Summer Celebrations

After the disruption of the last eighteen months, we’re really looking forward to our Celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Sunday August 15th.

For many years, this celebration, initiated by Fr Graham Francis, has been a popular event in the midst of the Summer for Christians from Cardiff, South Wales and beyond! This year, we’ve decide to turn things around. You’re invited to arrive from 6.30pm onwards to enjoy a barbecue in our gardens before we celebrate Vespers (Evening Prayer) at 8.30 pm.

In the past (pre-covid!) we gathered in great numbers and flowed out of the church for a torchlight procession through Butetown before enjoying the fireworks. However, this year all that we do is determined by COVID restrictions in place at the time, and so we’ll be able to confirm arrangements closer to the time.

With restricted numbers able to attend, we’re asking anyone who would like to participate in our celebrations to book their place at Eventbrite.

Our Assumptiotide celebration from a previous year
The torchlight procession of Our Lady through Butetown
Arriving back at St Mary’s Church after the procession

Well Travelled

A Reflection from Fr Dean on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Google maps tells me that the distance from Nazareth to Ain Karem, the place where Elizabeth lived in the hill country of Judea is 150.9 km.  By car, it would take me 1 hour and 35 minutes.  Public transport: 3 hours and 2 minutes, but if I was to walk , it would take me 31 hours.  Making the rather over exaggerated assumption that I would be able to walk for 8 hours a day, it would take me four days to walk there.  The truth is that it would probably take me longer.

Assuming that the young teenage Mary was a little fitter than a much older priest who has seen better days, perhaps she experienced four or five or even six days of walking and wondering, aware of the growing presence of Jesus within her.  Journeying is something that she would become particularly familiar with in the months and years to come.  She makes the difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, heavily pregnant.  Some time later, she journeys from Bethlehem to Jerusalem with a new born baby.  There is the escape into Egypt, seeking safety from danger, seeking asylum.  Years later, she makes the familiar journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem with her twelve year old son, wise beyond his years, causing her to wonder.  As she watches her child grow into a man, and begin his public ministry, she continues her journeys with Jesus.  She is always at a distance, but never far away, and she is there when her son is torn apart by pain and suffering on that Via Dolorosa journey to Golgotha, with the cross, to the cross.

Mary is a well-travelled woman.  Now, at the end of her journey through life, as she bids goodbye to her earthly life, her journey continues still. She, like each of us, is a pilgrim whose destination is heaven.  She, like us, will never really be at home in this world, as St Paul reminds us. She – whose body has been a home to the Lord – is assumed to heaven, body and soul.  Where Mary has gone, we are destined to follow.  She was the first to receive Jesus.  And now she is the first to share his glory. As we make our torchlight procession with the image of Mary in our midst, we are reminded that, like Mary, we are a pilgrim people.  As we gaze above us to the fireworks in the sky, we are reminded of our destiny which is heaven.

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