From a Special Correspondent
Holiday-makers at Butlin's Holiday Camp, in Pwilheli, on Sunday last, at a special Mass, donated generously to a fund for a new church at Abersoch.
By so doing they forged a link between the modern world and the earliest days of Christianity in Wales.
Standing on the hill on the seaward side of the camp, the green islands of St. Tudwal may be clearly seen ; and on a sunny day, after rain, the slate roof of a small building reflects the light on one of them.
This is the roof of Fr. Henry Hughes' tiny chapel—the last living connection on the island with the gallant man who in the 'eighties of the last century tried to win back Wales to the true faith.
Fr. Hughes was born in Caernarvon, son of a Welsh father and an Trish mother. He was received into the Church at the age of seventeen, became a Priest, and distinguished himself for his apostolic zeal,
A brilliant linguist, he acted as interpreter to the Vatican Council; and after many years' labour in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, and also in the African mission fields, he was invited by Bishop Knight to return to his native Wales.
There he had hopes of founding a monastery on the Island of St. Tudwal, and for a whole year he and a handful of disciples worked to rebuild a tiny church — the one which may still be seen—from the ruins of a former abbey.
But when winter came the storms washed away the turf huts in which they lived—and Fr. Hughes, ill from privation and exposure, was carried to the mainland where he died shortly after, his great ambition unfulfilled.
But his memory lives on at LIanengan, near Abersoch, where he is buried. The local inhabitants regard him almost as a saint, and a plot of land at Abersoch has been donated so that a Catholic church can be built in his memory. Fr. Cunningham, of St. Joseph's, Pwllheli (the Catholic chaplain attached to Butlin's Holiday Camp) is in charge of the Fund.
The new church is to be dedicated to St. Garmon of Auxerre, who, in
the 5th century, rescued Wales from the Pelagian heresy. The appeal has the approval of Mgr. Petit, Bishop of Menevia, and a special appeal was directed last Sunday to the large congregation of campers at the special Mass held in the Quiet Lounge of the camp. They responded generously. It is hoped to start building the church at the end of the holiday season.