newsletter 11th December 2011

Third Sunday of Advent 2011.

Once again the gospel today concentrates on the figure of John the Baptist, this time with a reading from the first chapter of John‘s gospel.

Today at 5pm the choir will be providing an Advent service of music and readings. As always, the music is of the highest standard and I hope that you will be able to attend. Afterwards there will be hot wine and mince pies in the Angelus Room.

After the 9.30 Mass today there will be a rehearsal for the children who have parts in the mystery plays. It is most important that they should attend. The plays will be performed at the 9.30 Mass next Sunday, on Christmas day and on 1st January. Already the costumes have been carefully cleaned, mended and ironed by Maria and we will be getting out the props – the shepherd’s crook and the swords and helmets for the soldiers.

From Saturday, we begin the immediate period for the preparation for Christmas. You probably know about the “O” antiphons, which are recited at Vespers during the days up to Christmas and I will put out some copies for you.

The Priests of the Deanery meet on Tuesday and there is a meeting at Greenwich Town Hall on Thursday. End of term at the St. Matthew Academy and there are three Masses on Friday morning. We now have a new chapel which is well used by the pupils.

I expect that by now the crib will be going up. The hardest task is the carry the pieces round from the garage but once they are in place, the structure goes up in no time. I will be looking for some help to take the figures down from the sacristy loft and also to put up the lights in the Church.

I expect that this week you would like my recipe for the hot wine that I will be preparing: equal quantities of a reasonable red wine and some bottled lemonade. Add some sugar, some cinnamon and some cloves and if you can manage it, a good slug of rum. Do not allow it to boil but heat slowly and add some slices of apple and of orange towards the end of the heating. It does tend to spill, so I will be rolling up the carpets in the Angelus room.

Tuesday is the feasts of St. Lucy. Little is known about here but it is probable that she was martyred at Syracuse in the persecution of Diocletian about the year 304. There is a custom in Sweden that on this day, the youngest daughter wakens the rest of the family with coffee, rolls and a special song.

And now some important news: it seems that the first production model of the new Routemaster was driven off the assembly line at the Wright Factory in Northern Ireland on 4th November. It is being prepared for entry into service, which should be during March. I will let you know when I have further information.

We have not had any Betjeman for some time, so I thought that you might like this:
He gives his Ovaltine a stir,
And nibbles at a petite beurre
And satisfying fleshy wants
He settles down to Norman fonts.

A prayer to help you during Advent:
O Lord, take away all coldness, all wanderings of the thoughts, and fix our souls upon thee and thy love, O merciful Lord and Saviour, in this our time of prayer. Amen.

And some advice for children that I came across recently:
Only when we are older, having shed the callow values of youth, do those of us who had eccentric parents realize how lucky we were not to be the children of Mr and Mrs Average whose behaviour, though admirable at the time, remains unmemorable.

The garden now has a gaunt winter look. The animals continue to dig up the grass though I have tried a number of protective measures. As always the last leaves are on the sweet chestnut tree. They have lasted longer than ever this year. The bees seem to have settled down for the winter and I hope that they will survive the cold weather. A few straggling late roses but most of them have been cut back by now. I look forward to the spring.

Best wishes to you all

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon

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