St. Alban's

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JULY, 1891

Ten years ago the flat land just outside the
town of Cardiff, known as the East Moors,was, with the exception of a few
cultivated fields attached to the farms of Pengam and the Splot, a sloppy waste
stretching its dreary length to the shores of the Severn estuary, the monotony
of the scene being broken only by ditches and gates. But at Cardiff great
changes occur-in the course of ten years, and the past decade has seen this
low-lying wilderness fall a prey to the building contractors, who have mapped
it out into streets and covered it with a bewildering maze of houses, shops,
taverns and Board schools. The various "sects," and notably the Anglicans. have
been prompt in erecting places of worship in this new district, and the Church
has of course been stirring. None too soon, for the many Catholics, who inhabit
the East Moors are a long way from St. Peter's, Roath, and many of them belong
to the class who consider the distance of a mile an ample excuse for missing
Mass. This excuse can no longer be urged, for the school-chapel of St. Alban
was dedicated to the Divine Service on Wednesday, the 24th Tune. The building,
a very substantial and handsome one, was erected by the Rev. John Bailey, of
the Fathers of Charity, who have charge of the new mission, situated in the
still unfinished Swinton Street, on the very margin of the advancing tide of
house-building. In ten years more it will probably be in the thick of this
quickly-growing suburb. The lower storey is intended to serve as an infant
school, and the upper will be used as a chapel until such time as the growth of
the population will warrant the erection of a permanent church on the adjoining
piece of land which has been secured for this purpose. At half-past ten on the
morning in question the ceremony of dedication commenced. His Lordship the
Bishop of Newport and Menevia, assisted in the function by the clergy of St
Peter's and other reverend fathers, first made a tour of the chapel, sprinkling
it and the congregation with holy water, after which the Litany of the saints
was chanted. This was followed by an address from his Lordship on the great
dignity of St. John Baptist, whose feast was then being celebrated, and the
privileges and duties which are attached to the possession of a new church and
school such as these. The Bishop reminded his hearers that St, John Baptist's
day was to the summer something like what Christmas Day was to the winter; that
is to say, a great central Christian feast, the observances of which were to
some extent leavened with pre-Christian traditions which the Church had
hallowed arid Christianised. The Pagans celebrated at Christmas time the sun's
victory over the powers of darkness, and at mid-summer his supreme triumph and
the attainment of the zenith of his glory. This adoration of the powers of
nature was by the earliest Christian missionaries transferred to an object
worthy of man's worship, ..namely, the Sun of justice, Christ the Lord.
Referring to the question of education, his Lordship said that it was difficult
to foresee what would be the ultimate outcome of the latest phase of the
controversy as to free schools; but one thing was certain, the Catholic Church
never would or could forego her claim to direct the education of her children.
The Bishop then vested for Mass, with the Rev. Fathers Cormack and Harrison as
deacon and sub-deacon. This, the first Mass said at St. Alban's, was offered up
for the welfare of those who had aided in the establishment of the mission. The
musical portion of the service was under the direction of the Very Rev. Mgr.
Williams, V,G. At the close of Mass, his Lordship published the usual
indulgence to those present, and the function concluded with Benediction of the
Blessed Sacrament. St. Alban's Chapel is very tasteful and devotional in its
internal appointments. The altar and reredos are those which formerly belonged
to the Lady Chapel at St. Peter's-white, with monograms in blue and gold. On
the wall over the back of the altar is the Calvary which used to hang in old
St. David's; and at either side are fine images of Our Blessed Lady and St.
John Evangelist, from the same church. A large number of the foremost Catholics
of Cardiff attended the ceremony, and among them were the Marquis and
Marchioness of Bute. In future there will be Mass every Sunday at St. Alban's,
and only three Masses at St. Peter's-at eight, half-past nine, and eleven.

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