14 October 2023
Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (139) 14 October 2023
We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and tomorrow is the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity XIX, 15 October 2023).
My priorities later today may well be the Rugby World Cup quarter final between Ireland and South Africa. But, before today 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 my reflections each morning for the past three weeks have continued the Michaelmas theme 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.
Saint Michael’s Church, Tipperary:
Saint Michael’s Church on Saint Michael’s Street in Tipperary is an impressive building designed by the celebrated church architect, James Joseph McCarthy (1817-1882), built in 1855-1861 by Doolins of Dublin, and added to half a century later by Ashlin and Coleman.
The church spire is visible from every road approaching the town, and there is fine craftsmanship throughout the church, representing the best of church architecture and decoration in the traditions introduced to Ireland by AWN Pugin.
The size, style and composition of the church is an illustration of the sense of the power of the Roman Catholic Church at the time.
The church was designed by JJ McCarthy in the Early English style for the Parish Priest of Tipperary, Father James Howley, and was built by Doolins of Dublin at an estimated cost of £7,000.
McCarthy claimed Pugin’s mantle and his great works include the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles, Co Tipperary, the Church of Our Lady, Ballingarry, Co Limerick, Saint Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan, Saint Mary’s Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, SS Peter and Paul Church, Kilmallock, Co Limerick, the Capuchin Church, Church Street, Dublin, and the College Chapel, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare.
The church was consecrated in November 1861. Its spire is visible from every approach road. Fine craftsmanship is seen throughout the building, in the quality of the stonework and stone carving, and the detailing of the various elevations.
The reredos by John Hardman & Co of Birmingham is an impressive artistic achievement, and the interior is also enhanced by the stone carving at the organ gallery and the attractive glazed screen.
This cruciform-plan, gable-fronted church includes a five-bay nave with side aisles, three-bay transepts, a two-bay chancel, a three-bay projecting porch, a mortuary chapel added ca 1915, a three-stage bell tower with a spire, a lean-to porch on the north side and a sacristy at the north-east.
The broached octagonal spire on the tower has metal cross finial and trefoil and pointed vent-lights with louvres. There are carved limestone crenellations and spires at the octagonal engaged columns on the porch. There are necked dressed limestone walls, limestone dressings, and buttresses at the corners of the church, at the lower two stages of the tower and between the windows of the side aisles. There is a plinth course and moulded string courses at the porch.
A carved limestone statue of Saint Michael the Archangel stands in a gabled niche at the front of the bell tower. Throughout the church there are pointed-arch window openings throughout the church, including a five-light window at the west front, a trefoil-headed five-light east window, three-light windows in the gables of the transepts, two-light windows in the side aisles and the front of the tower, and single-light windows in other parts of the church, with hood mouldings on the windows at the front.
The porch has paired pointed-arch windows with hood-mouldings and engaged colonnettes, and a hexafoil window over the central entrance door, with a moulded limestone surround.
John Hardman & Co of Birmingham, who worked on many of Pugin’s churches, designed the High Altar with an ornate carved marble reredos in 1860. The reredos is an impressive artistic achievement, At the time, the altar was said to be ‘the largest and most elaborate erected in the United Kingdom since the Reformation.’
There are side altars, with figure sculptures, an ornate carved marble pointed segmental arcade at organ gallery with trefoil arcading details on the parapet and polished granite columns.
The boarded timber ceiling and braced truss roof are supported on cut stone corbels in the nave walls. Other details inside the church include pitch pine confessionals and pews, and the timber and stucco Stations of the Cross.
Ashlin and Coleman made a number of additions in 1914, including a new front porch and mortuary chapel commissioned by Canon Arthur Ryan, parish priest of Tipperary in 1903-1922. The mosaic work on the sanctuary walls and floor was completed by Ludwig Oppenheimer in 1915.
Canon Ryan was a staunch supporter of John Redmond and encouraged Irish involvement in World War I in support of achieving Irish Home Rule.
During the Christmas season in 1916, Canon Ryan travelled throughout the Western Front in Flanders, visiting and ministering to regiments of the 16th Irish Division on the battlefields.
His niece Philomena was the wife of Major John Carlon Markes of the Leinster Regiment, who was killed in action at the Battle of the Somme on 19 July 1916, aged 36. Major Markes is commemorated in the stained glass World War I Memorial Window in the side Chapel of Adoration, to the right of the High Altar.
A window in a side chapel depicts Saint Luke, the patron saint of physicians, and is dedicated to the memory of Dr John F O’Halloran, who died in 1969.
Luke 11: 27-28 (NRSVA):
27 While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!’ 28 But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’
Today’s Prayer (Saturday 14 October 2023):
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), has been ‘After the Storm.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday.
The USPG Prayer Diary today (14 October 2023) invites us to pray in these words:
We pray for all those supporting the relief and rebuilding in areas affected by natural disasters. May people see the light of your love from those who seek to help those in dire need.
Almighty and everlasting God,
increase in us your gift of faith
that, forsaking what lies behind
and reaching out to that which is before,
we may run the way of your commandments
and win the crown of everlasting joy;
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:
We praise and thank you, O Christ, for this sacred feast:
for here we receive you,
here the memory of your passion is renewed,
here our minds are filled with grace,
and here a pledge of future glory is given,
when we shall feast at that table where you reign
with all your saints for ever.
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