Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

St David, Patron of Wales

Today is the feast day of St David of Wales (500-589) and also is the National Day of Wales. Few Filipinos are aware that the United Kingdom consists of four countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each country has its own national day. Scotland is on November 30, St Andrews Day, England has April 2, St George's day, Ireland has March 17, St Patrick's day and Wales on March 1. Each National day is the feast day of a Catholic saint!

St David was a monk and first bishop of Menevia, Wales and tradition states that he was ordained as bishop in Jerusalem, when he went on pilgrimage. He founded the monastery of Menevia, which became the see of the bishopric. He was a holy man and worked miracles even in his lifetime.  He founded many monasteries in England and Wales. Very few historical accounts are known about the saint but we do know he attended the council of Brevi in 545 AD and it was here by common consent of the bishops present that he was made archbishop.

St David is associated with the daffodil, the national flower of Wales.  Daffodils were believed to have grown around his monastery. The other national symbol for Wales, the leek, is said to have been eaten by St David and his monks.

Here is the BCP collect for David, Saint of Wales

"Almighty God, you called your servant David to be a faithful and wise steward of your mysteries for the people of Wales: Mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the Gospel of Christ, we may with him receive our heavenly reward; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

St David is venerated by the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Churches. The Orthodox preserve the tradition that he journeyed to Jerusalem to be raised to the dignity of archbishop by the Patriarch. St David's relics still are venerated at St David's Cathedral in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales. In the Philippines, one Episcopal Church parish in Nueva Ecija is dedicated in his honor.

It is worth noting that the national identities of the countries of the United Kingdom are strongly rooted in the undivided Catholic faith as lived by her saints. This is relevant witness in a UK that is becoming more secular in a way that Christianity is marginalized. Pope Benedict XVI reminded the British during his visit last September that the liberties that Britain enjoys today are rooted in the Christian witness of these national saints.

St David, Monk and Bishop of Wales, pray for us to God!

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