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40 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 02 September 2012

Holy Islands: Bishop Stephen Oliver visits Caldey Island in the in the last of the summer services exploring the spirituality of islands on Britain's coastline. As a place of prayer and pilgrimage, the community of Cistercian Brothers live by the old saying: "to work is to pray". Producer: Sian Baker.

  • Caldey Island

    Bishop Stephen Oliver crosses over to Caldey Island, home to a community of Cistercian brothers. The Island has been a place of prayer and pilgrimage since the first monk’s came in the 6th Century. It’s an integral part of their spirituality that there’s no separation between the work of their prayers and the work of their hands. In the words of the old saying ‘To work is to pray’.

    Worship will be both in the ancient Church of St Illtyd and outside in God’s Cathedral and the hymns and music will come from Wales and other traditions around the country.
    On arrival, Bishop Stephen is greeted by Father Gildas, the Island’s historian.

    MUSIC – Guide me O Thou Great Jehovah (Cwm Rhondda)
    Performed by Morriston Orpheus Choir from their CD: ‘Always on My Mind’ published by Grasmere.

    In St Illtyd’s Church, Bishop Stephen talks to Father Gildas about the Island’s history and then asks him about his own personal experience at Caldey. He then meets the Abbott, Father Daniel, who outlines the monks daily routine of prayer. He also highlights the need for an actual place for prayer and worship, taking us into our first Reading about the Temple in the Old Testament

    READING – 1 Kings 8:26-30 – by the Abbot
    PRAYER - Abbot
    MUSIC – Psalm 121
    Performed by St. John’s College Choir, Cambridge from the CD ‘World of Psalms’ published by Decca.

    Brother Stephen goes outside to find out about some of the work that goes on in the Monastery and talks with Brothers Benedict and Anthony. Income for the upkeep of the Island comes from tourism and the making of perfume, chocolate, bread and shortbread. The monks are also responsible for the upkeep of the monastery and work regularly in the kitchen.

    READING – 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
    MUSIC performed by the Monks of the Cistercian Abbey Stift Heiligenkreuz from their CD ‘Music for Paradise/Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz’ published by UCJ
    Bishop Stephen talks with the Island’s poet, Brother David about the requests for prayer that come via the internet and those left by visitors in St Iltyd’s Church. He then reads one of his poems, The Old Priory which is based on some of the prayers that have been submitted.
    The abbot gives a reflection on prayer, based on Luke.

    READING - Luke11:1 -10
    HYMN – Teach me my God & King in all things Thee to see
    Performed by Cardiff Festival Choir from the CD ‘Hymns of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ published by Griffin

    The monks lead us in our intercessions which begin with some of their own chanting.

    HYMN – All creatures of our God and King
    Performed by Cardiff Festival Choir from the CD ‘Hymns of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ published by Griffin.

    Father Gildas bids Bishop Stephen farewell and a safe crossing.


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