Category Archives: lent

Whatever happened to Lazarus?

One of the worst bumps on the head I ever got was going down the steps into the tomb of Lazarus about 25 years ago. We were on our second September pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and were anxious to visit Bethany, where Lazarus lived with his sisters Martha and Mary. The modern village of al-Eizariya is believed to mark the spot, and there we find a church dedicated to the family, while the adjacent Tomb itself is on ground owned by Moslems. As I went down the 20 or so steps, at the bottom I banged my head on the low roof. Ouch!

So what happened to Lazarus after his raising by Jesus? He is mentioned a few times later in the Gospels, but for the time beyond that we have to rely on tradition (or legends). The Eastern tradition tells how he went with St Paul to Cyprus, becoming first bishop of present-day Larnaka. From there, as Islam advanced westwards, his relics were taken to Constantinople (Istanbul) and later to Marseille in Provence.

At this point this tradition joins another Western one, which has Lazarus and his sisters, along with the other Marys from the Crucifixion plus a maid, put out to sea by hostile Jews. They drift across the Mediterranean until they land in Provence. The beautiful town of Les-Saintes-Maries on the edge of the Camargue lies where the group traditionally landed. From here the group scatters across southern France, except for the other Marys, who stayed and gave their name to the town. Our September pilgrims also visited some of these sites in 1993 and again in 2011.

One of the strangest parts of the Eastern legends of Lazarus tells how Lazarus never smiled during the thirty years after his resurrection. He had been traumatized, we would say today, by the sight of unredeemed souls he had seen during his four-day stay in the underworld/Hades. Well I suppose being dead would have quite an effect on you, wouldn’t it? The only exception was, when he saw someone stealing a pot, he smilingly said: “the clay steals the clay.” But I’m sure Lazarus was raised again, this time not a resuscitation like in today’s Gospel, but a rising to eternal life, through Easter, which we will all celebrate in two weeks’ time.

Fr Matthew

Most Holy of weeks

In just three weeks we will be celebrating Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. The last days of that week, the Sacred Triduum, lie at the centre of our Catholic year, taking us to the very roots of our faith. We should make every effort to celebrate these unique days together as one. So here are some details…

Cardiff Deanery Station Mass Thursday 6 April at St David’s College 7pm. Catholics from all over Cardiff gather with our priests and Archbishop to prepare for Holy Week.
Palm Sunday 9 April Masses at normal Sunday time, with blessing of palms at all celebrations. Chrism Mass Wednesday 12 April St David’s Cathedral 11.30am. People from all over the diocese gather with all our priests, deacons and Archbishop. Priests renew our ordination promises and the sacramental oils are blessed and consecrated.


Mass of the Lord’s Supper Maundy Thursday 13 April 8pm at St Brigid’s. We remember the Last Supper by celebrating the Eucharist together on the evening when it was instituted. We also give thanks for the priesthood and, inspired by the Washing of Feet we renew our commitment to service. Mass is followed by Watching at the Altar of Repose until midnight.
Commemoration of the Passion Good Friday 14 April 3pm at both St Paul’s and Christ the King. On this solemn day we remember the suffering and death of Our Lord. Please note that there will be Children’s Liturgy at both of these Services.
Easter Vigil and First Mass of Easter Saturday 15 April 8.30pm at Christ the King. The climax of Holy Week and Lent as a whole. We start outside for the blessing of the Easter fire and Paschal Candles, and move into the Church for the Exsultet, our remembering the journey of God’s People through the Old Testament, the Easter Gospel, the Baptismal Rite including the Baptism and Confirmation of James Sibbald and renewal of our own vows – and, of course our Easter Eucharist. Not to be missed…
Easter Sunday 16 April Normal Mass times.
Please take note of these dates, times and places in order to avoid confusion. Let’s make this Holy Week truly the high point of our year – together.

Fr Matthew

3 Churches Info

Visitors often tell me that there seems to be a lot going on in our 3 Churches, going by what is a full newsletter every week, often with things queuing up to get in. They are right – but sometimes we only realize it when we try to put useful parish info together.

Our 3 Churches Evangelization and Pastoral group felt it was time to do a new edition of our information leaflet, and so you should receive one today with this newsletter. It contains loads of information on many different aspects of parish life. Please do not file it in the bin, mainly because it is meant to be a useful resource for you – but also because it has taken a few people a lot of time!

In the next week or two we will publish a second sheet, this time giving more detailed info on the surprising number of groups and activities in our Churches that encourage prayer and discussion. Again, new parishioners sometimes ask what there is to join, while “oldies” are often unaware of just how much is going on.

PS By the way, check out the new Archdiocesan website at

Communication – Community – Communion……it all helps to make us one!

Fr Matthew

REFLECTION after Communion this weekend. Use it at home too…

The Mercy of God is patient.
God tends us – and nurtures us,
and gives us time to grow to fruitfulness.
God of love and compassion,
teach us to be patient with ourselves
and with others.
Help us to be open to the feeding and pruning we may need to become fruitful disciples in your Kingdom.
And give us the grace to repent,
seek your mercy, and enjoy your forgiveness. Amen

A poem for Lent

Lent is often described as a journey. Jesus was sent by his Father on a journey, into our world. In Lent we join Him on the way to Calvary and beyond. The great modern Welsh poet R.S.Thomas sets the scene…

And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look, he said. The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce Colour. The light burned There; crusted buildings Cast their shadows: a bright Serpent, a river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.

On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The Sky. Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed Boughs. The son watched Them. Let me go there, he said.

“The Coming” R.S.Thomas 1913-2000

REFLECTION after Communion this weekend. Use it at home too…

Lord Jesus Christ,
your prayer transfigured your whole being radiating the glory of God and revealing your divinity.
Help us to remember that we are God’s adopted children and that by His grace we too can share in the divine life.
Be with us this Lent as we learn to pray with new joy and show us through your Word, the Sacraments, silence, and time spent in your company that we can become more like you.


Help for Lent


…. the Bible! Try going through a Gospel such as Luke or Mark slowly, a bit at a time… A Pilgrimage Companion, a beautiful booklet from our Bishops for the Year of Mercy, 50p.


Why not try to attend an extra weekday Mass?… Arrange with friends to attend the Cardiff Deanery Lenten Station Mass at the Cathedral Monday 7th March.. Note the Holy week services – some united this year – Maundy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at Christ the King, Good Friday Liturgy at St Paul’s and Christ the King, Easter Vigil at St Brigid’s.


Stations of the Cross each Friday at St Paul’s and Saturday at St Brigid’s 9.00am before Mass. Look at the unique Stations in Christ the King for this Lent and Come to the very special talk on the Stations at Christ the King on Thursday 3rd March. Come to Adoration Tuesday at Christ the King 10-1, Wednesday at St Paul’s 10am onwards, St Brigid’s Wednesdays 8-9pm.


Confessions Friday 10am St Paul’s, Saturday 10am St Brigid’s and 5.30pm Christ the King. In the week before the Triduum there will be special times throughout the city when visiting priests will be available in all churches, including Christ the King on Monday of Holy Week.


Family Fast Day this Friday 19th February. Take your envelope today…


We will use this after Communion this weekend. Use it at home too…

Lord Jesus Christ, we trust your words
that you did not come to search for the good and righteous
but to walk alongside each one of us
as we struggle with temptation and sin.

We ask you to walk with us this Lent.
Be with us as we try to overcome the temptations that come our way.
And teach us topray with new joy;
fast with a willing heart;
and give generously to those in need.