All posts by 3 churches

They’re all praying – for us!

Two weeks ago I told you about the new prayer scheme in our diocese where each week everyone prays for one parish in the diocese. Well, this week it’s our turn in our 3 Churches. People all over Glamorgan, Monmouthshire and Herefordshire (yes, I know that’s the old names, but it’s easier) are praying for Christ the King, St Brigid’s and St Paul’s. They will be praying for the people and priest, but also for schools and other places in the parishes. So maybe it’s a good time to remind ourselves too of what goes on in our very midst.

So – schools. We have three Catholic ones – Christ the King Primary on Everest Avenue, Corpus Christi High School in Ty Draw Road beyond Cyncoed, and St David’s College on Ty Gwyn Road.

Then although we don’t have any hospitals – the Heath is strictly speaking in St Joseph’s – we do have a lot of care homes, sheltered accommodation etc, such as Ty Coch, Gwynfa and Cartref all in Station Road, at one end of our area, through Llys Enfys in Smith Road behind Morrisons, and the other Cartref in Lake Road East, to Oldwell and Penylan House on Penylan Hill and Sunrise right next to St Paul’s, at the other southern end of our area. This is by no means an exhaustive list as there are several other facilities of different kinds, and new ones are appearing, such as Llys Faith in Tyglas Avenue.

Most of all, of course, the parish is you and me, the people. Together we make up the People of God in this particular part of the Lord’s vineyard, with our activities and ministries and, above all, our lives, our words and deeds. This Thursday I celebrated Mass with Year 5 of Christ the King School, and their theme was “Mission”. In the introduction, two of the children told us

“Gospel’ means ’Good News’. The Good News Jesus came to make known is that God loves each of us and that living in God’s Way brings love, justice and peace for the entire world. Jesus carried out his mission by what he said and what he did. Jesus did not carry out his mission on his own, he called people to be with him and they were inspired to work with him. He travelled through towns and villages preaching and proclaiming the Good News. Today our mission as Christians is to continue to proclaim the truth of the Gospel in our words and our actions.” Couldn’t have put it better myself!

So it’s good to know that this week people are praying for us – from Chepstow to Porthcawl, from Hereford to


Snow…in August…in Rome!

As I write on Thursday evening, snow is falling gently outside. Not too unusual in Britain, but what if snow fell during August? Tradition tells of a snowfall that seemed impossible, namely in Rome on 5th August in the year, 352, when snow fell during the night.

There lived in the Eternal City a nobleman, John and his childless wife, who had been blessed with much of this world’s goods. They chose the Mother of God as the heir to their fortune, and at the suggestion of Pope Liberius, prayed that Our Lady might make known to them how to do this by a particular sign. In answer the Virgin Mother during the night of 5th August, appeared to John and his wife and also to the Holy Father, Pope Liberius, directing them to build a church in her honour on the crown of the Esquiline, one of the hills of Rome! And what would be the sign that John and his wife had requested? “Snow will cover the crest of the hill.”

Snow rarely falls in Rome, and never in August, but the flakes fell silently during that night, blanketing the peak of the historic hill. In the morning the news quickly spread and crowds gathered to throng up the hill and behold the white splendor. The snow had fallen in a particular pattern, showing the outline of the future church. When it became known that the snow was a sign from Mary, the people spontaneously added another to her long list of titles, Our Lady of the Snows.

The church built by John and his wife in honour of Our Lady, restored and enlarged at various times has been known by different names: the Basilica of Liberius, Saint Mary of the Crib (because it is believed to enshrine relics of Christ’s Crib). It is most familiar as Saint Mary Major, to distinguish it from the many other Roman churches dedicated to the Mother of God. Saint Mary Major is one of the four basilicas in which the pilgrims to Rome must pray in order to truly make the pilgrimage to Rome, along with St Peter’s, St Paul’s and St John Lateran. It is one of the most popular churches in the world. Crowds gather still on 5th August to celebrate a Mass of Our Lady of the Snows, when a shower of white rose petals falls from the ceiling, to commemorate the day that snow fell… in August… in Rome.

Fr Matthew (edited from

Praying together

Our diocese has recently started a scheme where all the parishes pray for one another in turn. It’s called the ‘Cycle of Prayer’ for the parishes of the Archdiocese. Each week, all parishes will be invited to pray for one, and for the clergy, schools, hospitals and any other special needs in that parish. This is a little like our own 3 Churches scheme where we pray for different streets in turn, as indicated on the back page of the 3 churches newsletter. So now we will add the relevant parish and details for inclusion in this newsletter.

This is a good scheme, as it can be easy at times to concentrate of our own needs and ministry, forgetting that to be Catholic means to belong. We are not all little kingdoms – we form part of the “local church” of Cardiff, which in turn forms part of the universal Catholic Church across the world.

This week we begin with the Cathedral, whose proper name is the Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St David. Parish priest (dean in a cathedral) is Canon Peter Collins. St David’s recently absorbed the former parish of St Cuthbert’s, so St Cuthbert’s Primary School is in the parish. So also are the Sisters of Nazareth at Nazareth House, very much part of Catholic Cardiff’s history. Close by is the Oratory of Saint Philip in Formation, a community of priests and brothers belonging to the Congregation of the Oratory, including Bro Ambrose (Daniel Jackson), originally from our St Paul’s.

St David’s resident population shrank over many years, as people moved out of the city center, but in more recent times there has been an increase in residential accommodation there. The cathedral also attracts shoppers and those who like a city parish, and the tradition of good music.

So please watch out for a mention of a different parish in this newsletter each week – it’s our own turn soon

!Fr Matthew