March 1st is always a proud day in Wales as we celebrate and remember the life of St. David, Bishop and Patron of Wales. We have always been a proud nation and there are two events in modern Wales guaranteed to draw out the pride of the nation: rugby and the celebration of our patron saint!
This year our own St. David’s Cathedral, Cardiff was invited to play host for the National Civic service to begin the celebrations in honour of St. David. As the David came to the end of his life he exhorted his followers to always “be joyful and keep the faith”. Every year the national celebrations begin by following that call with a National service of prayer followed by a large parade through the streets of the capital city.
Archbishop George Stack led those assembled in prayer and song and was joined by the Archbishop of Wales, John Davies and members of clergy from various Christian Denominations in Wales. Also present was the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Mrs Dianne Rees; Mayors and civic dignitaries from around Wales; representatives of National Government, the armed forces, the emergency and public services and volunteer organisations. St. David’s Cathedral was filled with song as the magnificent organ played hymns that were dedicated to the saint, reminded us of his great example. Voices raised the roof of the cathedral as Welsh favourites such as Calon Lân rang through the Cathedral. During the homily (full text available below) Archbishop George reflected upon the call of St. David to do the small things well and the great things will take care of themselves. He invited all present to reflect upon the diverse nation that 21st century Wales is as he asked the question “What are the common values which underlie a just society?” The answer he suggested can be found at the heart of the Welsh Government’s plan “Wales –a Nation of Sanctuary” to aid refugees and asylum seekers:
“To welcome the stranger in our midst. To ensure they are treated with dignity and given access to those things which are essential to a dignified life. To share the culture and beauty and heritage of this nation with those who are dispossessed and have come to live amongst us …. We are all children of the same God”.
St. David lead with learning, holiness, humility and dedication and remains a fine and proud example for the nation that is Wales.
The Archdiocese of Cardiff has been at the centre of being part of a Nation of Sanctuary as it has made accommodation available to refugees and asylum seekers coming to Wales to escape the pain of war at persecution in their homelands. The Diocese continues this effort with future works. Do the small things well …