25 July 2013

Walking the pilgrims’
route with Saint James

A banner of Saint James of Compostella in a side chapel in Saint James’s Church, Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Today [25 July 2013], Saint James is commemorated in the calendar of the Church of Ireland and in the Book of Common Prayer.

Last year, during the Camino or Pilgrim Walk around the inner city churches in Dublin, marking the International Eucharistic Congress, the fourth church for those following the route to have our “Pilgrim Passports” stamped was Saint James’s Church in Saint James’s Street.

The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1844 by Daniel O’Connell. But the church claims a link with the tradition linking this part of Dublin – Saint James’s Gate – with the Camino de Santiago de Compostella since the 12th century.

In a side chapel, there is a banner of Saint James of Compostella, and Irish pilgrims on the Camino have their Pilgrim Passports stamped here before they set out for Spain.

Across the street, the former Church of Ireland parish church of Saint James, which was designed by Joseph Wellard, has been closed for many years. Until recently, it was a shop and showrooms. Now it is vacant, and it looks sad and forlorn behind padlocked gates.

Saint James’s Church, the former Church of Ireland Parish Church, looks sad and abandoned behind padlocked gates (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)


Lord, God of peace:
Grant that after the example of your servant,
James the brother of our Lord,
your Church may give itself continually to prayer
and to the reconciliation of all
who are caught up in hatred or enmity;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Jeremiah 45: 1-5; Psalm 126; Acts 11: 27 to 12: 2; Matthew 20: 20-28.

Jeremiah 45: 1-5

1 The word that the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Baruch son of Neriah, when he wrote these words in a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah: 2 Thus says theLord, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: 3 You said, ‘Woe is me! TheLord has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest.’ 4 Thus you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: I am going to break down what I have built, and pluck up what I have planted – that is, the whole land. 5 And you, do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for I am going to bring disaster upon all flesh, says the Lord; but I will give you your life as a prize of war in every place to which you may go.’

Psalm 126

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, •
then were we like those who dream.
2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter •
and our tongue with songs of joy.
3 Then said they among the nations, •
‘The Lord has done great things for them.’
4 The Lord has indeed done great things for us, •
and therefore we rejoiced.
5 Restore again our fortunes, O Lord, •
as the river beds of the desert.
6 Those who sow in tears •
shall reap with songs of joy.
7 Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed, •
will come back with shouts of joy,
bearing their sheaves with them.

Acts 11: 27 to 12: 2

27 At that time prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world; and this took place during the reign of Claudius. 29 The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea; 30 this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

1 About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. 2 He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword.

Matthew 20: 20-28

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. 21 And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ 22 But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ 23 He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’

24 When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 26 It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’

Post Communion Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ,
we thank you that after your resurrection you appeared to James,
and endowed him with gifts of leadership for your Church.
May we, who have known you now in the breaking of bread,
be people of prayer and reconciliation.
We ask it for your love’s sake.

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