LONDON, SEPT. 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is acknowledging the ancient Christian roots and Marian devotion of the people of Wales.
The Pope today addressed the faithful of Wales gathered in the plaza outside London’s Cathedral of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, also known as Westminster Cathedral.
The Pontiff was unable to travel to Wales during this four-day state visit to the United Kingdom; thus, he addressed a particular greeting to the pilgrims who came to see him, led by Bishop Edwin Regan of Wrexham, Wales.
The Holy Father said, “I am happy to have this opportunity to honor the nation and its ancient Christian traditions by blessing a mosaic of St. David, the patron saint of the Welsh people, and by lighting the candle of the statue of Our Lady of Cardigan.”
He continued: “St. David was one of the great saints of the sixth century, that golden age of saints and missionaries in these isles, and he was thus a founder of the Christian culture which lies at the root of modern Europe.
“David’s preaching was simple yet profound: His dying words to his monks were, ‘Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things.'”
“Through the ages the Welsh people have been distinguished for their devotion to the Mother of God,” Benedict XVI affirmed. “This is evidenced by the innumerable places in Wales called ‘Llanfair’ — Mary’s Church.”
He said, “As I prepare to light the candle held by Our Lady, I pray that she will continue to intercede with her Son for all the men and women of Wales.”
“Sadly, it was not possible for me to come to Wales during this visit,” the Pope noted. “But I trust that this beautiful statue, which now returns to the National Shrine of Our Lady in Cardigan, will be a lasting reminder of the Pope’s deep love for the Welsh people, and of his constant closeness, both in prayer and in the communion of the Church.”
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