Newsletter 10th February 2013.
Lent begins this week, the traditional period of prayer and penance as we prepare for the celebration of Easter.
There should be a pastoral letter from the Archbishop today and I will make sure that copies are available for you.
There is a second collection today of the benefit of the Children’s Society. I know that this is a collection that you always support generously.
During Lent we use Purple vestments. There are special readings for each day. We do not use recite the Gloria at Mass or use the Alleluia.
Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. At Mass, instead of the penitential rite, ashes are blessed and you are marked on the forehead with the words “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return”. A salutary prayer from the oldest to the youngest children. The ashes are made from the remains on the palms that were blessed on Palm Sunday last year, a vivid symbol of the way in which joys and enthusiasms can turn into the dust of nothingness. The people of the parish are marked the forehead but priests are marked on the crown of the head, a reminder of the way in which a snip of hair – the tonsure was cut away by the bishop at a special ceremony – when one entered the clerical state.
I know that you like to have an evening Mass on Ash Wednesday. I have to be at the town hall for a meeting at 7 so the Mass will be at 6pm. In addition there will be Masses in the Church at 7.30 and 10 am.
We are bring the Confirmation class forward early to the 13th February. It was originally set for the 20th but a lot of people will be away by then. After that, there will be only one further class in March and then the rehearsal on the day before the Confirmation. Thank you for your attention and for keeping up with the classes so well.
A very full week with the Deanery meeting on Tuesday and a meeting at the school in the evening and to Lewisham Town Hall on Wednesday and to Greenwich on Thursday. I hope that I will be able to fit everything in.
Thursday is the anniversary of the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Lynch. We send him our prayers and best wishes.
A prayer for Lent:
Direct our hearts to you, Lord, so that we may follow you more closely this Lent and all the days of our life: in all our needs we turn to you for the help of your grace, and ask you to give us strength to work for the things we ask for in faith, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
And time for a poem: we have not had any Hopkins for a long time:
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers forth whose beauty is past change:
By now lots of shoots for the spring flowers around the garden. Gradually tidying up after the winter and I will look for new pots to add to the herb garden. The problem is to protect from the birds who seem to enjoy them. My wonderful basil plant was destroyed by the pigeons in an evening last year. The olive tree continues to survive, though it looks a bit sad at this time of year. It really yearns for a warm Italian climate. I am looking forward to some strong blossoms on the apple trees this year in the hope that we will have a good harvest. You will recall that last year there were few apples but for some strange reason, a bumper crop of raspberries.
Gradually the roof is coming down over the old Brighton side station at London Bridge as well as the metal roof put up in the 1970s. The new Bridge over Borough High Street seems to be completed and only needs some track. It will be connected up by means of a new bridge to the fast track beyond platform 6. There are several years of work ahead but it will be fascinating to watch it as it gradually takes shape.
Here is an odd recipe from my French cook book. You will need a can of artichoke bottoms. Drain and place in a shallow dish. Make a sauce with some egg yolks, some grated parmesan cheese and some cream. Pour over the artichokes and bake in a slow over until set. I think that this is suitably penitential for a Lenten lunch.
Best wishes to you all
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon