Wednesday, 22 August 2018

‘Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.’

The Malabar community from Kerala in India lead us into Saint John’s Cathedral in Limerick last night (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

As Ireland awaits the arrival of Pope Francis, I was invited to take part in a special service in Saint John’s Cathedral, Limerick, last night [21 August 2018] to mark the opening of the World Meeting of Families.

The service of Solemn Evening Prayer was entitled Le Chéile le Críost and was led by Bishop Brendan Leahy of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop Kenneth Kearon of the Church of Ireland.

Other participants included the Dean of Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the Very Revd Niall Sloane, who read the Epistle reading, the Methodist minister in Adare, the Revd Ruth Watt who joined me in leading the intercessions, and members of the Italian, Spanish and Polish community.

We were led in and out of the cathedral by members of the Malabar community from Kerala in India, carrying colourful parasols.

Dean Niall Sloane, Bishop Brendan Leahy and Bishop Kenneth Kearon at Saint John’s Cathedral last night (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

The attendance included the newly-elected Mayor of Limerick, Councillor James Collins, Senator Maria Byrne, members of the council, parish delegates, academics, representatives of the defence forces and youth groups.

It seemed both thoughtful and appropriate that I was asked to lead prayers for emigrants, migrants and refugees:

We pray for all who live apart from their family, for young people and families who have emigrated abroad, for all those who experience marginalisation, for those forced to flee their homeland in search of safety.

There was going to be no complacency about the meaning of family life at last night’s service. The opening hymn, as we processed in and lit and shared candles, was ‘Christ, be our light’ by Bernadette Farrell:

The Malabar community from Kerala in India prepare to lead us out from Saint John’s Cathedral, Limerick, last night (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Longing for light, we wait in darkness. Longing for truth, we turn to you. Make us your own, your holy people, light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has pow’r to save us.
Make us your living voice.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
shared until all are fed.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.


Earlier in the day, a street party filled Saint John’s Square for the afternoon. This was the second day in a row that a part of Limerick had come to a standstill for celebrations, although the return of the All-Ireland hurling champions to Limerick on Monday was on a far greater scale.

It was a sunny afternoon, as friars from Moyross mixed with musicians, dancers, face-painters, puppeteers, in between the food stalls, enjoying the summer sunshine.

Friars and ice cream in the summer sunshine in Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

No comments: