to the Catholic parishes of Monmouth & Ross-on-Wye

Welcome to Visitors: we extend a very warm welcome to you and hope you enjoy your time in these areas of outstanding beauty. Both our churches, one in Wales and one in England, are in the Archdiocese of Cardiff.

We are a Catholic community growing in faith, spreading the Gospel message of Love through our daily lives and by supporting one another and the wider community through prayer, fellowship and service.

We welcome you to our website and hope you enjoy learning more about our communities.  We warmly welcome both new parishioners and visitors from all over the world to our parish.

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday 18th October 2020



NOTE: Mass is said online every Sunday at 11:00 am 

Click here to watch the live streaming of mass.

A message from Father Nick 31

A tale of two sisters (II)

A hundred yards or so from the great basilica of St Mary Major in Rome is a fifth century church which could easily be missed. Almost hidden by Rome’s modern shops and apartments, the basilica of St Pudenziana’s sister, Prassede (or Praxedes), has been described as “the most intact, the most virginal of all the early Christian and mediaeval churches of the eternal city”. It is also a clue to the appearance of the original St Peter’s.

Prassede and Pudenziana are both honoured as martyrs (which is possible) and as followers of the apostles Peter and Paul. A delightful mosaic from Prassede’s church shows Paul giving encouragement with a brotherly arm around her shoulder (no one here seems to have thought of Paul as a misogynist!). In fact, her church’s larger mosaic scheme is one of its most important features. Based on the Book of Revelation and the Letter to the Hebrews, it depicts a cosmology of salvation and hope.

But the basilica of Santa Prassede was reworked with particular care in the 9th century and it has other significances too.

It reflects a time of momentous change as Europe moved into the “Middle Ages”. By now all traces of the old Empire lay far away in Constantinople, where a culture of eastern Orthodoxy prevailed. Moreover, between West and East lay the formidable new barrier of Islam. In the West, fierce power struggles had seen the Franks emerge to prominence: a “fact on the ground” recognised by Pope Leo III when on Christmas Day 800 AD he crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as western emperor. A new kind of Christian world order had begun, involving what has been called a Carolingian Renaissance. It was within this changed reality that Pope Paschal I (817-824) made a special project of the church of St Prassede. He planned its renewal carefully and among other things enhanced its scheme of mosaics.

Paschal was not bashful about including himself. He was aware of the collection of “P” names (Peter, Paul, Pudens, Prassede, Pudenziana) and added himself to the list: we see him in mosaic standing next to Prassede and Paul, holding a symbol of the church and wearing a square halo that looks a little like a spaceman’s helmet. (By convention, a square halo shows that the person represented is still alive.)

Even more interestingly, he also added another living person. The Zeno side chapel is famous for its mosaics. As well as the apostles, it shows a number of women (we believe they are the women who accompanied Jesus during his ministry – if so they are a welcome inclusion). But it gives pride of place to a distinguished row of four larger female figures. Three are to be expected: Our Lady with Prassede and Pudenziana. At the far left however is a woman who is wearing a square halo. Her name is kindly provided for us: she is THEODORA EPISCOPA – “Bishop Theodora” – the mother of Pope Paschal.

(continued in next column)


ST MARY’S, MONMOUTH  – Latest news (19th October)

A “Circuit Breaker” (lockdown) has been announced for Wales from 6:00 pm on Friday 23rd October until Monday, 9th November. Therefore, there will be no weekend Masses in St Mary’s, Monmouth,  on 24th/25th October, 31st October/1st November or 7th/8th November.

Weekend Masses will resume on Saturday, 14th November.

Weekday Masses will be celebrated as normal on Wednesday, 21st October and Friday, 23rd October. Weekday Masses will then be suspended until Wednesday, 11th November.

Attendance at weekly Mass is not obligatory during this pandemic. The Bishops of England & Wales have still suspended the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and designated Holy Days.


ST FRANCES OF ROME, ROSS-ON-WYE – Masses in Ross will not be affected by the Welsh “lockdown”.

The Application Form for Mass on Sunday 25th October is available here. Applications will be open until 9:00 pm on Thursday 22nd October.

A place at your chosen Mass will be confirmed on Friday. Please note there is a strict limit on numbers permitted in the church at any one time. If you do not have a confirmed place for Sunday Mass, do not come to the Church (places for Masses on Thursday mornings at 10:00 do not have to be pre-booked).

Please let Tish Squires know if you are unable to attend the Mass you booked (stfrances.editor@gmail.com) so the space can be offered to another parishioner.

A Message from Father Nick 31 (contd)

Much remains uncertain about this era when Episcopal honour might be conferred by association, but there are other examples of women being distinguished by such titles. There is even a tradition that St Prassede was made presbytera by Pius I, friend of the senatorial Pudens clan. Fascinating as it is, we cannot know for sure. All we can say is that the early Christian women of Rome, whatever their ecclesiastical status, are among a special group of witnesses whose influence on our own faith has been incalculable.

By Sixtus – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


In Monmouth and Ross parishes CAFOD FAMILY FAST DAY was kept on Friday 16th October (deferred from Friday 9th). For those attending Masses on 17th and 18th October, there was a CAFOD basket for offerings in both churches.

For those not attending, please donate your Fast Day contribution via the CAFOD website: https://cafod.org.uk/Give

Alternatively, you can send your contribution as a cheque to:CAFOD in South Wales, c/o Archbishop’s House, 43 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9HD


The Catholic People, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cardiff, is published monthly and is available online here.


The Year of the God who Speaks is to be extended into 2021.


Saint Luke, Guido Reni, 1621, Source: WikiArt

Click here for more information on St Luke.


Please pray for the repose of all who have died at this time. Sadly and inevitably because of the pandemic all funerals are subject to severe restriction but we hope, when it is again possible, to celebrate a memorial mass for each of those we can now only acknowledge in prayer.

We remember especiallly those who died recently, in particular,

Pauline Collier, R.I.P., Monmouth

Gerard MacNamara, R.I.P., Monmouth


As lockdown restrictions continue, the Parishes’ income is understandably far lower than in past years. It would be very helpful, and greatly appreciated, if you could continue to contribute to the Parishes.


Click here for full details of ways of contributing to St Mary’s.


For full details of how to contribute to St Frances of Rome, click here.


The Monmouth Rotary Club is sponsoring a VIRTUAL BALLOON RACE, instead of its ‘normal’ Annual Raffle, and has invited the Parishioners of St Mary’s to participate.

For full details please click here. Don’t forget to put St Mary’s Catholic Church as the charity!

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