St Catherine & St James’ Church Service of the Word – St Patrick’s Day Sunday 17 March 2024

Saint Patrick was born early in the 5th century in Britain.  At the age of sixteen he was taken captive and brought to Ireland where he worked as a slave.  Life was not easy for Patrick as a young man as he worked long hours on the bleak hillside minding pigs.  After six years he escaped back to Britain to his family who were glad to see him return home.

As we gather to celebrate the faith of St Patrick let us remember the many Irish people who are far from home.  Let us give thanks for the gifts that each of us have received and we ask the Spirit to help us to be generous in using our talents for the good of the community,

while we pray earnestly for peace in those places where there is war.

Hymn 611 – Tune, Bunessan

Christ be beside me, Christ be before me,

Christ be behind me, King of my heart.

Christ be within me, Christ be below me,

Christ be above me, never to part.

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand,

Christ all around me, shield in the strife.

Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting,

Christ in my rising, light of my heart.

Christ be in all hearts thinking about me,

Christ be on all tongues telling of me.

Christ be the vision in eyes that see me,

In ears that hear me Christ ever be.

James Quinn, from St. Patrick’s Breastplate

We say sorry for the things we have done wrong

O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who trust in him. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

The Lord ransoms the lives of his servants and none who trust in him will be destroyed. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Come my children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

We are forgiven

May the God of love and power forgive us, lift our burdens from us, heal and strengthen us by his spirit and raise us to new life in Jesus Christ, our risen and ascended Lord. Amen.


Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of your Word: Grant that walking in that light we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tobit 13: 1b-7

Then Tobit said:

‘Blessed be God who lives for ever,

   because his kingdom lasts throughout all ages.

For he afflicts, and he shows mercy;

   he leads down to Hades in the lowest regions of the earth,

   and he brings up from the great abyss,

   and there is nothing that can escape his hand.

Acknowledge him before the nations, O children of Israel;

   for he has scattered you among them.

He has shown you his greatness even there.

Exalt him in the presence of every living being,

   because he is our Lord and he is our God;

   he is our Father and he is God for ever.

He will afflict you for your iniquities,

   but he will again show mercy on all of you.

He will gather you from all the nations

   among whom you have been scattered.

If you turn to him with all your heart and with all your soul,

   to do what is true before him,

then he will turn to you

   and will no longer hide his face from you.

So now see what he has done for you;

   acknowledge him at the top of your voice.

Bless the Lord of righteousness,

   and exalt the King of the ages.

In the land of my exile, I acknowledge him,

   and show his power and majesty to a nation of sinners:

“Turn back, you sinners, and do what is right before him;

   perhaps he may look with favour upon you and show you mercy.”

As for me, I exalt my God,

   and my soul rejoices in the King of heaven.

Hymn 325 – Tune, Be still

Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here;

Come bow before him now with reverence and fear:

In him no sin is found – we stand on holy ground.

Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here.

Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around;

He burns with holy fire, with splendour he is crowned:

How awesome is the sight – our radiant King of light!

Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around.

Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place;

He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace –

No work too hard for him. In faith receive from him.

Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.

John 4: 31-38

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’

What do we believe?

We believe in God the Father, the source of all life, by whom every family in heaven and earth has been created.

We believe in God the Son, our friend and brother Jesus, who lives in our hearts through faith and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit, who strengthens us with his power, and makes Jesus known in the world.

We believe and trust in one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

A Litany of Praise

We give thanks for St Patrick who worked hard as a slave minding pigs on the hillside.

Praise the name of the Lord

We give thanks for St Patrick who returned home to be with his family and for the courage he had to study the Christian way of life.

Praise the name of the Lord

We give thanks for St Patrick who journeyed to France to increase his knowledge of the Scriptures and to discover what the gift of faith had to offer.

Praise the name of the Lord

We give thanks for St Patrick who reflected on his experience of God in the beauty of nature and in the lives of people who shared in his life’s journey.

Praise the name of the Lord

We give thanks for St Patrick’s call to convert the people of Ireland to follow Christ in his way of love.

Praise the name of the Lord

Hymn 304 – Tune, Servant song 517

Loving Spirit, loving Spirit,

you have chosen me to be,

you have drawn me to your wonder,

you have set your sign on me.

Like a mother, you enfold me,

hold my life within your own,

feed me with your very body,

form me of your flesh and bone.

Like a father, you protect me,

teach me the discerning eye,

hoist me up upon your shoulder,

let me see the world from high.

Friend and lover, in your closeness

I am known and held and blessed;

in your promise is my comfort,

in your presence I may rest.

Loving Spirit, loving Spirit,

you have chosen me to be,

you have drawn me to your wonder,

you have set your sign on me.

We say our prayers

Christ within us, help us to spread the word of love, peace and justice in our world.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our Prayer

Christ in all hearts, be with your people as they share the good news of the gospel in places where your word is not known.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our Prayer

Christ beside us, help us to trust in you when we meet difficulties and sustain us in our journey of faith.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our Prayer

Christ, who guided Patrick through the struggles of slavery and poverty be with the Irish people as they face hardship in their everyday life.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our Prayer

Christ be the light of all our immigrants as they face challenges far away from home. Help them through loneliness and the fear of the unknown.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our Prayer

Christ be with all our missionaries who are working to bring the gospel to our brothers and sisters in different lands. Be with each of us gathered in your name and help us to be true to the faith that St Patrick preached.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (sit or kneel to pray)

Our Father, who art in heaven:

hallowed be thy Name,

thy kingdom come,

      thy will be done,

      on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

      And forgive us our trespasses

      as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory

for ever and ever. Amen.

Hymn 20 – Tune, St Columba

The King of love my Shepherd is,

  Whose goodness faileth never;

I nothing lack if I am His,

  And He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow

  My ransomed soul He leadeth,

And, where the verdant pastures grow,

  With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,

  But yet in love He sought me,

And on His shoulder gently laid,

  And home rejoicing brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill

  With Thee, dear Lord, beside me;

Thy rod and staff my comfort still,

  Thy Cross before to guide me.

Thou spread’st a table in my sight;

  Thy unction grace bestoweth;

And O, what transport of delight

  From Thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days

  Thy goodness faileth never;

Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise

  Within Thy house forever.

The Blessing

God, who in days of old gave to this land the benediction of his holy Church, fill you with his grace to walk faithfully in the steps of the saints and to bring forth fruit to his glory: so may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you, and remain with you always. Amen.