Magazine

BLACKHEATHAN
St Mary’s Parish Magazine | NOV 2021 £ 1
THE BLACKHEATHAN
is published monthly by the Parish Communications Committee.
Please put your £1 contribution for the magazine in the box provided.
This will help us to defray the cost of printing. Thank you!
EDITORIAL TEAM
Mary Bennett, Sue Bingham, Judith Rice Nickson, John Sabido & Ali Smith
THIS MONTH’S EDITOR
Judith Rice Nickson
Contributions for the next issues should be emailed to:
Alismith4@btinternet.com
or susan@binghamandbingham.com
BEFORE Monday 6th December 2021
The views expressed in the articles in this magazine
are the personal opinions of the authors only.
“an excellent parish magazine”
BISHOP LYNCH
Bishop’s Visitation Report 2017
COVER IMAGE
MEDIEVAL WEST TOWER OF THE FORMER CHURCH OF ST MARGARET, LEE
Susan Bingham
2
3
HOW COVID
CHANGED THE
WAY I WORK
4
In the next instalment of our occasional series,
Theresa Freeburn recalls the impact of the pandemic on
her work as a primary school music teacher.
One week before the first lockdown in March 2020, there was
a real sense that everything was going to change. I remember
one Year 3 boy, just 8 years old, coming up to me and
saying:”Does this mean that I’m not going to learn anything
else on the recorder?”. A Year 6 child asked me “Are we still
going to be able to do our Year 6 show?”. My only answer was
“I don’t know”.
Though several friends were saying that the lockdown would
be just for a few weeks, I was frightened and thought it would
be for a long time. We had been going to do a concert the
following week, but instead we brought it forward and
performed it to the children on the last afternoon of school,
even though by that stage many were already not coming in.
When the children left after the concert, I cried.
During that first lockdown, schools were still open for kids who
were vulnerable and for children of key workers: so children
from several schools were being brought together in one
school in mixed year groups. I was going in once a fortnight to
assist in the general provision of online lessons: certainly when
it came to online maths I was really glad that there was always
another teacher to take the lead.
5
At the same time, I was being asked to provide remote
content. My headteacher said “I want you to provide three
singing assemblies a week [for younger children; for Years 1-2;
and Years 3-6]”. I had been that person at work who was
hopeless with technology and asked my son, Sebastian “What
can I do?” He said: ”Well, the first thing you’re going to do is to
buy a new Macbook”. He taught me how to film myself and
how to use iMovie and edit. In the first films I made I had no
idea how to put them together, but by the third or fourth week
I was doing some serious editing and overlaying soundtracks.
The very first task was to arrange remote teaching of the
school’s instrumental lessons, and to make sure all the
instrumental teachers had got to grips with online teaching.
Perhaps surprisingly, some children made more progress
through remote lessons than they had done through in-person
classes. I think it was because the children really appreciated
live 1-1 contact with an adult outside the family, but mostly
because the children practised more, as there was simply
nothing else to do.
At the end of the first lockdown, I put together the first of two
whole school multi-screen lockdown music videos. I invited all
the children to participate and children sent me videos of
themselves singing or playing a song called “Amani Utupe”
which is the Swahili phrase meaning “Grant us peace, give us
courage”. Well over 100 took part.
6
In the second lockdown, I continued with the singing
assemblies, but this time I also delivered weekly live lessons to
every year group. Out of a group of 60 children, I could see 16
faces on screen but wasn’t sure how involved the other 40
plus were. I tried to involve many more students by asking
them questions but there was an element of teaching into a
void: it’s weird not seeing how the whole room is reacting,
Even though we are back in the classroom now, there are
undoubtedly some longer-term changes. For a start,
I discovered some amazing online resources that I have
continued to use – such as a US elementary teacher who has
playlists for different musical activities. Also, I will still film big
school events like the Year 6 summer production and Christmas
concerts and Nativities, so that relatives who perhaps live miles
away or in another country can enjoy them too: it’s really not
that difficult to do.
There has definitely been a bit of a hit on singing, as there
were all those months when we just weren’t allowed to sing.
I’m putting a lot of emphasis on singing at the moment to make
up for lost time, but I hope that by Christmas the children will
sound as good as they used to. And the other immediate
effect on my work? Well, that will be wearing lots of layers in
the classroom, so we can have windows open and help to
defeat the virus that way.
7
SYNOD
CONSULTATION
AT ST MARY’S
All parishes have been asked to take part in the
consultation ahead of the synod in Rome in October 2022.
Monsignor invited Colm Lanigan and Una Palmer to
help organise the parish response on three themes:
Communion, Mission and Participation.
The work was carried out to meet the original deadline of 18
November, with various ways for parishioners to respond to
questions on these themes. Each topic was broken down into
three areas: our own parish; the local area; the universal
Church. Though the deadline has now been extended into
January, the substantive work has been completed, and the
below is a summary of what St Mary’s submission to the
diocese looks like.
1 Communion
1.1 Parish life
The parish is fortunate in having some excellent facilities,
8
including the large garden which is much appreciated. There is a
suggestion that the meditation group, suspended during the
pandemic, should be re-started, and that possibly a prayer
group and Bible reading group might be added also. There was
discussion of groups for young people, both post-confirmation,
and between first Holy Communion and Confirmation. There
could also be better street signage giving directions to the church.
1.2 The local area
London seems to operate as a number of villages, so that
people no longer instinctively look for their nearest church, but
for a local church that suits their own personal wishes and style
of worship. As a result, inter-parish partnership is not always
easy. There was a suggestion that charitable work might be
more locally focused, and the Justice and Peace Group is
reviewing this.
1.3 The universal church
There is a real need to review the position of women in the
Church. Though women already play some leading roles in the
life of the Church, the ultimate decisions are always male-led:
in some cases the life of the parish is shared, but in others the
role of the male priest is dominant.
It was proposed that the question of the ordination of women
to the priesthood should be re-examined as a theological
issue. A change would have implications throughout the world,
including in regions where male and female roles are more
differentiated than they are in, say, Western Europe. These
barriers may well be dismantled in the coming years, and the
Church should help to make this possible.
9
There is also the whole question of the pyramid structure of
leadership, with scope for many decisions to be made through
consultation. For example, a new priest coming into a parish
should not have the freedom simply to impose his own ideas,
but should act in partnership with the people of the parish and
what has gone before.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community should also be
considered, with pastoral support and consideration for the
possibility of arranging formal blessings for same-gender
partnerships. There is also a need to reconsider how those
who have entered into a second marriage might still be able to
receive Holy Communion.
2 Mission
2.1 Parish life
There is a need to improve catechesis for adults, not least as
the basis for missionary work, and a recognition that greater
knowledge of the Bible is important for all age groups. There is
a proposal to form a Catholic Men’s Group. There is a need to
welcome and encourage newcomers to the parish. There
needs to be further work on how online communication can
foster the mission of the Church within the parish. In recent
years, more than 100 members of the parish have been able to
visit the English Seminary at Valladolid in Spain
2.2 The local area
There is already co-operation with other local churches on
practical social action such as food banks. Members of the
parish also take part in local churches acting together, for
example through the Christmas Eve procession and the Good
10
Friday procession through Blackheath.
2.3 The universal Church
As before, the role of women in the leadership and the
hierarchy of the Church must be fully considered. To many
people, leadership at the Vatican seems remote, and better
communication on a broader Catholic level would be welcome.
When it comes to potential converts, personal witness is more
effective than confrontation.
3 Participation
3.1 Parish life
St Mary’s is already seeking to be inclusive in what it offers
parishioners, for example through facilities for children, and
post-Mass coffee mornings. Beyond ideas mentioned earlier in
this summary, proposals include a summer fete, regular social
events, and better sharing of information about what is
happening in the parish and the diocese.
3.2 The local area
Arrange visits of individual parishes to the Cathedral to share in
a Mass once a year.
3.3 The universal Church
A spirit of welcome by priests in all parishes – making sure
there is not an over-zealous application of rules – so that all
groups are made welcome and none is marginalised. This
would include, for example, those in second marriages and
those in same-sex relationships. As before, the role of women
in the Church is most important, and the ordination of women
should be considered.
11
FROM ADAM
TO ACTS
A BIBLE TIMELINE COURSE
My last brush with formal religious education was at the
age of 13, so I was intrigued when my wife, Margaret,
suggested that we register for the Bible Timeline Course,
writes Stephen Lear.
I have always found the 73 books of the Bible somewhat long
and daunting to follow and this course provided an opportunity
to gain a clearer understanding of how the various sections fit
together to form a coherent whole.
One of the insights of the course is that the Bible consists of a
narrative comprising 12 chronological periods from Adam and
Eve to Jesus Christ and covering the Old and New Testaments.
These periods are colour-coded on a timeline chart which, alas
does not translate well to a B&W page! The timeline begins with
the Early World, the Patriarchs, Exodus and Desert Wanderings,
and continues through to Messianic Fulfilment and the Church.
This narrative describes how over time the problem of Man’s fall
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13
from grace in the Garden of Eden is solved by Jesus dying on
the cross to save mankind – in short, the salvation story
showing God’s awesome love for Mankind.
Another theme is the evolution of God’s family plan traced
through a series of covenants, beginning with One Holy Couple
(Adam & Eve, Genesis1-3), then One Holy Family (Noah,
Genesis 9), One Holy Tribe (Abraham, Genesis 15), One Holy
Nation (Moses, Exodus 24), One Holy Kingdom (David, 2
Samuel 7) and finally One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church
(Jesus, Luke 22). The course also traces the genealogy of
Jesus – starting with Adam, Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham and
Isaac through to Zedekiah, Zerubbabel and Joseph and Mary.
It provides the historical and political background to the Bible –
for example, by showing the reigning world power for each time
period – Egypt (Early World to Royal Kingdom, 3000-1000 BC),
Assyria (Divided Kingdom, 930-722 BC), Babylon (Exile, 722-538
BC) through to Greece (Return, 483-166 BC) and Rome
(Maccabean Revolt, Messianic Fulfilment and the Church, 167
BC to AD 68 onwards). It also matches books in the Bible with
secular events in history – for example, Israel’s darkest period
(Divided Kingdom, 930-722 BC) coincides with the first Olympic
Games (776 BC) and the founding of Rome (753 BC). The
timeline chart also geographically represents where Bible events
occurred ranging from the Land of Canaan (Nehemiah rebuilds
Jerusalem’s Walls) to the South & Egypt (Slavery in Egypt) and
Northern Countries (Babylonian Captivity).
Interspersed between the 14 narrative books of the Bible are
59 supplemental books which deal with other topics and are
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placed in their historical context on the Bible Timeline – for
example, poetry (Song of Songs), prayers (Psalms), laws
(Leviticus), Proverbs and the Wisdom of Solomon. These
culminate in the Book of Revelation which was written in the
early years of the Church.
The course is run by Catholic speaker, Mauro Iannicelli,
through eight weekly live-streamed talks, based on Jeff Cavins’
worldwide-famous Bible Study. Additional materials which are
available include a colour timeline chart, study questions and
recommended reading. Mauro delivers this interactive course
with humour, a lightness of touch and most importantly great
enthusiasm. It may be taken by an individual, a group of “study
buddies” or at a parish level and is free of charge. It has
allowed us to “grasp the big picture of the Bible from start to
finish” and given us the confidence to navigate its various
sections and how they fit together, including how the Old
Testament pre-figures the New. We would recommend this
course to fellow parishioners who are looking to deepen their
Christian knowledge and faith. Although the course is currently
nearing completion, it is likely to be offered again in the near
future. In the meantime, Mauro will shortly be running an online
Advent course for those who wish to gain a better
understanding of the events and gospels leading up to Christ’s
birth. Don’t forget to register at www.comeandsee.org .
15
WHAT FRESH
HELL IS THIS?*

  • Greeting when answering the phone or the doorbell.
    MORE DOROTHY PARKER QUOTES
    from John Sabido
    16
    Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967)
    was an American poet, short story writer, critic and
    satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks and
    observation of 20th Century foibles.
    The best way to avoid a hangover is to stay drunk.
    Never complain, never explain.
    She realises she doesn’t know as much as God, but feels she
    knows as much as God knew when he was her age.
    Money cannot buy health but I’d settle for a
    diamond-studded wheelchair.
    “When I was young and bold and strong,/ The right was right,
    the wrong was wrong./ With plume on high and flag unfurled,/ I
    rode away to right the world./But now I’m old – and good and
    bad,/Are woven in a crazy plaid./ I sit and say the world is so,/
    And wise is s/he who lets it go.”
    “Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,/ a medley of extemporanea,
    And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
    and I am Marie of Romania.”
    It turns out that, at social gatherings, as a source of
    entertainment, conviviality, and good fun, I rank somewhere
    17
    between a sprig of parsley and a single ice-skate.
    “The only “ism” Hollywood believes in is plagiarism.”
    I regret to say that during the first act of this, I fell so soundly
    asleep that the gentleman who brought me piled up a
    barricade of overcoat, hat, stick, and gloves between us to
    establish a separation in the eyes of the world, and went into
    an impersonation of A Young Man Who Has Come to the
    Theater Unaccompanied.
    Out in Hollywood, where the streets are paved with Goldwyn….
    You can’t take it with you, and even if you did, it would
    probably melt.
    All right, God, send me to hell.
    You think You’re frightening me with Your hell, don’t You?
    You think Your hell is worse than mine.
    Four be the things I’d been better without:/ Love, curiosity,
    freckles, and doubt./ Three be the things I shall never attain:/
    Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
    Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.
    “Age before beauty,” Clare Boothe Luce once remarked as she
    invited Parker to proceed her through a doorway; Parker swept
    past and retorted “Pearls before swine.”
    Excuse my dust – Her Epitaph.
    18
    ST FRANCIS IN MEDITATION BY FRANCISCO DE ZURBARAN
    19
    MORNING
    MEDITATION
    Part of the daily routine of our Seminary was a period of
    meditation during the morning prayer, writes the
    Blackheathan Reviewer. Topics were suggested on the
    previous evening for use the next morning. Ideally,
    meditations would have been be based on the Scriptures
    but it was recognised that this was not always easy
    and so a number of books were published suggesting
    an outline form for the meditation.
    During the past year, I have been using a book of meditations
    prepared by a Vincentian Priest, Father Dominic Phillips,
    Meditations for priests, seminarians and religious. It was
    prepared in New Zealand but was published in Dublin in 1954.
    At the time it was considered to be one of the best books
    available. My copy had remained unused for many decades,
    and I thought that it would be an interesting exercise to use it
    once again.
    The format gives a page for each day with the meditation
    20
    divided into three stages. It obviously takes its form from the
    Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.
    The first section introduces the subject in a prayerful manner
    and, if appropriate, it explains the setting which is sometimes
    described as a composition of time and place.
    The second section is usually instructional, explaining the
    reasons for or the nature of the topic under consideration.
    The final section gives practical applications and sometimes
    suggested resolutions based on the earlier considerations.
    I am almost at the end of a year and my conclusions are as
    follows.
    From time to time the meditations are incisive and give helpful
    reflections on the mysteries of faith. For example on Fridays,
    there is normally a meditation on the various stages of the
    Passion of the Lord. It is possible to reflect on the different
    people involved in these events and how they behaved, from
    the mindless cruelty of the soldiers with the crown of thorns to
    the vacillating personal doubts of Pilate.
    Some of the reflections clearly belong to a former age; to a time
    when there were large numbers of students for the priesthood
    in the Seminaries and an ordered discipline was important.
    There is an obvious hierarchy and the idea of absolute
    obedience is repeated frequently. There is no possibility of
    21
    debate, questioning or consultation. It needs to be remembered
    that this was part of the spirit of the age and was the norm in
    many other places. Frequently there is a suggestion of the
    exalted position of the priesthood which in another age might be
    identified as encouraging clericalism.
    Also, this comes from a pre-Conciliar Age and tensions which
    could result from the use of such a book may have led to
    some of the intensive debates that took place during and after
    the Council.
    And some of the conclusions and resolutions, in our present
    age, frankly, seem quite silly – “if you find difficulty in having
    matter for conversation, accustom yourself to gather
    wholesome points from Catholic newspapers”.
    Certainly the use of this book over the past year has been a
    fascinating exercise; I have not taken it all literally, but it lead to
    a reflection on the journey that we have undertaken in recent
    years – which is still continuing.
    22
    Rerum
    Novarum
    & ITS INFLUENCE
    Bill White explores the Church’s first challenge to the
    problems thrown up by the Industrial Revolution.
    The encyclical Rerum Novarum, subtitled On the Condition of
    Labour, was published by Pope Leo XIII in May 1891. At the time,
    the Industrial Revolution had caused a massive dislocation of
    society from the land to the cities. As a result, many people were
    left homeless, or working for low wages and living in deplorable
    conditions: many families found their lives utterly disrupted.
    This provided fertile ground for radical movements – many of
    them hostile to the Church, which they saw as allied to the ruling
    and exploiting classes. Leo had decided that he must counter
    revolutionary ideas but show that the Church was on the side of
    the poor and oppressed. He was encouraged in this by his own
    experience as Nuncio in Belgium, and by other Catholic
    churchmen in Europe, including Cardinal Manning of Westminster.
    The document itself is not revolutionary. In these new conditions, it
    23
    sought to apply to traditional Catholic teaching on the importance
    of the family, the harmonious society and the relationship of a man
    to his work. The encyclical maintained that the place of women
    was in the home, caring for her husband and family. It also
    proclaimed the natural right to private property and condemned
    what it referred to as ‘socialism’ as infringing this right.
    Yet it also asserted that it was the duty of the state to preserve
    justice in all aspects of employment. It upheld wage settlements
    arrived at by free bargaining, and the rights of employers and
    workers to form combinations for this bargaining process.
    This was, in effect, legitimising trade unions. The purpose of
    these negotiations would be to achieve a ‘just wage’, defined as
    enough to support the wage-earner and family in ‘reasonable
    and frugal comfort’. This seems an obvious criterion now, but
    was a complete break from the idea that wages were simply the
    minimum price for labour in a free market.
    While some saw as subversive this new concern of the Church
    for workers’ conditions, the encyclical has since been acclaimed
    as an important pronouncement on social justice. Succeeding
    Popes have acknowledged its importance, and updated or
    developed its main ideas.
    The first encyclical updating Rerum Novarum was
    Quadragesimo Anno issued by Pope Pius XI in 1931. He decreed
    that capitalism must have regard to ‘the human dignity of workers,
    the social character of economic life, social justice and the
    common good’. Extremes of individualism and collectivism were
    to be avoided.
    Thirty years later, Pope John XXIII issued Mater et Magistra ,
    24
    which said ‘wage levels could not be left entirely to unregulated
    competition …. or to the will of the most powerful’ and that class
    differences should be lessened …’so that everyone in the
    community can develop and perfect themselves’.
    Gaudium et Spes, a Vatican II document of 1965, called for
    economic matters to be organised oh the principles of justice and
    equality. It asserted that as all people were created in God’s
    likeness and enjoyed the same divine calling and destiny, the
    ‘basic equality of all must receive increasingly greater recognition’.
    In his 1971 apostolic letter, Octogesima Advenius, Paul VI
    referred to the ‘flagrant inequalities’ causing serious problems.
    He was particularly concerned with the problem of ‘urbanism’,
    the hidden misery found in crowded cities, and with how young
    people’s needs were neglected. He urged equal rights for women,
    and condemned all forms of discrimination, particularly racial.
    Pope John Paul II issued two documents with the common
    theme of criticising injustice and inequality. Perhaps drawing on
    his experiences in Communist Poland, his 1991 encyclical
    Centesimus Annus criticised what he called ‘the social
    assistance state’ and insisted that the ‘principle of subsidiarity’
    must be respected. In his 1994 Apostolic Letter, he called for a
    ‘jubilee year’ to begin the new millennium where, as in the Old
    Testament, slaves were freed and debts cancelled.
    These successors to Rerum Novarum emphasise the two
    central themes of Catholic social teaching: the ‘Common Good’,
    where everyone can flourish and achieve their aims and
    ambitions; and ‘Subsidiarity’ where decisions about peoples’
    lives are taken by people themselves..
    25
    SISTERS OF ST ANDREW
    A LITTLE REFLECTION ON
    CHRISTMAS
    CARDS
    As the Christmas season is at our door, it’s time to consider
    Christmas cards, writes Sr Marie-Christine.
    Without wishing to sound unseasonal, there is a dark side to
    sending Christmas cards! Getting organised is one more
    festive chore, and quite an early and time-consuming one:
    for cards to arrive before Christmas, they can’t be left until the
    last minute. And each year the list gets longer, with new
    relationships added – and those people who have sent you a
    card but have not made it on to your own list.
    There are other factors too. The financial cost is noticeable;
    the ecological cost is apparent too, when you think about the
    plastic wrapping, the carbon used in sending them, and the still
    limited facilities for re-cycling.
    This all poses some questions: would we lose face if we didn’t
    take part in this tradition? Would people be disappointed, sad
    or cross if they don’t receive a card, thinking they’ve been
    26
    neglected, or – even worse – deliberately snubbed?
    That suggests that perhaps a good basis could be to answer
    those who write to us. But here comes another difficulty. There
    is rarely a return address and rarely a surname. In the waves of
    cards poured in the letterbox by the post person, how can we
    recognise…John? Which John? What’s John’s address? Is he
    on my list already? Can I recognise the handwriting on a single
    word added after the printed season wishes?
    Then there is choosing the cards themselves. Take your pick:
    good taste, bad taste, museum cards, charity cards, winter
    classics, robins and fir trees, modern style… In the competition
    of originality, nativity themes are less and less present: you
    have the three kings, the animals of the crib – sometimes
    without Mary and Joseph and often without baby Jesus. Peace
    is the closest of the Christian themes, or a snowy picture of
    choir boys singing near a church.
    All that said, there are certainly benefits in writing Christmas
    cards!
    It’s nice to stay in the tradition, to sit down with the list and let a
    proper pen glide on the good-quality paper, to write a short
    message or more, even the treasure of our name, which is
    what actually really matters.
    Me, writing to you. You, writing to me. Us.
    We want to remind people that they are not forgotten, that
    they have a place in our hearts, in our lives. We want them to
    be happy during the festive season.
    It’s nice to choose cards carefully, look for cards, to support
    27
    charities – many of whom rely heavily on Christmas – with this
    kind of money.
    It’s good to receive cards, to hear the fall of them on the mat or
    in the box, to rejoice in the memory of people and times far
    away, to place them artistically in the living room, on the chimney
    sill, hanging on a wall, to put them on display for all to see.
    It is good to write to prisoners of conscience, to people in
    hospital, in prison, through charities, hoping they will receive
    through this modest act of strangers a bit of comfort.
    A card is a modest present, amongst the presents we
    exchange at Christmas. A way to enter in the movement of
    giving and receiving, a way to remind us of the greatest gift:
    God became one of us, Jesus Christ gave himself totally to us.
    As young people typically send fewer – or no – cards, the social
    conventions are waning and it is increasingly up to us to
    choose if and how we want to send cards. I know of an Abbey
    in England where some years ago the nuns decided to stop
    writing Christmas cards. A token of simplicity, I suppose. If we
    make this choice, we might think more deeply about finding
    alternatives to convey kindness to others around us in this
    Christmas season and through the year to come.
    FORTHCOMING EVENTS
    With the move into wintertime on the 31 October, we entered a
    season with more times spent in the darkness of night and we
    come closer to Advent and Christmas. During these last weeks
    of the year, St Andrew’s will continues to hold a little light up
    through varied events. You can find more information about
    28
    them and other new events on our website.
    Sunday 28 November
    Open Afternoon, for the feast of St Andrew.
    You are invited to come any time between 2 pm and 5.30 pm
    Wednesday 15th December
    Advent Quiet Evening, ‘In that day the wolf shall live with the
    lamb …they will neither harm nor destroy on all my Holy
    Mountain’ Isaiah 11: 6-9,
    7.30 to 9pm, led by Sr Regula. All are welcome.
    Wednesday 29th December
    Meditative Evening Prayer including Taize chants at 7.30pm in
    the chapel. Arrive at 7pm if you wish to practise the songs
    beforehand. All are welcome.
    Advent Calendar
    From 1st to 25th December. You can find it on our website or
    subscribe on the website to receive it in your mailbox.
    A programme of events for 2022 is also available.
    We continue to welcome guests to St Andrew’s for silent
    retreats (private or individually guided), quiet days (including a
    meeting with a sister if arranged in advance) and groups. To
    help everyone feel safe during the pandemic, we continue to
    encourage the following hygiene measures here : frequent
    handwashing, use of hand sanitizers and face masks, social
    distancing and ventilation.
    With very warm greetings from the sisters of St Andrew in Lewisham
    Sigrun, Beatrice, Regula, Christiane,
    Marie-Christine & Fiona
    29
    ACTION BY CHRISTIANS
    AGAINST TORTURE
    ACAT(UK)
    ACAT`s aim is to increase awareness among Christians of
    the widespread and evil use of torture and the need, for
    reasons of Christian faith, to campaign for its abolition,
    writes Colm Lanigan.
    ACAT(UK) was formed in 1984 by the then British Council of
    Churches, with the active support of Amnesty International.
    We reference our thoughts and actions through prayer:
    Lord Jesus, You experienced in person what it is like to have a
    death sentence hanging over you. You were plotted against,
    betrayed by a friend, and arrested under cover of darkness by
    men who came with clubs and swords.You were tortured,
    beaten and humiliated; sentenced to an agonising death,
    though you had done no wrong. Be now with prisoners
    throughout the world. Be with them in the darkness of the
    dungeon, in the loneliness of separation from those they love.
    Be with them in their fear of what may come to them, in the
    30
    agony of their torture and in the face of execution and death.
    Stretch out your hands in mercy to all who have need of you at
    this time. Amen
    The Death penalty. It is estimated that more than 1000 people
    are executed in China each year, but as each case is treated as a
    state secret, exact figures are unavailable. Iran, Pakistan, and
    Saudi Arabia also regularly execute their citizens. In the United
    States, Donald Trump sanctioned more federal executions than
    any president in the last century. It is sobering to reflect that if
    you are black, poor, or ill, you are much more likely to be arrested
    and convicted of crime. You are then more likely to receive a
    more severe sentence and punishment than your white
    neighbour. Justice is not colour-blind when it comes to crime:
    between1976 and 2020, ten times as many black defendants
    were executed in the U.S. for murdering white victims than white
    defendants for murdering black victims (296 vs 21 respectively).
    Many factors lead to such injustices.
    Yet there is hope. More and more countries around the world are
    removing or restricting the use of the death penalty – some 181 of
    195 countries worldwide have now abandoned capital
    punishment. This is due to continuing pressure from groups such
    as ACAT, and the recognition that capital punishment is wrong.
    “Whoever tortures a human being, Whoever abuses a
    human being, Whoever outrages a human being, Abuses
    God’s image, And the church takes as its own That cross,
    that martyrdom.” Archbishop Romero of El Salvador,
    31
    murdered in 1980 because of his support for the poor and
    suffering people of his country.
    Support for those in prison. The ACAT newsletters, which are
    sent out to members ahead of Easter and Christmas, contain
    many names of individuals and organisations, who would
    appreciate a greetings card. In some cases, it is safer for the
    prisoner to receive a non-religious card, but others may be
    especially pleased to receive a card with a Christian message.
    This is specified on the mailing list. You may wish to write a
    simple card or greeting to an individual saying, for instance,
    that you are thinking of him/her and/or perhaps urging them
    not to lose hope (or words to that effect). A picture postcard is
    always welcome and cheapest to send. You can include your
    name and address (if you wish) but please do not mention
    ACAT or include a religious greeting (if so advised), as
    communication from a foreign organisation can endanger the
    prisoner and lead to harsher sentences.
    Because of COVID restrictions this year, the J&P group is not
    organising a parish card signing event, but if you would like to
    have names for sending cards this Christmas, please email me,
    Colm Lanigan, at colm2013@icloud.com or contact ACAT(UK)
    direct at www.acatuk.org.uk
    Many thanks for your prayers and support.
    32
    ‘PEOPLE LIKE ME’, OR
    ‘THEM AND US’?
    ‘In a real sense, all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an
    inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
    Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.I can never be what
    I ought to be until you are what you ought to be…. and you can never
    be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be … This is the
    inter-related structure of reality.’ Dr Martin Luther King Jr
    ‘Every migrant has a name, a face, a story’
    Pope Francis’s words on a plaque on Dover promenade.
    ‘Every individual has something special to give, but they need to
    have both time and the opportunity to give it.’
    Yusra Mardini, refugee Olympic swimmer.
    In: Pravda Ha Ha, by Rory Maclean, Bloomsbury, 2019, p303.
    You can read more of her remarkable story by
    googling her name on line.
    ‘No one chooses to be a refugee. Yet tens of millions of Africans
    have fled their homes in recent years to escape war, famine and
    drought. Half of them are under eighteen years of age, risking
    their lives so that they, and their families, may live.’
    Pravda Ha Ha, by Rory Maclean, Bloomsbury, 2019, p292
    33
    ‘Migrants are not seen as entitled like others to participate in the life
    of society, and it is forgotten that they possess the same intrinsic
    dignity as any person. Hence they ought to be ‘agents in their own
    redemption’. No one will ever openly deny that they are human
    beings, yet in practice, by our decisions and the way we treat them,
    we can show that we consider them less worthy, less important, less
    human. For Christians, this way of thinking and acting is
    unacceptable, since it sets certain political preferences above deep
    convictions of our faith: the inalienable dignity of each human
    person regardless of origin, race or religion, and the
    supreme law of fraternal love.’
    Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti #39
    ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or
    naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ And He
    shall respond to them by saying: ‘Amen I say to you, whenever you
    did not do it to one of these least, neither did you do it to me’
    Matthew 25;44-45.
    Lord, grant me the courage to see you in the migrants
    I see, and the wisdom to practise your love.
    The Jesuit Refugee Service accepts donations at
    www.jrsuk.net or tel: 020 7488 7310. Our November Christmas
    Giving Tree will include present choices for refugee families.
    34
    St Mary’s Giving Tree is back
    again this year. From Advent
    onwards there will be a Christmas
    tree at the back of the Church in
    front of the Justice and Peace
    notice board with lots of gold and
    red gift tags. The gifts tags
    provide details of presents that
    have been suggested by either
    The Manna Centre (a day centre
    for homeless in Southwark) or by
    the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).
    The presents suggested are a
    range of things that the Manna
    Centre and the JRS know their
    homeless and refugee clients
    really need and would be very
    much appreciated.
    If you’re able to help this year, it’s
    very easy: just take a gift tag; buy
    the present described on the tag;
    wrap the present and put it under
    the tree with the tag attached by
    Sunday 2 January 2022.
    Thank you for all your giving.
    35
    PARISH NEWSLETTER
    28th November 2021
    Sunday Masses Saturday 6.30pm first Mass of Sunday
    Sunday 9.30 and 11am and 5pm.
    Monday to Friday Mass at 8am.
    Saturday Mass at 10am and 6.30pm
    Confessions Saturday 12 to 1pm
    Today is the First Sunday of Advent.
    Advent is a period of prayer and penance in which we
    prepare for the celebration of the Feast of Christmas. Not as
    severe as Lent, but the purple vestments appear once again,
    and we do not recite the Gloria at Mass on Sundays. We keep
    the Alleluia verse.
    This it the First Sunday of the Church’s year and the
    readings will be taken from the Third cycle, “C”. When we
    reach Ordinary time, the Sunday gospel readings will be taken
    from Luke.
    Tuesday is the feast of St Andrew and Friday is the feast of
    St Francis Xavier.
    This year our carol service will be taking place on Sunday
    12th December.
    Thanks to the magazine editors for providing a
    comprehensive article on the work that we have undertaken in
    preparation for the Synod. It is already on display in the
    Angelus Room and is available on the website, but it is good to
    have a printed version. From what I hear, we have worked
    hard and well in our parish and are way ahead of what has
    36
    taking place elsewhere. Thank you for all your help and
    assistance.
    A note about the bells in the Church tower. You will have
    noted that the new grills are firmly in place. The repairs to the
    clock and bells are due to take place in mid-December –
    striking the hours from 9am to 10pm and the Angelus at midday and at 6 in the evening. There is also a special machine to
    ring the bell at other times.
    Thanks to those who have helped to clear the leaves and
    twigs in the garden. It seemed a mammoth task and it was
    good to have some help. The leaf blower works well but it is
    hard to find a suitable machine to collect the leaves.
    And some Binyon.
    Now is the time for the burning of the leaves.
    They go to the fire; the nostril pricks with smoke
    Wandering slowly into a weeping mist
    (actually, if I do this in the garden, the neighbours complain!)
    My recipe for cauliflower cheese – I prepare the sauce with
    some margarine, milk, a spoon of mustard powder and a
    sprinkle of pepper as well as the grated cheese, stirring all the
    time to make sure that it does not catch. Pour over the
    steamed cauli – and bake in the oven until it bubbles and starts
    to brown.
    Our usual Advent prayer: Stir up our hearts, we beseech you
    O Lord, that we may prepare the way for your Son; so that by
    his advent we may be enabled to serve you with pure hearts
    and minds. Amen.
    Best wishes to you all,
    Monsignor Nicholas Rothon

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