Thursday, 31 January 2008

Pray without Ceasing

Canon Patrick Comerford at the Greenhills Ecumenical Conference with the Rev Ruth Patterson, Gillian Kingston and Ambassador Francis Campbell

This year we marked the 100th Week of prayer for Christian Unity in the Church of Ireland Theological College when we used the Lima Liturgy at our College Community Eucharist. The visiting preacher that evening was the chair of the Dublin Council of Churches, the Revd Father Godfrey O’Donnell of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and our ecumenical guests included the Secretary of the Dublin Council of Churches, Major Margaret Fozzard of the Salvation Army, the Revd Alan Martin of the Presbyterian Church and two volunteers from the Taizé Community.

During the week, RTÉ Radio broadcast a Service of the Word from the college chapel with staff and students form the college, and at the end of the week it was a real pleasure to take part in the television service broadcast on RTÉ television studios with staff and students from the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, the Milltown Institute and the Redemptorist House of Studies at Marianella.

Canon Albert Ogle of the ISE Trust preached at that service, and I was asked to pronounce the blessing at the end.

We were blessed that the week coincided with the visit of Hubert Che, a third year student at Ming Hua Theological College in Hong Kong. Hubert has been staying at CITC on an exchange programme arranged through the Dublin University Far Eastern Mission (DUFEM), which I chair. Hubert returns to Hong Kong at the end of January, and he has been an enthusiastic participant in chapel life at both CITC and Trinity College Dublin. He has been as warmly received by students and staff as the Revd Cindy Kwok was last year.

Hubert was present at both broadcast services, and also attended the Greenhills Ecumenical Conference in Greenhills College, Drogheda, Co Louth. The Revd Ruth Patterson chaired the conference; the main speaker was the British Ambassador to the Vatican, Mr Francis Campbell, and I was part of a panel of speakers that included Ambassador Campbell, Ruth Patterson, and the chair of the Irish Council of Churches, Gillian Kingston.

The theme of this week’s Prayer for Christian Unity was ‘Pray without Ceasing,’ and two students set up a 24/7 prayer room in the college, focusing on the Lord’s Prayer as the common prayer we can all share as we pray without ceasing.

Miriam Gormally interviewed me for the Religious News Network, asking me about Christian Unity and whether ecumenism has become a dead theme. A podcast of this interview is available by following these links:

http://www.sacredspace.ie/audio/podcast.php

File Download (6:38 min / 3 MB)

rnn2008010109_c.mp3

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation at the Church of Ireland Theological College.