In memory of Fr Graham Francis SSC
‘Love for love’
‘He was a man of love – a tender-hearted man who felt deeply, though he acted strongly.‘
Cities, towns and communities change. Buildings come and go, the landscape is transformed, the skyline altered. But the story of a city, and the story of Cardiff, isn’t about buildings and skylines. It’s about people.
Each of us has a part to play in our community. We contribute to its identity, bring change, form a future for others to inherit and it’s fascinating sometimes to unfold the stories of some of those people, highlighting how they have lived and helped to create the community of which we are part today. It’s one of these people that we’ll be discovering on this trail.
A Pioneer Priest
Fr Griffith Arthur Jones was a pioneer priest of the late nineteenth century. He was such a pioneer that his legacy lives on today, over 150 years later, not only in the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Cardiff where he was Vicar from 1872 to 1903 but across the Church in Wales at large.
He stands out as one of the great figures of the catholic movement in our land.
PART 1: The first part of the trail takes us around Cardiff, the place in which he spent the largest part of his ministry.
PART 2: The second part travels throughout Wales, exploring the earlier part of his life.
A year or so after his death in 1906, a biography of his life, ‘Fr Jones of Cardiff: A Memoir’ was published. This book, along with other witnesses of the time, will accompany us on our journey.
We’ll also have a little help from a few others across the Diocese and beyond: priests and laity who are grateful for the heritage of Fr Jones and who, today, walk the same path of catholic faith and witness.
Listen to what the Revd George Body said of Fr Jones in the Preface to his biography.
AUDIO TEXT: “He was a strong man, a man whose inner nature was in harmony with his physical frame. He was strong in his convictions, strong in loyalty to them in utterance and in conduct, strong in his splendid courage (I do not think that he knew what the fear of man was), strong in his invincible determination of purpose, strong in his love of righteousness, strong in his devotion to Christ and His Church-and all this because he was “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
But he was also a man of love – a tender-hearted man who felt deeply, though he acted strongly. Those who knew him best knew the tenderness of his nature. In him strength was tempered with love, and especially with one of its most winsome forms, pastoral love – that lore which flows into the true pastor out of the heart of the Good Shepherd, a love as beautiful as it is unique.
How he loved His people! How he loved them and bore with them and sympathized with them in the specially difficult and dangerous moral conditions of his parish! How he loved the children, above all! What signs of this were visible to those who went about his parish with him! He knew his people, and they knew him. He called them by name; he gave his life for them. And they knew it, and gave him love for love.”