08 January 2022

With the Saints through Christmas (14):
8 January 2022, Saint Albert of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel … was there an eighth century Saint Albert who was Bishop of Cashel? (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

The season of Epiphany continues, and I have some final details for tomorrow’s Sunday services to attend to later this morning.

But before this day gets busy, I am taking some time early this morning for prayer, reflection and reading.

I have been continuing my Prayer Diary on my blog each morning, reflecting in these ways:

1, Reflections on a saint remembered in the calendars of the Church during Christmas;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

This morning, I am reflecting on Saint Albert of Cashel, an eighth century saint and Patron of Cashel in Co Tipperary.

Saint Albert is said in tradition to have been an Englishman who worked in Ireland and then in Bavaria. Albert went to Jerusalem and died in Regensburg on his return journey.

He was an evangelist working mainly around the city of Cashel, and may have been a bishop there.

In a legendary 12th century biography he is called natione Anglus, conversatione Angelicus – ‘by nationality an Angle, in manners an angel.’ He continued his work as an evangelist in Bavaria with Saint Erhard of Regensburg and is reported to have suffered from arthritis in his back and hips.

He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with Saint Erhard of Regensburg but died in 800 AD at Regensburg on the return journey.

Saint Albert’s grave is in Niedermünster in Regensburg. In the mid-12th century, a life was written at the Benedictine monastery of Schotten in Regensburg at Regensburg.

He was canonised on 19 June 1902 by Pope Leo XIII.

However, his existence has been questioned by some scholar. Others question his role as Bishop of Cashel, pointing out that the diocese did not exist until 1118, and the majority of buildings on the Rock of Cashel date only from the 12th century. The Irish Abbot of Regensburg, Dirmicius of Regensburg, sent two of his carpenters to help build Cormac’s Chapel on the Rock of Cashel in the mid-12th century, and the twin towers on either side of the junction of its nave and chancel are strongly suggestive of their Germanic influence. Others ask whether he has been confused with Saint Ailbe of Emly.

The Cathedral, Tower and Saint Patrick’s Cross on the Rock of Cashel (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Mark 6: 34-44 (NRSVA):

34 As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 35 When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; 36 send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ 37 But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?’ 38 And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have you? Go and see.’ When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ 39 Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And all ate and were filled; 43 and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.

The prayer in the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) invites us to pray this morning (8 January 2022):

We pray for the World Council of Churches, which seeks to build partnerships across churches, countries and continents.

Yesterday: Saint John the Baptist

Tomorrow: The Black Nazarene, ‘Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno’

King Cormac Mac Carthaigh began building Cormac’s Chapel in 1127, and it was consecrated in 1134 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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

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