The Rector writes ‘Today is Rogation Sunday and we will distribute some Sunflower seeds (and the very few Sunflower plantlings that the slugs didn’t eat!) to the children. We ask them to plant these seeds and look after them carefully over the coming months and hopefully they will have a beautiful tall Sunflower in late summer.
At Harvest we will have prizes for the tallest Sunflowers so mind them well!. You can read more about what Rogation Sunday means in the middle pages of this Pewsheet.
I will be up in Dublin next weekend and so won’t be able to attend the Plant Sale & Coffee Morning on Saturday 28th but I heartily encourage you to go, again more details within these sheets.
Thank you to the diocesan Lay reader Wilfred Baker who takes the Services next Sunday 29th. In the event of any Pastoral emergencies, the Revd Isobel Jackson will be available 021-4831236’.
“Rogation” comes from the Latin noun rogatio, meaning “asking” (the verb is rogare, “to ask”).
Today, the Sixth Sunday of Easter is traditionally known as “Rogation Sunday.” This is because the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the following week are known as the “Rogation Days,” days for fasting and prayer.
The Thursday of that week is the feast of the Ascension, which comes on a Thursday, the 40th day after Easter .
Days of fasting and prayer in the midst of the feast season of Eastertide seems counterintuitive. However, Rogation Days remind us that our lives and seasons are in God’s hands.
Rogation days are particularly associated with rural life and with agriculture and fishing.
Some churches mark the Rogation days with a “Rogation procession,” and the praying of the Great Litany. The vicar “beat the bounds” of the parish, processing around the fields reciting psalms and the litany.
Rogation days originated in Vienne, France, back in the fifth century when Bishop Mamertus introduced days of fasting and prayer to ward off a threatened disaster.
In our part of the world, they are associated with the blessing of the fields at planting. This is why we give out the Sunflower seeds today, encouraging the young people to grow something with their own hands. This way we can tie in Rogation (when the seeds are distributed) with Harvest (when a prize is given for the tallest Sunflower)
When you trace the history of Rogation Days from their beginning to their practice among Anglicans, you discover the wonderful 17th Century Poet & Priest George Herbert, who wrote many familiar hymns and was a sort-of patron saint for rural parish priests, speaking about the excitement around the Rogation Day procession. Herbert said his congregation was addicted to these processions in the fields.
‘The Country Parson is a Lover of old Customs, if they be good, and harmless; and the rather, because Country people are much addicted to them, so that to favor them therein is to win their hearts, and to oppose them therein is to deject them. Particularly he loves Procession.’
George Herbert noted four aims in the observance of Rogation Days which are still relevant to us today.
· To seek God’s blessing for the fields to bear fruit
· To seek the preservation of justice in the boundaries of the parish
· To walk in love with one another and reconcile differences
· To practice mercy and generosity toward the poor from God’s provisions
While we can romanticize the idyllic 17th Century pastoral world of George Herbert, I believe that there is still a place for Rogation Days and processing in worship in fields in our time.
Maybe next year on Rogation Sunday , we will get out together into the fields! I’ll have to talk nicely to the parish Eco Group and perhaps some local farmers in the coming months!
Watch this space!
Saturday 28th May 10:30-12:30 the Paris Hall
Plant Sale & Coffee Morning for Parish funds.
Plants & Cakes may be dropped into the Parish Hall between 5pm—6pm on Friday 27th May
VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED to bake, bring plants, help setting up the day before or on the day
Please text Hilary @ 086-3680513 if you can help
Random Notes CDXXV
We are all very familiar with the tradition of bringing a gift with us when visiting a relative or friend. However, the tradition of not letting someone leave your home without something in their hand is maybe more of an old fashioned, but lovely, Irish thing.
Certainly, when I was growing up, a trip to my Granny’s house, even for a few hours, meant cycling back down the hill with a bag of something. Be it some excess fruit or veg from the garden, the Diocesan Magazine, a book for my mother or some cake. I never left empty handed.
I also remembered this custom when attacking the weeds in my garden last weekend. I found a clump of cultivated Dassies that had been given to me from the owner of a garden I used to work at in East Ferry. He told me that a visitor to his house almost 30 years ago had brought them as a visiting present.
Quite proudly he told me that “they came from Ray Day’s gutter”!! He was of course referring the late Raymonde Day (nee McKechnie) who lived at Neptune Lodge in Glenbrook.
On a recent visit to Fota, I was introduced to the Yacon fruit. This is grown in a similar way as potatoes, and the sweet tuborous roots can be eaten raw or boiled.
The gardener in the orchard cut us some slices to taste and then presented us with a complete tuber to take home and grow for ourselves.
As we drove away that day, a friend and I were talking about this old custom of not being allowed to leave without something in your hand and agreed that it was a way of saying “thank you for visiting me today”. It certainly is a tradition that should be encouraged to remain part of our rich Irish social culture.