Watch: Pope Francis calls on Wales to ‘preserve’ the Welsh language and inspire others to use it
Welsh has long been referred to as the ‘language of heaven’ but has now gained the approval of the Pope himself.
A special mass for Welsh Catholics held in London received an Apostolic Blessing and a special message from the head of the Catholic Church who gave the event his seal of approval.
The message passed on by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Gugerotti, said Pope Francis was: “Most pleased to be informed of the Mass in Welsh.
“Mindful of Wales’ cultural and historical heritage, and of its venerable Christian tradition nurtured by great saints such as Beuno, Winifred and Cadoc, the Holy Father wishes to encourage Welsh people and those who wish to preserve this patrimony to practise it and to inspire others to study, speak and pray in this ancient language.
“His Holiness wishes to convey his spiritual closeness and prayerful best wishes to all those taking part in this important ecclesial event. As a pledge of heavenly graces, the Holy Father invokes the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St David, Patron of Wales, and cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing.”
The Apostolic Blessing can be watched above. The Papal Nuncio is called forward at approximately one hour and 52 minutes to deliver the blessing as the Mass concludes, prior to the final blessing.
The special Mass in the Welsh language was celebrated at the Church of St James, Spanish Place on Wednesday, 30th March, under the title Offeren Gymraeg, Offeren Mewn Diolchgarwch.
The principal celebrant, Fr Gildas Parry O’Praem, offered the Mass in thanksgiving for the Welsh contribution to the universal Church, with music provided by four choirs and the band of the Welsh Guards.
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For me, the Church in Wales may be legally and formally disestablished, but it is still culturally shackled to the British state. You only have to go into an Anglican church in England or Wales to see the riot of militaristic, imperialist and jingoistic imagery. Military banners, imperial statuary celebrating colonial wars, … And the prayers for the Queen of England baked into the daily liturgy … They are also infused with a hostility to the Welsh language and culture. Just try finding a Welsh language service on Christmas Day, Good Friday or Easter Sunday at the capital’s cathedral in… Read more »
Excuse my ignorance. Is Catholicism yr Hen Ffydd (the Old Faith)? I had not heard it described like that before. I had wondered if yr Hen Ffydd referred to the pre-Roman beliefs in this land (which are notoriously difficult – but not impossible – to pin down due to the attempted eradication of them by the usual crowds)
The Druids were notoriously bad at writing things down, please can you give me your sources Llinos
My sources? I’m not sure you could call them that. This is sort of exploratory history. I also wouldn’t get too bogged down in the druids. There were about 50 tribes in Britain at one point, who were always fighting. The likelihood the one thing they agreed on was the druid religion seems low in my opinion. There are fragments of evidence from the pre-Roman / post-Roman times. Statues of (at least) two British gods (Taranis and Ocelus) still survive. But these are Romanised names. Taranis was worshipped all over Northern Europe as a Thunder God (and Tarren is Cymraeg… Read more »
Thanks Llinos, You went to some trouble for me, I was keen on the Iron Age histories when I was younger and would sit for hours in a little Iron Age Fort on top of the hill above my family home and imagine my self back in the days before the Romans came…
Catholicism has been referred to as yr Hen Ffydd in Welsh since the Reformation, since it predates the various forms of Protestantism by 1000 years. In the immediate post-Reformation period, people using the term yr Hen Ffydd were also very much making the point that Catholicism was the original religion of Wales (post-paganism that is), and that the various claims at the time by Protestant polemicists that Protestantism represented a return to the religion of the apostles were a load of rubbish.
Christianity was founded in the UK AD 37 last year of Tiberius I doubt it would have been Catholic as religion was exported to Rome at the time of caradoc whom with his family were taken to Rome.Who says Christianity was founded in Britain : cardinal Baronious and Cardinal Alford two Historians of the Catholic church.
Thank you James. I should probably have known, but I was never really interested in religion after the age of about 14. It is a massive gap in my knowledge
Croeso. It’s one of the lesser known parts of Welsh history, ironically. The problem is that the “official” history is that the instant the Bible was translated everyone joyfully turned Anglican, and then 300 years later all thought ‘this is a bit rubbish actually, let’s be Methodist instead.’ In fact, Catholicism survived and in places like Flintshire and Monmouthshire, thrived. There were several secret presses, loads of people were martyred, books and priests were smuggled into the country, and the shrine at Holywell stayed operational throughout the period. It’s a fascinating story.
The Vatican City is a State…The Church in Rome is actually a tiny Theocracy within Rome…with a very large diaspora…
Also it is very sad that there is not much use of the Welsh language in the Church in Wales
Although not religious myself personally welcome the Pope’s message regarding the Welsh language. And besides speaking still Britain’s native tongue, were also versed in Latin too. It’s been said by amazed historian that the Latin spoken & written was in its purest form. There are numerous. standing stones & grave markers in former Welsh Kingdoms through Wales & Britain lamenting & eulogising warriors & kings with Latin verses written on. People forget . We were first Christians hundreds of years before Ireland, Scotland & England. And the BBC recently falsely claimed how the Irish Christianised Britain in a documentary presented… Read more »
If I may add, the study of our Celtic church is ongoing, with various markers possibly yet to be found. New technologies are constantly revealing truth, for that is what we seek?
As a Welsh Catholic, I am so happy about the Holy Father’s Apostolic Blessing. I really hope he comes to visit Wales.
Unfortunately, I was too young to remember the last Papal visit (Pope John Paul II in 1982, I was only 4) . I’d really love to be there for the next one.
I hope your hope is realised