An update on our Synod action plan

In  October 2021, in preparation for the Worldwide Synod in Rome, we were invited to be part of the listening process by reflecting on our experiences and offering our thoughts about the church of the future.  We held meetings and collected written responses.  Early in 2022 we sent our conclusions to the Diocese whose report contributed to the national (Wales and England) report and to the continental (Europe) report.   

The first of two Synod sessions took place in October 2023 – the second takes place this October. The report of the first session entitled ‘ A Synodal Church in Mission’ speaks of  ‘A church which integrates communion, mission and participation’.  It describes a synodal church as characterised by praying, listening, speaking and discerning and as ‘Christians walking in communion with Christ towards the Kingdom, along with the whole of humanity’.

So how are we doing in light of this challenging agenda?  What have we done since we did our reports in March 2022?

The two Parish Advisory Councils met in October 2022.  We identified  three areas for action – outreach to our local community, catering for families and young people and communications. 

The Free Food Market was already running and there were plans for a Sustainable Clothes and Books Market and a weekly Welcome Space. All three are flourishing and the feedback from those who attend demonstrates we are building good and supportive links with the local community.  Quiz nights and the Winter film afternoons provide further social dimensions to this outreach.  We have also produced a leaflet about the 3 Churches for the occupants of new housing in the area and to share with friends, neighbours and visitors to our churches.

We have improved our links with families and after the disruption of the pandemic it is a joy to see them returning.  We have strengthened our ties with Christ the King Primary School ; we have Sunday morning children’s liturgies in St Paul’s and Christ the King; and monthly family Masses at Christ the King.  The sacramental programmes continue to flourish – there are 45 children preparing for First Communion and around 20 young people for Confirmation.  But we are still not catering for young people once they have been confirmed.  The Diocese is developing a youth service and we want to help our young people to participate in the activities they offer. 

As regards communications there has been a lot of activity.  The content and format of this  newsletter have been revised, the website is being updated, the 5th edition of the Grapevine magazine is about to be published, the 3 Churches Directory has been updated and we now stream services from St Brigid’s and Christ the King.  In this newsletter you will find information about establishing the register of 3 church members – a key request in the Synod sessions following  the difficulties of keeping in touch during the pandemic.  

We are making progress.  In the coming months with the establishment of the Deanery Pastoral Council we hope to offer our experience to other parishes and to learn from them about becoming a Synodal Church which listens and integrates communion, mission and participation.   If you have ideas for achieving this please make your voice heard. 


Elizabeth Taylor       Chair Christ the King Parish Advisory Council

Karen Sylvester       Chair St Brigid’s and St Paul’s Parish Advisory Council

The original image of Divine Mercy

The Divine Mercy

The Divine Mercy image is well-known and can be seen in many churches. What is less well-known is that the one we are familiar with was not the original version. The first painting was made in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, under the supervision of St Faustina Kowalska and her confessor, Fr Sopoćko. She gave the artist instructions about the appearance of the image, which she said she had received from Jesus Christ in a vision. The final painting satisfied neither Fr Sopocko nor Faustina, but she later wrote that Jesus told her it was not that important for the picture to be beautiful since true beauty would be the blessing that he would bestow upon people by means of the painting. 

After its completion in 1934, the painting hung in the Bernardine Sisters’ convent in Vilnius, but Faustina wrote that Jesus told her to inform her confessor that the proper place for the painting was in a church. So the first public exposition of the painting was in April 1935, at the Church of the Gate of Dawn in Vilnius, and then in 1937 it was put on display beside the main altar in the large St. Michael’s Church. 

In 1948, the Soviet authorities, who then occupied Lithuania, closed St. Michael’s Church, but the painting remained in the disused church building until 1951, when two local women bought the canvas from a guard and concealed it in an attic for several years. 

Later, they gave it to the parish priest at the Church of the Holy Spirit for safekeeping, but he chose not to display it in the church. Fr Sopocko, now living in Poland, expressed concern about it to a friend, who obtained the painting and moved it to his own parish church in Nova Ruda, in Belarus. There, it was displayed and venerated by the local parishioners. In 1970, the Soviets closed that church and used it as a storage warehouse but left the painting hanging in the disused church, where people continued to venerate it in secret. 

In 1986, the painting was replaced by a copy and the original secretly transported back to the Church of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius. There it underwent a restoration and was displayed. Finally, after the fall of Communism, in 2003 the painting, which had deteriorated because of exposure, attempts at cleaning, and the previous restoration, was professionally restored to its original look. Finally in 2005, it was moved to its current location, above the main altar in the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Vilnius. So, four locations in Vilnius, then to Belarus and eventually back home to Vilnius.

The week of Holiness

Next week Palm Sunday (24 March 2024) sees the beginning of Holy Week, the very heart of the Church’s year. We come together to remember, celebrate and share the very central events of our faith as we follow Jesus through the last week of his life on Earth.  Please make a very special effort to be present and help us all celebrate this Week of Holiness. This is how you can take part:

Palm Sunday – 24 March 2024
Parish Mass, 9.30am at Christ the King.
Parish Mass, 10.30am at St Brigid’s starting with a procession from the hall.
Both with palms blessed and distributed.
Stations of the Cross, 4pm at Christ the King.

Monday 25 March 2024
Parish Mass, 9.30am at St Brigid’s with morning prayer at 9.10am.
Passover Meal, 7pm at St Brigid’s Hall.
Come and experience the ancient roots of the Mass.

Tuesday 26 March 2024
Parish Mass, 9.30am at Christ the King with morning prayer at 9.10am.
Chrism Mass, 11.30am at the Cathedral. Join people and priests from all over the diocese as the sacramental oils for the year are blessed and priests’ promises renewed.

Wednesday 27 March 2024
Parish Mass, 9.30am at St Paul’s.

Thursday 28 March 2024
3 Churches Maundy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 8pm at Christ the King.
Watching at the Altar of Repose in the parish centre until midnight.

Good Friday – 29 March 2024
Morning Prayer, 10am at Christ the King.
Commemoration of the Passion and Death of Our Lord, 3pm at Christ the King (with children’s liturgy) and St Paul’s.

Holy Saturday – 30 March 2024
Holy Saturday, 10am Morning Prayer at Christ the King.
3 Churches Easter Vigil and First Mass of Easter, 8.30pm St Brigid’s.
No Saturday evening mass at Christ the King.

Easter Sunday – 31 March 2024
Easter Sunday Masses at usual times.

Note clocks go forward one hour for summer time on 31 March.

Confirmation 2024

We are planning our Confirmation programme for those who would like to be confirmed this year – that is current year 8 and up.

This is an important sacrament in the life of our young people. This year we are working with St Philip Evans Parish for the preparation.

If this is you, please download, save and complete this Microsoft Word form and then email your completed form to Ansti Corellis at so we can contact you.

If you are unable to download and edit the above Word form, you can send an email to Ansti with the details as shown in this pdf version of the form (non-editable). 

The sacrament will take place on Friday 5 July at St Brigid’s. Further information can be obtained from Canon Matthew at .

We are always looking for people to help run the course. If you think you could help in this important stage of our young people’s formation then please let Canon Matthew know.

Moving On – In Wales and throughout the World

There are two significant gatherings happening in our area over the next few weeks, one regarding the Church in South Wales and the other concerning the ongoing Synod.

Cardiff and Menevia

First, as announced in his Pastoral Letter on 17 December, Archbishop Mark has invited two representatives from each parish to attend a Consultation Meeting with him in Miskin on Saturday 10 February, to look at the shape of the Catholic Church in South Wales in the future. One of these representatives will be the Chair of each Parish Advisory Council but it is important that all views are heard in this process. Please let Fr Matthew know as soon as possible if you would be willing and able to attend this meeting.

The Synod from the Inside

Second, Austen Ivereigh will lead an afternoon on Wednesday 24 January at the Cornerstone in Charles Street. This will be a workshop on “A Synodal Church in Mission”. Dr Austen Ivereigh is a UK-based Roman Catholic journalist, author, commentator and biographer of Pope Francis, now living in Herefordshire. He was one of the expert facilitators at the recent Synod in Rome which began on 4 October 2023, and will certainly be able to give an inside view on what happened in Rome in October and where we go from here. This will be an open meeting. The report from Rome in October can be found here –

Fr Matthew