On Tuesday 15th November over 50 members of the Archdiocese of Cardiff made the journey to London to visit the seat of UK Government at Parliament by invitation of the Secretary of State for Wales, Rt. Hon. Alun Cairns M.P. The invitations were extended to the diocese on celebration of the Centenary of the founding of the Archdiocese of Cardiff. Archbishop George Stack was accompanied to the Palace of Westminster by members of the clergy, curia and volunteer workers of the Diocese and by headteachers and the Head Boys and Girls from the 10 Catholic High Schools within the Diocese.
The visit started with a gathering at St. Mary Undercroft, the Parliamentary Chapel, the spiritual heart of the Palace of Westminster. The chapel is usually off limits to visitors, but the group was joined by Welsh MPs for a service of thanksgiving for the Centenary. During his homily Archbishop George Stack drew on the history and significance of the chapel as a haven for MPs to seek solitude and peace amongst their busy schedules, and drawing out the importance of Church and State working together for the common good.
Following the service the group was encouraged to explore Parliament. Some were taken on a walking tour, others decided to explore themselves. Nearly all visited the public galleries above the Houses of Commons and Lords to witness the business of the houses. The group then gathered on the terrace alongside the river Thames for a reception with the Secretary of State for Wales and Welsh MPs. The Secretary expressed his delight and congratulations to the diocese and emphasised the important work of the Church for the the people of Wales. He acknowledged the Archbishop George Stack responded on behalf of the group thanking the Secretary and the House of Commons for their hospitality and calling upon all present to work together for Wales.
The day was long but the experience with both exciting and enriching especially for the pupils from our High Schools who were grateful for experiencing the seat of Government and learning about how the process of Government works. The diocesan centenary celebrations continue throughout the remainder of the year.