February 7th 2016 is a significant date for the Archdiocese of Cardiff as we celebrate the centenary of the founding of our Diocese. On this date in 1916 Pope Benedict XV issued a decree suppressing the former Diocese of Newport and officially erected the Province of Wales with the Archdiocese of Cardiff as the Metropolitan See.
On Saturday 6th February 2016 the monks of Belmont Abbey travelled to St David’s Cathedral to lead the Diocese in prayerful celebration. The monks led Solemn Vespers presided by Abbot Paul Stonham for the eve of the Centenary in front of a full cathedral. Guests included the Lord Lieutenant of Cardiff, representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; the Lord Mayor of Cardiff; the First Minister of Wales and various Members of Parliament and civic dignitaries from all areas of the Diocese. Archbishop George preached and was joined on the Sancutary by Bishop Tom Burns of Menevia and the Anglican Archbishop of Wales, Dr. Barry Morgan, for a wonderful celebration. The congregation was made up of various invited representatives from the parishes of the Diocese.
Archbishop George spoke of the significance of the founding date of the Diocese in the heart of a troubled World during the Great War. He also reflected upon the major events the Church has witnessed in the World including the fall of communism in the Western World in the lifetime of the Diocese. He expressed hope and delight for the people and Diocese of Cardiff for the future and prayed for God’s blessing as we look to the future.
The Centenary celebrations continue tomorrow with Solemn Mass at Belmont Abbey presided by Archbishop George Stack and the preacher being Abbot Paul Stonham. The Diocese owes a debt of gratitude to the Benedictine Community for their support over the years. So significant was their work, Pope Benedict XV established the Abbey as co-cathedral of the Diocese as a sign of continuity. Alas the Abbey no longer holds that status, but the Benedictine Community is still a great presence within the Diocese.
Ad multos annos to Archbishop George, Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Archdiocese on this momentous occasion.
View photographs of Centenary Vespers