CROESO I MEIRIONNYDD
Croeso and welcome to the latest edition of Catholic Reflections. We hope everyone is keeping well in these difficult times and managing to cope with the restrictions of the current lockdown. It is a great loss that we cannot meet and greet each other in the ways to which we have become accustomed. For those of us over a certain age who are involved in voluntary work we are obliged to stand down and let the younger people step forward. We note that the way the calendar falls this year, as we launch the magazine it is Pentecost and yet in the month of June, we celebrate Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It will be a spiritually filled month for us but of course we will have to fulfil our devotions from home either privately or through the Zoom technology. We remember to keep in our prayers those in the NHS who are treating patients with Covid 19, general nursing and clinicians, care staff in the community, emergency services and those involved in food processing and distribution. We also remember our priests and their parishioners scattered across North Wales, that we as a faith community God will provide us with the physical and spiritual resources to do what we do best in times of trial and hardship.
Gras ein Harglwydd Iesu fyddo gyda chwi! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
The Parish of Saint David and Saint Mair is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wrexham.
The Parish provides a Christian outreach to local residents and holiday visitors in Tywyn and Machynlleth. It is a focal point for Catholics to meet in fellowship and worship. It has a ministry to support the Faithful through the celebration of the Mass and the Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church.
Hoffwn roicroeso cynnes i chi o ran cymuned ein plwyf yma ar lannau gwych Bae Ceredigion.
Mae plwyf Dewi Sant gyda Santes Fair, sy’n rhan o esgobaeth gatholig Wrecsam, yn estyn dwylo i ymwelwyr a’r rhai sy’n byw yn Nhywyn a Machynlleth; a ganddo weinidogaeth i gynnal y ffyddloniaid trwy weinyddu’r Offeren a sagrafennau eraill yr Eglwys Gatholig. Hefyd, mae ei ddwy eglwys yn gweithredu fel ganolfannau y mae catholigion yn cymdeithasu ac addoli ynddynt.
Saint David Catholic Church, Corbett Avenue, Tywyn, Gwynedd, LL36 0AH
Saint Mair Catholic Church, Maengwyn Street, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8EF
www.stdavidandstmair.co.uk facebook.com/parishesofstdavidandstmair twitter.com/stdavidandstmair1 instagram.com/stdavidandstmair
Parish of Tywyn and Machynlleth Registered as a Charity in England and Wales No 700426 Diocese of Wrexham
Mount Grace Priory Yorkshire
LITURGICAL SNIPPETS (10)
Having already dealt with the Entrance Song, the Trinitarian Introductory Greeting, the Grades of Liturgical Celebration and the Liturgical Colours, we continue our reflection on
SILENCE IN THE LITURGY.
There are SIX pauses of SILENCE during the celebration of mass. SILENCE is not merely an absence of noise. It is rather the intimacy of union. Silence is the language beyond words. The SIX silent pauses during mass are not just spaces between the movements of the rite but they are rites in themselves. Silence is not so much a discipline of the tongue or the ears; it is rather a discipline of the heart. It deepens our capacity to listen. Only a silent heart can listen to a silent God.
Did you stop to consider why SILENT and LISTEN are anagrams?
Fr Alex Rebello
The Catholic Reflections Magazine
FIND US ON:
'Corpus Christi Morning'
Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller
1793 - 1865
A Reflection - Corpus Christi
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is deserving of all our love
By the institution of the Sacrament of his Love, Jesus has fulfilled his promise to remain with us to the end of time. The Church was unable to express her grateful exultation for the anticipated sufferings of the adorable bridegroom on Maundy Thursday, but has instead instituted this special feast day to celebrate and glorify the highest gift of his divine love. "Come " she exclaims in the words of the Psalmist, "Let us praise the Lord with joy; let us joyfully sing to God our Saviour. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving" [Psalm 94: 1-2]. These words are addressed to all Christians. We are blessed to receive the fruits of this Holy Sacrament which is given to us in abundance. The Lord does not merely pass us by, as today when it is borne on high in the hands of the priest, no, he passes by the dwellings of all and bestows on each and every one his heavenly benediction. He has taken up his abode permanently with us; he dwells under one roof with us, never forsaking us and sharing with us in our joy and sorrow. Let us consider for a moment the great happiness which has been prepared for us by the infinite love of God and the obligations this love imposes on us. Day and night the angel throng stands before the altar of God in great reverence, love and adoration before our Saviour and God. The saints prostrate themselves before the King of Kings in homage in expressions of love and gratitude. We reciprocate that love and gratitude in the best way we can on earth for we are members of his household and strive to emulate the warmth and fervour of the saints, the love and purity of the angels? Christ dwells among us; let us consciously abide in his holy presence. He is the centre of our lives -- from him all our thoughts, words and actions should procede and again revert to him. From him we derive our fervour and love even for the troublesome vexations which accompany us on our earthly journey, test our patience and strength in daily trials and sufferings and the contempt the world has for us. With the passing of every season of the Church, may we grow in holy awe as we stand before the tabernacle. May this ilicit in us a greater desire to all avoid occasions of sin and a growing awareness of God's constant which love radiates within us. Penetrated as we are with sentiments of tenderest love and gratitude, let us on this great day offer to our Divine Saviour, our homage of reverance, love and adoration. Let us enjoin with Holy Church: "Praised and blessed be the most holy and divine Sacrament -- Now and forevermore!"
May it be our delight to be with Jesus as we remain before his tabernacle and avail ourselves of the happiness of being under one roof with him. Amen.
Corona virus prayer
"God our Father, You are the giver of life. Have mercy on us. Bless the efforts of all those who are fighting this disease. Protect us from Corona virus and keep us and all those dear to our hearts, safe and secure in the shelter of your love. Through Christ our Lord . Amen.
Fr Alex Rebello
According to UNICEF there are 300,000 street children, half of whom live in Nairobi. Kenya is making progress and can be considered one of the best African countries in terms of development. Its social phenomena, however, are still massive. In the capital there are settlements like Kebira, Kawangware and Eastlands. For many, their day to day survival can rely on scavenging, begging and picking through rubbish. They are subject to discrimination and marginalisation, making it more and more difficult for them to integrate back into society. Many have ended up on the street due to abandonment, domestic conflict or extreme poverty at home.The lure of drugs is strong and substance abuse is common. Many street children abuse solvents to cope with the reality of their situation, feelings of extreme hopelessness and to suppress hunger. Many children and young people living on the streets have no official identification; as they are not officially recognised as citizens they lack protection. Many are subject to violence, harassment, manipulation and exploitation. Malnourishment is also common and poor sanitation, drugs and abuse mean they are at high risk of illness and HIV/Aids. In these three areas a million people, mostly children, stacked in tens of thousands of shacks of a few square meters. Without a sewage system worthy of the name, the population literally lives on stratified piles of rubbish that will never be removed.
The streets in the rain turn into marshes while the fumes, sometimes nauseating, mix with smells of fried or boiled food, a commodity sold in mini shops on the sides of alleys that intersect making an inextricable maze.”1
The presence of the children in the capital is much resented. Since the early nineteen eighties successive Kenyan administrations have attempted to sweep them away from the city centre and in so doing have caused the population of the slum areas to increase. Agenzia Fides reports: “There are no safe places for these children. Even among the inhabitants of the slums they are driven away. However, in Kenya there has been a positive change of pace, the government, through the Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund (SRFTF), a government-based foundation for the rehabilitation of street people, has contacted several reception centres in Nairobi to welcome the children.”
Street Kids of Narobi
One such centre is run by the Comboni Mission. It is called ‘Koinonia’ and was established by Fr Kesito [formerly Renato Sesana] – who has worked as a Combonian missionary in Africa since the early nineteen seventies. He was the founder of the Koinonia Community and explains – there is a huge issue on childhood. From the beginning, our community has chosen to take care of children and young people and, among these, it has privileged 'the poorest among the poor'. Street Children have their own code, they are very united with each other and, especially if they have been living on the street for years, they form a sort of identity of their own.
Fr Kizito Renate
Koinonia took its first steps in Kenya in 1989. Since then, it has had two primary care centres, three residential centres, a medical dispensary and a physiotherapy service which, at the moment,cares for over two hundred street children, and runs a number of schools. To reach and secure street children, Koinonia operators - many of whom are former Street Children - adopt a direct approach by establishing a relationship with the children where they live, sometimes spending the night with them and, following a path made of daily life and closeness, they convince, without ever forcing them, the little ones to join the project. They then work to reconstruct contact with the families and local communities and prepare for their return to school.
Father Kizito continues: “We have established a real ceremony for the day on which the child, after having regularly met and prepared for at least four months with the workers who go out onto the street, enters the reception centre. The child takes a nice shower, receives new clothes and burns the old ones, almost as if to mean with a gesture the end of his old life and the beginning of a new one. Throughout the 1990s we had a hard time finding an approach that really worked: the children were driven here by primary needs, they stayed a bit and left. Since we changed method and realized that we only had to show them understanding and closeness - so then it was they who chose to end forever that “lifestyle” - the percentage of those dropping the program has fallen drastically, almost close to zero.
After the “rehabilitation” phase, which can last for years, the child is helped to return to the family or, if this is not possible, to rebuild ties with relatives, friends and the community of origin, cut over the years, that can support them in their growth.” 2
The Koinonia community live as one family, sharing dreams, successes and failures, with their inspiration being the life of the early biblical Christians as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Today, the community has about thirty members, all of whom are financially independent.
They are committed to the growth of the local society within which Koinonia is based. In line with their calling, the members strive to counteract the economic and social evils bred by individualism and abject poverty.
The members try, in their daily lives, to integrate the best of African tradition and Gospel values into a commitment to belong to the modern world. To achieve this aspiration, the Community gives special attention to modern means of social communication and their role in fostering a sense of unity and belonging within the society.
The Angelus* is a simple prayer intended as a reminder of the amazing fact that God became man in Jesus, and that Mary said ‘yes’ in faith to the Angel (*Angel in Latin).
Moses, despite his uncertainty, was part of God’s plan for the salvation of the Israelites but Mary was part of His plan for our salvation and we know that she was completely acquiescent. Her role was unique and had been foretold by the Prophet Isaiah .
God had spoken to Isaiah and asked him to go forth and meet King Ahaz and say to him, ‘Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your hearts be feint …’ but Ahaz wouldn’t listen. Even when God offered to give him a sign he refused and finally God said to him ‘Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel’ (Isaiah. 7:14).
The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary,
And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to Your Word.
And the Word was made flesh,
And dwelt among us.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech You, O Lord, Your grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Your Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen
The Angelus has a very long tradition and people were encouraged to say it at 6.00 a.m, midday and 6.00 p.m if possible , as a daily reminder of our faith.
In the article to be continued in the July Issue the Angelus will form part of a theme on three topics: Faith, Hope and Love: The Past, The Present and The Future: The Angelus. Whilst they are all very uplifting, the message can become more profound when they are unravelled and interwoven, becoming more like the spokes in a wheel; the wheel of life.
It represents a strong foundation and solid building bricks for the future, whilst keeping us focused on the present.
The wheel goes on turning but how it navigates the bumps on the road will depend on the strength of the spokes; the spokes can only maintain balance if they remain connected to the hub which is the guiding force. It is a force which remains the ‘I AM’ in all things; He was in the past: He will be in the future and He is in the present: that is where we are living ... in real time.
The ‘Word became flesh’ and lived in real time so that He could show us how.
Moses and Ahaz were reluctant when God had spoken to them: Jesus was having difficulty reassuring his disciples because they were worried because he had said that he would be betrayed and would shortly leave them to go to the Father. John’s Gospel explains how Jesus tries to reassure them by explaining what He would do to help them and what they must do to help themselves.
He tells them, ‘Whatever you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it’. John. 7: 1-14.
'The healing of the sick child'
1855 - 1922
'the Friar Preachers of Rothelan'
Archbishop Baldwyn of Canterbury and Gerald of Wales fleetingly visited Rhuddlan in February 1188 on their way to the Cathedral at St Asaph where Mass was celebrated. Little is said by Gerald about the area apart from a reference to a nearby spring "[T]here is a spring which not only ebbs and flows like the sea every twenty four hours but frequently rises and falls .... both day and night [cf. St Augustine 'City of God' Bk XXV:Ch V]. The spring was at Tegeingl - now known as Englefield, Flintshire. Rhuddlan is described as having eight burgesses, a mint and a church, likely identified by Quinell’s excavations on the site of Ysgol y Castell [c.1950], as opposed to the present church to the north of the Castle. The church, located on the east side of a footpath between Hylas Lane and Twt Hill was simple structure by all accounts and survived until the late 13th century when it was relocated to its present site. During a period of English history called the ‘Anarchy’, effectively a civil war between King Stephen and Matilda (1139-54), Rhuddlan fell into Welsh hands and remained so until 1241 (other than a brief interruption in 1211-13). The great Llywelyn ap Gruffydd captured Rhuddlan from the Anglo-Normans in 1256 and held it until the arrival of Edward I in 1277.1 The name Rhuddlan should be translated as 'red bank', and is derived from the red colour of the soil on the riverbank where the town is situated.2 Sometime in the earlier part of 13th century a Hospitium had been established outside Rhuddlan. This was a Lazarhouse - a place where people suffering from leprosy could find refuge and be quarantined. This was about half a mile from where the Dominican Priory would later be built. The history records of Basingwerk Abbey suggest that the Knight's of St John of Jerusalem [Knight's Templar] was founded on this site. The number of these brethren appears to have been quite small. This is based on a record of grants  given by Edward 1 to the Hospitium which were tiny in proportion to those paid to the Dominican Priory.
A story of the Dominican Priory of St Mary at Rhuddlan
In the present day, if after leaving Rhuddlan town centre and following along the narrow byway called Abbey Road, its high hedges conceal the extensive views across the surrounding countryside. After half a mile or so you will approach a gradual bend in the road. Look to the left and you will see the 'Abbey Farm' - earstwhile named 'Plas Newydd'. Today it is not much to look at .... a motley collection of 'old and older' farm buildings. This was the site of the former Dominican Priory of St Mary or the Blessed Virgin. At this point the River Clwyd runs more or less adjacent to the site on the right hand side as it flows toward the sea. Records show that much of the friary church was still standing in the middle of the 18th century but had gone by the time that Thomas Pennant, a Welsh writer and antiqarian visited it in 1784. The farmyard occupies the site of the cloister garth and part of the south cloister range is now incorporated into a barn; some blocked windows survive, probably 14th-century. In the past stone coffins and human remains have been unearthed, presumably from the friary cemetery. In times past we would have perhaps been awed at the sight of the priory church and conventual buildings which would have dated back to its foundation in 1268. For an idea of the size of the priory visit the website below.
Killmanock Dominican Priory - Order of Preachers a virtual tour: http://monastic.ie/history/kilmallock-dominican-priory/
Our story begins with Saint Dominic in 1221. A meeting took place at Bologna a few months before the death of the saint. An English man who was known to Dominic was sent to England. His name was Friar Gibert Fresney OP. He was a gifted and an eloquent preacher. He was accompanied by thirteen friars. On arrival in England he presented himself to Stephan Langham, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was so delighted with Friar Gilbert's sermons that he tried to persuade him to extend his stay. However he declined the offer and continued on his journey to Oxford. They arrived on 15th August and “made their first settlement, not near the Primate [at Canterbury, where they landed ten days earlier] but at the University." 3 True to the Dominican tradition they were drawn to universities and contributed to their life of study and intellectual pursuits, engaging with the ideas that were discussed there. Friar Gilbert became the first Provincial and Prior of Oxford - the earliest foundation of the English province. They established the Oratory of the Blessed Virgin and it was from here the Dominicans established their Priories across Wales and England. Edward 1 and his consort Eleanor of Castille very much favoured the Dominican Order of Preachers and made grants which enabled the Order to develop and maintain their new foundations. Prior Gilbert also had a brother who was also a Dominican. 4 This was William Fresney OP - in 1263 Pope Urban 1V had appointed him Bishop of Hebron and Vicar of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. He was a skilled administrator, diplomat and a gifted linguist. He had laboured in the Holy Land for many years with a faithful group of English and Welsh [?] friars. Later in his career he was forced to abandon his episcopacy of Edessa. This was because of an escalation in the persecution of Christian minority by the moslem empire. In or around 1273 Pope Gregory asked him to return to England. Before coming to Wales, he spent his time in the Diocese of Norwich which included parts of Suffolk. He acted as assistant to two bishops of Norwich and at one point took on the role of Papal nuncio. He made regular visits to the many mendicant foundations in the Diocese and did much to encourage the male and female religious in sustaining and enhancing their vocations. He was very experienced in the realms of regular and secular religious affairs and as we will discover l he was admirably suited to take up the role as assistant to Bishop Anian of Nanneu, Bishop of St Asaph and Prior of Rhuddlan.
To be continued next month
The Grand Canyon
A small community in an Islamic world. Witness and service
to the poorest.
“The contribution which the small Christian community can make to pacification and the reconstruction of this country is limited, but the signs of its presence in this land are, in their poverty, still meaningful: the service of the poorest of the poor; assistance to the most needy and the education of children”, says Father Giovanni Scalese, a Barnabite priest and head of the Missio sui iuris in Afghanistan.
On Palm Sunday, in front of the Catholic chapel at the Italian Embassy in Kabul, Father Scalese chose to plant an olive tree from the Holy Land. “Let this olive tree be the proclamation of the end of a dark period and the beginning of a bright era in the history of Afghanistan. For this we have named it the Olive Tree of Peace”, Father Scalese prayed.
Returning to his hopes for “the beginning of a better future for Afghanistan”, Fr. Scalese emphasised that: “This desire is still there, alive and well. We know we do not yet have peace in Afghanistan but, at least the process of change, with reasonable hope of success, has begun This does not mean it will be easy. In effect, we are very concerned about the future. Obviously, when negotiations start, each side must understand the points of view of the others and be prepared to compromise to a degree”.There has been one concrete result from the peace talks that began in Doha last April. It does not consist only in the fact that the Taliban have agreed to talk to Kabul, but also in the fact that this partially legitimised the government of Ashraf Ghani,something which, up to recently, would have been impossible. It represents an important step forward.
Afghanistan. A Tiny Seed.
Saturday, 1 June 2019 8:00
Father Scalese comments: “Even if, the Taliban have already said they will not accept the present constitution, imposed from without, and that they want an Islamic constitution instead, I nevertheless do not believe we can expect a return to the pre-2001 situation as if these past 18 years had been in vain. Many young Afghans who never knew the Taliban regime have grown up with a different lifestyle; would they be willing to abandon it? Of course, nothing in this world is impossible but it would seem to me very unlikely that such achievements as the rights of women, for example, will again be questioned”. It is significant that both delegations have women members.
A land of legends
Afghanistan is a land of legends and a bridge between the Middle East and Asia, a land where Islam is the official religion but with Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist minorities scattered throughout the country. Tradition even tells us that the apostle Thomas passed through it and that, in the early centuries of the Church (in 334) it had, for example, an episcopal see at Merv in Central Asia.
Legend also has Afghanistan as the native land of the Magi. However, for more than 1300 years, Christianity never again set foot in those latitudes, until in 1921, when King Amanullah, to please the western diplomats present in that country and who were asking for Catholic religious assistance, contacted first of all the Italian government which was among the first to recognise the independence of Afghanistan, and then the Holy See.
A contract was signed, still in force until this day, between the Vatican and the governments of Italy and Afghanistan which allowed for a single priest to be sent, with two conditions: the avoidance of any form of proselytism and the construction of a chapel within the Italian diplomatic seat.
In 1931, Pius XI assigned the mission in Afghanistan to the Barnabite Fathers. It was Christmas night of 1932 when Father Egidio Caspano and Ernesto Cagnacci (incognito), after a long journey from Europe to central Asia, through the Khyber Pass, arrived in Afghanistan. Father Caspano, the pioneer of the mission (1933 -1953), was succeeded by Fr Giovanni Bernasconi (1953 -1957). He was followed by Fr Raffaele Nannetti (1957-1965) and by Fr Angelo Panigati (1965 -1990). More recently, in the early nineties, the post was occupied by Father Giuseppe Moretti and, from January 2015, by Fr. Giovanni Scalese.
These priests were able to adapt to a situation in continual change, earning the respect not only of the population but also of the governments and even of the Taliban.
With gratedful thanks to Southworld
This month we continue our look at Catholicism in Medieval Wales. The book was written by John Edwin De Hirsch-Davies, a well known Anglican clergyman from North Wales. The book contains an introduction by + John Cuthbert Hedley OSB - Bishop of Menevia [1837 - 1915] describes him as " a student, possessing the Welsh language perfectly, and thoroughly at home in the vernacular records who gives an authentic and illuminating account of this period of Welsh history." The book was written in 1914 and illustrates how intimately the Welsh language and culture are steeped in the Catholic faith. The writer has a local connection as he once lived in Arthog over looking the estuary at Barmouth. In later life he became a Catholic.
Sion Cent, a fourteenth century bard and learned Welsh divine -- perhaps on eof the most learned men in Medieval Wales -- refers to the Blessed Virgin as follows:
"Mair yw'n hyder a gweryd
Ei gwerin ir Drugaredd
A forwyn a fu arail
I bridwerth i Baradwys."
Her the poet declares that the Virgin Mary is our sure confidence for gaining mercy and securing our ransom to Paradise.
Sion Cent's words are particularly interesting, for in his later years he was somewhat tinged with incipient Lollardism of a not very inspiring type.
He also appeals to
"Geli a Mair Wen!"
"God and the Holy Mary!"
The Blessed Virgin had even a special Lent assigned to her in the British Church. Grawys Mair, or "Mary's Lent," was kept from August 1st - 15th -- i.e., a fortnight before Feast of the assumption of the Holy Mother of God.
A prayer once greatly in vogue among the Welsh people was called Breuddwyd Mair ["Mary's Dream"]. It was well known in certain parts of Wales in the early years of the nineteenth century, and a similar form has ben found among the country people of Brittany.
A reward of special Divine blessing was promised to those who recited this prayer every night. It takes the form of a dialogue between the Virgin Mother and the Holy Child, with reference to the agony of his coming Passion.
The poem is quite long, it begins with the following lines :
" Adros fynydd ac oer fynydd,
Gwelwn Mair a'i phen ar obenydd,
Yn tirio lle rhwng pob enaid a Uffern."
Catholic devotion to Mary in Medieval Wales
"Over the mountain, the cold mountain,
We see Mary with her head on a pillow,
Digging space between every soul and Hell."
The phrase "with her head on a pillow" probably means "with a halo around her head."
It would be difficult to conceive a more remarkable and a more vivid definition of the intercessory work of the Blessed Virgin than that expressed in the last line --
"Digging a space between every soul and Hell."
The Rev James Fisher in his 1897 work 'Private devotions of the Welsh' says 'If the school children of Tywyn in Merionnydd in 1850 were asked whether they knew 'Gweddir Forwyn' something like half of them would put their hand up'
Esther Waal points out that the poem 'Mary's Dream' is a dialogue between Mary and Christ. He speaks first.
Blessed Mother Mary, art Thou sleeping?
Yes, my dear Son, I am dreaming.
Blessed Mother, what dost Thou see in thy dreams?
I see thee pursued, and followed, and taken,
And placed on a Cross,
And Thy hands and feet nailed;
A blind, dark man, deceived of the Evil One,
With the point of his spear is piercing Thee, Under the right breast,
And all thy blessed blood being shed ...
This prayer 'Mary's Dream' was taught to children by their parents and was used with the Paternoster and the Credo* [both in Latin].
Throughout the medieval times the bards and men of letters gave testimony to Catholic beliefs - especially the Holy Eucharist and the honour paid to the Blessed Virgin.
This is a historical reference to the work of Rev James Fisher. He identified various prayers used by the Catholic faithful in Wales during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. They were usually to be found in a bound book called a 'Prymer'. These were produced by Welsh speaking Catholics. He discovered that in the 1540s the oral instruction of the poor children and adults continued and they were taught about Catholic devotions and beliefs. In 1547 the 'Prymer' in Welsh was very popular with the more literate amongst the poorer classes. This was a way of maitaining their devotions but also of instructing them in a deeper understanding of faith. These Welsh 'Prymers' began to be known as 'Matin Books'. These appear to have been produced well into the eighteenth century and went through eight reprints!
In 1568 Welshman Morys Clynog the First rector of the English College at Rome published Athravaeth Gristnogavl - a short catchism of Catholic doctrine. It also contained the Creed, the Lord's prayer, the Hail Mary and the Ten commandments all in Welsh.
It is believed that the work
Catholicism in Medieval Wales
is in the public domain.
Preparation time for Mass
The whole of our day or of our week should be spent in conscious preparation for that vital meeting with Christ at Mass, for the meeting with Him who desires to work togehter with us and who makes us ready to work with each other. Eveey success or failure, every joy or pain and every error or sin can become a means of preparation for th emeeting with Christ, if we seek this encounter from the depth of our soul.
In Medjugorje, the immediate preparation takes place before every evening Mass. The Rosary is said, the Holy Spirit is prayed to and invoked, and the Litany of Our Lady is sung. Our Lady desires preparation for Mass. In Medjugorje this preparation is organised in the simplest way possible, and for several reasons. One reason is that pilgrims are preswent from different parts of the world. It is easy to pray the Rosary even when one does not know the language. The Rosary, along with prayers and the short hymns which are sung, allow people slowly and surely to overcome their daily distractions, to recollect themselves and relax, to understand from deep within their spirit, and to prepare for the meeting with Christ. The Rosary in itself is a simple uniting with Jesus and Mary, during which we can observe their conduct as models of faith in joy, in pain and glory.
In Medjugorje these preparations last one hour. When it is not possible to get to church early, preparation should not be left out. While driving, or walking, togehter with family or friends, we can pray and begin to sanctify the liturgical encounter. In other words, when we are going to Holy Mass, we should put aside all matters and begin to pray. The things for which we pray are personal resolutions, love for Jesus, faith in a new Divine Presence at Communion, Love for His Word, the gifts of the Holy Spirit for ourselves and those present at Mass, and for the priest who will be officiating. It would, therefore, be a good idea to pray for enlightenment of our soul to recognise the obstacles and the difficulties of the world which make our meeting with God so difficult. In addition, it is a good idea to pray for the healing of wounds that remain in our soul because of our sins against ourselves, our sins against others and those who have sinned against us.
This article first appeared in "Celebrate the Mass with heart"  by Slavko Barbaric OFM. The work was published by Faith Publishing of Milford Ohio, USA
Fr. Slavko Barbarić was the spiritual director of the six visionaries. He was born in 1946, ordained to the priesthood in 1971, and sent to the parish of Medjugorje in 1983. He died whilst leading a group of pilgrims at Medjugorje on 24th November 2000.
THE EARLY LIFE OF MARY
MARY, who had, even before her birth, been the harbinger of such peace and joy, continued to bestow happiness on those who approached her. She was the delight of all, as well as of her father and mother gentle, mild, beautiful, seeming to glow with heavenly warmth and sweetest perfume. Even strangers few as they were coming near her, felt a wondrously strange exaltation of the heart, felt every ugly passion dissipated, felt their thoughts turning, almost magically, to the God of heaven and earth. Her face was delicately oval; her eyes a large and lustrous azure; her hair a warm reddish chestnut. The predominant beauty was, of course, her expression, which was so mild and pure that people lingered near her to watch her, or to hear her talk. Though but a child, she did not resemble other children. Those clear eyes were filled with something else besides the wonder of infancy; something deep and profound and serious. Anne, at whose knee she stood, imbibing precious lessons from Holy Writ; Joachim [Mary's father], who held her in his arms while he read from the sacred scrolls, felt this depth of understanding, which was so unusual, and yet, from Mary, not altogether unexpected. If she gathered flowers in the fields, if she dipped her fingers into the rippling waters of the brook, if she watched the clouds that drifted across a heaven as blue as her own beautiful eyes, if she fed and cared for a tiny fledgling fallen too soon from its nest, she seemed to be reading wonders in nature's book that were too deep for words. Trained by such pious parents, and endowed with a marvellous inner knowledge, Mary frequently knelt and returned thanks to the great Creator, a Being so magnificent even in the smallest of His works. She was wonderfully, innocently happy. Then came the first faint shade of thought and sorrow. One day, her hands filled with radiant blossoms, she was walking slowly toward the fields when she saw, seated at the roadside, a little companion, who was now weeping bitterly. Instantly Mary's heart was filled with tenderness. "What is the matter? Why do you weep?" she questioned. "My mother is dead," said the child, between her sobs. "Dead?" Mary, the cherished daughter of Anne and Joachim, had never seen death. The words of the child troubled her, and though she put her arms about her and consoled her as only Mary could, she did not continue on her way, but, when she had dried the falling tears, went back to her own house and her mother. She began to question. Anne told her anew of the Fall of Adam and Eve and of their punishment, which the human race had inherited. The child Mary turned pale and trembled, realizing the meaning of pain and death and sorrow, of labour and fruitless toil and poverty! And then Anne went on to relate the wonderful promise which had been made the promise of a Redeemer, the hour of whose coming, according to all the prophecies, was even now approaching. . "How good God is! How good God is!" Mary exclaimed, clasping her hands in a transport of joy. Anne looked at her lovingly. What happiness to be near her! Then came a feeling of sadness. How unworthy she and Joachim were to possess such a treasure! And later, when recounting this experience to her spouse, her hands trembled. "It would not surprise me if she were taken from us," she said, in broken accents. Joachim looked at her strangely but did not reply. "Her manner is almost angelic whenever I approach her, I feel such awe and respect " And her eyes were suffused with tears.With great tenderness Joachim pressed her hand, though he did not utter a word, and instead of going back to his work he went into the inner room, where, falling on his knees, he prayed, returning thanks to God.
Lily of Israel
life of the Blessed Virgin
For Mary was so plainly marked by the divine favour that he could only ask to be enlightened as to the Lord's will concerning her. It was just as Anne said. No ordinary child could be so like a child descended from heaven. She did not seem of earth, but, rather, walked "in the way of justice, in the midst of the paths of judgment," and her whole time was spent in pleasing her parents and in singing praises to God, the while her busy ringers assisted in all the details of housekeeping within her strength. One day, while thus employed, she chanted a little canticle in honour of the Most High. Joachim overheard. He listened, much moved, and drew to one side, with head bent upon his breast. At once Anne became alarmed, for the slightest shade of uneasiness shown by her beloved spouse affected her also. "What is the matter, my dear husband?" she asked. "Anne," said Joachim, "a certain idea has long been with me, and now I must put it into words. This child, whose advent occasioned us such happiness, this child, who was given to us almost at the close of our lives, has only been lent to us by the Lord. She is His. We must restore her to Him." Anne turned pale. "She must be consecrated to the Temple," went on Joachim, vainly endeavouring to strengthen his tone. Anne clasped her hands tightly. "Alas!" she said. "I knew! Every day I feared that you would say this, and every night thanked God that the time was not yet. I even ventured to hope that the Lord would call me to Himself before manifesting His will by your lips. But oh, Joachim, have you thought what will become of us when we have lost this precious jewel, our delight and our glory?" Mary's voice was silent in the room adjoining. She was on her knees, they knew, and Anne, fearing that the sobs she could not restrain would be overheard by her child and distress her, drew her veil over her head and went to the open doorway. Seating herself, she gave way to her tears. Joachim followed, leaning against one of the posts, and looking at his wife sorrowfully, but not attempting comfort, for he knew the grief of her heart. Presently the child Mary, coming from her devotions, noticed the sadness of her father's countenance. Her mother's sobbing, too, reached her ears. "Mother, dearest mother!" exclaimed Mary, going to her. "Why are you weeping? What has befallen you? "Naught," returned her mother, gently pulling the veil from her face. "But I sorrow over what is to come." Mary tenderly wiped the tears from her cheek and kissed her. "What do you tell me always? Shall I repeat the words?" She put her arms about her. "We are sent upon earth joyfully to accomplish the will of God. Oh, mother, is not this your word? And yours, father?" She turned to comfort Joachim now, who could not endure the sight of his beloved child and her sorrowing mother. The last rays of the setting sun had departed from the summit of Carmel, and the majestic shadow of the mountain extended through the valley, concealing the beauty of the twilight. Just so had grief cast its shadow over their hearts, eclipsing all their joy. Mary took Joachim s hand, her other hand clasping that of her mother. Drawing both closer together, she laid her forehead upon them as a token of respect. And Anne explained to the child Mary the cause of her own trouble and the affliction of Joachim. Mary listened. Then falling upon her knees, she pointed to the heavens. "Mother! Father!" she exclaimed. "God, who has put this thought into your hearts, will give you strength to endure the pain it brings." Before her serene, untroubled gaze Anne's heart seemed relieved of its heavy burden. She wiped away her tears, murmuring: "Rather should I not rejoice at being the mother of such a child? Ought I not to submit without repining to the sacrifice demanded of me?" With her hand in Mary's she prayed silently. Joachim knelt, and with his arm about his beloved child, prayed also. The sun, as if loath to depart without shedding a gleam of light on this holy scene, touched the summit of Mount Carmel with a spear of glory. It was almost like an omen of the blessing of God. A few days later Anne and Joachim set out for Jerusalem, taking Mary with them. Their relatives and neighbours wished to accompany them, for without knowing the lofty destiny of Mary, her consecration to the service of the Temple reflected an honour on the family of which they were very proud. The rainy season had commenced, which meant that the journey would be tedious and uncomfortable, and the roads difficult. The travellers, mounted on strong horses, proceeded like a caravan, skirting first the base of a lofty hill, covered with broad-leaved fig-trees, dark mastics, and yellow-hued pomegranates. A forest of verdant oak served to shelter them from the rain, for the sun, gleaming brightly when they left Nazareth, had long been hidden. The horizon was dark with heavy clouds, and in the plain the rain was falling, gleaming like silver as it descended. At this point the valley of Nazareth is enclosed by mountains, and Mount Carmel, whose rugged peak forms, on the left, a strong and lofty wall. Brooks had become torrents, and these torrents had overflowed their banks. The River Cison had swelled and inundated the country just as it had done long years before when Sisara and his troops were defeated.
The roads were deluged. It was necessary to take a roundabout course, and then proceed by rough and difficult paths. But when they began to descend, they found as happened frequently in this climate warm and gentle breezes prevailing, and all the fragrant odours of spring. The Great Sea, the Mediterranean, flowed in solemn beauty below, and the horizon was aflame with gold and scarlet and silver. "Oh!" exclaimed the child Mary. "If our Creator has made the earth so beautiful for us now, what must it have been before the Fall?" And the thoughts of her heart soared to heaven. On these heights she seemed so much closer to Him. The journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem is about eighty miles, and should, at most, have taken only four or five days, but it was fully a week before the travellers arrived in sight of the Holy City. They saluted it with a hymn of praise and the next day entered it by the Gate of Ephraim, going at once to the Temple. Zachary, one of the priests of the course of Abia, a distant relative of Anne's, was then performing the priestly duties. Neither Anne nor Joachim had sent him word of their approach, but as they entered the Temple, he came out to meet and welcome them. "I expected you," he said, raising his hand in blessing. "A young messenger, beautiful as an angel of light, came before you, warning me of your arrival". This greatly startled Anne and Joachim. They exchanged glances and though they did not reply they felt strengthened by the thought that they had fulfilled God's will in bringing their daughter to His service. Upon presenting a child to the Temple it was customary to offer a lamb or two small doves the last offering that of the poor the offering also of the daughter of Joachim and Anne. They were sacrificed upon the Altar of Propitiation, in the presence of all the relatives and neighbours of the young virgin. While the incense was burning upon the Altar of Perfumes, Anne and Joachim clasped their daughter in their arms for the last time, and all who had accompanied her gave her the kiss of peace. Then the child, bidding them an affectionate farewell, entered under the gilded square before the porch of the holy Temple, to the service of whose God she had dedicated her youth. Glittering with gold, shining brilliantly with light, the glorious Temple stood in all its magnificence. Distant music fell upon their ears as the doors opened and closed upon that slender childish form; a delightful odour seemed to float toward them. Both Anne and Joachim were silent. No tears now. They were filled with a sense of desolation. Yes, they had made the sacrifice. They had given their child to her Creator to the One who had bestowed her upon them! Afterward they might have joy in this thought, but now, now their human nature gained the mastery. The earth was black and dark! What if the weather was serenely fair, the sun glittering above them, all the world smiling and peaceful? Their journey homeward was silent, tedious, mournful. Every step lagged, for they had left their hearts behind them, in the Holy City, in the Temple of the Lord! Their friends did not intrude upon their anguish. They hastened as much as possible upon the home ward way, so that the father and mother could once more reach their abode and be alone to comfort each other, and to take up the burden of their daily lives without the fairest blossom that had, until that day, ever bloomed upon this earth. And when Anne and Joachim re-entered their lonely dwelling, now indeed a desert, they looked at each other in silence, their grief too deep for words. If Mary had been an ordinary child, her absence would have been sufficient to plunge them into sorrow. But what must have been the loss of this gift of God, the happiness and pride of all her relatives as well as of her father and mother? Perhaps we have experienced something like this in our own lives. Perhaps God's grace has descended upon us, illumining our hearts and souls, followed, as such rare moments are, by darkness and aridity. The pure and angelic Mary was like that ray of heavenly light; her departure left her parents plunged in gloom. She had been their radiant star. How could they exist without her guidance? without ever again beholding her? Oh! If it could be our happy lot to entertain such a guest for a single day! Or to have lived for even one hour under the mild glance of the Queen of Angels! Nay, if our hearts could exist but one minute of time in her presence could any pleasure on earth equal that pleasure? Yet Joachim and Anne had enjoyed this beautiful gift for several years. They had breathed the atmosphere of heaven, the atmosphere of innocence, peace, and purity. . . . God had demanded her. They obeyed His will, but the trial was so great that He did not suffer them to bear it long. A very short time after the separation His kindness recalled them to Himself.
'The Lily of Israel' - The life of the Blessed Virgin was written by Abbe Gerbet and published in 1916.
Prayer for Wales
Gweddi dros Gymru
Hollalluog Dduw a ddanfonodd, o'th anfeidrol ddaioni, dy uniganedig Fab i ailagor porth y nef, ac i ddysgu inni dy adnabod, dy garu a'th wasanaethu, trugarha wrth dy bobl sy'n byw yng Nghymru. Meithrin ynom y werthfawr ddawn ffydd, ac una ni yn yr un wir eglwys a sylfaenwyd gan dy ddwyfol Fab. Dyro inni'r gras i fod gyda'n gilydd yn dystion cywir i'th wirionedd, ac i fyw'n ffyddlon i'th gariad. Sancteiddia ni trwy sagrafennau di Fab, a dwg ni i'th addoli mewn ysbryd a gwirionedd, fel y cawn dderbyn dedwyddwch tragwyddol gyda thi yn y byd a ddaw. Trwy'r un Jesu Grist ein Harglwydd. Mair, gymorth Cristnogion, gweddia dros Gymru. Dewi Sant, gweddia dross Gymru. Y Santes Wenfrewi, gweddia dros Gymru. Holl Seintiau a Merthyron Cymru, gweddia dros Gymru.
O Almighty God, in Your infinite goodness,
You sent Your only-begotten Son into this world to open once more the gates of Heaven,
and to teach us to know, love, and serve You. Have mercy on Your people who dwell in Wales. Nourish in us the precious gift of faith, and unite us in the one true church, founded by Your divine Son.
Give us the grace to be loyal witnesses together to Your truth, and to live faithful to Your love.
Sanctify us by Your Son's sacraments, and bring us to worship You in spirit and in truth,
so that we may come to have eternal happiness with You in the world to come. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit one God forever and ever Amen. Mary, Help of Christians, pray for Wales
St. David, pray for Wales
St. Winefride, pray for Wales
All the Saints and Martyrs of Wales, pray for Wales
With thanks to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Wales
Gweddi dros Gymru
Prayer for Wales
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Corbett Avenue Tywyn LL36 0AH
Parishes of Saint David and Saint Mair
Our Parish Mission
Give us the courage to witness to the joy of the Gospel by our words and actions. Help our parish to become more welcoming and missionary, So that you may be known and loved by all people. We make this prayer through Our Lord Jesus Christ You Son, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God for ever and ever,
Father Nicholas Enzama