Download issue 23/17 for Trinity Sunday (11 June 2017) below.
Download our 3 churches newsletter for Pentecost below.
This Thursday I found myself at BBC Llandaff, not for my usual few-times-a-year “Wednesday Word”, but as part of a panel to record today’s edition of “All Things Considered”. This weekly programme goes out on Radio Wales just after the 9 o’clock news on Sunday morning.
Appropriately for Pentecost, the topic was “The Holy Spirit”, a subject that I’m very comfortable with. Then I saw that two of the other three panelists were to be a Baptist minister – well I’m OK with Baptists as my father was from that tradition originally – and, uh oh, an Elim Pentecostal minister.
And not any Pentecostal minister, but Rev Christopher Cartwright of the City Temple, currently serving as General Superintendent, i.e. boss of the whole denomination which counts 550 congregations across the UK and Ireland. I’ve known, and on the whole had good relations with, folks from most parts of the Christian Church, but never the City Temple. For many people they would seem to be at the far end of the spectrum from us.
Anyway we got going – and all went well, in fact very well, thank God. Then I noticed that while I was speaking Chris (friends now, see!) was taking notes. I thought ‘Oh, he’s loading his ammunition to fire at me’. But no, as he told me afterwards, he was taking notes because I was using some approaches to this difficult subject that he had never thought of and very much approved of. I have to say I felt a little glow of Catholic pride, that I should be teaching the leader of Elim Pentecostals a few things about the Holy Spirit.
But in reality you could say that we are all Pentecostal – Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, and the Holy Spirit is the very life-force of that Church and of Creation itself. If you would like to celebrate the feast today, I invite you to our Pentecost Praise this Sunday evening. We start at 7.15pm in St Brigid’s Hall with refreshments – bring a bit of finger-food – then move to the Church at about 8.30 to
honour the Holy Spirit in prayer, praise and reflection, ending with a Benediction.
Since January, it has been an absolute privilege to be here in the 3 Churches, to be able to call this my home, and to be able to walk alongside you as I enter the last stages of preparation for priesthood.
As I make the last minute preparations for ordination, there still remains an important stage. On Sunday 9 July at 11am Mass at St Brigid’s, in the presence of the community I will make my Oath of Fidelity and Profession of Faith. This is required by the Church before ordination and the taking up of an office with the Church. It is a short, moving ceremony in which I declare publicly my own profession of faith, and promise fidelity to the Church.
After this, I will leave to make my pre-priesthood retreat at Caldey Island, before being ordained to the priesthood of at St David’s Cathedral, Cardiff on Saturday 22 July at 12 noon. Please consider this as my personal invitation to each one of you to attend the celebrations, and to share this special occasion with myself, my family, and the Archdiocese of Cardiff.
I will go to my home parish, Our Lady and St Patrick’s in Maesteg to celebrate my first Mass the following day. Canon Matthew has invited me to come and to celebrate Mass for the 3 Churches community soon after. This date, probably Friday 28 July, will be made available in the newsletter.
Download our 3 churches newsletter for the Ascension of the Lord, Sunday 28 May 2017 below.
My seminary in Rome, the Beda College, is named after St Bede. But who was he?
St Bede was born in about 673 near Newcastle, and was sent to be educated at the monastery of Monkwearmouth near present day Sunderland. Later he was transferred to its sister community in close-by Jarrow. There in about 701 he wrote his first works, intended for use in the classroom. He continued to write for the rest of his life, eventually completing over 60 books, most of which have survived. He enjoyed music, and was said to be accomplished as a singer and as a reciter of poetry. In about 702 he was ordained priest, and his life was spent in a round of prayer, observance of the monastic life, and study of the Scriptures. He only travelled as far as York and the monastery of Lindisfarne, but nothing certain is known of any other journeys.
Bede wrote scientific, historical and theological works, reflecting the range of his interests. He is mainly studied as a historian now, and his best-known work is An Ecclesiastical History of the English People. This begins with Caesar’s invasion in 55BC and brings the story up to Bede’s day, and it is our main source of knowledge of that period. He includes an account of the conflict over the dating of Easter, and it was he who made the AD system of dating popular. Modern historians have been lavish in their praise, one describing him as “the first and greatest of England’s historians”, another says that he “holds a privileged and unrivalled place among first historians of Christian Europe”.
Bede died on Ascension Thursday, 26 May 735 and was buried at Jarrow, but in about 1020 his remains were transferred to magnificent Durham Cathedral, where his tomb is in the Galilee chapel. Devotion to him spread across Europe especially during the tenth century, by which time he was often called “the Venerable Bede”. His scholarship and importance were recognized in 1899 when he was declared a Doctor of the Church, the only native born English one. He is also the only Englishman in Dante’s “Paradise”.