Saturday, 5 December 2020

Praying in Advent with
Lichfield Cathedral:
7, Saturday 5 December 2020

The Cathedral Close, Lichfield, facing the west front of Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Throughout Advent and Christmas this year, I am using the Prayer Diary of the Anglican Mission Agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) for my morning reflections each day, and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced at Lichfield Cathedral for my prayers and reflections each evening.

Advent is the Church’s mindful antidote to some of the diversion and consumerism of a modern Christmas. It prepares us to encounter Christ again in his joy and humility.

In ‘The Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar 2020,’ the Dean and community at Lichfield Cathedral are inviting us to light our Advent candle each day as we read the Bible and join in prayer.

This calendar is for everyone who uses the Cathedral website, for all the Cathedral community, and for people you want to send it to and invite to share in the daily devotional exercise.

This is a simple prayer and bible-reading exercise to help us to mark the Advent Season as a time of preparation for the coming of Christ.

It is designed to take us on a journey, looking back to John the Baptist and Mary the Mother of Jesus; looking out into the world today, into our own hearts and experience; outwards again to Jesus Christ as he encounters us in life today and in his promise to be with us always.

You can download the calendar HERE.

The community at Lichfield Cathedral offers a number of suggestions on how to use this calendar:

● Set aside 5-15 minutes every day.

● Buy or use a special candle to light each day as you read and pray through the suggestions on the calendar.

● Try to ‘eat simply’ – one day each week try going without so many calories or too much rich food, just have enough.

● Try to donate to a charity working with the homeless or the people of Bethlehem.

● Try to pray through what you see and notice going on around you in people, the media and nature.

Saturday 5 December 2020:

Read Saint Matthew 9: 35 to 10: 1, 6-8:.

Matthew 9: 35 to 10: 1, 6-8 (NRSVA):

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’

10 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness 6 [telling them to go] ‘to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.’

Reflection:

Jesus commissions his disciples to do his work. Ask for blessing and the gifts to share in his work. And do it.

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s evening reflection

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

De Valera’s old school
on Charleville’s Main Street
is still on the market

CBS Charleville, the former school of Eamon de Valera, has been on the market since early 2016 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Patrick Comerford

The former north Cork school that Eamon de Valera attended has been on the market for almost six years.

The former Christian Brothers School in Charleville has been on the market since early 2015, and even had its listing as a protected structure reversed to allow redevelopment, but it has still not sold.

As a teenage schoolboy, the future President Eamon de Valera (1882-1975) walked or cycled seven miles each day from Bruree, Co Limerick, to the school on Main Street, Charleville, for three years, from 1896 to 1898.

In his younger days, the future Fianna Fail leader attended Bruree National School in Co Limerick. At the age of 16, he went to Blackrock College, Co Dublin, on a scholarship.

The CBS school in Charleville dates from 1866. It closed in 1972, when a new school was built. At the end of 2014, Charleville community council and the town’s chamber of commerce sought to have the 8,000 sq ft property delisted, noting it had been remodelled in the 1920s.

The former school is on a 0.43 acre site, with good parking, street frontage, and a further 1,200 sq ft of other buildings.

A local estate agent, PJ O’Gorman, has been quoting a price of €300,000 for the old school, although the website now indicates ‘POA’ (price on application). The premises are close to the AIB bank branch and Dunne’s Stores, and Charleville is a major employment centre in food and engineering, with 3,000 jobs.

Eamon de Valera is one of the many former past pupils commemorated in plaques at the school gates (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Other past pupils at CBS Charleville who are commemorated in plaques on the wall of the former school include Archbishop Croke of Cashel, patron of the GAA, Archbishop Cardinal Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, Bishop Daniel Foley of Ballarat, Bishop Henry Murphy of Limerick; the author and historian Dr Mannix Joyce, Professor Patrick Quinlan, UCC President Professor Michael Mortell; the writer Dan Binchy, Owen Binchy, former President of the Law Society; Tom O’Donnell, Fine Gael cabinet minister and MEP, Rory Kiely, Cathaoirleach of the Senate; RTÉ radio personalities Tim Lehane and Donnacha O Dulaing; and champion jockey Martin Moloney.

Cardinal Mannix was president of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, when de Valera held a temporary post there as a mathematics professor.

The selling agent’s suggested uses for Dev’s old school include a micro-brewery, a distillery, a retail or outlet centre, a hostel, a restaurant or cookery school, and industrial incubation units. But they are all subject to planning.

The selling agent has many imaginative suggestions for the site (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Praying in Advent with USPG:
7, Saturday 5 December 2020

‘Let us pray for all the agricultural programmes run by USPG’s partner churches in various parts of the world’ … a barn on my grandmother’s former farm near Cappoquin, Co Waterford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Patrick Comerford

Throughout Advent and Christmas this year, I am using the Prayer Diary of the Anglican Mission Agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) for my morning reflections each day, and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced at Lichfield Cathedral for my prayers and reflections each evening.

I am one of the contributors to the current USPG Diary, Pray with the World Church, introducing the theme of peace and trust after Christmas.

The theme of the USPG Prayer Diary this week (29 November 2020 to 5 December 2020) is ‘There is the Lamb of God.’ This week’s theme was introduced by the Most Revd Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Before the day begins, I am pausing for a moment as I pray and reflect using the USPG Prayer Diary, the Collect of the Day, and this morning’s Gospel reading in the Lectionary of the Church of Ireland.

Saturday 5 December 2020:

Let us continue for all the agricultural programmes run by USPG’s partner churches in various parts of the world.

The Advent Collect:

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Matthew 9: 35 to 10: 1, 6-8 (NRSVA):

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’

10 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness [telling them to go] ‘to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.’

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s morning reflection

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