Thursday, 3 December 2020

Praying in Advent with
Lichfield Cathedral:
5, Thursday 3 December 2020

‘How grounded is our hope in God’s love rather than our wants?’ … in the choir stalls in Lichfield Cathedral after Choral Evensong (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.

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.

Thursday 3 December 2020:

Read Saint Matthew 7: 21, 24-27:.

21 [Jesus said:] ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

24 ‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell – and great was its fall!’

Reflection:

What do you hope for? How grounded is our hope in God’s love rather than our wants? Pray for our foundations to be based securely in what Jesus promises.

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

A Limerick architect
and engineer who also
worked in Askeaton

The Parochial House or Presbytery in Askeaton, Co Limerick, was designed by the architect and engineer Brian Edward Fitzgerald Sheehy (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Patrick Comerford

The old rectory in Askeaton, Co Limerick, now known as Ballindeel House, was designed by the celebrated Limerick-based architect James Pain, who probably also designed Saint Mary’s Church, the Church of Ireland parish church, which was rebuilt at the same time.

But architectural interest in the former rectory should not eclipse similar interest in the Parochial House or Presbytery at the west end of Askeaton, beside Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, which also has an interesting architectural history.

The Parochial House or Presbytery was designed by Brian Edward Fitzgerald Sheehy (1870-1930), who worked as an architect and engineer in Limerick from the 1890s until the 1920s, and it was built in 1911 by the well-known church builders John Ryan & Son.

Brian Sheehy was born on 26 September 1870, the son of George Lake Sheehy, a ‘gentleman farmer’ of Moviddy, Newcastle West, and Elizabeth (nee Fitzgerald).

He was educated at Blackrock College, and was then articled to the Dublin-based architect and engineer Samuel Gordon Fraser of Dublin.

Sheehy had returned to Limerick by 1903, and was in private practice from then, living at 57 O’Connell Street (formerly George’s Street). He married his wife, Elizabeth Sheehy, daughter of Major Brian E Sheehy, of Cherrygrove, on 28 October 1908 in Croom, Co Limerick. She was a sister of the barrister Richard J Sheehy.

Sheehy was the engineer with the Newcastle West District Council, the old District Council and Board of Guardians of Croom and the Co Limerick Health Board, and he was the architect to the Thomond Artisans’ Dwellings Company, Limerick, and the Ennis Asylum Board, Co Clare. As a consulting engineer, he frequently appeared in court as an expert witness.

Professionally, he was an associate member (1901) and then a member (1912) of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland (ICEI), and a council member from 1926 until his death; a licentiate of the Royal Institute of British Architects (1925); and a member of the Society of Architects, the Royal Sanitary Institute, and the Institute of Water Engineers.

During his career, he carried out a large number of engineering schemes, water, sewerage, and buildings in Munster.

His engineering works included the Doneraile Water Supply scheme, Co Cork, for Mallow District Council (1900), the water supply schemes in Thurles, Co Tipperary (1901), Ennistymon and Lahinch, Co Clare (1903-1906), Newcastle West, Co Limerick (1928), Rathkeale, Co Limerick (1929), and works on the National Bank in Limerick and bank branches in Doneraile, Co Cork, Bruff, Co Limerick, and Caherciveen, Co Kerry.

His architectural works included new offices in Limerick for the Irish Co-op Agency Society (1901), a grandstand at Garryowen (1903), 16 artisans’ houses and 24 labourers’ cottages in Mallow (1903-1904), six houses at Park View Terrace, Limerick (1911), four houses on Military Road, Limerick (1911), houses in Nicholas Street, Limerick (1913), and a new bridge over the River Feale in Listowel, Co Kerry (1910).

He also worked on alterations and extensions for Saint Munchin’s College, Limerick (1909-1911) and the Municipal Technical Institute on O’Connell Avenue, Limerick (1923-1926) and convents, schools, banks, hotels and factories throughout the south-west and mid-west.

His church works included alterations to Meelick Church, Co Limerick (1903), a new convent and chapel at Saint John’s Hospital, Limerick (1903), the parochial houses in Charleville, Co Cork (1904), Kilmallock, Co Limerick (1908), and Croom, Co Limerick (1908), the convent in Kilfinane, Co Limerick (1904), and a temperance hall on the corner of Cecil Street and Henry Street, Limerick (1907-1909).

His best-known and most successful church building must be Saint Colman’s Church, Kilcolman, Co Limerick, built on a difficult and challenging site in 1912-1913.

Shortly before working in Kilcolman, Sheehy designed a new parochial house for the parish in Askeaton. At the same time, he remodelled and extended the national school in Askeaton in 1911, and he designed a new post office for Askeaton that year.

Sheehy’s pupils and assistants included the architect and engineer Patrick John Fitzgerald Munden (1883-1962), who was working with him in from 1910 to the end of 1912, while the parochial house, school and library were being built in Askeaton. A few years later, Munden was involved in the Howth gunrunning, and was arrested in Dublin Castle in 1916. Munden was an unsuccessful independent candidate in the 1923 elections, but he sat on Rathmines Town Council.

Sheehy died at the age of 59, on 6 January 1930 at his home, 57 O’Connell Street. The Limerick Chronicle reported his death the next day and noted that he ‘was a member of an old West Limerick family.’

Saint Colman’s Church, Kilcoman, Co Limerick, built in 1912-1913 … also designed by Brian Sheehy (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Praying in Advent with USPG:
5, Thursday 3 December 2020

‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock’ (Matthew 7: 24) … a monastery built on a rock top in Meteora, Greece (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 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.

Thursday 3 December 2020 (International Day of Persons with Disabilities):

Let us pray for an end to all discrimination faced be people living with disabilities.

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 7: 21, 24-27 (NRSVA):.

21 [Jesus said:] ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

24 ‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell – and great was its fall!’

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