Saturday, 24 October 2020

The Gospel in song

I found thus beautiful song, "Little Things with Great Love", based on Sunday's Gospel, on the wonderful Pilgrim's Path site. I hope to quote it at Mass this Sunday.   

These are the words, by Audrey Assad and others

In the garden of our Saviour no flower grows unseen
His kindness rains like water on every humble seed
No simple act of mercy escapes His watchful eye
For there is One who loves me His hand is over mine

In the kingdom of the heavens no suffering is unknown
Each tear that falls is holy, each breaking heart a throne
There is a song of beauty in every weeping eye
For there is One who loves me His heart, it breaks with mine

O the deeds forgotten, O the works unseen
Every drink of water flowing graciously
Every tender mercy You’re making glorious
This You have asked of us:
Do little things with great love
Little things with great love

At the table of our Saviour, no mouth will go unfed
And His children in the shadows stream in and raise their heads
O give us ears to hear them, and give us eyes that see
For there is One who loves them. I am His hands and feet

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

21st October 1966

At 9.15 the tip slid down the hillside and onto the village of Aberfan. 116 children and 28 adults lost their lives. The photo captures the devastation of Pantglas School. 

I was 13 in form 2 (year 8 in present terms) at St Illtyd's school.  I remember someone interrupting our lesson to come and tell us what had happened. My family had some phone calls from friends living in distant parts, hoping we were OK. People rushed up to see if they could help. 

Aberfan was truly one of those events where you can remember where you were. Huge results came from this terrible disaster in terms of the clearance of many, many tips across the Valleys. But at what a price?

The name Aberfan is imprinted on our memories and hearts. Say a prayer today for the victims and for our care for the environment and for one another.


Friday, 16 October 2020

2 Teresas for the price of one

I have a particular devotion to St Teresa of Avila, who has played a part in my vocation story. So I was looking forward to celebrating her feast day this week on Tuesday the 15th October.  But I don't know what happened in my brain as I woke up on Tuesday - which was the 13th, not the 15th.

I announced to Fr Andy at breakfast that while he said Mass at Christ the King at 9.30, I would do likewise back at base at St Brigid's. And I would pay for us to have the very nice fish and chips from Fintan's in Llanishen.  And that we would have hake, please.

As I started Mass at 9.30 I heard the phone ring, but let it go as I had already started. It was - of course - Andy calling to point out that I had the wrong day!   Anyway later as I tucked into my hake 'n' chips, Andy spilled the beans. Wrong day, Matthew!

So, we celebrated St Teresa of Avila twice this week. And, you know I'm sure I heard some polite laughter coming from heaven, where I'm sure Teresa enjoyed the double honour!

Friday, 9 October 2020

Lockdown Cardiff

The reality of local lockdowns such as the one affecting Cardiff and much of South Wales gets suddenly highlighted when it bears down on something affecting ourselves. 

During the week I had to say no to a visit from my sister who lives in Hampshire, with her husband and one of my nephews. An improvised Zoom this evening was lovely - but it's not the same, is it? 

Then, I have been coordinating plans from now until Christmas to celebrate First Confessions postponed from March, our annual November Mass of Memories for the deceased, and about 12 baptisms, that have also built up since March. One of the Baptism families told me that they had been looking forward to one of the godparents coming from Ireland... but now it isn't possible.  Or is it?  We don't know...


Monday, 5 October 2020

Rosary for October


Yesterday evening I gave a little talk about Our Lady, the first of a series leading into the month of the Holy Rosary.  There is a session at 7.30pm each evenng from yesterday, and details are on the poster above.  The talks are given mostly by priests our diocese, including our own Fr Andy, and they are on the Cathedral's Facebook site as mentioned in the poster. . The whole project is the brainchld of one of our parishioners - great to see such initiatives!

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Initiating the Initiations

 A very important part of parish life is our celebration of the Sacraments of I nitiation - Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.  We'll leave Confimation fo rthe moment. as that involves the Bishop - or does usually!   Baptisms and First Communions ahev been on hold since lockdown in March, and here in our 3 Churches we are feeling it's time to catch up. There are about a dozen or more Baptisms in the queue and we have of course our annual First Confessions and Communions too - usually about 40.

So we now have to try and accommodate all these, and within the Covid restrictions. Saturday mornings are going to become busier!  So say a little prayer as we try to juggle dates and times to try and get as much done before Christmas as possible.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Path to Allegri

 I think I recommended "New Pilgrim Path" before. Coming from Ireland, it's a resource site for religious poetry, history and music.  Very well put together, it's a great place to browse if you have a moment. A good feature is that many of the ingredients are constantly being updated or changed, like "Poem of the Week"   Click here to visit it.

On the site at the moment is a stunning performance of the famous "Miserere" by Allegri, originally broadcast on TV. It is sung by the Sixteen under Harry Christopher.  If you have never heard it, please do. If you know it, take time to enjoy.



Wednesday, 23 September 2020

"The Repair House"


This is now two TV reviews in a  row - both from BBC 1.  After the excellent new "Us" I'd like to say how much I Iike the recently discovered (for me) "Repair Shop".  Idea is simple - people bring items old, damaged, worn out, but with a personal story behind them, for a team of experts to repair and restore.

This evening they ranged from bagpipes from WWI belonging to someone's grandfather, to a 17th century dining chair damaged apparently beyond repair, most recently by a teething puppy, to a crown from an Urdd Eisteddfod won by someone's grandmother when a teenager.  A bit like "Houses Under the Hammer" (yes, sad, I know) there is a beginning, middle and end. The item is brought in, its story told. Then we observe the expert doing the work, and then there is the "reveal" when the owner returns to claim the shiny, whole item anew. And this is often accompanied by tears as the owner is often taken back to a particular time, or a particular person, usually deceased. Excellent format, with so many ingredients hitting the target. Part of it is the joy of watching top people doing their job - I particularly like the clockwork guy (above) and Will the furniture man (below).

There's something maybe a little deeper going on as well. Is it too much to see these stories of restoration as capturing all our wishes for renewal - of ourselves, our world, our Church? The BBC blurb describes the programme as "an antidote to throwaway culture". Pope Francis asked for the Church to be a field hospital.  Do these women and men in their barn in Kent or Sussex hint at a God who can and will remake, repair, refresh us, if we put ourselves into His hands... 


Sunday, 20 September 2020


Just watched "Us" on TV, which got good previews, and in particular because Tom Hollander is in it. I think he's a great actor, ever since "Rev" through "The Night Manager" to the present.  Take the scene this evening, when having been told  by his wife that the marriage is over, he goes to take stuff to the dump, cries in his car and kicks a cardboard box to death.  Though I'm not sure about the whole premise that a couple would go on holiday with their son in these circumstances, I was glued...  Great stuff.

We all moan about what's on the telly, but in fact there is indeed great stuff out there. And even the perhaps not-so-good is good for relaxing with having my supper after an evening Mass or whatever. And hqving spent time in Spain, Italy and Canada/USA, we could do a lot worse!

Here are the stars of "Us" visiting the Louvre...