Catholic Bible School returns for 2016

The Catholic Bible School’s final event in Wales for 2015 was held on Saturday 28th November in St Dyfrig’s, Treforest. It was led by Gemma Wildsmith, looking at the theme “Christ our Bridegroom”, and leading us on a biblical and liturgical journey exploring how God’s great love for us is often symbolised as a bridegroom to a bride.


It was great to see so many parishioners from across both Cardiff and Menevia dioceses attend the event at St Dyfrig’s. Gemma’s day was a real eye-opener, and there were so many positive comments:

“I came away with renewed eagerness to receive our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I couldn’t wait to accept Jesus’ proposal again, and remember our ongoing betrothal to Him!”

 “Gemma led it so well. God’s love for each one of us is amazing! Times of reflection and sharing too. Thank you Gemma and thank you Catholic Bible School.”

“Indeed Saturday was just a brilliant day. Gemma is a very gifted person and so spiritual. She is a real inspiration. Thank you for inviting her.”

Our first Scripture Saturday of 2016 will be on Saturday 23rd January at St Philip Evans in Cardiff. The day will be led by Kate Duffin, Chaplain of Cardinal Newman Catholic High School in Rhydyfelin.

The day is entitled ‘An Introduction to the Old TestamentTheir Story is Our Story.’ The journey of the Hebrew people is a journey that would infuse history even to our present time, a journey in which the person of faith would see an unfolding of the history of salvation. This is a short introduction, offering an insight in to how this story becomes our story.

We will meet on Saturday 23rd January at 10am to 3pm in St Philip Evans, Llanedeyrn Drive, Cardiff, CF23 9UL. Please bring a packed lunch. Suggested donation £10.00. For more information see or email


Spring 2016 – Dates for Your Diary

Sat. 23rd Jan St Philip Evans,
Llanedeyrn Drive,
Cardiff, CF23 9UL
An Introduction to the Old Testament – Their Story is Our Story. Led By Kate Duffin
Sat. 27th Feb St David’s Church,
St David’s Place,
Swansea, SA1 3NG
Journeying with St Luke – A look at the Gospel of the Year of Mercy. Led by David Beresford

Proposal to make the Union Cardiff University ‘pro choice’

Statement from Rev. Dr. Gareth Jones, Catholic Chaplain to Cardiff University:

The piece sets forth clearly the issues at stake for “Cardiff Students for Life”. Of course it doesn’t reference that CathSoc which predates the Union along with free speech will also be a casualty if this motion is passed. The Chaplain and the President of CathSoc have met on two occasions and recognise that it would not be consistent to endorse or identify with the Cardiff Union in the event of the motion being passed. This motion makes as to presume consent or cooperation in the “pro-choice” political agenda which silences broad debate on fundamental matters of life and the liberty of the person. In matters inconsistent with the Catholic Faith the only option open to Catholics in this event of being silenced and religious liberty trampled upon is to resign from the Union until such a time as a more liberal spirit returns. Catholics recognise their place within civil society and contribute to it. However they must be afforded that legitimate freedom to uphold the Commandment “you shall not kill” even if such is not enshrine in statute in regard to the unborn infant. The exclusion of CathSoc resulting from this motion being passed will not impact upon the internal or social outreach activities of the Catholic Chaplaincy in relation to the Catholic community at the University. However it will necessitate a re-examining of those activities and collaborations of the Catholic community at present. The Chaplaincy at 62, Park Place is the property of the Archdiocese of Cardiff. The chaplain is appointed by the Archbishop. Let us pray for charity in our dealings with those promoting the motion and common sense in overturning this narrow-minded motion.

Fr. Gareth A. Jones

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered this Wednesday, 26th November, at 8pm at the Catholic Chaplaincy.

This will be followed by an all-night Vigil of the Blessed Sacrament, concluding at 8am.

Polish communities gather for Święconka

On Holy Saturday a number of our parishes played host to Polish families in their communities for the annual blessing of food (Święconka).   Święconka, meaning “the blessing of the Easter baskets,” is one of the most enduring and beloved Polish traditions on Holy Saturday. With roots dating back to the early history of Poland, it is also observed by expatriate and their descendants in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and other Polish Parish communities.

Święconka at St Patrick's

One parish to host Święconka was St Patrick’s in Newport.  Holy Saturday morning saw St. Patricks Church in Cromwell Road filled with Polish families arriving with their Easter Baskets full of beautifully presented food.  St. Patricks church is unique as the only Catholic parish in Newport that observes this tradition.

It began some five years ago with a few people who arrived with their baskets, much to the surprise of the Parish Priest Father Brian Cuddihy, who then of course, blessed the food.  Over the last few years it has grown into a beautiful service in which the whole Polish community participates.

Father Cuddihy began by welcoming the large congregation in Polish. After prayers the many baskets of food, which had been laid along the altar rail, were blessed with Holy Water.  Święconka is certainly a very joyous occasion, and those non Polish parishioners who attended felt very privileged to witness the event.

The tradition of food blessing dates from the 12th century, though a much earlier date can be attributed in its basic form, the more modern form containing bread and eggs (symbols of resurrection and Christ).

Baskets containing a sampling of Easter foods are brought to church to be blessed on Holy Saturday. The basket is traditionally lined with a white linen or lace napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood (bukszpan), the typical Easter evergreen.  The Polish take special pride in preparing a decorative and tasteful basket with crisp linens, occasionally embroidered for the occasion, and boxwood and ribbon woven through the handle. Observing the creativity of other parishioners is one of the special joys of the event.

The foods in the baskets have a symbolic meaning:

  • eggs – symbolise life and Christ’s resurrection
  • bread – symbolic of Jesus
  • lamb – represents Christ
  • salt – represents purification
  • horseradish – symbolic of the bitter sacrifice of Christ
  • ham – symbolic of great joy and abundance.

The food blessed in the church remains untouched, according to local traditions, until either Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.

The Clergy and Parishioners of St. Patricks Church would like to wish the Polish Community of Newport a very Happy and Blessed Easter.

Click here to see photographs from the event.

Welsh Churches to celebrate Family Life at St David’s Cathedral

On Saturday 8th March 2014 at 12 noon, St. David’s Cathedral, Cardiff, will play host to an Ecumenical Celebration of Family Life.

Celebrating Family Life Logo

Working with CYTUN,  (Churches together in Wales), the Archdiocesan Commissions for Family Life and Christian Unity are organising a special non-eucharistic liturgy in celebration of family life in the presence of Archbishop George Stack.

Anne Ballard, Chair of the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission recently reminded the clergy of the diocese that “The family is a place not only for couples, siblings, children and parents but also for the single, communities of religious, the bereaved, the divorced and the lonely. The family can be a place of great joy and blessings, but there are also times when it may experience difficulties and challenges. Those moments are where the light of God can enter in – where and when it’s most needed”.

The service will reflect the reality of the family life we heard about during Listening 2004: blessed, broken but always living love. The Commissions for Family Life and Christian Unity hope that you can join them for this celebration, and that you will encourage others to join them in celebrating God’s love at work in our everyday lives.

If you would like to advertise this event – Download Event Poster

For more information keep an eye on the Celebrating Family Life page

St Philip Evans parish to host talk by expert on the visions of Our Lady at Guadalupe

In the year 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St Juan Diego, a humble peasant living near Mexico City. As proof that the vision was genuine, Our Lady caused out-of-seasons roses to bloom, which St Juan gathered in his native cloak, or tilma. When he unfolded his tilma to show the roses, the local bishop was amazed to see that an image of the Virgin Mary was imprinted on the fabric. This miraculous image has remained intact for almost 500 years, and is still preserved in the Basilica of Mexico City. The image has also become associated with the pro-life movement with prayers offered to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the protection of the unborn.

An official representative of the shrine, Ana Elena Olascoaga Camacho, will be visiting St Philip Evans parish in Cardiff on Thursday 7 November 2013. She has a profound knowledge of these apparitions of Our Lady. All are welcome.

The talk begins at 7.30 p.m. in the Hall (behind the church) at St Philip Evans, Llanederyn Drive, Llanederyn, Cardiff CF23 9UL.