17 March 2019

Praying through Lent with
USPG (12): 17 March 2019

Saint Patrick in a stained-glass window in Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic parish church, Askeaton, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Patrick Comerford

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day and the Second Sunday in Lent [17 March 2019]. Later this morning, I am presiding and preaching at the Parish Eucharist in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick (9.30 a.m.), and in Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry (11.30 a.m.).

During Lent this year, I am using the USPG Prayer Diary, Pray with the World Church, for my morning prayers and reflections.

USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential, and champion justice. It was founded in 1701.

This week (17-23 March), the USPG Prayer Diary is focussing on Injustice.

As an introduction to this week’s prayers, the Prayer Diary publishes an article by the Anti Human Trafficking (AHT) Programme in the Diocese of Durgapur in the Church of North India:

Shyamol and Shefali, neighbours in the small village of Haryana, travelled together to Delhi with the promise of finding work. As arranged, they were met in Delhi by a woman called Jayanti who told the neighbours they had jobs in different places.

A year later, Shefali returned home alone which made Shyamol’s father suspicious. He asked Shefali why Shyamol had not come back with her. Shefali said she didn’t know where Shyamol had gone.

In desperation, Shyamol’s father visited the Diocese of Durgapur’s Anti Human Trafficking (AHT) office, in Kaliyaganj, to ask for help.

AHT staff travelled to Haryana to speak to the village head and other villagers. Then, convinced that Shefali and Jayanti had trafficked Shyamol, they put pressure on them to return Shyamol in 45 days to avoid being taken to court.

Finally, in February 2018, Shyamol was returned. He had been trafficked for a large amount of money to a place where his owner forced him to take care of cows and buffalos, feeding him only one meal a day. If he complained, he said his owner and his friends would beat him. Shyamol is now safe at home with his family thanks to the AHT team.

Sunday 17 March:

God of Justice, you weep over our destruction
and call your people from slavery to freedom.
Deliver us from the bonds of inertia that we may
open our eyes to oppression
and work with one another to build
a world where all are valued, all are free.

Readings (Saint Patrick’s Day): Tobit 13: 1b-7; Psalm 145: 1-13; II Corinthians 4: 1-12; John 4: 31-38.

The Collect (Saint Patrick’s Day):

Almighty God,
in your providence you chose your servant Patrick
to be the apostle of the Irish people,
to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error
to the true light and knowledge of your Word:
Grant that walking in that light
we may come at last to the light of everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Collect (the Second Sunday in Lent):

Almighty God, you show to those who are in error the light of your truth
that they may return to the way of righteousness:
Grant to all those who are admitted
into the fellowship of Christ’s religion,
that they may reject those things
that are contrary to their profession,
and follow all such things
as are agreeable to the same;
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lenten Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s reflection

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