Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Praying in Advent with
Lichfield Cathedral:
4, Wednesday 2 December 2020

‘Ask for alertness to the way we can feed and support the hungry, homeless, and vulnerable’ … a homeless person finds shelter at night in the west door in Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Throughout Advent and Christmas this year, I am using the Prayer Diary of the Anglican Mission Agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) for my morning reflections each day, and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced at Lichfield Cathedral for my prayers and reflections each evening.

I have been involved for these two days in the General Synod of the Church of Ireland as a clerical member for the Diocese of Limerick, and I am involved later this evening in a meeting of a local school board. But I have taken a few moments this evening for my own quiet time for prayer, reflection and a Bible reading.

Advent is the Church’s mindful antidote to some of the diversion and consumerism of a modern Christmas. It prepares us to encounter Christ again in his joy and humility.

In ‘The Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar 2020,’ the Dean and community at Lichfield Cathedral are inviting us to light our Advent candle each day as we read the Bible and join in prayer.

This calendar is for everyone who uses the Cathedral website, for all the Cathedral community, and for people you want to send it to and invite to share in the daily devotional exercise.

This is a simple prayer and bible-reading exercise to help us to mark the Advent Season as a time of preparation for the coming of Christ.

It is designed to take us on a journey, looking back to John the Baptist and Mary the Mother of Jesus; looking out into the world today, into our own hearts and experience; outwards again to Jesus Christ as he encounters us in life today and in his promise to be with us always.

You can download the calendar HERE.

The community at Lichfield Cathedral offers a number of suggestions on how to use this calendar:

● Set aside 5-15 minutes every day.

● Buy or use a special candle to light each day as you read and pray through the suggestions on the calendar.

● Try to ‘eat simply’ – one day each week try going without so many calories or too much rich food, just have enough.

● Try to donate to a charity working with the homeless or the people of Bethlehem.

● Try to pray through what you see and notice going on around you in people, the media and nature.

Wednesday 2 December 2020:

Read Saint Matthew 15: 29-37:.

29 After Jesus had left that place, he passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, 31 so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.’ 33 The disciples said to him, ‘Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?’ 34 Jesus asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ They said, ‘Seven, and a few small fish.’ 35 Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, 36 he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 37 And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.

Reflection:

When Jesus prayed, his eyes were opened to human need: ask for alertness to the way we can feed and support the hungry, homeless, and vulnerable.

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s evening reflection

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

Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin
Group parish notes in
‘Newslink’ December 2020

Preparing the Advent Wreaths in the Rectory in hope and anticipation (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

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/

The Covid-19 regulations make it difficult to predict what we can do and what to expect. But Advent is a time of anticipation and expectation and calls on us to be prepared for Christ’s coming – in many unexpected ways.

With this in mind, should the Covid-19 regulations make Advent, Christmas and Epiphany services possible, then the planned services for December and January become possible in appropriate but modified ways.

Sunday 6 December (Advent 2):

9.30, Askeaton, Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2); 11.30, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Morning Prayer.

Sunday 13 December (Advent 3):

9.30, Castletown, Parish Eucharist (HC 2); 11.30, Rathkeale, Morning Prayer.

Sunday 20 December (Advent 4):

No morning service in Askeaton

11.30, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Parish Eucharist (HC 2); 3 pm, Askeaton, Carol Service.

Christmas Eve, Thursday 24 December:

6 pm, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Christmas Eucharist (HC 2); 8 pm, Castletown, Christmas Eucharist (HC 2) (please note revised times).

Christmas Day, Friday 25 December:

9.30 am, Askeaton, Christmas Eucharist (HC 2); 11 am, Rathkeale, Christmas Eucharist (HC 2).

Sunday 27 December (Christmas 1):

11 am, United Parish Service, Rathkeale (Morning Prayer with Siobhán Wheeler, Parish Reader)

Sunday 3 January 2021 (Christmas 2):

9.30, Askeaton, the Parish Eucharist (HC 2); 11.30, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), the Epiphany Eucharist.

Wednesday 6 January 2020 (The Epiphany):

11, Askeaton, the Epiphany Eucharist (HC 2).

Sunday 10 January (Epiphany 1): 9.30, Castletown, Parish Eucharist; 11.30, Rathkeale, Morning Prayer.

Sunday 17 January (Epiphany 2): 9.30, Askeaton, Morning Prayer; 11.30, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), the Parish Eucharist.

Sunday 24 January (Epiphany 3): 9.30, Castletown, Morning Prayer; 11.30, Rathkeale, Parish Eucharist.

Sunday 31 January (Epiphany 4, the Presentation): 11 am, United Parish Eucharist, Askeaton (HC 2).

A special thank you:

In a recent sermon on the parable of the talents, Patrick said: ‘I am aware … of how many people in this parish are now feeling the financial pinch because of the fall-out from the pandemic. Shops and businesses have closed, household incomes have gone down, economic activity is in freefall.

‘Yet the cost of living remains the same … and people in this parish have been more than generous in continuing to pay into the parish finances to keep parish life going even when parish life is shrinking, without expecting a thank you. Your continuing commitment is an expression of your faith and values. Thank you.’

On-line sermons:

During the lockdown, when church buildings are closed, the Parish Eucharist continues to be celebrated in the Rectory, and the Sunday sermon and the intercessions go online through the Parish Facebook page and through Patrick’s blog (www.patrickcomerford.com). The sermons are also made available on YouTube.

This is an edited version of the Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group parish notes in the December 2020 edition of ‘Newslink,’ the Limerick and Killaloe diocesan magazine.

Praying in Advent with USPG:
4, Wednesday 2 December 2020

And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full (Matthew 15: 37) … the miracle of the loaves and fishes in a fresco in Analipsi Church in Georgioupoli, Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Throughout Advent and Christmas this year, I am using the Prayer Diary of the Anglican Mission Agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) for my morning reflections each day, and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced at Lichfield Cathedral for my prayers and reflections each evening.

I expect to spend much of today as a clerical member for the Diocese of Limerick at the General Synod of the Ireland, which is taking place vrtually on Zoom this week, and later in the day I have a meeting of a local school board.

But before the day begins, I am taking a short time this morning to read today’s Gospel reading and to pray using the USPG Prayer Diary.

I am one of the contributors to the current USPG Diary, Pray with the World Church, introducing the theme of peace and trust after Christmas.

The theme of the USPG Prayer Diary this week (29 November 2020 to 5 December 2020) is ‘There is the Lamb of God.’ This week’s theme was introduced by the Most Revd Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Before the day begins, I am pausing for a moment as I pray and reflect using the USPG Prayer Diary, the Collect of the Day, and this morning’s Gospel reading in the Lectionary of the Church of Ireland.

Wednesday 2 December 2020:

Let us give thanks for the recent news from the World Health Organisation declaring Africa polio-free.

The Advent Collect:

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Matthew 15: 29-37 (NRSVA):.

29 After Jesus had left that place, he passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, 31 so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.’ 33 The disciples said to him, ‘Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?’ 34 Jesus asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ They said, ‘Seven, and a few small fish.’ 35 Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, 36 he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 37 And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s morning reflection

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