Always by the grace of God and following the kind invitation of the Bishop of Plymouth, the Rt. Rev. Mark O’Toole, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest will begin a new apostolate at Chelston near Torquay, Devon later this year.

The Church of the Holy Angels, Queensway, Chelston will be served by a Canon of the Institute and possibly a seminarian.

Apt that the news was announced on the feast day proper of St Thomas Aquinas, doctor of the Church and co-patron of the Institute, Sancte Thoma de Aquino, ora pro nobis!

We look forward very much to arriving in Devon and serving our priestly ministry for the good of souls using the traditional liturgy of Holy Mother Church. The Institute is a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right whose goal is the honour of God and the sanctification of priests in the service of the Church and souls. Its specific aim is missionary: to spread the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in all spheres of human life. Our work is carried out under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception, to Whom the Institute is consecrated.

The Bishop of Plymouth made the following statement to the faithful of the parishes concerned on Sunday:

Statement to Holy Angels Church, Chelston
and to The Assumption of Our Lady Church, Abbey Road – 7th March 2021  

You will be aware that Fr John Smethurst will be celebrating his final Mass as Parish Priest here on 15th August.  Whilst he will continue to live in the area, in his own home, he will no longer be exercising care of the Parish from that date.  I want to put on record our immense gratitude to Fr John for all that he has given here at Chelston these past years.  I know that he is much loved and that you will miss his priestly pastoral care of you.  You will appreciate that it is only right that at this stage of his priestly ministry, Fr John no longer have the responsibility of the pastoral care of a community.  Whilst we hope he will remain well for many years to come, I know we will want to wish him well for the next stage of his priestly ministry where he will no doubt be available for priestly supply in this part of the Deanery, having submitted his resignation from ecclesiastical office as required by the Canonical requirements of the Church. 

I am sorry to say that there is no priest, diocesan or Religious, presently in the Diocese, available to come to Chelston after Fr John departs.  Nevertheless, it is important that we seek to ensure that all the people of Holy Angels continue to receive pastoral and spiritual support.  This will come under the oversight of Fr Colin Groombridge at the Assumption of Our Lady Church, Abbey Road, who will be your new Parish Priest. A Sunday Mass will continue to be celebrated here and the timing of this is to be worked out later.  The deanery clergy are also looking at the provision of a Sunday evening Mass at a Church in the area.  There will need to be close collaboration between the community here and the community at Abbey Road and I thank Fr Colin for taking on this new responsibility. 

Although there is no priest from the diocese available to come and work at Chelston, we are hoping to have a priestly presence here by establishing Holy Angels as a Shrine Church, with a priest, and possibly a seminarian, from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest ministering here.  An integral part of the Institute’s charism is using the traditional Latin liturgy for Mass and the Sacraments.  Holy Angels would be a place of devotional and spiritual life not just for the local community, but for people further afield in the Diocese.  There will be Eucharistic adoration every day, the Celebration of Morning, Evening and Night Prayer daily, as well as opportunities for Confession. 

So, whilst the normal pastoral needs of parishioners are met by Fr Colin, the Shrine and the Institute will maintain a Catholic priestly presence and devotional life in the Church.  We see this as being an integral part of the mission of the Church in this area, and complementary to other aspects of the life of the local Church.  The priest, or priests of the Institute – because others will visit at times – will hopefully also assist with pastoral care in the hospital and the local primary school.  This will all be done in collaboration, and with the guidance and co-operation, of Fr Colin.

This pattern of a Shrine Church, overseen by the Institute, in a local parish, is already happening in other places in this country – in the Dioceses of Lancaster and Shrewsbury.  It has proved to be very successful, and the presence of the Institute in those places is much appreciated.  The priests of the Institute are very respectful of local people, and participate well within the local deanery, and collaborate well with local clergy.

One of their number will be joining a meeting with the Parish after Easter, in 5-6 weeks’ time, when you can hear more about them, their work and their charism as well as ask any questions.  I am sure that you will make him, and other members of the Institute, welcome. 

I believe that this ‘new beginning’ for the Catholic community can be one filled with many graces and blessings, not just for the local Church but for the whole Diocese.  I thank you for your cooperation and ask for your prayer and support for this new chapter in the life of the Catholic community here.

+Mark O’Toole
Bishop of Plymouth


The Sisters Adorers have the joy of welcoming five new postulants, hailing from the United States (St. Louis), Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, and Germany. On the feast of the Holy Innocents, they received the blue cape from the hands of our Prior General, Monsignor Wach, at the sisters’ novitiate house in Naples, Italy. Please pray for them as they begin their religious formation!


Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, our Patroness and Queen celebrated at the Motherhouse of the Institute in Gricigliano

The Preparatory Novena

Solemn First Vespers with Pontificals with His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

Annual Solemn Consecration of the Institute to the care of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Solemn High Mass

Solemn Second Vespers with Pontificals with His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke



At the our Motherhouse in Gricigliano, The Very Reverend Monsignor Gilles Wach, Superior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, celebrated a Solemn Requiem Mass for Dom Antoine Forgeot, Abbot Emeritus of Fontgombault.

Dom Forgeot was called to rest in peace on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 15th August 2020. This was also the 65th anniversary of his monastic profession
Dom Antoine Forgeot, Abbot Emeritus of Fontgombault


Election of the Superior General

On the feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle, and in accordance with article 20 of the Constitutions of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the General Chapter met in Gricigliano, in the presence of Bishop Patrick Incorvaja of the Congregation for Doctrine of Faith, to elect the Superior General.

The vote designated Monsignor Gilles Wach as Superior General for the next six years.

Let us thank divine Providence and pray to the Immaculate Conception so that the Institute may always be faithful to the service of the Church of God.

Chanoine Gilles Guitard, Secretary.


Private ceremonies at Gricigliano against the epidemic have taken place recently with Priests and Seminarians of the Institute

Here Monsignor Wach, Prior General renews the Institute’s consecration to the Immaculate Conception and request for special protection.

Monsignor Wach celebrates a Mass in Tempore Mortalitatis at the Gricigliano seminary

Procession of the Blessed Sacrament to implore Our Lord’s protection for Gricigliano and all its inhabitants


Celebrate the Institute’s 30th Anniversary of service to Christ the King.

Join us on a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to Rome for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception! From 7th December to the 9th December 2020. Join the Canons, Oblates, Sisters, Seminarians, and countless faithful of the Institute of Christ the King on a pilgrimage of a lifetime to the Eternal City of Rome in thanksgiving to Our Blessed Mother, Mary Immaculate for her unfailing maternal intercession during these first 30 years of the Institute’s service to the Church.

The events will include:

• Pontifical Mass & Te Deum in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Altar of the Chair with His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke.
• Solemn High Mass celebrated by Monsignor Gilles Wach at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.
• Candlelight Procession with His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke.

More details will follow.


On Wednesday 29th January, the Bishop Emeritus of Fiesole, His Lordship Bishop Giovannetti visited the International Seminary at Gricigliano to celebrate the feast of St Francis de Sales, a patron of the Institute. As such, this feast is ranked in the First Class in all Churches and Oratories of the Institute.

First Vespers (Evening of the 28th January)

Pontifical Mass celebrated by Bishop Giovannetti, Emeritus Bishop of Fiesole

Dinner on the evening of the feast with Bishop Giovannetti in attendance

Second Vsspers