Monday, 23 October 2017

‘And grant that the word
declared by you may
be proclaimed by me’

Jarveys outside Saint Mary’s Church offering tours of the Lakes of Killarney (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Patrick Comerford

Today in the Calendar of the Church we celebrate Saint James, the Brother of the Lord [23 October].

I spent most of the day in Killarney, Co Kerry, working with clergy and laity of the diocese at a training day on communications. The two other facilitators today were the Diocesan Communications Office, the Revd Michael Cavanagh, who is Priest-in-Charge of the Kenmare Group of Parishes, and Joc Sanders, the editor of the diocesan magazine, Newslink.

We held our workshops in the parish centre beside Saint Mary’s Church of Ireland parish church in the centre of Killarney, and the priests and readers who took part came from throughout the diocese, from across the diocese, working in parishes in Kerry, Tipperary, Limerick and Clare.

The area outside the church is the main waiting area for jarveys offering tourists horse-drawn tours of the Lakes of Killarney, and it is interesting that even at the end of October Killarney is a busy centre for tourism.

We began the day’s work with prayer and a Bible reading, including the Collect of the Day in the Book of Common Prayer (2004) of the Church of Ireland, adapted from An Anglican Prayer Book (1989) of the Church of Southern Africa:

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. Amen.


But as we worked through the day, I thought these words from the priest’s own prayer in the Liturgy of Saint James were appropriate for the topic of communications in the Church that we were working with:

And grant that without condemnation
the word that has been declared by you
may be proclaimed by me to the people in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The ancient Liturgy of Saint James, sometimes called the Liturgy of Jerusalem, originates in the Church of Jerusalem and is the oldest complete liturgy still in use in the East. It was once thought to have been the work of Saint James, but it probably dates from Saint Cyril of Jerusalem ca 347 and was later amplified.

Until recently, it was rarely celebrated beyond Jerusalem or the island of Zakynthos, apart from the Feast Day of Saint James (23 October) and the Sunday after Christmas. But today this Liturgy is celebrated in an increasing number of Orthodox churches.

It was first translated into English by the Revd John Mason Neale (1818-1866) and the Dublin-born Revd Richard Frederick Littledale (1833-1890) in their Translations of the Primitive Liturgies (1859).

Before the Liturgy is served, the priest prays:

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
the one, simple and undivided Trinity,
that unites and sanctifies us through itself,
and brings peace to our lives,
now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.


He then prays on his own behalf:

Defiled as I am by many sins,
do not utterly reject me, Master, Lord, our God.
For see, I draw near to this divine and heavenly mystery,
not as though I were worthy, but, looking to your goodness,
I raise my voice to you,
God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
For I have sinned against heaven and before you,
and I am not worthy to lift up my eyes
to this your sacred and spiritual Table,
on which your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
is mystically set forth as a sacrifice by me,
a sinner stained by every defilement.

Therefore I bring you this supplication,
that your Spirit, the Advocate, may be sent down to me,
strengthening and preparing me for this ministry.
And grant that without condemnation
the word that has been declared by you
may be proclaimed by me to the people in Christ Jesus our Lord,
with whom you are blessed,
together with your all-holy, good, life-giving and consubstantial Spirit,
now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.


In the Liturgy of Saint James, the priest introduces the words of peace, or the Kiss of Peace, in a low voice:

God and Master of all, lover of humankind,
make us, unworthy though we are,
worthy of this hour,
so that, cleansed of all deceit and hypocrisy,
we may be united to one another by the bond of peace and love,
confirmed by the sanctification of your divine knowledge
through your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
with whom you are blessed,
together with your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit,
now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Deacon: Let us stand with awe. In peace let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: For you are a God of peace, mercy, compassion and love for humankind,
with your only-begotten Son and your all-holy Spirit,
now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Priest: Peace to all.

People: And to your spirit.

Deacon: Let us greet one another with a holy kiss.

The Post-Communion Prayer for this day in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of Ireland was written by the late Brian Mayne:

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 the bread,
be people of prayer and reconciliation.
We ask it for your love’s sake. Amen.

Readings:

Isaiah 49: 1-6; Psalm 1; Acts 15: 12-22; Mark 3: 31-35.

Sunset at the Rectory in Askeaton, Co Limerick, after returning from Killarney this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

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