newsletter 15th November 2020



St Mary’s Blackheath – Newsletter 15th November 2020.

I hope that you are keeping well during the lock-down.  The Church is open on Sunday mornings from 9.30 to 11.30 and many of you have been able to make a visit for private prayer during this time.

Things do seem to be improving and with the new vaccine, I hope that we can return to normal before too long.

Today is kept as the Thirty Third Sunday in the Church’s year.

We hope to return to normal on 3rd December. This is a Thursday, and the First Mass will be at 7.30am.  From then, I will continue with the 5pm Mass on Sunday evenings as this seems to be popular.

So, for Christmas, there are problems if we still have to continue with the distancing in the Church with half the benches taped off. There is a possibility that this restriction will be limited after the current lock down.  I am thinking about times for Masses for Christmas. As usual there will be a Mass on Christmas Eve, the Midnight Mass and morning Masses at 9.30 and 11 on Christmas morning.  I will let you know how things develop. If you have any suggestions for the timing of an additional Mass, please let me know.

Confessions are difficult. Under the present regulations it is not possible to use the Confessional boxes. I am suggesting to the Bishop that we might think of general absolution. I have been looking at the rules and it might be a possibility.  We could have a general absolution before each of the Christmas Masses.

Some messages from the Justice and Peace Group:

  •  “You have always been very generous in your donations to charities at Christmas time. Sadly, having explored this further, it’s not going to be possible to organise a Christmas Giving Tree with gifts for the Manna Centre and the Jesuit Refugee Service this year.  If anyone wishes to make a private donation to one of these charities, please see: www.mannasociety.org.uk/how-you-can-help/donate-money and www.jrsuk.net/donate for details.”

“It will not be possible to organise the usual sales of Traidcraft Christmas cards and gifts in the run up to Christmas this year. If anyone wishes to order cards or gifts themselves, the contact details are:  www.traidcraft.co.uk and www.worldgifts.cafod.org.uk

It seems that it will not be possible to put up the crib as we have done in the past. I will put out the figures and see if we can find a way to provide some sweets on Christmas morning.  

During the past week, quite a lot work clearing up the leaves in the garden. Also, I have planted a row of daffodils round the garden bed in front of the house. I hope that the squirrels will not discover them. In the past I purchased some quite expensive tulip bulbs which provided a meal for the beastlies –

Planting bulbs reminded me of lines from George Herbert

It was gone

Quite underground; as flowers depart

To see their mother-root, when they have blown.

Where they together all the hard weather,

Dead to the world, keep house unknown.

Some more obscure information – the Scania buses, operate by Stagecoach, are now being used on the long 96 route from Woolwich to Dartford and Bluewater.  They were purchased during the period when Stagecoach London operation was owned by McQuarrie, the Australian Bank. For some time, they were used on the routes to North Greenwich. By now they must be coming to the end of their days. Stagecoach, back now with its original owners, has returned to the purchase of Alexander Dennis MMC vehicles.

Here is a Spanish recipe to make some tiny omelettes. Beat some egg whites until they are stiff and then beat in the yolks. Stir in some flour with a pinch of oregano, mint and baking powder and possibly a pinch of salt.  Drop the mixture by the teaspoonful into hot oil and fry. Drain and serve with chilli sauce.

We need this prayer at this time:

Lord, you make all things work together for the good of those who love you. Kindle the abiding fire of your charity in our hearts, that the longings that you inspire in us may be fulfilled.

We are all becoming accustomed to Zoom meetings, but the Local Authority meetings are very formal.  They are broadcast publicly. At the beginning there is count down, after which all casual chat must stop. We must keep the camera on all the time and ensure that there is a suitable background.  No distractions with cats or children asking for food.  At the end, there is a final countdown, after which we can resume our normal chat.

The boy and his sister are looking forward to Christmas. I will see if I can encourage them to dance a Charleston. We can ask Alexa to provide some suitable music from the Pasadena Roof Orchestra.  Their mother asks Alexa to reduce the sound to level 2 but immediately it is turned up again to level 5. 

Some learned thoughts from Jan Kott’s book on Shakespeare:

There are many subjects in Hamlet. There is politics, force opposed to morality; there is a discussion of the divergence between theory and practice, on the ultimate purpose of life; there is the tragedy of love, as well as family drama; political, eschatological and metaphysical problems are considered. There is everything you want, including deep psychological analysis, a duel and general slaughter.

I hope that you are all managing to cope with these late autumn days as we gradually move towards winter.  Another year has almost been completed – possibly one of the most unusual years in the life of many of us – but we go forward with hope.

Best wishes to you all,

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon



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