Radio Wales


‘When Pope John Paul II came to Wales’

Radio Wales: Thu 4 Mar 2021, 6:30pm

Mai Davies reunites those who could say ‘I Was There’ at a moment in Welsh history. She asks her guests to recall the Papal visit of John Paul II in 1982.

Huge crowds gathered in Cardiff on June 2nd, 1982 to see the Pontiff become the first reigning Pope to visit Wales. Addressing 150,000 people at Pontcanna Fields, the Polish-born pontiff began the Mass in Welsh. The Pope’s message: “Bendith Duw arnoch” – “the blessing of God be on you” – was received with rapturous applause.

Three people who were there on that historic day share their memories and reflections. Broadcaster and singer-songwriter Frank Hennessy recalls how he was asked to compose and perform an official song of welcome for the Pope.

“For me it was a great day,” Frank remembers. “There was a lot of excitement running up, and relief that it went well. I can still remember every minute, every second of the day. I suppose it was the highlight of my career.”

Retired teacher Carys Whelan recalls how she was asked to give a reading at the Papal Mass: “It gave me goose pimples, I couldn’t believe they wanted me to do it,” she says. “I lost so much sleep before the big day. I went to a boutique in Bridgend to get myself a good dress. It usually did wedding dresses. They were fascinated with me as I had to get a smart dress for the Pope! I did the Welsh reading – from the Second Epistle of Peter, about coming to the mountain of God. Another time I had to read it at Mass a few years later and I couldn’t read it. I was overcome with emotion. It all came flooding back to me.”

And Canon Mike Evans – then a young Deacon – remembers how he served on the altar that day right next to the Pontiff: “I was there at the Pope’s side the whole way through. I have really happy memories of the day – the youth mass at Ninian Park was incredible.”

Lenten Programme

OUR LADY OF LOURDES – World Day of Prayer for the Sick – 11th February

Please keep in your prayers all the sick and housebound of our Parish and Diocese. Likewise, I ask you to keep in your prayers everyone who may be suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, I ask you to remember three priests of the diocese who are currently receiving medical treatment; Canon William Isaac, Father Kevin Paine.


OUR LADY OF LOURDES: Prepare in Prayer for her feast on 11th February:
Monday 8th February Wednesday 10th February, 3 days of (virtual) prayer from the Cathedral in preparation for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on Thursday 11th February: 6pm Rosary followed by Mass with a reflection by guest clergy, via the live-stream at:; 7pm 8pm Novena Prayers via Zoom Link: 868-571- 1627 / Password: cathedral.


The English text of the Holy Father’s Message for the World Day of the Sick in February is available using the following link: