19 December 2021

Service of Nine Lessons and Carols,
Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton,
Sunday 19 December 2021

‘The holly in the windy hedge … / will soon be stripped to deck the ledge, / the altar, font and arch and pew, / … The church looks nice’ (John Betjeman) … the Christmas pulpit in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)


Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton,
3 p.m. Sunday 19 December 2021

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Welcome (and important notes):

1, Please wear your facemask throughout this service;
2, Please leave your name and number (to be used for contact and tracing purposes only);
3, Please listen to, but do not join the hymns;
4, Please leave from the back seats first, without gathering in the church.

Opening Hymn: 177,
‘Once in royal David’s city’
(CF Alexander; melody, HJ Gauntlett).

Bidding Prayer:
(Canon Patrick Comerford)

Beloved, be it this Christmas Time our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the angels; in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manger.

Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by this Holy Child; and let us make this Church, dedicated to Mary, his most blessed Mother, glad with our carols of praise:

But first let us pray for the needs of his whole world; for peace and goodwill over all the earth; for unity and brotherhood within the Church he came to build, and especially in this our land, Ireland:

And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us at this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick in body and in mind and those who mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; all who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.

Lastly, let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no one can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom, in this Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one.

These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the throne of heaven, in the words which Christ himself has taught us:

Our Father …

Carol 1: 155, Ding Dong! merrily on high (George Ratcliffe Woodward; melody Thoinot Arbeau).

Lesson 1: Genesis 3: 8-19

Carol 2: 135, O come, O come, Emmanuel (tr John Mason Neale; melody, Thomas Helmore).

Lesson 2: Genesis 22: 15-18

While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Carol 3: 133, Long ago, prophets knew
(F Pratt Green; melody, Piae Cantiones).

Lesson 3: Isaiah 9: 2, 6-7

Carol 4: 174, O little town of Bethlehem (Philips Brooks, melody arranged by Vaughan Williams).

Lesson 4: Michah 5: 2-5a

Carol 5: 160, Hark! the herald-angels sing (Charles Wesley and George Whitefield; music, Felix Mendelssohn).

Lesson 5: Luke 1: 26-35, 38

Carol 6: 164, It came upon the midnight clear (EH Sears, traditional melody, Arthur Sullivan).

Lesson 6: Luke 2: 8-16

Carol 7: 158, God rest you merry gentlemen (English traditional).

Lesson 7: Luke 2: 8-16

Carol 8: 152, ‘Come and join the celebration’ (Valerie Collison).

Lesson 8: Matthew 2: 1-11

Carol 9: 149, Away in a manger
(WJ Kirkpatrick).

Lesson 9: John 1: 1-14

Hymn: 162, In the bleak mid-winter
(Christina Rossetti; music, Gustav Holst).

Collect and Blessing:

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Let us pray.

O God, who makes us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of your only son, Jesus Christ: Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him, when he shall come to be our judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Christ, who by his incarnation gathered into one things earthly and heavenly,
grant you the fullness of inward peace and goodwill, and make you partakers of the divine nature;

and the blessing of God Almighty,
+ the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you always. Amen.

Hymn: 172, O come, all ye faithful (Adeste Fideles), translated, Frederick Oakeley; melody John F Wade.

Part of this afternoon’s retiring collection is being divided among a number of agencies and funds supported by the parish. They include: The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal Fund, Christian Aid, the Leprosy Mission, Limerick Protestant Orphan Society, Church Street National School, Rathkeale, and the United Society Partners in the Gospel (USPG).

Christmas Eucharist 2021:

Friday 24 December: 6 p.m., Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert); 8 p.m., Castletown Church (please note revised times).

Christmas Day, Saturday 25 December: 9.30 a.m., Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton; 11 a.m., Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale.

Sunday 26 December (Christmas 1, Saint Stephen):

11 a.m., United Parish Service, Rathkeale (Morning Prayer with Siobhán Wheeler, Parish Reader; this is the only service in this Group of Parishes this Sunday)

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

Material from the Book of Common Prayer is copyright © 2004, Representative Body of the Church of Ireland.

The Advent Wreath in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

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