Friday, 30 December 2011

Welsh Festivities

Ancient Cross in the Church in Wales' Parish Church in Llantwit

Months ago, before I had the responsibility of caring for an Ordinariate Group, we arranged a Christmas break with family in South Wales. Thanks to Fr Gerry, our parish priest in Bournemouth, I was able to fulfil that commitment, and our Group worshipped with the parish on Christmas Day. So we shall again on January 1st, though this time I will be able to preach and concelebrate.

Llanmihangel Church
In Wales you are in the land of the Saints. It is even said that in the ancient Monastery attached to the Church of St Illtyd in Llantwit Major, both Patrick and David received their education. Our daughter lives a few miles away in a hamlet called Sigginstone, where there is only a pub and a handful of houses. The Church of St Michael (Llanmihangel) is a mile away down a lane, and very lovely it is, hidden in its dell from any Danish marauders.

Our Lady & St Illtyd Catholic Church
The Catholic Church is rather more modern, but greatly loved by its parishioners. Fr William Isaac, the Parish Priest, invited me to celebrate the midnight Mass - he was at one of the two other churches in the parish, in Bridgend. Later on Christmas morning Fr Tim, his assistant priest, celebrated and preached and I concelebrated with him. Then on St Stephen's day I said Mass once more in Our Lady & St Illtyd's - and told the congregation a little about St Stephen's House in Oxford, and how it continues to provide priests for the Catholic Church (as well as a few for the Church of England). Now our Ordinariate Group is laying plans for 2012, beginning with Solemn Evensong and Benediction at St James' Spanish Place in a fortnight, and continuing with several of us joining the Ordinariate pilgrimage to Rome at the beginning of Lent. Meanwhile Jane is cooking endlessly, ready for an invasion this Monday, January 2nd, when we are declaring Open House for our Ordinariate Group. Hope we are strong enough!

The Catholic Church in Wales is not a separate entity from the Church in England; [Scotland, of course, is another matter altogether]. I found it interesting to discover that the Province includes Herefordshire, over the border in England, with the Archbishop of Cardiff caring for them all. So when the Ordinariate grows in the Principality, it will simply be another part of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. May that development begin very soon!