Monday, 1 March 2010

HAPPY ST DAVID’S DAY



1st March is a very special day. It is the day on which all red blooded Welshmen (wherever they are) celebrate the feast of their Patron Saint, St David. At the special St David’s Day Mass today, the schoolchildren will be decked out in something typically Welsh. There will be a sea of red Welsh Rugby Shirts, yellow daffodils, tall black Welsh Hats, Leeks and Red Dragons! The children always make their own special contribution to the Mass with their singing and readings. All in all, the St David’s Day Mass is lovely and the presence of the children makes it even lovelier!

Legend has it that St David of Wales was born around 462. He was the son of a chieftain in Cardigan and St Non. He was baptised by St Ailbe, Bishop of Munster.

Sometime after David was ordained a priest, together with three disciples, he went to a place called Hodnant in Welsh. In Irish it was known as Mynyw. It is now called St David’s and there they founded their monastery. The Rule David drew up for himself and his monks was exceedingly strict. David acquired the nickname ‘Dewi Ddyfrwr’ or ‘David the Waterman’, because of his daily practice of immersing himself in cold water for long periods of prayer!

The fame of David’s sanctity soon attracted many followers. He died on 1st March, but the year is not certain. As he lay dying, David admonished his monks, “Brothers, be joyful and keep the faith. Do those little things you have seen and heard from me.” He was buried in his own church and his shrine became a popular pilgrimage site. In mediaeval Britain, for penitential purposes, two pilgrimages to St David’s were equal to one pilgrimage to Rome. In the year 1140, William of Malmesbury stated that Pope Callixtus granted the same indulgence to those who went twice to St David’s as to those who went once to Rome.

Today, St David’s Shrine may be found in the beautiful St David’s Cathedral, built on the site of his former monastery. Over the centuries, the original shrine was desecrated several times and, during the Reformation, destroyed. In the 1800s some bones, thought to be the saint’s, were discovered under the floor of Holy Trinity Chapel. They are now in a splendid oak casket and pilgrims still come to honour the Patron Saint of Wales.

12 comments:

  1. Just this morning my son was looking at our calendar and asked, "what is St. David's Day (Wales)?" I told him that I was sure St. David must be the patron saint of Wales. I will read your post to him later. Happy St. David's Day to you!

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  2. A very special Happy Feast Day to you! I love telling my sisters and coworkers that I have a friend in Wales. Now I can tell them about your patron saint also!

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  3. “Brothers, be joyful and keep the faith. Do those little things you have seen and heard from me.” St. David's last words echo the way he lived his life.

    We heard similar words in the Sunday readings yesterday from St. Paul, "Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers and sisters,
    and observe those who thus conduct themselves
    according to the model you have in us."

    St. David lived and died sharing his faith with us all.

    Happy St. David's Day.

    God bless

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  4. Blessings on St. David's Day!
    Happy St. David's Day
    Dydd Gwyl Dewi Dedwydd

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  5. BG, you taught me about another new saint! Mahalo. Happy St. David Day to you dear lady.

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  6. Sorry, I'm very late with my wishes today:

    Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus!

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  7. Indeed, it is a Happy Day. I have a grandson named David (after his great, great, great Grandfather David Jones from Wales.

    I sent him a link to the blog along with some bio from Butler's Lives of the Saints. Thanks for your stories of great Saints. They are such an inspiration! What soft lives we live in the modern world compared to the ascetics of old.

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  8. Happy St. David's Day from another red blooded Welshmen...half anyway! :) My last name is Davis, and I've got the dark hair to go with it...what does that tell you? The name is far too common for me to worry about posting it here.

    I hope you have a very special St. David's Day breadgirl...and that you receive some special graces in honor of the day. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the day with your readers.

    I can't imagine standing in ice cold water to pray...I wouldn't be able to focus! ;)

    God bless you and yours....

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  9. Hi Breadgirl. It was nice of you to leave a comment on my blog. Malta is a lovely island but unfortunately we Maltese do not appreciate its beauty. It's the foreigners who make us aware of the beauty we take so much for granted.

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  10. Having been away, forgive me for these very belated greetings for Dewi Sant.

    Next year I'll try and remember to post my story about 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau' to mark the occasion.

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  11. Hello Friends
    Thank you all most sincerely for visiting, for your comments, and for your St David's Day Greetings. It was a lovely day here and I hope, wherever you are, that it was a lovely day for you, too. God bless you all.

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