Wednesday 18th June was a joyous day for the people of St. Teilo’s, Whitchurch as they celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the current church.
The ‘new’ church was dedicated to St. Teilo on 18th June 1964 by Archbishop John Aloysius Murphy, the then Archbishop of Cardiff. It replaced a church that had been built in the 1920’s which was affectionately referred to as the ‘tin church’, after its red tin roof.
The parish, which includes Our Lady of Lourdes in Gabalfa, gathered at 11.00am, the same time as that first Mass fifty years ago, for a Mass of thanksgiving. It was an even more joyous occasion as some priests who had links with St. Teilo’s had come to concelebrate the Mass. These we Fr. Peter Marden, who was resident in the parish at Our Lady of Lourdes a few years ago, Fr. John Kelly who had lived in the parish when Archbishop’s secretary and Fr. Barry English who was brought up in the parish and was ordained at St. Teilo’s twenty-five years ago this week and so celebrates the Silver Jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood.
Also present was Deacon Michael Doyle, who Archbishop George Stack recently announced would, God willing, be Ordained to the Priesthood later in the year. Two of the Archdiocese’s Seminarians, Robert James and Jonathan Stogdon, were also present for this joyous occasion.
Parish Priest, Fr. William Isaac gave an interesting homily, quoting from a booklet about the parish written by a late parishioner, Lottie Rogers, many years ago. In it the author mentions how Cardiff was a thriving town in the middle ages, but the reformation almost wiped out the Catholic faith in the area. Slowly but surely, it recovered and the first Mass in Whitchurch since the reformation was held in 1924, in an outhouse of the Fox and Hounds public house, still next door to the church. This led to the parish being founded in 1925 and the current St. Teilo’s church being built fifty years ago.
Greetings were also read out from priests, around the world, who had links with St. Teilo’s but could not be there on the day: from Canon Eddie O’Connell, who was Parish Priest until January 2014 and is now enjoying retirement in Ireland. Canon Eddie said he would always be close to St. Teilo’s and its people, and recalled how he was handed the keys to the church fifteen years ago from the late Canon Patrick Creed who had been Parish Priest at St. Teilo’s for 43 years. Canon Eddie reflected that he had now handed the baton of leading the parish onto new Parish Priest Fr. William Isaac; from Fr. Kelvin in Nigeria, who had been resident at St. Teilo’s in the early 2000’s while completing his studies at Cardiff University. Fr Kelvin said he considered St. Teilo’s his second home; from Fr. Allan Davies-Hale, who served as a curate at St. Teilo’s in the 1980’s and who said he would offer Mass for St. Teilo’s and its people; from Fr. David Hayman, who was a curate in the late 1990’s; from Fr. Jimmy Thomas and Fr. Ambrose Walsh who had both served at St. Teilo’s but who were not well enough to attend the celebration; from Fr. Chris Fuse, whose mother was a parishioner at St. Teilo’s; and from Monsignor Desmond Dalton in Ecuador, who served at St. Teilo’s in the 1970’s and was very interested to hear how St. Teilo’s had grown over the years.
Following the Mass the parish and visitors enjoyed a buffet lunch in the church hall, which had been built when the church underwent its last major refurbishment ten years ago.
There was also an evening Mass and refreshments so that those who could not attend the Mass earlier in the day could still be a part of the celebrations.
The celebration was the main occasion in a week of events to mark the Golden Jubilee of St. Teilo’s. Local churches and schools donated floral arrangements which decorate the church and a photographic display of life in St. Teilo’s over the last fifty years is on display in the church hall. Events earlier in the week were a Musical Celebration was held on Saturday and Ecumenical Service with local churches and congregations on Monday. Still to come is a parish barbecue on Friday and an Anniversary Cream Tea Party on Saturday. To conclude the celebrations the Abbot of Belmot, the Rt. Rev. Paul Stonham will preside at the 9.00am and 11.00am Masses on Sunday. At this Mass all current and former Altar Servers from St. Teilo’s will be honoured for their service to the parish.
Archbishop George Stack, who could not attend the celebrations this week, also sent his warm greetings in a message that was read out at Masses last Sunday. In it he said that, although he could not be present, he was close to the parish and its people in prayer.