Monday, 2 March 2020

Praying through Lent with
USPG (6): 2 March 2020

The fence at Auschwitz-Birkenau (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Patrick Comerford

In the Calendar of the Church of England, today commemorates Saint Chad, Bishop, missionary and founder of the Diocese of Lichfield [2 March 2020].

Saint Chad is being celebrated in Lichfield Cathedral today at Morning Prayer (8 a.m.), Lichfield Cathedral School Prayers (8.45 a.m.) the Eucharist (12.30) and the Festal Evensong with Commemoration of Benefactors (5.30 p.m.). However, the Patronal Eucharist is being celebrated in the cathedral next Sunday (8 March 2020), with the Choral Eucharist at 10.30 a.m., when the preacher is the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Ven Jo Kelly-Moore, and Solemn Evensong at 3 p.m., with a Lenten Homily, ‘In the footsteps of the Saints: Saint Chad.’

Yesterday was the First Sunday in Lent. During Lent this year, I am using the USPG Prayer Diary, Pray with the World Church, for my morning prayers and reflections, and – because this year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of the Holocaust – illustrating my reflections with images on 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 (1-7 March), the USPG Prayer Diary is focussing on ‘Theological Education: a Key Pillar of Mission,’ with a particular focus on Bishop Gaul Theological College in Harare.

However, the Prayer Diary shifts its focus to Guyana.

Monday 3 March:

As the people of Guyana go to the polls today, let us pray for peace in the country, and that whoever wins the election will govern fairly, with wisdom and justice.

Saint Chad (centre) on the West Front of Lichfield Cathedral, between King Richard II of England and King Penda of Mercia (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Readings: Leviticus 19: 1-2, 11-18; Psalm 19: 7-14; Matthew 25: 31-46.

The Collect:

Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness,
and was tempted as we are, yet without sin:
Give us grace to discipline ourselves
in obedience to your Spirit;
and, as you know our weakness,
so may we know your power to save;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Collect (Saint Chad’s Day):

Almighty God,
from the fruits of the English nation who turned to Christ,
you called your servant Chad
to be an evangelist and bishop of his people:
give us grace so to follow his peaceable nature,
humble spirit and prayerful life,
that we may truly commend to others
the faith which we ourselves profess;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

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 Chapel of Saint Chad’s Head in Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s reflection

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