Friday, June 7, 2013

There Be Wales on EWTN Next Week!

Here's some exciting news, received in the weekly Wings email from EWTN: a three part special on Catholicism in Wales!

When speaking of Catholic repression and persecution, Wales is not always a country that comes to mind – yet Catholics in Wales endured repression and persecution from the time of the Roman Empire through the time of Henry VIII and the Protestant Reformation. Fortunately, their faith remained strong. How is that possible – and what can we, as 21st Century Catholics, learn from them?

To find out, tune in to EWTN's original three-part documentary mini-series "Wales – The Golden Threat of Faith." (Airs 3 a.m. ET, 6:30 p.m. ET, and 11 p.m. ET, Monday through Wednesday, June 10-12.)

Filmed on location, Episode One of this beautifully filmed documentary takes you from Roman times to the Age of Saints. Watch as the Romans make a concerted effort to rid British tribes of the druids and see how Christians managed to convert both sides. Although these saints succeeded in making Britain a Christian kingdom, they would face another challenge after the Romans departed and a new wave of pagan barbarians attacked British shores. But even as these pagans pushed the British to the western fringes of their country, Catholic Celtic saints kept the faith alive by travelling the western seas, evangelizing as they went.

Episode Two takes you from the Age of the Saints to the Reformation, a thousand-year period which might be called a Golden Age for the faith in Wales. Despite many invasions by the Normans and the English, this was an age of monks, hermits, holy wells, gloriously illuminated Bibles and beautifully painted churches – as well as a population that placed the local church at the center of their lives. The beautiful Cistercian abbeys were the economic centerpieces of the country, providing care for the sick, agricultural knowledge, and a place for the people to market their goods. You'll also see that the Cistercians were also great keepers and encouragers of Welsh culture, especially literature.

The final episode takes viewers from the Reformation – with King Henry VIII's brutal oppression of the Church and the Catholic faithful – to the present day. Among other things, Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, which reduced the Welsh to penury. Fortunately, many Catholics were protected by Catholic nobility, especially the Earl of Worcester. In the two centuries that followed, Wales, like most countries, would be affected by the many onslaughts of modernity. But today, Welsh Catholics can once again practice their faith as openly – venerating relics by saints such as their own St. Winefride – just as the faithful did during the Age of Saints.

See and share photos of this gorgeous documentary on EWTN's Pinterest page at Look for our "This Week at EWTN" board!

If you don't have EWTN among your cable choices, you could watch on-line here. I am looking forward to this series. (Image: Tintern Abbey)

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