For schools to use as part of a Year assembly or with class or year reflections.
To view the full talk by Archbishop Eamon watch this video.
May the blessing of light be on you, light without and light within. May the blessed sunlight Shine upon you and warm your heart till it glows like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come and be warmed and also a friend. And may the light shine out of your eyes, like a candle set in the window of a house, bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm. And may the blessing of the rain be on you – the soft sweet rain; May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up, and shed their sweetness on the air. And may the blessing of the great rains be on you, may they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave there many a shining pool where the blue of heaven shines, and sometimes a star. And may the blessing of the earth be on you – the great round earth; May you ever have a kindly greeting from them you pass as you’re going along the roads. May the earth be soft under you when you rest upon it, tired at the end of a day, and may it rest easy over you when, at the last, you lie out under it. May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be off from under it so quickly, and up and off, and on its way to God. And now may the Lord (and Lady) bless you and bless you kindly Amen.
A Prayer to St Brigid of Faughart.
Brigid Patroness of the Irish and woman of deep faith
We salute you as with Patrick you helped the Irish come to faith in Jesus.
Your love for the Master drove you to be an apostle of the faith.
Your compassion for the poor and sick knew no boundaries.
People recognised in your heart the Light of the world. Your love for all creation drew wild creatures to trust you .
You were always a woman of action more centred on people than bricks and stones.
A woven cross of reeds helped a dying man grieve for his sins resulting in forgiveness and reconciliation.
Encircle us with your cloak of charity and help us all find a renewed faith in Jesus our common Master.
Help us reach out to the Christ we meet daily in the faces of those in need who approach us for comfort, help us to seek their Blessing upon us as we wash their feet and try to bind their wounds.
Mary of the Irish show a mother’s protective care to all who call upon you in need. Help us always to care for our beautiful planet Mother Earth.
Brigid of Faughart, pray for us. Amen.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins on Wednesday 18 January and continues until 25 January.
The theme this year is “Belonging: Praying for Unity amidst Injustice”. Following dialogue between the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches, the resources for this year have been compiled by the churches in Minneapolis. They seek to challenge us in how we witness to Christian Unity in the midst of turmoil and racism in our world.
Here in Ireland, this year of 2023 marks two important anniversaries of key events of the journey towards Christian Unity. This year is the centenary of the formation of the Irish Council of Churches and it also marks the 50th anniversary of the Ballymascanlon Meetings between the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches on the island of Ireland in 1973, a structure that is now the Irish Inter-Church Meeting.
Today, these are the bodies for inter-church dialogue in Ireland as we continue to work together for peace, reconciliation and social justice. As we know, that work is unfinished; sectarianism is still, sadly, a major problem in communities and political life in the north while the growth of racism is increasingly evident across the island. The current cost of living crisis and the effects of the war in Ukraine add to this turmoil.
It is in this context that we mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this year- giving thanks for the progress made by the Churches at various levels over the decades but seeking to place our continuing journey of witness to Christ’s desire for unity alongside his radical call to discipleship and social justice.
Please find attached a hard copy of the resources. Further resources can be found on the ICC website Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023 – Irish Council of Churches and Irish Inter Church Meeting (irishchurches.org)
So let us journey onwards with a reconciling vision of hope, singing together an anthem of “be-longing”: “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:5-6).” Amen.
Address by Archbishop Eamon at St Annes Cathedral Belfast