12 March 2018

Rathkeale parish notes in
‘Newslink’ March 2018

Burning Palm Crosses from Palm Sunday last year to prepare ashes for Ash Wednesday this year (Photograph: Barbara Comerford)

Rathkeale & Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes

Rathkeale, Askeaton, Kilcornan and Kilnaughtin

Priest-in-Charge: Revd Canon Patrick Comerford
The Rectory, Askeaton, Co Limerick.

In preparation for Lent, time was spent in the Rectory on a recent Sunday afternoon burning Palm Crosses from Palm Sunday last year to prepare ashes for Ash Wednesday this year.

This is a traditional way of preparing ashes for Ash Wednesday. This year, we are marking Lent, Holy Week and Easter in the Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes with traditional services and with a Lenten study group meeting in the Rectory.

The study group is meeting in the Rectory on different dates in Lent, using ‘All Thigs Are Possible,’ a study course produced by the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) and exploring how faith in God can change the world. Watch the parish Facebook page for dates and details.

There are services at 8 p.m. each evening in Holy Week, with two noteworthy changes this year. The Good Friday service is being brought forward in the day to the more traditional time of 12 noon to 3 p.m. with a series of reflections on Christ’s journey to Calvary for the Three Hours. Some people will want to drop into Saint Mary’s, Askeaton, for shorter or longer times during these three hours, without feeling they have to stay for the full three hours. Parishioners are invited to drop in, stay a while, and take time to listen to the readings, reflection, pray, and wait a while in the silence.

There is a slight adjustment too to the times of the Easter Eucharists or Celebrations of the Holy Communion this year, with two celebrations on Saturday evening and two on Easter morning.

Sunday 4 March (Lent 3): 9.30, the Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion), Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton; 11.30, Morning Prayer, Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin, Tarbert.

Sunday 11 March (Lent 4, Mothering Sunday): 9.30, the Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Castletown Church; 11.30, Morning Prayer, Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale.

Saturday 17 March, Saint Patrick’s Day: 11, The Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Saint Mary’s, Askeaton.

Sunday 18 March (Lent 5): 9.30, Morning Prayer, Saint Mary’s, Askeaton; 11.30, the Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Saint Brendan’s, Kilnaughtin, Tarbert.

Holy Week:

Sunday 25 March (Palm Sunday, Lent 6): 9.30, Morning Prayer, Castletown; 11.30, the Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Holy Trinity, Rathkeale.

Monday 26 March: 8 p.m., Evening Prayer, Saint Mary’s, Askeaton.

Tuesday 27 March: 8 p.m., Late Evening Office, Saint Brendan’s, Kilnaughtin.

Wednesday 28 March: 8 p.m., Compline, Holy Trinity, Rathkeale.

Thursday 29 March, Maundy Thursday: 8 p.m., the Maundy Eucharist, with Washing of the Feet, Castletown Church.

Friday 30 March, Good Friday: 12 noon to 3 p.m.: The Three Hours, Christ’s journey with the Cross to Calvary, Saint Mary’s, Askeaton.

Saturday 31 March, Easter Eve: 8 p.m., The Easter Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Holy Trinity, Rathkeale; 10 p.m., The Easter Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Castletown Church.

Sunday 1 April, Easter Day: 9.30 a.m., the Easter Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Saint Mary’s, Askeaton; 11.30 a.m., the Easter Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Saint Brendan’s, Kilnaughtin, Tarbert.

Cathedral/Parish exchange:

The Dean of Limerick, the Very Revd Niall Sloane, visited two churches in the parish, Saint Mary’s, Askeaton, and Saint Brendan’s, Kilnaughtin, on the First Sunday in Lent, while Canon Patrick Comerford presided at the Choral Eucharist and preached in Saint Mary’s Cathedral in his capacity as Canon Precentor.

Recent funeral:

Richard Arnold Fitzell, Spa Road, Tralee and late of Glencullare, Tarbert, Co Kerry, died unexpectedly on 24 January 2018. He was the son of the late John and MaryFitzell and brother of the late Bertie). He is survived by his brother Frank, sisters Olive and Lilian, nephew Adrian, niece Alice, cousins, and an extended family. He was brought to Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin, on 26 January; his funeral took place on 27 January, and he was buried in the churchyard.

World Day of Prayer: The ecumenical service marking World Day of Prayer takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday 2 March in Cappagh Church.

The Annunciation: Because 25 March is Palm Sunday, the Feast of the Annunciation has been transferred in the Church Calendar to the week after Easter Week. The Feast of the Annunciation will be marked with a celebration of the Eucharist at 11 a.m. on Wednesday 11 April in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton.

Following the Stations
of the Cross in Lent 27:
Millstreet 10: Jesus is
stripped of his garments

Station 10 at Saint John’s Well, Millstreet, Co Cork … Jesus is stripped of his garments (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

In my meditations and reflections in Lent this year, I am being guided by the Stations of the Cross from three locations. The idea for this series of morning Lenten meditations came from reading about Peter Walker’s new exhibition, ‘Imagining the Crucifixion,’ inspired by the Stations of the Cross, which opened in Lichfield Cathedral last month and continues throughout Lent.

Throughout Lent, my meditations each morning are inspired by three sets of Stations of the Cross that I have found either inspiring or unusual. They are the stations in Saint Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, at Saint John’s Well on a mountainside near Millstreet, Co Cork, and in the Chapel of Saint John’s Hospital, Lichfield.

In my meditations, I am drawing on portions of the Stabat Mater, the 12th century hymn of the Crucifixion (‘At the cross her station keeping’) attributed to the Franciscan poet Jacopone da Todi. Some prayers are traditional, some are from the Book of Common Prayer, and other meditations and prayers are by Canon Frank Logue and the Revd Victoria Logue of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

For these two weeks, I am looking at the 14 Stations of the Cross at Saint John’s Well in a forested area on the slopes of Mushera, outside Millstreet in north Co Cork and close to the Cork/Kerry border.

Saint John’s Well is 8 or 9 km south-east of Millstreet, on the slopes of Mushera, on the Aubane side of the mountain, opposite the entrance to Millstreet Country Park. The Stations date from 1984 and were designed by Liam Cosgrave and Sons, Sculptors, of Blackpool, Cork.

Millstreet 10: Jesus is stripped of his garments

In the tenth station by Liam Cosgrave in Millstreet, Christ is half naked, but not yet fully naked, as the solider who strips him is seen to grin rather than grimace. The cross is askew in the background, about to be prepared for the final humiliation.

Who in the world do we strip naked today, leaving them stand alone and isolated in humility? The women who are used to illustrate tabloid newspapers or decorate advertising? The women who are forced through diet to change their body shapes because of social pressures or peer pressures? The children who are the victims of abuse through manipulation on social media?

Do I consider those people who have no choice about the clothes they wear? Because of their financial circumstances? Because of poverty? Because of family control? Because of fashion? Because of the demands of others? Because they could take no clothes with them when they became refugees, asylum seekers or migrants?

Do I grimace, or do I grin?

Or, like Mary, do I stand at the foot of the cross and weep?

Desmond Fisher’s book on ‘Stabat Mater’, prepared for publication recently by his son Michael Fisher (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

From Stabat Mater:

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.


Despised. Rejected.
Eloi, Eloi, Lama sabachthani?
My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
From top to bottom the veil in the Temple is torn in two.


Lamb that was slain, as you cried out to your Father from the cross we learned how deep was your suffering, how complete was your sense of abandonment. Be present with us when others betray us or forsake us that we may find ourselves in your eyes and not theirs. This we pray in the name of Jesus, our crucified Lord, the King of Glory, the King of Peace. Amen.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

The soldiers notice you have something of value. They remove your cloak and throw dice for it. Your wounds are torn open once again. Some of the people in the crowd make fun of you. They tease you and challenge you to perform a miracle for them to see. They are not aware that you will perform the greatest miracle of all!

A prayer before walking to the next station:

Holy God,
Holy and mighty Holy immortal one,
Have mercy on us.

Tomorrow: Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross.

Yesterday’s reflection