my hand made all these things,
thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord.
“But to this one I will look,
to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at my word.”
First a lawyer, then a Benedictine priest, Blessed Philip (1595-1646) served as a missionary, chaplain to a Catholic family and later as military chaplain, sustaining Catholic soldiers in their service. Captured at sea, recognised and denounced, when he was condemned to death he greeted the sentence with awe and gratitude: “Oh what am I that God thus honours me and will have me to die for his sake?” We commend to his care those who serve our people in the military, civil and legal professions.
Hear us, O Father, our King and our God. In your mercy, through the intercession of your gracious priest, Blessed Philip, guide in your truth those committed to serving your people in public life, that they be selfless in their service and dedicated to what is right and good.
Monday 2nd May
Saint Philip Evans and Saint John Lloyd
“How good and how pleasant it is
when brothers live in unity”
Saint Philip (1645-1679) and Saint John (d. 1679), one a Jesuit, the other a secular priest, carried out their ministries in different parts of Wales. St John served for many years in the valleys of Wales, and, like Philip Evans, was then a victim of the Titus Oates persecution.
St Philip refused to abandon his flock in time of persecution; he was captured at Sker in Glamorganshire in 1678 and spent ﬁve months in gaol in Cardiff Castle, where he shared a cell with St John Lloyd. As they shared the one priesthood, they shared the same death for the sake of Christ.
May they intercede for a growth in fraternity among the disciples of Christ.
Hear us, O Father, gracious and forgiving. In your mercy, through the intercession of your priests, St Philip and St John, unite all your children in the bond of charity.
Tuesday 3rd May
Saint David Lewis
“Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And let your people shout for joy”
(Ps 132: 9)
Brought up a Protestant, at the age of sixteen. Saint David Lewis (1616-1679) was reconciled to the Catholic Church while visiting Paris. He then studied at Rome, where he was ordained priest in 1642 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1645. Two years later he returned home and worked in south Wales for over thirty years.
Known as the “Father of the poor”, Saint David, a conscientious priest, had a deep love for the poor and needy, often taking dangerous journeys at night to tend to the needs of his flock. Accused of complicity in a fictitious plot, he was condemned to death. From the gallows he urged the people to live the Christian life and blessed God for calling him to the priesthood and Society of Jesus. Professing his love for his persecutors, he forgave them.
Dying, he prayed “Sweet Jesus, receive my soul”. We commend to the care of this gentle and faithful pastor our brothers who serve us in the holy priesthood.
Hear us, O Father, holy and gentle. In your mercy, through the intercession of your tender priest, St David, bless and sustain in their holy vocation our brothers who serve in the sacred priesthood.
Pray for us, you Holy Martyrs of Wales
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Almighty Lord and Father your raise up your devoted sons, the Martyrs of Wales, for their constancy in faith, generosity in love and dedication to your Holy Church. Grant through their intercession that we your people may grow in holiness and joy, imitating their example and seeking the reconciliation of all your children. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.