06 December 2021

Blessing the Crib and lighting
up the night in Rathkeale

The Crib at the Old Abbey in Rathkeale … lit up at last night’s carol service (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Patrick Comerford

As part of ‘Light up the Night,’ a pre-Christmas celebration on Sunday organised by Team Rathkeale, I took part with the clergy teams in Rathkeale in a carol service at the Old Abbey organised by Denis Robinson and the Rathkeale Pre-Social Cohesion Project.

During that service, I used this prayer at the crib:

God of every nation and people,
From the very beginning of creation
You have made manifest you love:
When our need for a Saviour was great
You sent your Son to be born of the Virgin Mary
To our lives he brings joy and peace,
Justice, mercy, and love.
Lord, bless all who look upon this manger.
May it remind us of the humble birth of Jesus,
And raise up our thoughts to him,
Who is God-with-us and Saviour of all,
And who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

At the end of the service, I joined in this final prayer with: Father William Russell, the Revd Ruth Watt and Siobhán Wheeler:

Let us pray in silence for the coming of peace into the world and into our home ... Lord, as we pray before this our Christmas crib and await the feast of the Birth of the Holy Child, call forth the child from within each of us; cause us to wonder and to rejoice again in this most ancient feast. As the magi came bearing gifts, may we, this Christmas, gift one another with the gold of charity, the myrrh of kindness and the incense of prayer. With the shepherds, We come to the birth of Christ seeking a simple celebration, where the greatest gift will be ourselves given to You, our God, and to each other May the Star of Bethlehem which shone brightly over the first crib stand guard over our home, filling it and all the earth with light and peace. We adore You O Christ and we bless You because by Your holy birth You give hope to all the world. Amen.

We ask you God to bless this crib, + In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

During the service, we sang three carols, ‘Silent Night,’ ‘See Him lying on a bed of straw,’ and ‘O little town of Bethlehem.’

Meanwhile, the Winter 2021 edition of An Abhann (Volume 4 No 3), the Limerick City parish newsletter distributed on Sunday morning, includes this photograph and caption on p 14:

On Sunday 10th October the Precentor (Canon Comerford) admitted Grace Stewart to the Choir. Welcome Grace!

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