Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mair O Aberteifi- Our Lady of the Taper, Assumption Pilgrimage (15 August)EF LATIN MASS

I have been asked to remind everyone living in the UK of this pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Taper in CARDIGAN on the West Wales coast.At 12 Noon Mass will be celebrated in the Extraordinary form(Tridentine) YOU WILL NEED A PACKED LUNCH. Mass, the Great Mission begins at 12 noon.


Our Lady of the Taper,
North Road,
SA43 1LT,
Tel: 01239 612615
Fax: 01239 6159417
Cardigan is in west Wales, 20 miles north of Fishguard. Important in the middle ages, it is now a pleasant market town of 4500 people. Catholics are few, and Mass attendance is only 150 although the parish stretches 30 miles along the coast.
From London take the M4, and then the A48 to Carmarthen, where you find the sign to Cardigan, which is 30 miles distant. If travelling from the north, head for Aberystwyth. Cardigan is 38 miles south on the A487.
The church is on the road running north-south through town. It lies towards the northern end, opposite the rugby field. The shrine chapel and church are open daily from 9:00am.

If you are staying overnight there are several good B and B guest houses nearby in addition to local hotels.

Here is some of the History of this ancient Shrine from their blog
www.ourlady of the

During the middle ages there was a notable pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady in Cardigan. A beautiful legend describes how a statue of Mary was found by the side of the river Teifi, "and her sonne upon her lappe, and the taper bernynge in her hande". It was taken to the parish church but would not remain there, returning three or four times to "the place where now is builded the Church of our Lady", the present St. Mary's church. A chantry priest sang Mass daily in honour of Our Lady for pilgrims who came to pray and leave gifts. They lodged with the Knights Hospitallers of St. John, where the Angel Hotel now stands.

St. Mary's dates from 1158. If it was built to hold the statue then Our Lady of Cardigan is indeed ancient. It resembles an earlier shrine in the city of Arras, which was then in Flanders. Did Flemish merchants, who settled in Cardigan and traded in Welsh wool out of the port, bring the statue back with them?

Outside town, on the old pilgrim track, lie the ruins of a building by a stream. It is called Capel Bach (Little Chapel), and may have been an oratory where travellers prayed before walking the last mile to the shrine. It is the same distance from St. Mary's as Walsingham Slipper Chapel is from the shrine there.

St. Mary's was a priory church of Chertsey Abbey. Benedictine monks cared for it until 1538, when they were expelled and the shrine destroyed.

Devotion to Mary was once universal in Wales. Many places are called Llanfair or Capel Mair (Mary's church, chapel), and dozens of flowers and plants bear her name. No girl was given the name Mair (Mary), as it was reserved for Our Lady.
There was a lesser taper shrine in Haverfordwest. The most notable is at Cagliari in Sardinia, where in 1370 a Catalonian ship foundered offshore, and a statue of Our Lady of the Taper was brought to land. A church was built for it on a headland, and named Santa Maria di Bonaria (of the good air), for people said its presence had cleared the place of a pestilential atmosphere. Spain controlled Cagliari, and its sailors adopted Santa Maria di Bonaria as their shrine.

Ransomer priests cared for it. They were great seafarers, as their vocation was to rescue Christian captives from the Moors. They became chaplains to the Spanish navy, and sailed with Columbus, bringing their devotion with them. They founded a shrine in Cuba. Others, named La Candelaria, are to be found in Tenerife, Guatemala and Rio de Janeiro. Buenos Aires was once called Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires (the Spanish name for the Cagliari shrine).

We do not know how the devotion transferred to Barcelona and Cagliari. In the 1320's and 1330's Catalonian sailors had thronged British waters. Did they come to Cardigan, see the shrine and copy it?

In 1904 Breton monks, in exile near Cardigan, revived the devotion, giving the title Our Lady of Cardigan to their abbey church and also to the little church they opened in town in 1912. They left in 1916, and another generation passed before the name was heard again. More information at:

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