15 March 2020

Praying through Lent with
USPG (19): 15 March 2020

A memorial erected by the City of Venice in the Ghetto to the Jews from Venice who were deported to the Nazi concentration camps in 1943 and 1944 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Today [15 March 2020] is the Third Sunday in Lent. Later this morning, I was hoping to lead and preach at Morning Prayer in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick at 9.30 and to preside and preach at the Parish Eucharist in Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry. However, in light of the crisis created by Covid-19 or Corona virus, all Sunday services have been cancelled today and next Sunday in the Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe on the advice of Bishop Kenneth Kearon.

During Lent this year, however, I am continuing to use the USPG Prayer Diary, Pray with the World Church, for my prayers and reflections each morning. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of the Holocaust, so I am illustrating my reflections each morning with images that emphasise this theme.

USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential, and champion justice. It was founded in 1701.

This week (15-21 March), the USPG Prayer Diary is focussing on the theme of ‘Standing with Indigenous Communities in The Philippines.’

This theme is introduced in the Prayer Diary:

‘All over the world, indigenous people groups are some of the most excluded and disadvantaged sectors of society, suffering as a result of discrimination, poverty and human rights abuses.

‘This situation is especially challenging in the Philippines, which is home to an estimated 14-17 million indigenous people groups. These include communities such as the Lumad people who live in the southern Philippines, who have struggled for years with limited access to land and attacks from mining companies.

‘It is with communities like these in mind that the Iglesia Filipina Independiente launched its ‘Abundant Life’ programme (ALP), with support from USPG. ALP believes that as a community of faith steeped in the history of the Filipino people’s struggle in their homeland, it has a historical mission and ministry to empower the poor, deprived and oppressed.

Through ALP, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente seeks to empower both the Philippines’ indigenous peoples and the Church itself. It does this through education and mobilising Filipino people to pursue life in its fullness, encouraging them to be active witnesses against injustice.’

Sunday 15 March 2020: the Third Sunday in Lent:

Holy God, thank you for the faithfulness of your church
living your Gospel in places of diversity and difference.
Help us to listen and be attentive to your voice in all places,
and bear one another’s burdens in prayer and action.

Readings: Exodus 17: 1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5: 1-11; John 4: 5-42.

The Collect of the Day:

Merciful Lord,
Grant your people grace to withstand the temptations
of the world, the flesh and the devil
and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Lenten Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

Lord our God,
you feed us in this life with bread from heaven,
the pledge and foreshadowing of future glory.
Grant that the working of this sacrament within us
may bear fruit in our daily lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4: 5-42) … an icon in the Church of Aghios Nikolaos Church in Vathy on the island of Samos (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s reflection

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