St Patrick at SaulMonday 20th May 2013
St Patrick is probably one of the most well known saints and he is celebrated the world over – from Ireland to New York to Dubai, on the 17th March each year.
So who was St Patrick; and what’s the connection with Saul?
From the two authenticated writings of Patrick – ‘The letter to Coroticus’ and ‘The Confession’, written in the mid 5th century, we have learned a little about him.
Patrick, born in the early part of the 5th century, lived near the west coast of Britain, possibly in Cumbria, in a prosperous and Christian family.
One day a group of raiders came from Ireland and Patrick (age 16) and others were dragged off their land and shipped to Ireland to become slaves. Patrick ended up working for a sheep farmer and tending sheep on the hillside. According to his own words he confessed that ‘He did not know the true God’, but in that desperate situation of being a young 16 year old boy/slave on a hillside in an unknown land, cold and hungry, he had a revelation – ‘The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelieving heart, that I might recall my sins and turn with all my heart to the Lord’.
Patrick knew in his heart from that day on, that he was loved by God, and that he could know God. Patrick talked to God a lot! He tells us that he lifted his heart to God ‘while out in the woods or on the mountainside – as many as 100 times a day!
After 6 years, one night he dreamed a dream that he would soon return home, and that a ship was ready for him; believing this to be God speaking to him, he set out to walk to the coast; whereupon he did find a ship, and eventually made it home to his family in Britain. Patrick tells us that through those years in Ireland; the Lord ‘guarded me and comforted me as would a father a son’. During that time Patrick would have learnt a lot about the culture and lifestyle of the Irish and their language, which would prove very useful in the future.
Then, one night, whilst at home in Britain, Patrick had another dream. A man called Victorius came to him with a number of letters in his bag; he took one out of his bag, and gave it to Patrick. When Patrick opened it, the letter was entitled ‘The Cry of the Irish’ and in the dream Patrick seemed to actually hear the Irish people calling to him to come back to Ireland and walk with them again. The Irish people remembered Patrick as a holy man of God and cried out for his return. Patrick, believing that again, this was a sign from God that he was to return to Ireland, and motivated by his love of God and the gift he felt he had been given; the gift of knowing God and knowing the love of God, he decided to leave his family and home, and return to Ireland to share his gift with the Irish.
It is believed that Patrick arrived in Ireland again through the entrance of Strangford Lough and encamped inland along the Slaney River, just below Saul. Here he began his work; a local chief, Dichu, became a believer in God, and let Patrick use his barn as a place for believers to meet. The gaelic word for ‘barn’ is ‘sabhal’ from which we get the word ‘Saul’. Some of the local pagan Irish began to believe in Patrick’s message; that through a belief in Jesus Christ, you can be set free; that Jesus can forgive you for all that you have done wrong; and you can know the true God, and the love of God, in your own life. And so as these knew Christians began to meet together and learn from Patrick, and come to know God, the beginnings of the Christian church in Ireland were born here at Saul. Christianity in Ireland started here!
Throughout the centuries Christians have met here and prayed; people have known the love of God; have met with God; have seen God answer their prayers. And today, we still meet here.
Dean Henry Hull and the Saul parishioners warmly invite you to Sunday service at Saul at 10am.
Also, there is a ‘Community of Prayer at Saul’ which has been meeting every Monday evening at 8pm for over the last ten years, with people coming from all Christian traditions to pray for the local churches in the area, for unity in the church, for visitors prayer requests, and for the Lord to do all that He wants to do in this nation and beyond!
Also, during the months of June, July and August we will be serving free teas and coffees in the new hall beside the church, providing more tourist information, and offering to pray prayers of blessing with any of our visitors who would like to avail of that. This will be on an ad hoc basis to begin with, so no definite times as yet! You are most welcome to come.
Or, if when visiting Saul, you would like to write out a prayer request, and leave it in the prayer box; we will pray for you and your situation on Monday evening.
Alternatively, you might like to come and visit and just sit quietly in the church and ask God to reveal himself to you as he did to Patrick – That you too would know Him and His love.
Saul is known as a place of ‘New Beginnings’ – we hope it might be for you!
Report by Fiona Newell from Prayer at Saul
Healthcare Christian Fellowship – Prayer Week for TransformationsMonday 11th March 2013
PERSEVERING IN PRAYER
These are not days for the faint hearted especially if you work in healthcare within Europe. These are days when we need to be found increasingly in the place of prayer. The Healthcare Christian Fellowship Greater Europe Prayer retreat takes place each year in early January. It is hosted by different countries and this year from the 7–12 January we met in Greystones, Ireland. Delegates came from France, Switzerland, Lithuania, Serbia, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales. We represented doctors, nurses, therapists, educators and those with a heart to pray for healthcare. The theme of the prayer week wasLuke 18:1 – Persevering in Prayer. The scripture for the week was Isaiah 54.
During the week we had time individually (during a day of silence and fasting) and corporately to listen to what God was saying. We also took time to pray for and with one another and for the needs of healthcare in Greater Europe. God is still at work in this area of the world, but we live and work on the battle field, where Christians in all walks of life are finding themselves increasingly on the front line.
Overview of Keys shared based on Isaiah 54
Wait, hope and expect the Lord first!
A major emphasis of the week was the need to have our focus first on God in worship and listening. Often when we come to prayer our focus is on our problems and concerns and by the time we pray through them they seem even bigger and we are left spiritually, mentally and often physically exhausted. Instead we need to bypass the problems and go straight to God so that our problems are not blocking our vision. From that place of being in God’s presence we can then turn to look at the difficulties and problems. When our focus is on God first the problems and difficulties don’t go away but we are in a place whereGod can show us how He sees them and He can tell us what He wants us to do and how we can pray effectively. When our focus is on God we are alsoin a place where He can minister into our lives to heal, to bring freedom, to equip and to empower us, which puts us in a whole new place of spiritual power and authority.
Enlarge your vision:
Isaiah 54:2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;?Do not spare;?Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes.”We need to let go and let God. We also need to keep enlarging our faith and our capacity to receive from God and be used by Him. In the dictionary under let it mentions – to let go, to let drop, to allow, to leave, to let out (enlarge). As we move into 2013 what is it that we need to leave, let go or let happen? Deuteronomy 1:6&7 “The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: “You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go…” When God has already given us a specific word in the past it can be difficult to accept a new word which involves a change of direction.
Not growing but multiplying
In whom do I invest my life? The big question is not what should I do for the Kingdom sake BUT in whom should I invest my life in order to raise up strong leadership within the next generation? To pass on the baton it is important to invest time in mentoring and sharing heart to heart with them what God has put on our heart. They should be able to learn from our mistakes and excel far beyond us.
As we pray for transformation in our communities please remember healthcare and the battle being waged for the health of our nations.
Ann Silvester (Healthcare Christian fellowship)
LENT AT CLONARD 2012Wednesday 22nd February 2012
Lent 2012 in Clonard
On March 25th, the fifth Sunday of Lent, Bishop Noel Treanor will dedicate the refurbished Clonard Church to the glory of God and in expectation of another hundred years and more at the service of all God’s people.
In preparation for this new beginning the Clonard community has arranged a series of talks – Pondering our Past, Discerning our Present – from 7.30pm to 9.00pm, on Lent Sunday evenings: Feb. 26th, March 4th, 11th and 18th.
Pondering our Past will look at the 1912 Ulster Covenant and the 1908 Vatican “Ne Temere” Decree on Catholic–Protestant marriages.
These defining events can be read as a rejection of one another by the Protestant and Catholic Churches of Northern Ireland in the early years of the 20th century. The rejections grew out of, and deepened, the error of the Reformation period which was seeing only what divided us and failing to grasp existentially what, as Churches, we have in common.
It is time to confess and lament these historic rejections of one another. We need to ask where and how they still shape us. To what extent are they embodied in the now of Northern Ireland? Are they obstacles to the shared future which we must create for one another?
In the February 26th talk Philip Orr will unpack what the 1912 Ulster Covenant was actually about and what motivated people to sign it. A member of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church, Philip Orr is author of a recent book on the Home Rule crisis in mid–Antrim and co–author with Fr Alan McGuckian S.J. of a drama about the events of 1912.
In the March 11th talk Fr Eoin de Bhaldraithe will explain how the Ne Temere decree on Protestant–Catholic marriages impacted on the relationship between the Churches, and created an indifference towards one another, mutual distrust and even enmity. A Cistercian monk from Bolton Abbey, Co. Kildare, Fr Eoin is a graduate of Sant’ Anselmo University, Rome.
Discerning our Present will explore the meaning of the Eucharist in the context of the June International Congress whose theme is “Communion with Christ and with one another”. This is the bond of divine grace which unites all the Churches.
A century after the Ulster Covenant and the Ne Temere decree relationships between the Churches are now considerably different, and Clonard Church has contributed significantly to the transformation of attitudes. Nonetheless, subtle effects of the historic mutual rejection endure into the present. They are obstacles to a shared future for the people of Northern Ireland.
Discerning our Present will aim to show how in our time God is leading us into a new awareness that we are “one Church in many Churches”, in real though incomplete communion. For the Churches are now well on the road to saying a wholehearted “yes” to one another. God is doing a new thing among us.
We are coming to recognise ourselves as Catholic and Protestant for one another and not against one another. An open and receptive relationship is growing between us. We are seeking to share our treasures, one with another. Is not this year’s International Eucharistic Congress a kairos of God’s special grace, not only for Catholics but also for all the Churches?
In the March 4th talk Mrs Gemma Loughran will speak about the “The Bread that lasts forever” – the Eucharistic Mystery of Faith as described in the beautiful words of the Congress prayer. A graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and a former lecturer in St Mary’s University College, Mrs Loughran is now a County Court judge.
In the March 18th talk Fr Eddie McGee, the Down and Connor representative on the National Committee of the Eucharistic Congress, and also a graduate of Sant’ Anselmo University, Rome, will reflect on the “The grace and call of the Eucharist to all Christians”, to live in communion with Christ and with one another.
Fr Gerry Reynolds,
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