It’s hard to believe that February is almost upon us. The tinsels and lights of Christmas have all been packed away and already thoughts of the church year are turning towards Easter. Ash Wednesday is on 26th February and, with that, we enter into the Season of Lent.
The month of prayer for the parish in December was a wonderful experience for the parish. The Christmas Spaces, 12 hours of prayer on the Saturday before Christmas was very special. Over Lent, we will have three 2 hour periods of Bible Study and reflection. They will take place on a Saturday and will be hosted in each church of the Union.
Lent is a time of growth and spiritual rebirth – a time when traditionally we remember our Lord’s sojourn in the wilderness, from whence he emerged to begin his ministry in Galilee and beyond. We too, are called to follow our Lord’s example and allow the Holy Spirit to invigorate and refresh us on our Christian journey.
On the 29th February, a “Gift Grub” evening will be held at St. David’s National School. Essentially this is a bring and share meal, with entertainment. There will also be a chance to discover our own and each other’s gifts. More information will be distributed sooner to the time, but for now please keep the date in your diary.
The next day, 1st March 2020, we celebrate St. David’s day. The earliest record to the present building is in a document of 1212, when it was listed as one of the possessions of the Hospitalers of St. John of Jerusalem. It seems likely that the Anglo Norman barons, who built St. Davids built it on the site of a much earlier Christian establishment. Archdeacon Maurice de Burgh, who was rector of Naas in the 19th century, was of the opinion that St Patrick had first proclaimed the Gospel in Naas from where St. David’s now stands. St Patrick\’s Tripartite Life says that St Patrick, while passing from Tara, set up his tent on the green of the fort, to the east of the road, his well is to the north of the fort, where he in 448 baptised Dubglang’s two sons, Oilill and Illann, and Oillill’s two daughters, Moaghain and Fidelm. According to Paddy Behan all these places can still be traced. The fort or Dun is the north Moate. The road is the present Main street of Naas. Green or Faitche of Naas lies east of the Dun, i.e. the present St. David’s Church and burial ground. At the very least, we can be very certain that there was already a pre-exitisting church and grounds, prior to the church of St. David.
On St. Davids day, we are not only celebrating St. David’s church , we are celebrating a Christian witness and ministry that extends to the time of St. Patrick. One can only imagine the many changes that have taken place during that time and the thousands of people that have found in St Davids their spiritual home. It is truly a humbling experience to remember that we enter a building and worship site that has been a centre of Christian witness for some 1400 years. That’s 1400 celebrations of Easter, Lent and Christmas, never mind the many thousands of baptisms, weddings and funerals. The tinsel of Christmas may be packed away, but the Christian hope remains strong and bright. As Jesus said, “a city set on a hill cannot be hid.” Thanks be to God, for all that he has so richly given us.
Your friend and Rector, Philip