Spanish Synagogue in Prague (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)
Today [29 March 2020] is the Fifth Sunday in Lent, still known among many as Passion Sunday. This morning, a united group service had been planned for the Rathkeale Group of Parishes, with a celebration of the Parish Eucharist at 11 a.m. in Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry.
However, on the advice of the Bishop, all services have been cancelled for the past two weeks in these dioceses because of the Covic-19 or Corona Virus pandemic. This situation continues to be reviewed and monitored with the bishop and the archdeacons.
Meanwhile, during Lent this year, I am continuing to use the USPG Prayer Diary, Pray with the World Church, for my morning prayers and reflections. 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 (29 March to 4 April 2020), the USPG Prayer Diary takes as its theme: ‘It is our duty to protect God’s Creation’ – Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean. This theme is introduced in the Prayer Diary this morning:
‘The Anglican Church in the Province of the Indian Ocean recognises the urgent need to mitigate the effects of climate change, stating emphatically that ‘it is our duty to protect God’s creation’.
‘Fisheries and marine tourism are the pillars of the Seychelles’ economy. While it is important that those activities continue along with sand mining and oil exploration in order to support the livelihoods of the Seychellois people, it is also important that these activities are carried out in a sustainable way.
‘USPG partners with the Province of the Indian Ocean in supporting the implementation of Indian strategic plan, which covers protection of the environment. In 2014, the island nation developed a marine spatial plan that covers its entire marine territory and holds a large mandate from marine protection to sustainable economic growth.
‘The Seychelles has committed 30 percent of its 1.35 million square km of waters to marine protection by 2020, ten years ahead of the United Nations 2030 target for Sustainable Development Goal no 14, known as the ‘life below water’ goal. Most of the work has already been accomplished, with only some four percent left for the Seychelles to reach the deadline.’
Sunday 29 March 2020: the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Passion Sunday):
Holy God, as we enter Passiontide today,
help us to walk alongside our brothers and sisters
who are marginalised, and work with them
to transform unjust structures of society.
Readings: Ezekiel 37: 1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8: 6-11; John 11: 1-45.
The Collect of the Day:
Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
Grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross,
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
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:
God of hope,
in this Eucharist we have tasted
the promise of your heavenly banquet
and the richness of eternal life.
May we who bear witness to the death of your Son,
also proclaim the glory of his resurrection,
for he is Lord for ever and ever.