Monday, August 17, 2009

Pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Taper

I have just returned from a weekend in Wales, to attend the annual LMS pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Taper, which is the National Shrine of Wales. (The older and more famous shrine at Holywell is not a Marian shrine, but is dedicated to St Winifred.)

We arrived Friday afternoon and were able to assist at a Low Mass in a side chapel of the modern shrine church, said by the Parish Priest, Fr Jason Jones.
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Although the church is very modern indeed, it is filled with devotional items of above average artistic value - notice the excellent Infant Jesus of Prague in the above photograph, for example. The church very much has the appearance of being appreciated and looked after.

On Saturday we returned for the Pilgrimage itself, which included Mass at 12 noon and Benediction after refreshments in the large parish hall. The shrine is in a small building of its own outside the church, and the procession at the start of Mass visited the shrine before going up to the altar.
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Then Mass began.
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It was extremely well attended, with more than 60 people present.
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Two of the servers, and a young lady in the congregation, has attended the St Catherine's Trust Summer School, and it was good to see them again. Fr Jones had been active in encouraging them to go, and the community had raised money to make it possible.

Here is a photo of Benediction.
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The original image, predictably, was destroyed at the Reformation - perhaps one of the ones burnt by the Thames in Chelsea. The original shrine was in a purpose-built Priory church of St Mary, now an Anglican church the other side of Cardigan. Little of interest remains, but the Medieval chancel survives, and that is where the shrine had been.
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The shrine was restored in 1956, with an image which had to be replaced, by the current bronze one, in 1986. (There appear to be two websites about the shrine, with pretty much the same content, here and here.)
Here's my own photo of the statue.
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The next day, Sunday, we attended another Mass celebrated by Fr Jones, this time in his second parish, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Newcastle Emlyn. Again, a modern church with some very traditional things going on in it!
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There are more photographs of the Pilgrimage here, and of Our Lady Queen of Peace here.

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