Westport Wanderings

The Sheep and the Goats
In Aughaval Group on the one hand we’ve got sheep. And on the other hand, we’ve got goats. The domesticated, butter-wouldn’t-melt goats provide some of our beautiful Carrowholly cheese. But the real goats live around Mulranny, now spelled Mallaranny, An Mhala Raithní. They’ve retaken the village with panache now that the holidaymakers are gone home, and a trio posed for me the other day.

These lads’ prayers would have more neck, puck and pungency about them than Carmen Bernos de Gasztold’s Goat’s Prayer which follows. But though hers has the delicacy of the convent parlour about it, it speaks the honest being and vocation of many:

Let me live as I will!
I need a little wild freedom,
a little giddiness of heart,
the strange taste of unknown flowers.
For whom else are Your mountains?
Your snow wind? These springs?
The Sheep do not understand.
They graze and graze,
all of them, and always in the same direction,
and then eternally chew the cud of their insipid routine.
But I – I love to bound to the heart of all
Your marvels,
leap your chasms,
and, my mouth stuffed with intoxicating grasses,
quiver with an adventurer’s delight
on the summit of the world! Amen.
Prayers from the Ark 1947, translated by Rumer Godden 1967

Prof John Sweeney – Climate Change in Mayo and the West of Ireland
By hook or by crook get to see and hear this man, or at least lay hands on his material online, where his extraordinary animated graphs tell it all. Congrats to the Civic Trust for hosting him recently in Westport. Again on environment, Westport’s interchurch EcoCongregation is really getting into its stride. Holy Trinity’s Brid Smith is its present Chair.

All four Harvest Thanksgivings were most lovingly prepared and celebrated. Great thanks to the decorators, speakers, other participants and caterers in each parish.

Bible Sunday this year fell almost exactly on the 500th Anniversary of the posting of Luther’s Theses on the church door in Wittenburg, which really got the Reformation blazing. It moved us to fresh love for, gratitude for our parishioners from Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, Baptist, Roman Catholic and other Christian backgrounds.
Christ Church Castlebar, of our four churches, has the most distinct plaque to honour the district’s personnel killed in The Great War. The people of all our parishes prayed earnestly for peace on Remembrance Sunday.

Christ Church’s windows are being studied again, this time by Angela Boyce of GMIT. She feels that windows of real quality are neglected by scholars unless they’re the work of big name artists. I’m glad she so appreciates the east window in Christ Church; it’s a favourite of my own.

TKA’s Kajiado mission will have returned safely when Tidings appears, please God. Steve Brickenden went from Westport and Aughaval, with the blessings and grateful support of Holy Trinity.

Estonia and its choir singing are synonymous. Estonian Inna Lauger McDonagh succeeds the wonderful Michele Gill as director of Holy Trinity’s beloved Annual Pop-Up Christmas Choir this year. They look forward to seeing back their regular members and especially welcome new singers.

Advent and Christmas Diary:

Nov 22 Wed 7.30-9pm, Rectory, 1st of 4 HT Wednesday Choir Rehearsals for Holy Trinity Carols
[+ a final rehearsal in HT Church on Dec 16]

Nov 28 Tue 7.30pm, Rectory, 1st of 4 Tuesday Advent Gatherings for scripture and prayer

Dec 02/03 Advent Sunday. Healing Services in Turlough, Castlebar and Westport

Dec 10 Sun 3pm Dugort Carol Service

Dec 14 Thur 8pm Castlebar Carol Service

Dec 16 Sat 8pm Turlough Carol Service

Dec 17 Sun 11.30am Westport Carol Service

Dec 23/24 NO Saturday evening or Sunday morning services

Holy Communion 3pm Dugort
6.30pm Turlough
8pm Westport

Holy Communion 10am Castlebar
11.30am Westport

And to finish, a picture from the USA Depression era by a photographer whose name I’ve forgotten, with a sadly up-to-date text by William Blum.