21 July 2023

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (54) 21 July 2023

The entrance to Holy Trinity Church, Achill Sound, Co Mayo (Photograph © John Lucas and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

Patrick Comerford

We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and this week began with the Sixth Sunday after Trinity (16 July 2023).

Before this day begins, I am taking some time this morning for prayer, reading and reflection.

Over these weeks after Trinity Sunday, I have been reflecting each morning in these ways:

1, Looking at relevant images or stained glass windows in a church, chapel or cathedral I know;

2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Holy Trinity Church was designed in a mediaeval Gothic style, with an exposed timber roof construction and with the chancel lit by an elegant Trinity window (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Holy Trinity Church, Achill Sound, Co Mayo:

For many years, I stayed on Achill Island regularly, often visiting three or four times a year, staying in Dugort and going to church in Saint Thomas’s Church.

Achill is part of the Westport group of parishes, where the Revd Suzanne Cousins was instituted as rector earlier this month. These parishes in Co Mayo include Holy Trinity Church, Westport, Saint Thomas’s Church, Dugort, Christ Church, Castlebar, and Turlough Church.

Two of the former churches in the group of parishes are both named Holy Trinity: the church on Inishbiggle, which I discussed earlier this month (8 July 2023), and the church at Achill Sound.

When I last visited Holy Trinity Church, Achill Sound, it was long closed and was being converted into a private residence. But that project seems to have been postponed or abandoned in recent years.

Holy Trinity Church overlooking Achill Sound, separating the Corraun Peninsula from Achill Island, was built by private contributions, supported by a grant from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Building work began in 1849, and the church was consecrated in 1852.

Holy Trinity Church was oriented on a north-south axis rather that the traditional east-west layout. It was built on a compact rectilinear plan form in a multi-toned fieldstone with ‘sparrow pecked’ that produced a mild polychromatic palette. It was designed in a mediaeval Gothic style, with an exposed timber roof construction and with the chancel lit by an elegant Trinity window.

This is a four-bay double-height church. It has a three-bay, double-height nave opening into single-bay double-height chancel, and a single-bay single-storey porch. There are lancet windows, a pointed-arch door and a cut-limestone shield date stone (1849).

The stump is all that survives of a polygonal turret, and polygonal spire was never completed.

The church closed ca 2004, and was undergoing restoration in 2006-2011. It remains an important part of the mid-19th century architectural heritage of Co Mayo.

The graveyard is heavily overgrown with thick Rhododendrons. But one section that was cleared in recent years has 11 Commonwealth war graves from World War II.

Building work began in 1849, and Holy Trinity Church was consecrated in 1852 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Matthew 12: 1-8 (NRSVA):

1 At that time Jesus went through the cornfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.’ 3 He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 But if you had known what this means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”, you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’

Holy Trinity Church was undergoing restoration in 2006-2011, and it remains an important part of the mid-19th century architectural heritage of Co Mayo (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayer:

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is ‘Abundant life – A human right.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday.

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (21 July 2023) invites us to pray in these words:


Merciful God,
you have prepared for those who love you
such good things as pass our understanding:
pour into our hearts such love toward you
that we, loving you in all things and above all things,
may obtain your promises,
which exceed all that we can desire;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion:

God of our pilgrimage,
you have led us to the living water:
refresh and sustain us
as we go forward on our journey,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Achill Sound separates the Corraun Peninsula from Achill Island off the coast of Co Mayo (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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