In the early 60s it was up and down, up and down St Peters Street; in the later 60s it was back and for, back and for across St Illtyd’s playground, Edgar Welch bellowing what sounded like “lift… lift…lift right lift”. On the day, it was marching round behind the jail, making sure you didn’t get stuck to the soft tar covering the old tram lines, or get caught in the bits that were still showing. It was the sound of St Albans or St Patricks Band somewhere up ahead belting out “Sweet Sacrament Divine” or “Sweet Heart of Jesus” or, of course, “Faith of Our Father”.
It was the build-up of the crowd from the Monument and up St Mary Street. It was maybe spotting Mum somewhere in there. Then it was the final turn in front of the castle and through the West Gate to the grassy scene. It was spotting all the different coloured school uniforms, until suddenly the girls were strewing their flowers. It was the Archbishop – or was he some kind of prince? – passing by and then blessing one and all with the fine golden monstrance. Or rather, Jesus blessing us in His bready Eucharistic reality.
By the late 1970s it was getting difficult to get the older school-kids to walk, and likewise, if we are honest, some of the teachers. Now it was a shorter walk, just from King Edward VII Avenue to the Arms Park for Mass.
In 1989, Archbishop Ward asked me to take over chairing the committee running the afternoon – a poisoned chalice, if ever there was one. 1994, and we held it in the then CIA and presented the delegates for the late- lamented diocesan Pastoral Congress held the next year. And that was it. It wasn’t “killed off” by the then Archbishop, at least not only – it was dying on its own.
Corpus Christi – then part of Catholic Cardiff. Now, of course, commemorated in bricks and mortar in our local High School’s name. Various processions have been held in different parts of our diocese since then – this year here in Nazareth House. Was it triumphalist? I don’t know… Caused traffic chaos? Difficult to say so after the Velothon…
What do you think?