28 March 2021

Praying in Lent and Easter 2021:
40, Saint Thomas’s Church, Achill Island

Saint Thomas’s Church, Dugort, on Achill Island, Co Mayo (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During Lent and Easter this year, I am taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship that has been significant in my spiritual life;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

Today is Palm Sunday (28 March 2021), and we are moving into Holy Week, the last week in Lent. This week I am offering photographs from seven churches that I think of as places of pilgrimage and spiritual refreshment (I have reflected earlier this Lent on the place of the chapel of Saint John’s Hospital, Lichfield, and of Lichfield Cathedral, in my spiritual life).

My photographs this morning (28 March 2021) are from Saint Thomas’s Church in Dugort on Achill Island, off the coast of Mayo.

I first visited Achill Island in 1974, and for many years we spent days on end – even weeks on end – on Achill Island, as a retreat from the pressures of daily life, whether those were the demands of work, campaigning or study. When Achill provided safe space for reflection, and this church was a place for prayer and spiritual reflection.

Saint Thomas’s Church, Dugort, has been a place for prayer and spiritual reflection (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Mark 11: 1-11 (NRSVA):

1 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately”.’ 4 They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5 some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ 6 They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9 Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (28 March 2021), Palm Sunday, prays:

Holy God, as your Son entered his own city
on a colt, the foal of a donkey,
may we in humility, yet with your confidence,
work to transform our communities, through your Son.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The beach below Slievemore at Dugort, Achill Island … safe space for reflection (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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

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