Monday 9 November 2009

Wales, Wales

Remembrance Sunday we spent in Cardiff. It was our first free Sunday in some weeks, and we attended Mass at St Mary the Docks, aka St Mary's Butetown, of Shirley Bassey Fame.The altar was prepared by the Churchwarden, who also led the act of Remembrance at the Crucifix outside the Church. We waited for the beginning of Mass on the arrival of the celebrant dashing from another of the parish's churches (in Grangetown) where he had been delayed because of the Act of Remembrance there.

We were made very welcome, as ever - the celebrant was Fr Ben Andrews, Curate of the parish - the Parish Priest, Fr Graham Francis was returning from a cruise; no doubt he chose to go on one this weekend when the Gospel was about the Widow's Cruse that never failed...

Once in the depths of the slums of Cardiff, St Mary's is now within hailing distance of the great new John Lewis store, part of the gargantuan redevelopment of a once charming city. St Mary's is a stronghold of the faith, in a church which has consistently betrayed its traditionalists - most recently by the refusal of the bench of bishops (all six of them) to appoint a successor to the greatly loved and much missed Provincial Assistant Bishop or PAB, David Thomas. PAB in Welsh means Pope.

We were very generously offered a copy of the Diocesan Newspaper, Croeso, which had, we were assured, a picture of the Archbishop of Wales on every page. Somehow we managed to resist the offer. We did enjoy the open-air rendering of Land of Our Fathers (in Welsh) before we all sang God Save the Queen (in English). The memorial in the church to men who had taken part in the Russian Convoys I found especially moving, since my father had been mentioned in dispatches on one of those most terrible of Naval operations. It was during one of those convoys that my mother and I had gone to Greenock from which his destroyer sailed - and there, before he got back to port, we were bombed out (for the second time in the war). Ours will be the last generation with such first-hand memories of that conflict.

1 comment:

  1. Before reaching the hallowed precincts of SSH, (you may recall) I spent a year at what was then an equally decent theological college in the careful hands of one John Hughes of blessed memory, S Michael's Llandaff. It was a joy for me to be attached to the parish of Our Lady of the Red Light District!. Good to see that things look a lot more 'established' and cared for. It was a splendid year, but before all the regeneration (it was that long ago) it was a tough job for the then parish priest. I learnt an awful lot from him and from the fabulous folk of the hugely neglected south-of-the-railway area.