Bishop Edwin Regan of Wrexham at the Mass in honour of St John Roberts at Cymer Abbey, Gwynned, Wales

Hundreds of people gathered at the ruins of Cymer Abbey near Dolgellau in Wales on Sunday for a Mass in honour of St John Roberts.

The special open-air Mass was planned as part of a series of events commemorating St John Roberts, and had received the blessing of Pope Benedict XVI. It was expected to be one of the largest open-air events to be held in Wales during 2010.

Three choirs, distinguished guests and the massed voices of up to 1,000 people were expected to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of one of Wales’s greatest religious figures. With over 600 temporary seats already in the grounds, more and more people arrived with deck chairs and picnics in hand, chatting in the afternoon sun while the choir, bishops, monks and priests prepared for the Mass.

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Lord (Dafydd) Elis Thomas, the chief of the Welsh Assembly, said: “By celebrating our religious heritage, we recognise also the unfortunate divisions and prejudices that lie within religions both in the past and in the present age. I am hopeful that we can come together in prayer and hope for greater understanding between communities.”

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