Friday, 31 July 2020
One of the resources I continue to draw on for my personal prayers is Service of the Heart, a Jewish prayer book I first acquired back in 1974, when I was living in Wexford.
This Service of the Heart was published in London over half a century ago by the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues in 1967. Two of the principal contributors to this book were Rabbi John Rayner and Rabbi Chaim Stern, who wrote or rewrote many of the prayers.
My prayer this evening seems appropriate as I prepare for next week’s 75th anniversary commemorations of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In another part of this book, Rabbis Chaim Stein says ‘Auschwitz and Hiroshima are among the dread and tragic symbols of this age.’
This prayer, however, comes from The Language of Faith, edited by Nahum N Glatzer, and it came in turn from Likkutey Tefillot, a collection of personal prayers ascribed to Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav (1772-1811):
May it be Your will that war and bloodshed shall vanish from the earth, and that a great and glorious peace may reign in all the world. Let all who dwell on earth perceive and understand the basic truth, that we have not come into this world for strife and discord, hatred and envy, greed and bloodshed, but that we have come into this world only to know You and understand You, who are to be praised for ever.
Let Your glory fill our minds and our hearts. Teach us so to use our skills and understanding that through us Your presence may come to dwell on earth, and that Your power and the splendour of Your kingdom may be known to all mankind, Amen.
Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes
Rathkeale, Askeaton, Castletown and Kilnaughtin
Priest-in-Charge: Revd Canon Patrick Comerford,
The Rectory, Askeaton, Co Limerick.
Parish Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RathkealeGroup/
Back to the Future:
Hopefully the ‘new normal’ does not become the ‘normal normal.’ But Sunday services have resumed, the churches have been measured out and marked up, the prayer books and hymnals have been replaced by laminated cards, the readings and the hymns have been reduced in number … why, even the sermons are shorter too.
Special thanks are due to all who measured the distances, cleaned and tidied the churches, to Niall West who laminated the service cards, and to all who looked after the church grounds and churchyards.
At the rectory, parishioners have been busy looking after the garden, or calling round with flowers, vegetables and newspapers. In recent weeks, the rectory has at times seemed like a ‘virtual venue’ with video conferences and webinars involving diocesan clergy, the cathedral chapter, school boards, history seminars and USPG trustees.
Some things are not going to return to ‘normal’, however. Parishioners have been saying their farewells to Colonel Edward Buckingham, who is moving to England. He gave many years of outstanding service to the parish and the diocese, as a Reader, Vestry member and Synod member, and will be greatly missed in the parish and the community.
August has five Sundays. A United Group service takes place in Castletown Church at 11 a.m. on Sunday 30 August, with Siobhán Wheeler, our new parish reader, leading worship and preaching. Please extend a warm welcome to her as she begins this new ministry.
The dates have now been reset for this year’s Easter Vestries, so these are important dates for our diaries:
● Kilnaughtin (Tarbert): Easter Vestry, with elections, after church on Sunday 16 August.
● Castletown and Askeaton: Easter Vestries meet together, 4 August, at 8 p.m. in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton.
● Rathkeale: Easter Vestry, 7 p.m., 11 August, in Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale.
Births and Babies:
The extended parish family has recently celebrated the birth of two babies:
● Matilda Dorothy Caroline Langford, born on 4 May 2020, is the daughter of William and Karen Langford, and a sister for Chloe Dorothy.
● Verity Rebecca Shorten is the daughter of Amy and Damien Shorten, a granddaughter for Jennifer and Niall Shorten and a great-granddaughter for Ruby Shorten.
Prayers and memories:
Please continue to pray for those who have been sick at home or in hospital in recent months, including Alan, Ajay, Basil, Charles, James, Linda, Lorraine, Margaret, Maria, Simon and Terry. We give thanks for Linda’s successful operation – seeing her back in church is a joyful thanks for prayers answered.
In recent weeks, the intercessions have included prayers for those who are grieving, including Michelle, Ian, and the Shorten and O’Riordan families, the Doherty and Maloney families, and the Barrett family.
Following the death of Detective Garda Colm Horkan, a message of sympathy on behalf of the Group of Parishes was delivered to Askeaton Garda Station.
This is an edited version of the Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group parish notes in the August 2020 edition of ‘Newslink,’ the Limerick and Killaloe diocesan magazine (pp 21-22)
Thursday, 30 July 2020
Sunday 2 August 2020 (Trinity VIII), Green:
9.30 a.m.: The Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton
11.30 a.m.: Morning Prayer (Morning Prayer 2), Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), with Edward Buckingham, reader emeritus
Readings: Genesis 32: 22-31; Psalm 17: 1-7, 16; Matthew 14: 13-21
Hymns: 418, Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face (CD 25); 435, O God, unseen, yet ever near (CD 26)
Sunday 9 August 2020 (Trinity IX), Green:
9.30 a.m.: The Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Castletown Church, Kilcornan
11.30 a.m.: Morning Prayer (Morning Prayer 2), Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale
Readings: Genesis 37: 1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105: 5-15; Matthew 14: 22-33
Hymns: 584, Jesus calls us! O’er the tumult (CD 33); 652, Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us (CD 37)
Sunday 16 August 2020 (Trinity X), Green:
9.30 a.m.: Morning Prayer (Morning Prayer 2), Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton.
11.30 a.m.: The Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), followed by Easter Vestry meeting
Readings: Genesis 45: 1-15; Psalm 133; Matthew 15: 21-28
Hymns: 522, In Christ there is no east or west (CD 30); 324, God, whose almighty word (CD 19)
Sunday 23 August 2020 (Trinity XI), Green
9.30 a.m.: Morning Prayer (Morning Prayer 2), Castletown Church, Kilcornan, with Bishop Kenneth Kearon
11.30 a.m.: The Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale with Bishop Kenneth Kearon
Readings: Exodus 1: 8 to 2: 10; Psalm 124; Matthew 16: 13-20
Hymns: 13, God moves in a mysterious way (CD 1); 528, The church’s one foundation (CD 30)
Sunday 30 August 2020 (Trinity XII), Green
11 a.m.: Joint Group Service for the Fifth Sunday, Morning Prayer (Morning Prayer 2), Castletown Church, Kilcornan, with Siobhán Wheeler, Parish Reader
Readings: Exodus 3: 1-15; Psalm 105: 1-6, 23-26, 45c; Matthew 16: 21-28
Hymns: 325, Be still, for the presence of the Lord (CD 20); 666, Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side (CD 39)
Feast Days in August:
6 August 2020: The Transfiguration of our Lord
24 August: Saint Bartholomew
Harvest Thanksgiving: Advance Notice
Friday 2 October 2020: 8 p.m., Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale (subject to Covid-19 restrictions).
Visiting Preacher: The Very Revd Paul Bogle, BTh, MA, Dean of Clonmacnoise, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Trim, Co Meath.
Easter Vestry meetings:
Castletown and Askeaton Easter Vestries: 4 August, both at 8 p.m. in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton
Rathkeale Easter Vestry, 7 p.m., 11 August, in Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale
Tarbert (Kilnaughtin): Sunday 16 August, after the Parish Eucharist at 11.30 a.m.
If you feel vulnerable, or you are in the ‘at risk’ category, or you have recently been in contact with someone who has had Covid-19 symptoms, you may find comfort instead in reading the Sunday sermons and intercessions on-line.
Some pews have been roped off or marked off in each church to help us maintain social distancing. The names and contact details of people attending will be kept for 14 days, only for the purposes of contacting and tracing.
To reduce the amount of time we are indoors, we are having only two readings and two hymns each Sunday at the moment.
No prayer books or hymnals are available, there is no exchange of peace, to reduce contact risks, and for these weeks there is no hymn-singing. But laminated service sheets are available in each church, and we can sit and thoughtfully listen to the two recorded hymns.
The Holy Communion is being administered only in one kind, and there is no shared common cup, for health reasons. We may find that the administration of Communion is awkward or difficult. But be assured we are all in Communion with God and with one another.
Hand sanitising facilities are available at each church. Please do not bring your own prayer book or hymnal, and please remember to take home everything, including your tissues.
The Moore family of Moore Hall, near Castlebar, Co Mayo, claimed they were descended from Sir Thomas More, a ‘Man for All Seasons.’ Their family house, once part of the architectural landscape of Co Mayo, was designed by the Waterford architect John Roberts and was built in 1792-1795. But the house was burned down in 1923 by the IRA, although John Moore was the ‘President of Connacht’ during the 1798 Rebellion.
However, it is unlikely that either the Moores of Moore Hall, Thomas Moore, the Dublin-born songwriter, or any other Moore families in Ireland were descendants of Henry VIII’s executed chancellor and martyr, Thomas More (1478-1535).
Instead, there are some interesting connections between Saint Thomas Moore and the poet John Donne, as well as some prominent Midlands Catholic families of the 16th and 17th centuries who were in the same family networks as the Comberfords of Comberford Hall.
Indeed, the only verifiable Irish family connection with Thomas More that I could find was with a dubious pretender to an Irish title of baronet, whose family lived at Wolseley and in Lichfield before returning to live in Cork.
Thomas More was born in Milk Street, Cheapside, London, and was baptised in Saint Lawrence Jewry, where his father was later buried. His ancestry cannot be traced back further than his grandfather, William More, a baker, who died in 1469. Although it has sometimes been claimed the family’s ancestors came from Ireland, there is nothing to support or substantiate these claims.
His youngest sister, Elizabeth More (born 1482), was also born at Milk Street, London. She married John Rastell (1475-1536) of Coventry, and they were the grandparents of Elizabeth Heywood, whose first husband was John Donne (the elder). They, in turn, were the parents of the priest-poet John Donne (1572-1631), Dean of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London.
Thomas More was the father of three daughters and a son. Most accounts of his family tend to emphasise the story of his eldest daughter Margaret (1505-1544), who married William Roper (1498-1578) of Canterbury in 1521. The last male descendant of the Ropers was Edward Roper (1672-1707) who died of battle wounds, but his sister’s descendants in the Winn family have continued to live at Nostell Priory in Wakefield.
Thomas More’s only son, John More (1509-1547), was 27 when his father was executed, and was the father of eight children, including Thomas More (1531-1606), his eldest son, and the Revd Thomas More (1538-ca 1620), a priest in the Church of England, who lived in impoverished circumstances.
Thomas More (1531-1606), the martyr’s grandfather, eventually moved to Barnborough Hall, his mother’s ancestral home in Yorkshire, and was the father of 13 children. Again, some accounts claim he had a son John born in Ireland, but there is no evidence to substantiate this claim either. However, this Thomas’s seventh child, Katherine (1564-ca 1640), married Christopher Byrd, son of the Elizabethan composer and musician William Byrd.
The youngest son of this Thomas More, Cresacre More (1572-1648), initially trained for the Roman Catholic priesthood in Rheims, but returned to England when he eventually became the family heir.
Two of his daughters became Benedictine nuns, while the family line continued through his only son, yet another Thomas More (1607-1660). He consolidated the More family’s connections with the network of recusant families in the English Midlands when he married Mary Brooke (1608-1683), daughter of Sir Basil Brooke of Madeley in Shropshire.
Mary’s nephew, Thomas Brooke, was the father of Thomas Brooke of Wolverhampton, who married Anne Comberford, one of the two daughters of Robert Comberford of Comberford Hall, on 14 April 1675, and they were the parents of Captain Comberford Brooke of Comberford and Madeley.
Through this close kinship with the Brooke family, the first name Basil passed into the More family in successive generations.
The third son of Thomas and Mary (Brooke) More, yet another Thomas More, was born in 1635 and was the father of George More, who was born in 1666 and is said to have moved to Co Mayo and become the ancestor of the Moore family of Moore Hall. But this seems unlikely as the eventual heir was their sixth son, Basil More (1639-1702), who was the father of a large family of 24 children – we know the names of 18 of those children, and many of the 24 were either stillborn or died in infancy.
Many of the surviving children became priests, monks and nuns, but there are surviving descendants of other children, including the fourth child, Christopher Cresacre More (1666-1729), eventual heir, and the seventh child Thomas More (born 1671), ancestor of the Nicholson family of Barkston Hall, Yorkshire.
Basil More’s fourth child and eventual heir, Christopher Cresacre More (1666-1729), lived at Barnborough Hall. He was the father of three daughters and a son. The youngest daughter, Mary Waterton, was the grandmother of the adventurer and naturalist, Charles Waterton, a friend of Charles Darwin. The eldest daughter, Anne Binks, was the great-grandmother of William Bernard Ullathorne (1809-1889), a Benedictine monk and the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Birmingham from 1850.
Christopher Cresacre More’s only son, Thomas More (1691-1739) also married into the Midlands nexus of recusant families. His wife, Mary Catherine Giffard, was the eldest daughter of John Giffard of Black Ladies, near Brewood, Staffordshire, and a member of one of the leading recusant families in Staffordshire: Anne (Comberford) Brooke’s sister, married Thomas Giffard.
Their youngest child, Bridget, known in the family as Biddy, was twice married: she married her second husband, Robert Dalton of Thurnham Hall in Lancashire, in 1759 – she was his third wife. Bridget and Robert were the parents of three children, a son and two daughters. Their younger daughter, Bridget, married Sir James Trant Fitzgerald, who claimed to be the seventh baronet of Castle Ishen, Co Cork.
Needless to say, Sir James was no baronet and there was no title of baronet connected with Castle Ishen.
The title Sir James claimed was first conferred in 1640 on Sir Edmond Fitzgerald of Clenglish Castle, Co Limerick, on the site of the present Springfield Castle. Everyone believed the title had died down until 140 years later, when Richard Fitzgerald from Co Cork drew up a contrived and bizarre pedigree claiming descent from Sir Edmond Fitzgerald and convinced many in 1780 that he was the sixth baronet. His son, Sir Richard Fitzgerald, who called himself the seventh baronet, married Bridget Dalton, and through this marriage the Fitzgeralds inherited Thurnham Hall in Lancashire.
The couple were the parents of an only son, Sir James Fitzgerald (1791-1839), who claimed to be the eighth baronet. He lived for a while with his wife Augusta (Freemantle) at Maple Hayes Hall near Lichfield, and he was described as living at Wolseley Hall when he died on his way to Nice in 1839.
The widowed Lady Fitzgerald later moved from Lichfield to Co Cork, and their son, Sir James Fitzgerald (1831-1867), who called himself the ninth baronet, later changed his name to Dalton-Fitzgerald in acknowledgment of his descent from Thomas More. The claimed title died out with the death of his younger brother, Sir Gerald Richard Dalton-Fitzgerald (1832-1894), and when he died this line of descendants of Thomas More came to an end too.
Wednesday, 29 July 2020
This evening (29 July) marks the beginning of Tisha B'Av (תִּשְׁעָה בְּאָב), literally the ‘Ninth of Av,’ the annual fast day in the Jewish calendar recalling many disasters in the course of Jewish history, mainly the destruction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans.
Tisha B’Av is regarded as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar and it is associated with many other disasters in Jewish history.
Traditionally, the day is observed through five prohibitions, including a 25-hour fast. The Book of Lamentations, which is read in synagogues, mourns the destruction of Jerusalem, followed by the recitation of kinot or liturgical dirges that lament the loss of the Temples and of Jerusalem and recall events such as the murder of the Ten Martyrs by the Romans, massacres of mediaeval Jewish communities during the Crusades, the expulsions of Jews from Spain by the Inquisition, and the Holocaust.
According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4: 6), five events occurred on the Ninth of Av that are recalled in the traditional fasting.
The First Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE, and the people of Judah was sent into exile in Babylon. The destruction of the Temple destruction began on the 7th of Av (II Kings 25: 8) and continued until the 10th (Jeremiah 52: 12).
According to the Talmud, the actual destruction began on the Ninth of Av and it continued to burn throughout the Tenth of Av.
The Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, scattering the people of Judea and commencing the exile of the Jewish people. The Romans later crushed Bar Kokhba’s revolt and killed over 500,000 people, and then razed the site of the Temple in Jerusalem and the surrounding area in 135 CE.
Over time, Tisha B’Av has come to be a day of mourning not only for these events, but also for later tragedies, including:
● The First Crusade began on 15 August 1096 (24 Av), and 10,000 Jews were slaughtered in its first month in France and the Rhineland.
● The Jews were expelled from England on 18 July 1290 (9 Av).
● The Jews were expelled from France on 22 July 1306 (10 Av).
● The Jews were expelled from Spain on 31 July 1492 (7 Av).
● Germany entered World War I on 1-2 August 1914 (9-10 Av).
● Himmler formally received approval from the Nazis for the ‘Final Solution’ on 2 August 1941 (9 Av).
● The mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto began on 23 July 1942 (9 Av).
● A bomb attack on a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires killed 85 people on 18 July 1994 (10 Av).
Many religious communities mourn the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust on Tisha B’Av, adding the recitation of special kinot related to the Holocaust.
The fast on Tisha B’Av lasts about 25 hours, beginning at sunset on the preceding evening lasting until nightfall the next day. The five traditional prohibitions on Tisha B’Av are:
● eating or drinking;
● washing or bathing;
● application of creams or oils;
● wearing (leather) shoes;
● marital or sexual relations.
If possible, work is avoided during this period. Ritual washing up to the knuckles is allowed, as is washing to remove dirt or mud from one’s body.
Torah study is forbidden as it is considered a spiritually enjoyable activity, although one may study texts such as the Book of Lamentations, the Book of Job, portions of Jeremiah and chapters of the Talmud that discuss mourning and the destruction of the Temple.
Before the evening services begin in synagogues, the parochet covering the Torah Ark is removed or drawn aside, lasting until the Mincha prayer service. Old prayer-books and Torah scrolls are often buried on this day.
The scroll of Eicha (Lamentations) is read in synagogues in the evening, and in many Sephardic congregations the Book of Job is read in the morning. The morning is spent chanting or reading kinot mourning the loss of the Temples and the subsequent persecutions, often referring to post-exilic disasters.
The most popular kinot were written by the eighth-century liturgical poet Elazar Hakallir, Judah Halevi (1085- 1145), the Spanish philosopher regarded by many as the greatest post-biblical poet, and Solomon ibn Gabirol (1021-1058).
Other kinot were written in response to tragedies in Jewish history, including the public burning of the Torah in Paris, the massacres of Jews during the first Crusade, the slaughter of the Jews of York, and the annihilation of European Jewry in the Holocaust.
In western Sephardi Tisha B’Av services, there is a tendency to emphasise hope for ultimate redemption and national and spiritual restoration, as part of the recalled collective grief.
This is reflected in one the most celebrated compositions by Judah ha-Levi often heard in synagogues on Tisha B’Av:
Zion, wilt thou not ask if peace’s wing
Shadows the captives that ensue thy peace
Left lonely from thine ancient shepherding?
Lo! west and east and north and south – worldwide
All those from far and near, without surcease
Salute thee: Peace and Peace from every side.
My discussion earlier this week (27 July 2020) of how I have identified a family photograph of James Comerford (1817-1902) of Wexford and Dublin and his wife Anne née Doyle (134-1899) brought my memory back to the sad story of a photographer’s studio in Wexford over 100 years ago that is said to have inspired James Joyce’s depiction of Leopold Bloom and his family in Ulysses.
Of course, some of James Comerford’s immediate family lived at 50 Upper Clanbrassil Street in Dublin, two doors up from No 52, where it was later said Leopold Bloom was born.
Cormac Ó Gráda of University College Dublin, in his paper, ‘Lost in Little Jerusalem: Leopold Bloom and Irish Jewry,’ (Journal of Modern Literature, Indiana University Press, 2004) says that in their search for Leopold Bloomʼs real-life alter ego, both Richard Ellmann and Louis Hyman ‘canvassed the possible links between Leopold and practically every Jewish family named Bloom in Ireland.’
But I first came across the tragic story of Simon Bloom, who was jilted and vainly planned an apparent double suicide in his photographer’s shop in Wexford in Louis Hyman’s The Jews of Ireland. The story has been retold in part more recently on the Wexford Hub website.
Mary Anne Wildes, an 18-year-old Wexford woman, was found on 7 May 1910 with her throat cut at an apartment in The Bullring, Wexford. The apartment, above a bar called The Cape of Good Hope, was being rented at the time by 29-year-old Simon Bloom.
Bloom, whose family lived in the Clanbrassil Street or ‘Little Jerusalem’ area of Dublin and Armstrong Street in Harold’s Cross, was a self-described artist who was known throughout Wexford for selling picture frames and photo enlargements.
Mary Anne Wildes, who lived on Roche’s Terrace with her widowed mother, had worked for Bloom in the past; watching after his premises when he was away in Dublin.
Witnesses said Simon Bloom had become besotted with Mary Anne Wildes. However, in the days leading up to her murder, she had become engaged to another man, Archie Wade. She had also refused Bloom’s request for her to return to work with him. Ms Wildes’ friend, Brigid Mary Power, would later tell the court that Bloom had ‘pestered’ the victim.
On Saturday 7 May 1910, John Doyle and Thomas Lewis of Mary Street heard someone groaning inside the hallway that led to Bloom’s residence. When they opened the letterbox and asked who was there, a voice replied ‘Mary Anne.’
Bloom soon arrived back at his flat. While talking to the two men, he tried to deflect any blame away from himself, claiming he had left a man and a woman inside the apartment. When he opened the door, however, Bloom pushed past the injured Mary Anne Wildes, dashed towards the stairs and tried to seal himself inside his apartment.
The extent of Mary Anne’s injuries now became clear to the two men, with blood gushing from a wound in her neck, staining her dress and the white rose that she was wearing.
Thomas Lewis picked Mary Anne up in his arms and called out for a doctor. She was put into a handcart and pushed to the infirmary on Hill Street. As she was being pushed along, bystanders watched on in shock as others tried to stop the blood by placing handkerchiefs over the wound on her neck.
When Mary Anne Wildes arrived at the infirmary on Hill Street, she was still conscious and named Simon Bloom as her attacker. She also said Bloom had asked her to marry him. Although she never told anyone what her answer was, it was presumed she had spurned him and that Bloom flew into a jealous rage.
When news of the attack spread through the town, an angry mob began to descend on The Bullring. They demanded the door into Bloom’s apartment should be broken in. Police on the scene managed to contain the crowd in the Bullring until the owner of the building found a key.
Newspaper reports at the time said that when police entered Bloom’s apartment, they found him sitting in a chair with a wound to his throat and a letter in his hand – an unsuccessful attempt at suicide. He told the police that Mary Anne and he had agreed to die together, and he kept repeating and spelling the word ‘love.’ In his hands he held a rambling, bloodstained and unsigned letter, addressed ‘To those who would judge the scales of humanity and justice.’
In his letter, Bloom asked: ‘Are we cowards? We are not afraid; by love is conquered the fear of death. Are we insane? Is not the heart wiser, more godly, than the mind? Are we lawless? Are we not the slaves of our emotions and swayed by them like a cork in the ocean and as powerless to resist?
‘Judge us by them all – those who understand and know the power of the feeling of love, jealousy, circumstances, and desperation. We are to be buried side by side, and it will not be well for those who disobey this our last, and dying wish. May God have mercy on all lost souls.’
A blood-stained razor was taken from Bloom and he too was taken to the infirmary on Hill Street.
A deposition was taken from Mary Anne Wildes at the infirmary the following day. In her statement, she said Bloom had caused the three-inch-long wound to her neck after he had attempted to choke her. Bloom, who was present, refused to cross-examine her. Mary Anne Wildes died at 10 p.m. that evening as a result of her injuries.
Simon Bloom was committed for trial on a charge of wilful murder in Wexford on 6 July 1910. He appeared with his neck bandaged and looked very pale, and the court heard he had been in the infirmary since cutting his throat.
Bridget Power, a friend of the dead girl, told the trial that Mary Anne was engaged to a young man from Manchester named Archie Wade. When Archie left by the Liverpool steamer earlier that fateful Saturday, Bridget and Mary Anne had seen him off. Bloom watched them do so and afterwards went to them and said that he wanted to speak to Mary Anne alone.
Mary Anne’s mother, Henrietta Wildes, told the court she last saw her daughter alive at 8.15 that eventful night. Asked if she knew Bloom, Mrs Wildes turned from him and said, ‘I don’t want to know him. He murdered my child.’
She told how her daughter had been employed for a week to mind Bloom’s studio while he was in Dublin. Afterwards, he had asked her several times to go back to return his studio. But Mrs Wildes said she would not allow it as her daughter was engaged to Archie Wade.
Dr David Hadden of the Hill Street Infirmary diagnosed Bloom as a monomaniac. Bloom was found guilty and spent a few years in the Dundrum Lunatic Asylum for the Criminally Insane in Dublin.
What happened to Simon Bloom after his conviction?
Mark Gevisser takes up the story in his semi-autobiographical Lost and Found in Jerusalem (Granta Books, 2014). After his release, Bloom moved to Chicago, where he changed his name and became ‘a genial Jewish patriarch’ in the suburbs. ‘His descendants were horrified when an overly-assiduous Irish-Jewish genealogist contacted them to spell the beans.’
However, there are problems with literary efforts to identify any incident in Leopold Bloom’s life or family with this Wexford tragedy. Joyce carried out most of his research for Ulysses while he was on a return visit to Ireland in 1909 – but this incident in Wexford too place a year later.
Cormac Ó Gráda says that because the murder took place in a photographer’s studio in Wexford in 1910, Ellmann presumes this is ‘presumably’ is how Milly Bloom, Leopold Bloomʼs daughter, came to work in a similar establishment in Mullingar.
Louis Hyman also wonders whether Leopold Bloom is also, in part, modelled in part on Simon Bloom’s brother, Benny Bloom, listed in the 1901 census as a traveller and still selling ‘holy pictures’ in Dublin in the 1960s. However, Ó Gráda points out that Benny joined the army at the age of 20 in 1901 and did not return to Dublin until 1916. So, he too seems an unlikely candidate, and Ó Gráda suggests that ‘all these searches for Leopold Bloomʼs Dublin cousins turned out to be wild goose chases.’
On other hand, Mark Gevisser is half-joking when he insists the story shows he is related to Leopold Bloom. Gevisser’s grandmother, Gertie Blum, was born in 1901 at 5 Lombard Street West in Dublin’s ‘Little Jerusalem.’ This was the home of her grandfather, Zalman Blum. ‘The address is significant: we learn in Ulysses that Leopold and his wife, Molly, had begun their married lives … at 57 Lombard Street West, a little closer to Lower Clanbrassil Street.’
‘I have verified that that the brothers Simon and Benny were Zalman Bloom’s cousins. And so, my Granny Gertie was correct: we are related to Leopold Bloom.’
Tuesday, 28 July 2020
As we have waited patiently on both side of the Shannon Estuary in recent weeks for the Tarbert-Killimer ferry on many occasions, the conversation has often turned to the theme music for Who pays the Ferryman, and one of us has – inevitably – ended up trying to hum the tune.
I suppose you have to be certain age to remember the series, but the tune stays in your memory. And memories of the series linger because it was set in Crete in 1977-1978, just ten years before I first arrived on the island.
Who pays the Ferryman was a BBC series, retelling the story of widower and retired boat builder Alan Haldane (Jack Hedley), a former soldier who had fought in Crete alongside the Greek resistance in World War II, and returns to Crete 30 years later to rediscover a lost sense of belonging.
Of course, his past comes back to haunt the man once known as Leandros and make difficult what he hopes would be a simple life.
The series was filmed in Elounda, near Aghios Nikolaos in Crete. The theme music was composed by Yannis Markopoulos and became an instant hit in Britain, where it is still rated among the best television scores. The music stands out because of its lyricism and its melody and of because it so easily creates memories of the Greek islands.
The eight episodes of Who Pays the Ferryman? were written by Michael J Bird, who drew on his knowledge of the history and folklore of Crete, and the series was filmed on location in and around Elounda.
The series followed on the success of Bird’s earlier BBC drama series, The Lotus Eaters, which was filmed in Aghios Nikoloas in 1972-1973. That earlier series deal with the lives of various British ‘expats’ living in Crete, including a married couple, Erik (Ian Hendry) and Ann Shepherd (Wanda Ventham), who ran a taverna called ‘Shepherd’s Bar.’
The Lotus Eaters became the first the Mediterranean-based dramas written by Michael J Bird for the BBC. The others included Who Pays the Ferryman?, also set in Crete, The Aphrodite Inheritance (1978-1979), set in Cyprus, and The Dark Side of the Sun, set in Rhodes.
The theme tune of Who Pays the Ferryman? was composed by Yannis Markopoulos, reached the UK singles charts in late 1977 and early 1978. Yannis (or Giannis) Markopoulos is a well-known and much-loved Greek composer who was born in Iraklion, the capital of Crete, on 18 March 1939.
He comes from an old family in Crete, and spent much of his childhood in the coastal town of Ierapetra. He says the sounds that influenced him during his childhood included the sounds of the Byzantine liturgy, Cretan traditional music, the waves of Crete, and the sound of land-mines being exploded after World War II.
He took his first lessons in music theory and the violin at the local conservatory and played the clarinet in the town band. He moved to Athens in 1956 to study at the Athens Conservatoire with the composer Yiorgos Sklavos and the violin teacher Joseph Bustidui.
As a student, Markopoulos composed music for theatre, cinema and dance performances. At 24, he received the Music Prize at the International Thessaloniki Film Festival for Nikos Koundouros’ film Young Aphrodites.
After the colonels’ coup in Greece in 1967, he left for London, where he composed the secular cantata Ilios o Protos (‘Sun the First’), based on the poetry of Odysseas Elytis, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1979.
Markopoulos returned to Athens in 1969, and became involved in the struggle for democracy. In 1976, he composed the popular work The Free Besieged based on the poem by Greece’s national poet Dionysios Solomos.
He composed the theme music for Who Pays the Ferryman? in 1979, and it became a hit in Britain and brought his work to international attention. He married the singer Vassiliki Lavina in 1980.
He founded the Palintonos Armonia Orchestra in 1980, and has performed and recorded in Greece and abroad since then. He composed The Liturgy of Orpheus in 1994, followed by Re-Naissance: Crete between Venice and Constantinople, a musical journey in four units that strikes a balance between the opera form and that of the oratorio, and the opera Erotokritos and Areti.
As time passes and travel restrictions become difficult to predict, it looks increasingly likely that this could be one of the few years since the mid-1980s that I do not get back to Greece.
I may just have to find some old versions of that BBC series set in Crete and imagine myself on a ferry or as a lotus eater.
On the way back from Doonbeg to Askeaton on Saturday, two of us stopped for about half an hour at Killimer, Co Clare, enjoying the sculptures overlooking the Shannon Estuary and enjoying ice creams as we waited to cross on the ferry to Tarbert, Co Kerry.
Killimer, on the north bank of the Shannon Estuary, is known for the car ferry service, operated by Shannon Ferries, and for the Moneypoint coal-fired electricity station west of the village, beside the road to Kilrush.
According to the geographer Samuel Lewis, the parish had over 3,000 residents in 1837. Today, about 500 people live in Killimer.
Killimer is one of the smallest parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Killaloe, and is part of the Killimer and Knockerra parish, with two parish churches: Saint Imy in Killimer and Saint Senan in Knockerra. These two saints are said to have been born in the townland of Molougha in the parish.
The Ogham scultptures at the ferry point are reminder of Killimer’s past. Lisroor (Lios Ramhar), a double ringfort in Killimer, is the second largest in Ireland, and another unique fort is at Cathair na gCat.
Peter O’Connell, who was born in Carne or Carradotia near Killimer in 1755, was a schoolteacher and lexicographer and a near contemporary of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) from Lichfield, who published the first standard English dictionary in 1755, the year O’Connell was born.
O’Connell travelled throughout Ireland, Wales, the Scottish Highlands and the Hebrides tracing rare and unusual words as he compiled his dictionary. He completed his epic work in 1819, but failed in his attempts to get his dictionary published. His manuscript was pawned in Tralee, and Peter’s nephew, Anthony O’Connell, later sold the unpublished work to James Hardiman, who hired John O’Donovan to copy the manuscript.
Peter O’Connell’s original manuscript was sold to the British Museum by Hardiman and there is a copy in the library of Trinity College Dublin. He died on 24 February 1826 and is buried in the old churchyard at Burrane, near Killimer.
Ellen Hanly, the ‘Colleeen Bawn,’ who was washed ashore at Moneypoint, was buried in the same grave in July 1819.
In the mid-19th century, ferries sailed up and down the Shannon, rather than across the estuary. The writer William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) described his fellow passengers in 1842: ‘There was a piper and a bugler, a hundred of genteel persons coming back from donkey-riding and bathing at Kilkee … a score of women nursing children, and a lobster vendor.’
Moneypoint, with an output of 915 MW, is Ireland’s largest electricity generation station and only coal-fired power station. It was commissioned in 1985-1987, and was built at a cost of more than £700 million, making it one of the largest capital projects in the history of the state.
The station operates largely on coal, making it Ireland’s single largest emitter of greenhouse gases. It is capable of meeting around 25% of customer demand across the country. The power station chimneys, at 218 metres, are the tallest free-standing structures in Ireland.
The Shannon Ferries crossing – on the Shannon Breeze and the Shannon Dolphin – from Killimer, Co Clare, to Tarbert, Co Kerry, has been operating since 1969. It takes 20 minutes, leaving Killimer every hour on the hour and Tarbert every hour on the half hour, between 7 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. It saves people 137 km and 1½ hours as they drive from Tralee, Dingle or Killarney to Loop Head, the Burren or the Cliffs of Moher along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Monday, 27 July 2020
I know it is my prejudice that allows me to think that the Trump Hotel looms like a series of carbuncles above the sand dunes in Doonbeg. Others are much kinder, and they compare the stark, formidable buildings to a Scottish baronial-style castle or even to a set for Hogwarts.
But if the hotel looks like a remote or threatening castle in Scotland, this is accidental and bears no connections with Trump’s Scottish ancestry on his mother’s side of the family. Trump bought this place in 2014 for £15 million. But it had been part of the Co Clare landscape for at least 12 years before as the Lodge at Doonbeg.
Three of us visited Doonbeg on Saturday afternoon, after taking the ferry across the Shannon estuary from Tarbert to Killimer. It was a blustery afternoon, and we decided to go for a walk on the long sandy beach at Doonbeg rather than walking around the Marina in Kilrush.
During Trump’s visit to Ireland last year, it seemed the people of Doonbeg were proud of their links with the megalomaniac 45th president of the US. But today there are no signposts leading to the hotel and golf course, and it might be possible to miss altogether but for the fact that its outline can be seen in the distance, off the road out of Doonbeg to Ennistymon.
A narrow, one-track road leads down to the site and to the beach, and when we arrived at the car park in front of the hotel that serves the long, sandy beach, it seemed an irony that the only visible sign inside the sturdy forbidding gates was one listing precautions in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, including a reminder to visitors to wear a facemask.
The gates closed shut before I could get a closer photograph of the sign that shows Trump’s business shows more regard for its customers in Ireland than he shows for his people in the US, and that Trump’s business shows more regard for legislation in Ireland than he shows for democratically-elected state governors and governments in the US.
The links-type course north of Doonbeg was designed by Greg Norman and opened in 2002. Trump bought the lodge and golf club in 2014 for a reported €15 million, including a 5-star hotel with 218 hotel suites, a spa, reception rooms, several restaurants and some cottages.
But a report filed by the receivers – David Hughes and Luke Charleton of accounting firm Ernst & Young – shows that the proceeds from the sale of the golf resort amounted to slightly more than €8.7 million. The sale to Trump did not include a number of luxury suites sold to investors during the boom and leased back to the hotel. They bought those suites as investments, expecting to generate annual rental income and capital appreciation. Some 47 suites had been sold to investors at prices ranging between €1.2 million and €1.8 million.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump claimed told the rally that he bought the complex during an economic downturn in Ireland and that it was a good investment.
It sounded like a carpet-bagger’s boast, but once again fact-checking shows this to be another Trump lie: the Irish economy had come out of recession by 2014. After the bailout exit, the Irish economy had started to recover, recording growth of 4.8% in 2014, national debt fell to 109% of GDP and the budget deficit fell to 3.1% in the fourth quarter of 2014. During 2015, unemployment fell from 10.1% to 8.8%, while the economy grew by an estimated 6.7%.
By November 2015, exchequer receipts were €3 billion ahead of target and that the government's tax revenues had risen by 10.5% throughout 2015.
They are figures that Trump has failed to match in the US during his four years in office.
Trump asked that campaign rally at Kiawah Island in South Carolina: ‘So Doonbeg, you know about Doonbeg?’
His questions drew a yelp from the crowd: ‘Yeah!’
‘We spent a lot of money on making it just perfecto and now it’s doing great,’ he told them. ‘But I don’t care about that stuff anymore. It is like small potatoes, right.’
The reference to ‘small potatoes’ was possibly an intended racist reference to the Irish potato famine that ranks alongside his reference to Covid-19 as ‘Kung Flu’ and the ‘China Flu.’
To rub salt into the wound, he added: ‘But I don’t care about it. I care about making America great again. That’s what I care about.’
It is hard not to care about the landscape and the beauty around Doonbeg.
But if Trump does not care ‘about that stuff’ any more, it makes me wonder why he bothered to stop off there during his visit to Ireland last year. Even further beyond belief is that the business has applied for permits to build a 2.8 km sea wall to protect the property, citing ‘global warming and its effects’ – although Trump himself denies the existence of global warming.
The plan has drawn strong opposition because of concerns that it would adversely affect the Special Area of Conservation status of the site. The application was withdrawn in December 2016. A year later, in December 2017, permission was granted for two smaller barriers, of 630 and 260 metres. But that permission was appealed too, along with requests to build 53 holiday cottages, a leisure centre, and a restaurant.
In the same speech, Trump complained about the US drug company Pfizer and other firms moving to Ireland because their US taxes were ‘too high.’ But he saw no moral contradiction in using the resort in Doonbeg to roll over his own cash and to benefit from Irish tax incentives.
Admittedly, it is not possible to assert this with confidence as long as Trump refuses to disclose his tax returns, but – given his recent use of troops to clear people off the streets of Washington so he could have an egregious photo-opportunity with a Bible outside a church he never attends – ‘moral’ and ‘conscience’ are two words that do not come to mind immediately when I think about Trump.
Trump pledged to invest up to €45 million in Doonbeg and create hundreds of jobs. He said he would transform Doonbeg into a ‘truly iconic’ golf destination. But, while he returned to inspect his investment in June 2019, it looked lonely and forlorn on Saturday, with just a few golfers on the course and no indication that the restaurant had reopened or that the hotel was taking bookings.
Instead, the greatest investment in Doonbeg has been made by Irish people who were spending their money there on Saturday afternoon. Doonbeg has a large number of highly-rated restaurants, and all we were booked out by the time we started looking for a table for three when they opened at 6 p.m.
We returned through Kilrush to catch the evening ferry at Killimer.
Many years ago, I received some photographs that had once been in my grandmother’s house in Terenure. They are obviously family photographs, taken at weddings, graduations, on holidays, or during visits by cousins and other family members from England or the US.
They might provide interesting glimpses of family life in an ordinary middle class family in suburban south Dublin for many decades up to the 1940s. They might … but for the fact that no-one wrote on the backs of the photographs to indicate who was who.
An aunt who lived in this house until the 1990s had once provided me with some photographs of my grandfather, Stephen Edward Comerford (1867-1921) and one photograph of my great-grandfather, James Comerford (1817-1902). So, I imagine many of these photographs had moved and been added to over the decades as the Comerford family moved from Ranelagh to Rathmines and Terenure.
Unable to identify the people in the photographs, I put many of them to one side for a long time. But in recent weeks one or two clues have allowed me to confidently date one of these photographs and identify the two people it portrays as my great-grandfather, James Comerford, and his wife Anne Doyle.
The photograph is in the style of a carte de visite, a popular form of portraits that were first produced in 1859, were at their most popular phase of production in 1860-1880, and then began to fade in popularity in 1880-1889.
The fashion for these inexpensive portraits reached its peak in Dublin the 1860s, and this is illustrated by the large number of photographers’ studios on three of the main streets of the capital: Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street), Westmoreland Street and Grafton Street. At one time, there were over 60 studios on these streets so that it became a strip known as ‘The photographic mile.’
So, I knew this photograph was, most probably, taken in the 1860s.
The second clue to dating this photograph is the card on which it is mounted. The card is labelled ‘Metropolitan Photo Compy 88 Grafton Street.’ The London Metropolitan Photographic Company was at 22 Westmoreland Street and 88 Grafton Street, Dublin, from 1867 to 1869, and then at 22 Westmoreland Street alone from 1872 to 1878.
This means the photograph was taken between 1867 and 1869, and this is further confirmed by the style of the photograph: square corners dominated these cards until 1870, when rounded corners, which were much less susceptible to damage, were introduced.
James Comerford was a Victorian stucco artist and architect, and with William Burnett he designed The Irish House on the corner of Winetavern Street and Wood Quay, Dublin.
He was born near Newtownbarry (now Bunclody), Co Wexford, in 1816 or 1817, the youngest son of James Comerford (1775-1825) of Ballyminane, Newtownbarry (ca 1775-1825) and a cousin of Bishop Michael Comerford (1831-1895), the 19th century Carlow historian. He first worked alongside his brothers Richard and Robert Comerford in Co Wexford with Richard Pierce and AWN Pugin, in Newtownbarry, Enniscorthy and Wexford Town.
He moved to Dublin at about the age of 34 around 1851, and on 14 September 1851, in Saint Andrew’s Church, Westland Row, he married Anne Doyle (1834-1899) daughter of Garret Doyle.
James Comerford lived at Stephen Street (1852), 22 Long Lane (until 1865), both close to Dublin Castle; 7 Redmond’s Hill (from 1866 until at least 1870), near the junction of Aungier Street and Wexford Street; Clanbrassil and probably Charlemont Street in the 1870s; 2 Mountpleasant Villas, Ranelagh, where Anne died on 18 April 1899, and, from 1899 at 11 Upper Beechwood Avenue.
In his later years, he took an interest in the family history and the links between the Comerford and Comberford families, visiting Comberford, Tamworth, Lichfield and Wednesbury – an interest that has been passed on to me. He died at 11 Upper Beechwood Avenue on 14 December 1902, at the age of 85.
This photograph of James Comerford was taken some time between 1867 and 1869, while he was living at 7 Redmond’s Hill, a five-minute walk from Grafton Street, and in his early 50s. His son, Stephen Comerford, my grandfather, was born in 1867, and James Comerford’s career reached its pinnacle with the building of The Irish House on the corner of Wood Quay and Winetavern Street, Dublin in 1870.
Later, he would play a key role in the trade union movement, and work for the Board of Works, becoming a civil servant. So, I might speculate, this photograph was taken as James was reaching the pinnacle of his career, and his growing family offered him greater comfort. It is a portrait of a couple who are now confident of their place in the artistic and artisan society of Victorian Dublin.
Later, when my grandfather, Stephen Edward Comerford, was young and successful, he had his portrait taken in a way that presented him as a young Victorian man with confidence looking forward to the future. In the fashion of the time, this photograph was modelled on the formal portrait of John Ruskin (1819-1900) by Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896).
The carte de visite (CDV) style of photograph portraying my great-grandparents first appeared in 1859 and was most popular in the 1860s and 1870s. It changed consumer photography as much as the introduction of any other type of photograph. The image had a more natural appearance than the black-base of the tintype, and, because the materials were cheaper and easier to work with, the prices of photographs continued to fall.
The process was the first to use a glass negative. Previous photographs were unique, one-of-a-kind pictures. But now, the consumer could buy several copies of a picture, and share them with friends and relatives. Assembling a collection of family photographs became a popular tradition, and photograph albums began appearing in the early 1860s.
The image was developed on a very thin sheet of paper, and then was glued to stiff card stock. A CDV had a specific size: 2 3/8" x 4 1/4", although the size may vary up to 1/4", especially when the photographer cut his own card stock. But they were close in size, and album slots had a standard size.
Several features make dating the majority of cartes de visite relatively easy, within a few years. These include the card thickness, card corners, the image size on card, card borders, studio props and backgrounds, card corners and the names and addresses of the studios.
As a general rule, square corners are pre-1870, and the London Metropolitan Photographic Company was only at 88 Grafton Street from 1867 to 1869, having premises at 22 Westmoreland Street from 1867 to 1878
The carte-de-visite was also a style from 1860 of Thomas Whittaker’s Dublin Metropolitan Photographic Company, working in Dublin at 140 Saint Stephen’s Green West and an address on Grafton Street and in John Street, Kilkenny, from 1869 until he died in 1872. A few weeks after he died, his widow Mary Jane Hallen Whittaker advertised in the Kilkenny Journal that she would continue the business in John Street, Kilkenny.
The business at 22 Westmoreland Street, Dublin, was first associated with JH Monney in 1865, and was continued first by Simonton and Millard in 1877, and then by the Lauder family from 1879 to 1881, including Edmund Stanley Lauder who died in 1895, and later JE and Stanley Lauder until the late 1950s.
An advertisement by Lauder in 1878 claims, ‘Lauder have made most important alterations and improvements in their principal galleries, by means of which photographs are now produced in half the usual time, thereby rendering them more natural, pleasing and successful, and have spared no expense in providing the best lenses and apparatus and a great variety of new and beautiful scenery accessories.’
The Lauder studio in Dublin began at Capel Street in 1853. Edmund Stanley Lauder, the first owner of the studio, died in 1895. The business was later run by a number of members of the Lauder family.
Edmund Lauder’s son, James Stack Lauder (1853-1923), or James Lafayette, founded the Lafayette Studio in 1880. He became the first Irish photographer to be granted the royal warrant, earning this after photographing Queen Victoria in 1887, her Golden Jubilee year.
The Lafayette business was so successful that by the end of the 19th century there were branches in Glasgow, Manchester, London and Belfast. James Lafayette moved to London and became the most commercially successful portrait photographer of the day.
He died in 1923, and the company slowly declined, so that by 1952 only the Dublin office was left. It was sold off and most of the negatives were destroyed. In 2009 Lafayette Photography re-opened in Cambridge in 2009.
Other Grafton Street studios included those of Edgar Adolphe, a French painter who set up a photography studio in Dublin in the 1850s. His ‘Photographic Artist Gallery’ was at 75 Grafton Street (ca 1859-1873) and 9 Westmoreland Street (1874-1881). During his colourful life, he was jailed for libel in England and was pursuit by an alleged previous wife after he married in Dublin.
G Schroeder had a studio at 28 Grafton Street in 1864-1875, then at 54 Grafton Street in 1876-1881. He moved to 40 Lower Sackville Street in 1882 and was there until 1885, with another studio at 64 Patrick Street, Cork. Adam Zalking Sauvy, a French photographer, took over Schroeder’s studios in Cork and Dublin, renaming them the Paris Photographic Studio. He worked as Mons Sauvy from 54 Grafton Street and 64 Patrick Street, Cork in 1882-1886, but moved to Manchester in 1886.
Louis Werner, a portrait painter from Alsace, settled in Dublin, and with his wife, Augustine, ran a photographic studio at 15 Leinster Street from 1864 to 1885. Their son, Alfred Werner, took over the business in 1886, and later ran the business from 39 Grafton Street.
Later, in the early 20th century, Harry Cowan owned a number of studios in Dublin, including the Franco-British Portrait Company, Grafton Studios, Camden Street Studio, Sackville Portrait Studio, and the Earl Portrait Studio. His brother, Jack, operated the ‘While-U-Wait’ booth on the promenade in Bray during the summer months.
The Ross studios were established at 54 Grafton Street by 1929. By 1936, Ross Studios had moved to 3 Saint Stephen’s Green. They have since returned to Grafton Street as Edmund Ross Studios No 59.
As for 88 Grafton Street, it was just a few doors away from No 91, where John and William Switzer had opened their shop in Victorian Dublin. As Switzers expanded, No 88 was incorporated into their premises, and it is now part of the Brown Thomas premises in Dublin.
Sunday, 26 July 2020
Let us pray:
We pray for the universal Church of God;
We pray for the bishops of the Church of Ireland
and the staff of the diocese and the Representative Church Body,
who have continued to work throughout this crisis.
We pray for our own bishop, Kenneth.
In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for the team responsible
for preparing the Lambeth Conference,
which was due to take place now,
as they consider the implications of its postponement.
Throughout the Church of Ireland this month,
we pray for the Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry,
for Bishop Patrick Rooke,
and for the people and priests of the diocese.
In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for the Clonfert group of parishes,
their priest the Revd Olive Henderson,
and the congregations of Saint Brendan’s Cathedral, Clonfert,
Saint Paul’s, Banagher, Saint John the Baptist, Eyrecourt,
and Christ Church, Portumna.
We pray for our neighbouring churches and parishes.
Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.
We pray for the nations of the world:
We pray for our own government and all governments
that have tried to find ways of dealing with this crisis,
thanking God for the blessings of wise decision makers and advisers …
We pray for the local community:
We give thanks for frontline workers,
essential services that have kept working …
for our schools … the gardai …
for community volunteers who keep in touch with the housebound …
for those who return to work … those who wait to return to work …
those who have no work to return to …
for business owners who try to keep going …
for those who still live with fear …
In this time, known in the Church as Ordinary Time,
we give thanks for all the ordinary things
we have taken for granted.
Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy.
We pray those in need:
In our hearts, we name individuals, families, neighbours,
care homes, hospitals, voluntary groups …
We pray for those we have offered to pray for …
We pray for all who grieve and mourn at this time …
We remember, and give thanks for, the faithful departed …
including the Revd Canon Charles F Slagle, giving thanks for his life and witness …
may their families find comfort and support in the prayers of friends …
May their memories be a blessing to us …
Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.
A prayer at the end of the lockdown from Bishop Kenneth Kearon:
God of Light and Life,
as we look to the end of this period of lockdown,
we thank you for all who have sustained
and protected us as individuals and communities,
especially those in front-line services
in healthcare and food supply and distribution.
We remember before you those among us
for whom this has been a worrying time,
those who have been ill,
and those who are bereaved.
We look forward to the opportunity to worship you again together in church,
to renewing contacts and friends,
and we ask you to keep us ever mindful of the needs of others.
As we have appreciated our dependence on each other,
so remind us always of our dependence on you,
as we make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Merciful Father …
These intercessions were prepared for Castletown, Kilcornan, Co Limerick, and Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick, on Sunday 26 July 2020 (Trinity VII)
Sunday 26 July 2020
The Seventh Sunday after Trinity (Trinity VII)
9.30 a.m.: Morning Prayer (MP 2): Castletown Church, Kilcornan, Co Limerick
11.30 a.m.: The Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2): Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick
Readings: Genesis 29: 15-28; Psalm 105: 1-11, 45b; Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52
May I speak to you in the name of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Lessons in good parenting teach parents never to compare their sons or daughters with other children. It is a sure way of giving children the impression that they never match the expectations of their parents.
‘Why can’t you achieve more, like your big brother?’
‘Why can’t you behave yourself, like your little sister?’
Many of us can remember how we dreaded hearing these judgmental questions.
As adults, we learn in a different way how comparisons are never adequate. Shakespeare asks in the opening line of Sonnet 18: ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ And immediately he answers himself: ‘Thou art more lovely and more temperate.’
When we are tempted to compare ourselves, favourably or unfavourably, with others, it is good to be reminded of the old adage not to judge anyone until we have walked a mile in their shoes.
Comparisons never match the beauty of any person or place. And yet, in language, we need metaphors, similes and allegories.
It is worth noticing the different comparisons, parallels, metaphors, similes and allegories in today’s readings.
In the first reading (Genesis 29: 15-28), Jacob is outwitted by Laban and is deceived into thinking that Leah is Rachel.
After meeting God in a vision at Bethel in last week’s reading, Jacob has travelled on to Haran in search of a wife from his own clan. He meets Rachel, and her father Laban, who is related to Jacob, takes him into his household and gives him a living.
After Jacob has been staying with Laban’s family for a month, Laban asks Jacob what wages he expects. Laban has two daughters, Leah and Rachel: Leah has lovely eyes, while Rachel is ‘graceful and beautiful,’ and Jacob is besotted with Rachel.
Jacob offers to work freely for seven years for Laban in return for a promise that he can then marry Rachel. The former Chief Rabbi, Lord (Jonathan) Sacks, points out that ‘the number seven is always significant and always indicates holiness, as in the seventh day, Shabbat; the seventh month … with its Days of Awe … the seventh year … and the fiftieth year, the Jubilee, which follows seven cycles of seven years.’ He says that the number seven became ‘the symbol of the holy,’ a symbol that ‘God exists beyond time and space.’
Because of his hope and because of his love for Rachel, the seven years pass quickly for Jacob and seem ‘but a few days.’
But we should recall how Jacob once deceived his father Isaac and his brother Esau. He was not at all like his big, hairy brother. Now Laban deceives Jacob – a deceit that was possible because a bride wore a veil at her wedding. Leah is not all at all like her younger sister Rachel.
Isaac was deceived into honouring ‘the younger before the firstborn’ when it came to the struggle between Esau and Jacob. Now Laban deceives Jacob into honouring the firstborn before the younger, and successfully contrives to marry his elder daughter Leah to Jacob.
Jacob, who once appeared to shirk work when compared with Esau, is now forced to work longer than expected: another seven days added on to the seven years.
We are prepared for something more holy that is about to unfold, and the stories of the Patriarchs leads to the stories of the children of Israel.
As children of Jacob, the Psalmist invites us in Psalm 105 to see God in his works.
In the New Testament reading, which we did not read this morning (Romans 8: 26-39), the Apostle Paul tells us that those who love God are ‘the image of his Son.’ The word he uses, εἰκών (eikon, image), is used regularly by Saint Paul to say that Christ is the ‘image’ of God: we are not mere comparisons with God, or like God, but through Christ we have become images of God.
Then, in the Gospel reading, Christ offers a number of images of what the Kingdom of God is like: a tiny seed that grows into a great tree, a generous measure of yeast that gives enough bread to feed a village, hidden treasure whose value has gone unrecognised for too long, a pearl that is worth more than anyone can guess, a net that can haul in more than we imagine we can catch.
I ought to have been in England this past week, in Swanwick in Derbyshire for the annual conference of the Anglican mission agency, USPG (United Society Partners in Gospel). But the Covid-19 travel restrictions led to the conference being cancelled. Instead, many of us followed what would have been the conference agenda through a series of on-line, Zoom meetings or ‘webinars.’
During these conversations, I heard of a lot of work in mission that people are engaged in and that helps to give a taste of what the Kingdom of God should be like, ought to be like.
On Monday and Tuesday, the General Secretary of USPG, the Revd Duncan Dormor, and other staff members spoke of USPG’s work around the world, trying to be signs of the Kingdom of God.
On Wednesday, we heard from Dr Esther Mombo, who is a Professor at Saint Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya, and is involved in empowering women in the church and in East Africa. Like me, she did some of her post-graduate work at the Irish School of Ecumenics in Dublin. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, her talk was titled – provocatively and on purpose – ‘I can’t breathe.’ She challenged many of the white, post-colonial perspectives that still inform the life of the Church.
Profressor Paulo Ueti is a Brazilian theologian and Bible Scholar, working with the Anglican Communion. He challenged many of our perspectives that come from positions of privilege.
Whether we come from positions of privilege, or see the world from a perspective of oppression and suffering, we need to try to imagine and understand, what life is like for another person or family.
In that generosity, we may begin to imagine what the Kingdom of God is like. We can only glimpse what another place is like. We can only listen to what the Kingdom of God is like, until we actually live it out and incorporate it into our own lives.
But when we walk in someone else’s shoes, we begin to understand what the Kingdom of God might – just might – be like, be truly like … for other people, and for us.
And so, may all we think, say and do be to the praise, honour and glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52 (NRSVA):
31 He [Jesus] put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’
33 He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51 ‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ 52 And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’
Liturgical Colour: Green (Year A, Ordinary Time)
The Collect of the Day:
Lord of all power and might,
the author and giver of all good things:
Graft in our hearts the love of your name,
increase in us true religion,
nourish us with all goodness,
and of your great mercy keep us in the same;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Collect of the Word:
O God, the fount of wisdom,
you have revealed to us in Christ
the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price:
grant us your Spirit’s gift of discernment,
that, in the midst of the things of this world,
we may learn to value the priceless worth of your kingdom,
and be ready to renounce all else
for the sake of the precious gift you offer.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The Post-Communion Prayer:
whose Son is the true vine and the source of life,
ever giving himself that the world may live:
May we so receive within ourselves
the power of his death and passion
that, in his saving cup,
we may share his glory and be made perfect in his love;
for he is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.
544, O perfect love, all human thought transcending (CD 31)
95, Jesu, priceless treasure (CD 6)
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
Material from the Book of Common Prayer is copyright © 2004, Representative Body of the Church of Ireland.