Newsletter 11th December 2016.
Today is the third Sunday of Advent – known as Gaudete Sunday – rejoice – from the first word of the Latin Introit antiphon. We are already half way through the Advent season and to moderate our penances, today we use the rose coloured vestments rather than the usual purple.
The Advent Carol service takes place this evening at 5pm. I hope that you will be able to attend. Afterwards there will be hot wine and mince pies in the Angelus Room. Quite a juggle to heat the wine and bake the pies as well as sharing in the service.
I am sure that you have seen the giving tree at the back of the Church with items for the Manna Centre and the Centre for Asylum seekers. Thank you for all your generous help.
The crib is now in place – thanks to the efforts of Tom and his helpers. The figures are in place, through the three kings are hidden away until later in the Christmas season. I still have to bring out the manger, which is kept in a safe space.
This is written well in advance but I hope that the works to the organ have been a success. It will be your chance to listen to it today.
The first of the cycle of mystery plans takes place at 9.30 next Sunday. After Mass today there will be a short rehearsal in the Church, mainly for those who have reading parts. On the day itself, please arrive in good time and go to the big hall where the costumes will be laid out with your names. When you are read, come to the Church and sit with your family. After Mass take them back to the big hall and leave them on the chairs so that they will be read for the next play on Christmas day.
A reminder that we will have a Mass at 6.30pm on Christmas Eve. The procession to the heath leaves from outside the Church at 4.30. On Christmas Eve, the church will be open from 11pm – there will be a service of readings, carols and music from 11.30 and the solemn Mass at 12 midnight.
Still a number of meetings and jobs this week but I hope I will have time for the Christmas preparations.
An interesting point: I have referred previously to the Kingsway Tram Tunnel. The gates have been open in recent months but with a guard to keep boys out. It seems that a grouting column was inserted to help stabilise the sub-soil during tunnelling work for Crossrail. Once the tunnel is completed, the column will be removed and the original tram tunnel restored – at least I hope it will be. It is only a dream, but it would be wonderful to take a route 35 tram from Forest Hill to Highgate once again.
A prayer for today:
Grant us, Lord, the spirit to think and do such things as be rightful, that we, who cannot do anything that is good without you, may be enabled by you to live according to your will: through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Here is something good:
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice!
(it always reminds me of my year working at the Dome at Greenwich)
A little vegetable dish to go with cold meat after Christmas: you will need some young carrots, baby turnips and small button onions. Cook them in some butter and a little sugar until they are lightly browned, turning them with a wooden spoon. Then cover with water and cook gently for about ¾ hour. Strain off the liquid and add a little more butter before serving.
Best wishes to you all
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon