Category Archives: newsletter

Calling all Catechists

“Catechist” and “catechesis” are two of those buzz words in the Church of the last 40 or 50 years. There is a big difference between catechesis and religious education. They are close but should not be confused. RE is teaching and learning about religion – which means that neither teacher nor pupil actually needs to be a believer. But catechesis, such as preparation for the sacraments or children’s liturgy, is something very different. It is faith talking to faith. The faith of the catechist speaks to the faith of the catechist speaks to the faith of the other party.

We are and have been blessed with many excellent catechists here in our 3 Churches. They all deserve our hearty thanks, but they also deserve our support and that should mean ongoing support and formation. “Faith talking to faith” means that a catechist should be comfortable in sharing her or his own faith, as well as in talking about it following some programme or text-book. How has Christ worked in my life? How do we share our faith with those we are catechizing?
So Cardiff deanery is holding a Day for Catechists to offer such support and formation. It is called “Sharing our faith – an invitation to Catechists”, and will be a day of reflection and faith exploration led by Madeline Page, diocesan Evangelisation and Education Officer.
The day will begin with a reflection on our calling as Catechists, as part of Christ’s call to serve His overall mission for the Church. A practical session will follow on how we share our faith with others. In the afternoon we will reflect on our lives and where God has been present. How can we put our faith and experience into words for those that do not yet know him? The day will also, of course, provide a rare opportunity to share experiences and fellowship with Catechists from all over the city. It is set to be a great event backed by all the clergy of Cardiff.

I would expect and urge every one – baptism, first Communion, Confirmation, RCIA, children’s liturgy etc – to give up these hours just once, for the good of our 3 Churches. Not much to ask, surely, especially out of the Communion and Confirmation “season”?
The day will take place at St David’s College on Saturday 30 September. It will start at 10am with an optional Mass at 9.30am, and finish by 4pm. Lunch will be provided. Please contact or tel 2036 5965 to book your place.

Fr Matthew

Signs of the old times

I remember a conversation a few years ago where someone commented how a recently deceased gentleman was always in the church in Llanishen. When someone else in the group expressed surprise at this revelation, the others roared out laughing. They had meant the Church Inn, not the venerable building opposite from which it took its name.

Old photos of Llanishen show church and pub together down through the decades, now surrounded by shops and houses of course. But keep your eyes open on your summer travels and you will see the same situation, church and pub together, repeated countless times across our countryside. An extraordinary example of just the two, with no other building for miles, is at Llanwonno, on the hills above Pontypridd and the Rhondda, where some of my ancestors are buried. I suspect they frequented both the buildings!

On the signs of old inns is one of the places where we can sometimes discover hidden history right in front of us, and in many cases it is old pre-Reformation Catholic history. Take, for example, one of the best-known hotels in Cardiff, the Angel. The current building is on a very old site going back many centuries. One of the oldest pub signs was the Salutation, the name for the Annunciation in the Middle Ages. In many places this “angel” would have been Gabriel, surviving from the original Salutation scene. The Reformers removed Our Lady as being too Papist, but left the more acceptable Angel. Keep an eye open on your travels for those old inn signs, and see if you can spot any others with Catholic roots, such as the Lamb and Flag – the Risen Jesus with his banner.

Fr Matthew

Grandparents of Jesus

By a tradition going back to the mid-second century, Sts Joachim and Anne were the parents of Our Lady, and therefore the grandparents of Jesus himself. They are not named in the Bible itself, but there has been devotion to them through the ages. We can call them the patrons of all grandparents!

Now I have to admit that I sometimes feel left out in this matter, because all four of my grandparents had died before I was born, the last one, my father’s father, six years before, so unfortunately I never knew them. I had to rely on my parents’ memories to learn more.

In these days of working parents, and longer life, however, many grandparents seem to be indispensable in family life, especially in the care of their grandchildren. How often I hear that they are busier now, helping their grown-up children with the school run, baby-sitting, etc, than they were when they were working.

So why not do something special on Wednesday for your grandparents. If they are around, and especially if they are helping you, show your appreciation in some special way. If, like mine, they have gone to their reward, pause to say a prayer for them. And, of course, if you are a grandfather or grandmother, then we all thank you for everything you do.

Lastly, things children say…

A 6 year old was asked where his grandma lived. “Oh”, he said, “she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we’re done having her visit, we take her back to the airport.”

And an 8 year old: “Grandparents don’t have to do anything except be there when we come to see them.”

Fr Matthew