12 October 2023

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (137) 12 October 2023

Saint Michael’s Church, Killorglin, Co Kerry,is probably the newest Church of Ireland parish church built in the Republic of Ireland (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and this week began with the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity XVIII, 8 October 2023).

Today (12 October), the Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship remembers the lives and witness of Wilfrid of Ripon (709), Bishop, Missionary; Elizabeth Fry (1845), Prison Reformer; and Edith Cavell (1915), Nurse.

Before the day begins, I am taking some time early this morning for prayer and reflection.

The Church recently celebrated Saint Michael and All Angels last month (29 September). So in my reflections each morning this week I am continuing the Michaelmas theme of the last two weeks in this way:

1, A reflection on a church named after Saint Michael or his depiction in Church Art;

2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Inside Saint Michael’s Church, Killorglin, Co Kerry, designed by the architect Peter O’Farrelly in 1997 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Saint Michael’s Church, Killorglin, Co Kerry:

Saint Michael’s Church, Killorglin, and Saint Cartach’s Church, Castlemaine, form the Kilcolman Union of Parishes in the Ardfert and Aghadoe or Co Kerry part of the Dioceses of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe in the Church of Ireland.

Killorglin is on the Ring of Kerry tourist route, 26 km south of Tralee and 22 km west of Killarney, and has a population of about 2,200 people. The annual events include the Puck Fair festival in August, which starts with the crowning and parading of a wild mountain goat as ‘king.’

The name Killorglin (Cill Orglan in Irish) means ‘Orgla’s Church.’ The Anglo-Normans built a castle at Killorglin in 1215. Within a few years, the Augustinian priors established a church at Dromavalla on the banks of the river Laune. A small village grew up at this location on the boundaries of the Norman Shire of Kerry and the Gaelic territories of Desmond.

After the Desmond Wars (1579-1583). the castle of Killorglin was granted to Jenkin Conway, who originally came from Conwy in north Wales. His son, Jenkin, secured a patent from King James I in 1613 for a three-day fair in Killorglin, believed to be the origins of the Puck Fair.

It is said John ‘Black Jack’ Blennerhassett of Castle Conway, Killorglin, built a private chapel for his family on Bridge Street in the 1690s. The site and chapel passed to Thomas Mullins (1736-1824) of Dingle, later Lord Ventry, in 1795 when he bought the Blennerhassett estate, castle and lands of 7,000 acres in the Killorglin area from his kinsman Harman Blennerhassett.

Lord Ventry transferred the site in 1812 to his son, the Revd Frederick Mullins (1778-1833) to build a new Church of Ireland parish church in Killorglin. Mullins received financial assistance from the Board of First Fruits, and the church was built on Bridge Street (later Lower Bridge Street) in 1816.

Saint Michael’s Church was substantially rebuilt in 1868 to designs by the church architects William Joseph Welland and William Gillespie. It is believed that the belltower and the minor nave remain from the original structure, but the main nave dates from 1868.

Saint Michael’s was a double-height church with a three-bay side elevation and a single-bay three-stage entrance tower at the west gable end with a battlemented parapet. It has a pitched slate roof with gable parapets, limestone rubble stone walls, a rose window of five quatrefoils in the east wall, and a timber boarded door. The gateway, built ca 1820 has a pair of rubble stone piers with iron gates.

Saint Michael’s Church was closed and deconsecrated in 1996, the building was offered for sale, and a new Church of Ireland parish church was built in the town.

A new Church of Ireland parish church, also named Saint Michael’s Church, was built on Iveragh Road in Killorglin, in 1997 with broad support from the local community. Saint Michael's Church was designed by the architect Peter O’Farrelly. It is octagonal in shape, with a high conical roof. It is built of ragstone, and a community centre is attached to the church.

Saint Michael’s Church is probably the newest Church of Ireland parish church to be built in the Republic of Ireland.

A stained-glass window in the entrance lobby depicts the Archangel Michael. This one-lancet window measures 2720 mm x 1090 mm. It was moved from Knockane Church, Churchtown. It was made in 1945 by the artist Douglas Strachan (1875-1950).

A two-lancet window with one tracery-light in the south chapel depicts the emblems of the Four Evangelists in the two lancets, measuring 2680 mm x 670 mm. It was made in 1866 by Charles Alexander Gibbs (1825-1877), one of the major stained glass suppliers of the Victorian period. It too came from Knockane Church, Churchtown, where it had been placed as a memorial to Richard The Macgillicuddy of the Reeks.

The Revd Ann-Marie Stuart and the Revd Isabel Keegan retired from Saint Michael’s Church, Killorglin, and the Kilcolman Union of Parishes earlier this year, five years after coming to Co Kerry, and the parish is currently vacant.

Meanwhile, the Victorian parish church was bought and restored by Nicholas Foley and his daughter Cliodhna. When the building first opened a restaurant and event space in 2006, it was called ‘Sol y Sombra,’ a Spanish phrase meaning ‘light and shadow’ and referring to the play of light inside the building through the stained glass windows. With a new name, it was launched as 10 Bridge Street last year (2022).

The window in the entrance lobby depicting the Archangel Michael was made in 1945 by Douglas Strachan (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Luke 11: 5-13 (NRSVA):

5 And he [Jesus] said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.” 7 And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.” 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

9 ‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

The window with emblems of the Four Evangelists was made by Charles Alexander Gibbs in 1866 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayer:

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is ‘After the Storm.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (12 October 2023) invites us to pray in these words:

As yesterday was International Day of the Girl Child, we pray that women and girls everywhere may live life abundantly as God intended for them.

Saint Michael’s Church, the earlier church on Lower Bridge Street, was closed in 1996 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Collect:

Almighty God,
who called our forebears to the light of the gospel
by the preaching of your servant Wilfrid:
help us, who keep his life and labour in remembrance,
to glorify your name by following the example
of his zeal and perseverance;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post Communion Prayer:

Holy Father,
who gathered us here around the table of your Son
to share this meal with the whole household of God:
in that new world where you revea
l the fullness of your peace,
gather people of every race and language
to share with Wilfrid and all your saints
in the eternal banquet of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Inside the former Saint Michael’s Church, now the restaurant 10 Bridge Street (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Yesterday’s Reflection

>Continued Tomorrow

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

The new Saint Michael’s Church on Iveragh Road, Killorglin, in the springtime (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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