Mr. James January-McCann, BA, MA(dist)(Aber) is recognized as scholar in Celtic Studies and is in the process of writing a Ph.D in the University of Aberystwyth. He also serves as a reader in the Sunday Mass and as captain of the church football team.
My name is James January-McCann and I have been a member of the parish of Our Lady of the Angels and St. Winefride since 2005 when I came to Aberystwyth as a student. I was delighted to be able to attend Mass in such a beautiful church, and one which is so important in the history of Catholicism in Wales. The decision to close the church was a blow to my heart, and to Kate my wife’s, who was baptised there when she became Catholic in 2008. We were married in St. Winefride’s in 2012, and indeed, we are the last Catholics to be married in Aberystwyth. We are currently expecting a child, and have nowhere in the parish to baptise it. In the current situation, the parishioners of St. Winefride’s cannot marry, or die, or be baptised.
In my opinion, the decision to close the church was utterly inexplicable, especially considering that survey after survey has shown that the site is perfectly safe, and that there is no danger to parishioners. I saw several people in tears during the last Mass said there, and others who were furious. I agree with them one hundred percent. The Catholic population of Aberystwyth and the surrounding area are now in a situation like those under the Penal Laws, when we had no right to have our own churches, and were forced to meet in private houses. This is unacceptable in Wales in the Twenty-First Century.
Note: the references to surveys regarding the safety of the church will be more fully understood by studying material here