Beyond, beside, within

One of my favourite “ways into” talking about the Trinity is the idea of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as God beyond, beside and within us. While this doesn’t grasp the whole truth, I find it a handy way of opening up what can seem a very abstract idea by using the language of relationship.

I was very glad to find that our regular poet Malcolm Guite uses the same idea in this sonnet for Trinity Sunday.

In the Beginning, not in time or space,
But in the quick before both space and time, In Life, in Love, in co-inherent Grace,
In three in one and one in three, in rhyme.

In music, in the whole creation story,
In His own image, His imagination,
The Triune Poet makes us for His glory, And makes us each the other’s inspiration.

He calls us out of darkness, chaos, chance, To improvise a music of our own,
To sing the chord that calls us to the dance.

Three notes resounding from a single tone, To sing the End in whom we all begin,
Our God beyond, beside us and within.

Fr Matthew

Why Herefordshire?

You may have noticed that for the last few weeks our Cycle of Prayers on this newsletter’s back page has been for parishes in Herefordshire. So why are we in Wales praying for parishes in a county in England?

Herefordshire is an integral part of our diocese – and has been since the Catholic dioceses of England and Wales were erected in 1850 at the so-called ‘Restoration of the Hierarchy’. The then Diocese of Newport and Menevia spread right across from Hereford to west Wales. However, Wales did not yet have any churches deemed suitable to be made into a cathedral, and so the newly founded Belmont Abbey served that purpose -in Hereford, of course. In 1895 west Wales left us to join the north, leaving Glamorgan with Herefordshire – and Monmouthshire, itself often seen as part of England rather than Wales. The cathedral was still at Belmont. Sometimes we were even seen as an English diocese with a bit of Wales tagged on!

Our far-sighted Bishop Hedley realised that Cardiff was going to be the major city, and moved down to live in our very own Station Road. You can still see his house, now the Court School. He prepared for us to become an archdiocese based in Cardiff, but it did not happen until after his death in 1916. St David’s in town now became our cathedral, jointly with Belmont, but this strange arrangement did not last. When the first archbishop, Bilsborrow, resigned in 1920, St David’s became the sole cathedral, and Belmont got on with being a Benedictine abbey, as it does to this day.

So Herefordshire is part of our diocese partly through the presence of Belmont, and partly, I suspect, by some pen-pushers drawing a few lines on a map back in 1850! However, as a former parish priest of Ledbury there, I know that it is good to have this quiet rural part of our diocese alongside the big cities of Cardiff and Newport, the Valleys and the Vale of Glamorgan. Variety is the spice of a diocese…

Fr Matthew

Making a difference

It’s only thanks to generous gifts made by parishioners that we’ve been here for over 50 years serving the faithful. At the 3 Churches we have always been grateful for the gifts made by parishioners to the Church. But an increasing number of our generous supporters are asking about the best ways to donate. Like most of us you probably receive literature about gifts and bequests to charities. Many of them have big resources to mount such campaigns, whereas a diocese does not, let alone a parish.

You may have come across the brochure called, A Gift to Our Church. Starting with a message from Archbishop George, the booklet includes details of where the Archdiocese has existing commitments but also, in the case of training new priests, a vision for the future.

Archbishop George explains, “To make a gift, especially a bequest, is a very personal and private act of generosity and we want to ensure that we meet the wishes of the donor… My message to any parishioner who is thinking of making a gift, of any type, is please speak to your Parish Priest or if you would prefer directly to me. We can establish your wishes and take all necessary steps to ensure that these wishes are met.”

Gifts to the Archdiocese have in fact made an enormous contribution to churches across all of the Deanery Areas. The Gift to Our Church brochure highlights just some of the good work already underway, including our commitment to seminarians and retired clergy.

On Tuesday 18 June at 7pm in St Brigid’s Hall you will have the opportunity to attend an informal meeting explaining how to make a personal gift or legacy. This will be an opportunity to meet staff from Archbishop’s House to discuss how to make a personal bequest, or a gift in memory of a loved one.

For those who are interested, the Archdiocese will be making available expertise in this area including solicitors who can assist with the drafting of a will.

Fr Matthew