25 April 2023, The Tablet

Bishops urge Catholics to pray for King Charles III

Bishops urge Catholics to pray for King Charles III

The new Cross of Wales that will be used in the Coronation contains a relic of the True Cross donated by Pope Francis.
Dave Custance/Church in Wales

The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have urged Catholics “in our lands” to pray for King Charles III and Queen Camilla as the Coronation approaches. 

They issued a prayer card for use from 3 May to 5 May as it emerged that a “relic of the True Cross” donated by Pope Francis has been incorporated into the Cross of Wales, a new processional cross presented by the King as a centenary gift to the Church in Wales. The Cross of Wales will lead the Coronation procession at Westminster Abbey on 6 May. The Church in Wales described the gift from Pope Francis as “a significant ecumenical gesture”.

The cross was commissioned by King Charles when Prince of Wales to celebrate the centenary of the Church in Wales and is designed and made from recycled silver bullion from the Royal Mint at Llantrisant by master silversmith Michael Lloyd, in consultation with the Royal Collection. It also includes a shaft of Welsh windfall timber and the stand is made of Welsh slate. It is inscribed with words from the last sermon of St David: “Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain”, which translates as: “Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things.”

The prayer card begins: “O God, to whom every human power is subject, grant to your servant our sovereign Charles success in the exercise of his high office, so that, always revering you and striving to please you, he may constantly secure and preserve for the people entrusted to his care the freedom that comes from civil peace.”

So the bishops have published a prayer card, but what hymns should be sung in Catholic parishes the Sunday after the Coronation? The answer is not as easy as it might seem.

Church musician Kate Keefe explains why.


King Charles III, Queen Camilla and the Prince and Princess of Wales at Buckingham Palace today. PA/Alamy

After responses, the prayers continue: “Almighty God, we pray, that your servant Charles, our King, who, by your providence has received the governance of this realm, may continue to grow in every virtue, that, imbued with your heavenly grace, he may be preserved from all that is harmful and evil and, being blessed with your favour may, with his consort and the royal family, come at last into your presence.”

Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols says on the prayer card:  “None of us can imagine the incredible burden that His Majesty will assume as he is crowned King alongside his wife and Queen, Camilla. The world has immeasurably changed since 1953 with many more opportunities and challenges in the lives of all. As faithful citizens of our countries, we now pray for our King as he assumes the fullness of the high office of monarch.”

He adds: “We can do this in our daily prayer asking Almighty God to guide the King in his appointed tasks. We can also pray for him when we gather for prayer at Mass. This triduum of prayer will culminate on Friday evening when we have asked each Catholic community to offer a special Mass for the King before the Coronation on Saturday. It will be the culminating moment of our three days of prayer when we ask God’s continuing blessing on our new King and Queen. As we look towards the Coronation Day, which will be marked with joy and celebration across England and Wales, and the Commonwealth, let us commend King Charles and Queen Camilla to our Heavenly Father, that he may sustain them in their duties all the days of their lives.”

Cardinal Nichols along with Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy in London have also encouraged Catholics to take part in the Big Help Out volunteering activities on Coronation Bank Holiday Monday, 8 May. An initiative aiming to promote, champion and showcase volunteering, the uilding on the volunteer phenomenon seen during the pandemic, the Big Help Out aims to inspire a new generation of volunteers by making it easy for everyone to recognise opportunities and get involved.

“There is so much to look forward to over the Coronation weekend,” said Cardinal Nichols. “On Saturday, the Coronation itself. On Sunday, celebrations in our communities. Then, on Monday, a chance to give something back through the Big Help Out. Volunteering is so important and I encourage everyone to take part.

“Jesus himself came to the world, not to be served but to serve. If we all lend a hand – at a local project, with a national charity – the effect will be wonderful. Together, we can make a real change for the better.”


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