Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Tuesday, 27 July 2010 13:35 UK
The Pope to bless sacred statue
Statue of Our Lady of the taper
The origianl statue was housed at St Mary's church, which dates back to around 1158

A statue which is sacred to Welsh Catholics is to be blessed by Pope Benedict XVI during his UK visit.

The statue of Our Lady of the Taper normally resides in the Catholic National Shrine of Wales in Cardigan.

But it will be taken to London in September when the Pontiff will bless and light the taper candle in the hand of the Virgin Mother.

The ceremony will take place at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 18 September 2010.

The original statue was taken to London in 1538 during the Reformation and destroyed at the request of King Henry VIII's chief Minister, Thomas Cromwel
Rev Father Jason Jones

The idea for the statue's pilgrimage to London came from Rev Father Jason Jones, who is the Rector of the National Shrine.

When it was announced that the Papal visit to Britain would not include a visit to Wales, Father Jones contacted Tom Burns, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Menevia, suggesting that the statue could be taken to London to be blessed by The Pope.

Pilgrims

"The Bishop was in Rome at the time and he put the idea to The Holy Father," said Father Jones.

"He also showed The Holy Father where Cardigan was on the map.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI visits England and Scotland from 16 to 19 September

"We then submitted a formal request which was accepted by a committee responsible for the Papal visit."

The statue will start its journey to London on Wednesday, 15 September, accompanied by Father Jones and 60 pilgrims from the Diocese of Menevia, including 22 from Cardigan.

They will hold a vigil and prayer reception at Clifton Cathedral that night before completing their journey on the next day.

Consecrated

According to legend, a statue of Our Lady and Child was found beside the River Teifi with a burning taper in her hand.

The statue was housed at St Mary's church, which dates back to around 1158, making the shrine more than 800 years old.

Pope John Paul II in Cardiff in 1982
Pope John Paul II designated Our Lady of The Taper Wales' national shrine

Father Jones, said: "The original statue was taken to London in 1538 during the Reformation and destroyed at the request of King Henry VIII's chief Minister, Thomas Cromwell."

In the 1950s a new statue was carved in London, blessed at Westminster Cathedral, before being taken taken to Cardigan in 1956, where it was placed in Our Lady of Sorrows church.

A new church, Our Lady of the Taper, was consecrated 14 years later when the statue was placed in its current home.

In 1986, it was recast in bronze and a candle blessed by Pope John Paul II in Rome was placed in the statue's hand.

The Pontiff, at this time, also designated Our Lady of The Taper as Wales' National Shrine.




SEE ALSO
'Mecca of Methodism' celebrated
15 Jul 10 |  Religion & Ethics
Pilgrims at 'beautiful' service
08 Apr 05 |  Wales
Rome atmosphere 'moves' pilgrims
07 Apr 05 |  Wales


BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific