“Mary is in a special manner Queen and Mother of Priests Because of their resemblance to her divine Son, Our Lady sees Jesus in each one of them. She loves them not only as members of the mystical body, but on account of the priestly character imprinted on their souls, and for the sacred mysteries which they celebrate in persona Christi." - Blessed Columba Marmion
We are, first a foremost, a Marian community of priests. We look to Mary, the Mother of God, for our inspiration and for her intercession. As such we are unapologetic in using and promoting special devotion to Our Lady. We make use of the Rosary, celebrate her feasts, and seek her intercession. Mary, the Christ Bearer, brought Jesus into a waiting world which is what we seek to do through our own priests ministry. Throughout our manual, and our website, you’ll find numerous references to her, who points in all her being to him, her son and Our Lord.
The Sodality arose out of a need in the Church of England for an organisation open to all priests, that’s was unapologetically Anglo-Catholic in its spirituality and practices. In particular something was sort that would offer a rigorous and energising rule of life that could be lived out by secular priests in parochial and sector ministry.
The Sodality spent a year in formation before officially coming into existence on the 16th February 2016 with the first admission of members at the shrine of St Simon Stock, Aylesford Priory.
Who we are
We are priests in the Church of England, the Church of Ireland and the Church in Wales. We are men and women, married, civilly partnered and single. We want to grow in holiness by sharing in a pious association of prayer and devotion.
We seek to renew our Anglo-Catholic heritage and look to the heroic priests of the past to inspire us and strengthen us. We are parish clergy, retired priests and priests employed in other contexts. Seminarians from Westcott, Cuddesdon, Mirfield, Saint Stephen’s House and St Padarn’s are Aspirants to the Sodality.
We see ourselves as a ‘dispersed community of priests’. We look to the Company of Mission Priests and its Vincentian charism as a source of inspiration. We are also exploring the Society of Mary, the Marists, and their charism of life with Mary. We are finding ourselves inspired by the French School of Spirituality, Blessed Charles de Foucauld and Blessed Columba Marmion. However, the Sodality does not have a single ‘spirituality’ all members bring to it their own faith journeys and share in our common life and spirit.
When we meet
When we meet we spend time in fellowship, sharing food and socialising together. We share in worship and devotions. We learn through our conferences and through sharing our experiences with one another. We witness to the Catholic tradition in the church of England by taking with us the support we get into our particular contexts and ministries.
Our days are usually orientated around the mass, rosary, office and benediction with ample opportunity for us to enjoy a cooperate life of prayer. We try to have a speaker who offers one or two conferences on a topic of relevance to our Catholic witness within the Anglican Communion; speakers have included Fr Tim Pike CMP, The Rt. Rev’d. Paul Bayes, Mother Lucy Winkett, Canon Robin Ward, Canon Mark Oakley, and Fr Martin Browne OSB of Glenstal Abbey.
Whilst our formation period officially ended with the first admissions to our Sodality, it might just as accurately be said that formation is at the heart of what the sodality is and does. The Sodality continues to respond to the needs and the insights offered by its members expressed through our annual residential chapter.
Members of the Sodality, together with Aspirants and Associates, will:
v recognise all seven Sacraments, and use them as appropriate
v confess the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament
v celebrate or attend Mass on every Day of Obligation (including during holidays)
v honour the Blessed Virgin Mary and recite the Angelus three times a day
v pray the Sodality Prayer each day
v pray with and for the other members of the Sodality, offering hospitality, friendship, and confidential pastoral care when necessary
v pray for deceased members of the Sodality
v rise above divisions in the Church, and act with courtesy towards those with whom we disagree
v have a personal Rule of Life agreed with a Spiritual Director
Members of the Sodality are also expected to:
v celebrate or attend Mass daily, or as frequently as is possible
v take opportunity to adore Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament
v observe the Eucharistic fast (one hour before Communion)
v pray the daily Office every day, including on holiday
v commend ourselves into God’s care on rising and sleeping
v observe regular time for silent prayer and reflection
v recite the Rosary at least once a week
v regularly study the Holy Scriptures, Patristic writings, and the teachings of the Church, and communicate them to those among whom we minister
v observe the season of Lent as a time of self-discipline in preparation to celebrate the Resurrection
v observe Friday abstinence, and the Church’s Fasts (chiefly Ash Wednesday and Good Friday)
v consider prayerfully our commitment to charitable giving
v make confession at least once a year, and always according to conscience
v make a daily self-examination and act of contrition
v consult a spiritual director regularly
v make an annual retreat (or a series of quiet days if extended time in retreat is not possible)
v make an annual pilgrimage to a shrine of Our Lady
v attend all meetings of the Sodality unless prevented by good reason
v wear appropriate clerical dress when engaged in priestly duties
v avoid giving scandal through our language or behaviour, always bearing in mind our call to be conformed to Christ
Sodalists are commended to:
v read a section of the Manual each day
v make a spiritual communion on those days when we cannot attend Mass
v have a daily time of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament
v use the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary once a week (if possible on Saturday morning)
v make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land once in our lifetimes
v read the Ordinal on the anniversary of our priestly ordination
v read John 17 (the High Priestly Prayer) each week and meditate on our share in the priesthood of Christ.
v offer Novenas of Our Lady for particular intentions as need arises