1 March 2019

S David

A great Saint, a great Feast, a great Nation. Last autumn, Pam and I went to visit his Shrine in his great Cathedral. It contains bones which a previous Dean convinced himself were those of S David ... but probably aren't. William Barlow, a nasty 'reforming' bishop (one of Matthew Parker's consecrators), confiscated the relics after the Dean disobeyed his order that they should not be exposed for veneration on his Festival. (S Caradog, however, is presumed still to be where the Reformers left him.)

But S David's day for me will always recall one particular March 1 at Lancing, when my colleague and brother priest lost - happily, only temporarily - the power of utterance.

We had at Lancing a daily Mass, attended on a voluntary basis by anything between half-a-dozen and thirty masters and students. We also had a Welsh Methodist Senior Master whose innate enthusiasm for everything that went on in Chapel was ... limited. One S David's Day, wearing his daffodil, he was loudly complaining in Common Room about the fact that, in his words, S David's Day had been totally ignored as far as Chapel was concerned. Of course, that 'fact' was no fact; the day hadn't been ignored at all; two chaplains and more than twenty laity had gathered for Mass, had honoured S David, and had prayed for the Principality.

My normally gentle and mild-mannered colleague was rendered wordless with fury. As he said to me when he had recovered the faculty of speech, "Whatever does the bl**dy man think we were doing in Chapel this morning before breakfast ... when he wasn't there?"

But I doubt if it had ever occured to 'Taffy', as the students used to call the poor old thing, that S David was not an anti-sacramental Welsh Methodist minister but a Catholic priest who offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Likewise, the current 'bishop' and 'dean' at S David's probably assume that S David was as female as they both are.

Happily, the proud flag ot the Redeemer's Five Wounds flies often over Newman Hall, the Catholic Chaplaincy at Cardiff University. Clergy and students there are a fantastic crowd!

1 comment:

Grant Milburn said...

You should have made Taffy eat his leek. Cf the comic relief that Olivier retained in his Henry V, but Branagh omitted.