029 20 411 819
New Zealand Road, Cardiff, CF14 3BR

Saint Joseph’s R.C. Parish


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Q & A

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Webmaster Deacon Mark

What does ‘Magnum Pietatis Opus’ mean?

It is, of course, the Latin inscription painted above the crucifix in our sanctuary at Saint Joseph’s Church. The location of the inscription is itself a strong pointer to its meaning. The three words are taken from a much longer quote: ‘O magnum pietatis opus! Mors tua mortua tunc est, quando hoc in ligno mortua vita fuit’.

This is the antiphon in The Divine Office for the feast of The Exaltation of the Cross (September 14th) Evening Prayer II. The English translation is: ‘This was Love’s great deed that death should die, when Life itself was slain upon the tree’. So our short inscription could be translated as: ‘Love’s Great Work’. What is this great work? It is the victory of the Cross over evil and death.

Deacon Mark Howe

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