Prior, Priory of the Crystal Chapel
Rev. Dr. James Wood+, MA, CPA (NC)
(Fr. James)
Father James, son of a mother who worshipped in the Catholic Church as a young woman, began his religious journey when he was a young man baptized a Methodist that began a life of devoutness and service to the larger Church.  In his college years he would find himself being baptized once again into the Baptist Church, another step in a divine plan to broaden his spiritual wisdom and understanding of the ways of our God.  After graduating from college, Fr. James was called to serve in the Episcopal tradition, which would prove to be the beginning of a new direction on his spiritual journey, a return to his catholic heritage where he developed his spiritual gifts of  finance and administration  as a certified public accounting working for one of the largest parishes in America for almost two decades. He attended the MBA program at Duke University and the PhD program in Higher Education Administration at the University of South Carolina. His journey has taken him down many roads and provided him with a clearer personal vision of the Creator’s role for him in helping people in their faith development. The flame of devotion continued to grow within Fr. James as evidenced by his study at a Presbyterian Seminary where he received his Master’s in Pastoral Care Counseling.  He would go on to serve as Vice President of a Presbyterian College and later 

served as a vice president of American universities overseas.  In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Fr. James witnessed to Muslims and others about the life and teachings of Jesus.  He would learn from many devoted to their different faith a new perspective on Jesus' teachings that had been handed down in their tradition from generation to generation.  It was during these years that Fr. James’ heart would lead him back to his catholic roots.  He would complete a PhD in Religious Studies, enter training for holy orders and eventually become ordained in full apostolic succession as a Catholic priest in the independent movement.

Shortly after being ordained into the Catholic Church, Fr. James was again called to service in another Muslim land as chair of accounting and finance at a major university in Saudi Arabia, where he co-authored two books - Saving the Euro and The Ten Day CPA. Fr. James was in the unique position of witnessing while learning and living the life that Jesus taught.  Fr. James found his spiritual home and he had completed a spiritual journey that brought him not only around the world geographically but also culturally and spiritually as he engage with many from various Christian denominations, other religions and cults.

Fr. James has resided in Florida with his family since 2012 and continues to share the good news of Jesus Christ, witnessing and living the faith and spiritual truths that were first taught to Christians two thousand years ago.  He sought admission and was so admitted into the humble and simple Order of the Brothers and Sisters at the Abbey of the Most Holy Mother, where he was commissioned by the Abbot to organize a Priory in Southwest Florida.

His charge as prior is to utilize the time honored tradition witnessing, preaching and teaching to individuals and groups as the first apostles did. He is developing a “Priest on Call” ministry for those with and without a Church home and is also seeking out and assisting oblates to enter the order and become members of the larger Abbey family. On the first Sunday of each month, Fr. James holds early morning outdoor worship services at beautiful venues within an hour’s drive of the Priory’s home base. Fr. James is developing a multi-year plan to fundraise for and construct a distinctive Chapel and Retreat Center for spiritual development, renewal and counseling in Southwest Florida for the Abby of the Most Holy Mother.

Abbey of the Most Holy Mother