Day for Religious, 2nd February 2023 - Celebration in the English Province
For the first time since Covid hit this country, religious brothers and sisters, monks and priests were able to come together to celebrate the Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. On 2nd February, nine other congregations from both the dioceses that form the Archdiocese of Cardiff came to join us at Llantarnam Abbey.
The long-awaited gathering began in Ty Croeso where refreshments were served. The excited buzz of people meeting again after so long had to be heard to be believed. So much news to exchange! Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Mark O’Toole who, since his installation last year, has made it clear that he wants to hear the voice of religious. In his homily he showed his appreciation for the unique charisms of the different congregations present and what they contribute to the life of the Archdiocese. He then joined us all for a simple and tasty meal - and more chatter - in the library. His presence with us when he has such a busy schedule in the two dioceses was much appreciated. Despite our dwindling numbers, he clearly values what religious can still offer the life of the archdiocese.
The afternoon began with a prayer service followed by a reflection on religious life given by Fr. Matthew Carney OSB, Vicar for Religious who, with Sr. Mary Michael and Sr. Alice, had organised the day. After a concluding prayer, we returned to Ty Croeso for a final cup of tea, and more chat.
The atmosphere that day will not be forgotten. It was a time both of joy at seeing each other again after so long, but also of a tinge of sadness as, for most of our brothers and sisters, this would be the last time they would be visiting the Abbey. Later this year, we too will be saying goodbye to what has been our spiritual home since 1946.
This was the first time that Religious from the two neighbouring dioceses celebrated this day for consecrated life together and this “new mix” added its own richness. The suggestion was made that the other diocese will host next year’s gathering.