Thursday, 23 September 2010

Pope Benedict's Message & Blessing to the People of Wales

Westminster Cathedral, Chapel of St Paul, Saturday, 18 September 2010

Dear Bishop Regan,

Thank you for your very warm greeting on behalf of the faithful of Wales. I am happy to have this opportunity to honour the nation and its ancient Christian traditions by blessing a mosaic of Saint David, the patron saint of the Welsh people, and by lighting the candle of the statue of Our Lady of Cardigan.

Saint David was one of the great saints of the sixth century, that golden age of saints and missionaries in these isles, and he was thus a founder of the Christian culture which lies at the root of modern Europe. David’s preaching was simple yet profound:little things his dying words to his monks were, “Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things”. It is the little things that reveal our love for the one who loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19) and that bind people into a community of faith, love and service. May Saint David’s message, in all its simplicity and richness, continue to resound in Wales today, drawing the hearts of its people to renewed love for Christ and his Church.

Through the ages the Welsh people have been distinguished for their devotion to the Mother of God; this is evidenced by the innumerable places in Wales called “Llanfair” – Mary’s Church. As I prepare to light the candle held by Our Lady, I pray that she will continue to intercede with her Son for all the men and women of Wales. May the light of Christ continue to guide their steps and shape the life and culture of the nation.

Sadly, it was not possible for me to come to Wales during this visit. But I trust that this beautiful statue, which now returns to the National Shrine of Our Lady in Cardigan, will be a lasting reminder of the Pope’s deep love for the Welsh people, and of his constant closeness, both in prayer and in the communion of the Church.

Bendith Duw ar bobol Cymru!

God bless the people of Wales!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Happy Hobbit Day!

A very happy Hobbit Day to one and all: it is the shared birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins of course.

You may wonder why this blog would mention fictional characters with nothing Welsh or Catholic about them. Au Contraire.

The author JRR Tolkien was, in fact, a famous Catholic. And whilst the Hobbits are quintessentially English in their mannerisms, his book and various characters have distinctly Welsh characteristics - from the mining Dwarves, to the language of the Elves.

J.R.R. Tolkien was born in 1892. When he was 12 the death of his mother, who died of diabetes, meant that he and his brother Hilary became wards of a priest at the Birmingham Oratory.

Of course, Birmingham Oratory was founded by Blessed Cardinal Newman whose very beatification we all celebrated last weekend.

Yet another example of how Catholicism imbues so much of our culture and history.

Tolkien and the Birmingham Oratory

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Pope Benedict's Visit: The Joy of the Faithful

This Papal Visit has shocked the forces lined up against our beloved Church.

They were hoping there would be indifference to the Holy Father.

As we see below, the response from many Faithful, across England and Scotland (including many pilgrims from Wales) has been overwhelming.

Now let's all make sure that the Catholic Faith isn't quickly forgotten after the departure of the Holy Father.

We can each start by praying, reading the lives of the Saints and doing what we can, day in day out, to help the Church and promote our Faith.

God Bless Pope Benedict XVI!

Blessed Cardinal Newman & Charity for the Poor

What a joy for me (I wouldn't dare to speculate on your behalf!) to start this blog of my thoughts and meanderings as a Welsh Catholic on the day that His Holiness the Pope, the head of our universal Church, has beatified Cardinal Newman, a great Prince of the Church.

I am an admirer of Cardinal Newman, not only because he was a wonderful convert and saw that Christianity has its true roots and home in the Roman Catholic faith; not only because he was a great thinker, theologian and writer (now I must dig out my Apologia Pro Vita Sua and read it!); not only because his beautiful poetry reaches into the soul; but because he was such an ardent soul and his apostolate reached out to the poor.

It must be easy, as a Prince of the Church, to be side-tracked into the circles of power and State, yet Cardinal Newman had such a special love and care for the poor, he truly was a servant of God and the poor, remembering that we are all created in the image of God.

When the Catholic Church reaches out to help the poor in that true charity and humility espoused by Our Lord, that is when hearts and minds are won for Christ and His Church.

This true pastoral care, rooted in the faithful traditions of the Church, will bring countless souls into the Church, just it did in Blessed Cardinal Newman's day.

The Cause for Cardinal Newman's Canonisation

As an aside, in the early days of Saxon colonisation of what would become England, much of Birmingham was for a time in Powys. So, I can clutch at the straw that Cardinal Newman has this tenuous link with Wales.