Bishop Thomas Matthew Burns dedicated St Mary’s Church in Carmarthen a Holy Door of Mercy in the Menevia diocese on 31 July 2016.
So it seemed especially fitting that Fr Pius Augustine welcomed the Lampedusa Cross to his beautiful parish for the weekend of 20-21 August.
Following an uplifting celebration of Mass on Sunday morning, parishioners attended a presentation on the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy where we explored what Mercy means to each of us.
“Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life.”
The Holy Father also encourages us to reflect on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
The corporal works: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead.
The Lampedusa Cross reminds us of the suffering and heartache endured by many refugees and offers us the opportunity to show solidarity with them, by welcoming the stranger.
We are also invited to write messages of hope on the prayer cards which will be shared with them at the end of the Year of Mercy. It’s a simple but poignant way of letting our refugee neighbours know that we are thinking about them and praying that they receive a warm welcome and find a safe refuge.
“The practice of pilgrimage has a special place in the Holy Year because it represents the journey each of us makes in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a viator, a pilgrim travelling along the road, making his way to the desired destination.”
Here’s a bit more on the history of St Mary’s: the church was built in 1851-1852 by Miss KF Richardson, the daughter of General Richardson.
It is a Grade II listed building and considered a good early example of revived Gothic style by a leading Victorian designer of Catholic churches – Mr Charles Hansom of Bristol.
The parish was run by the Passionist order from 1889 to 1986.
A flight of six stone steps, flanked by dwarf stone walls lead up to the porch from the ground. At their foot is a medieval stoup on a pedestal, which is believed to have come from the lost chapel of St Barbara.
I am sure that all visitors and pilgrims who visit the Holy Door at St Mary’s in Carmarthen will receive a warm welcome from Fr Pius and his parishioners.