A week ago HRH Prince Charles received the Bridge Award from the Council of Christians and Jews, an award that recognises “an exceptional and leading contribution to building bridges between people in a Christian-Jewish or wider setting.”
The award was announced in 2020, but the presentation itself was delayed due to the global health crisis.
“Trying to build bridges between faith communities and to deepen mutual understanding, has been a major part of my life’s work.”
When questioned about this in the context of the title ‘Defender of the Faith’ which he would inherit as monarch, he has said:
“I mind about the inclusion of other people’s faiths and their freedom to worship in this country, and it’s always seemed to me that while at the same time being Defender of the Faith you can also be protector of faiths.”
It is with this background that Prince Charles chose to include St. Winefride’s Shrine and Well at Holywell on his annual visit to the Principality.
So yesterday, I had the privilege of welcoming him and escorting him on a tour of the Shrine in the company of Father Justin Karakadu, SDV
The visit of Prince Charles was at least the seventh visit of royalty in the Shrine’s 1300 year history. He saw the fine interior of St. Winefride’s Chapel and the fascinating architecture of the Crypt. He lit a candle, knelt to touch the waters and prayed at the statue and relic of St. Winefride. He also learned of the history of pilgrimage and healing at the Well, together with the centuries of unbroken Catholic devotion there.
Before he left, he greeted children of Year 6 from St. Winefride’s Catholic Primary School, and was introduced to Shrine volunteers and staff, and also the Bridgettine Sisters.
Finally, Canon Francis Doyle from the Diocese of Wrexham presented the Prince with a leather bound copy of T.W.Pritchard’s book ‘St. Winefride, Her Holy Well and the Jesuit Mission, c.650-1930’, in commemoration of his visit.
Photographs of the visit, taken by Canon Zbigniew Swoboda can be seen on Flickr: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmW8Qt6T