Newsletter 19th January 2014\.
This week is kept as the Second Sunday in ordinary time. The green vestments return for a few weeks until Lent begins. The Sunday readings are taken from Cycle A which means that we will be using Matthew’s gospel during the greater part of the year.
This coming week I will be away in Spain from Monday to Thursday visiting the chapel at Sanlucar de Barrameda in the South of Spain. This means that there will not be a 7.30 Mass on these days but I hope to be back by Friday. If the Bishop is about, there will be a 10am Mass but otherwise there will be a Eucharistic Service.
The chapel dates from 1517 when the site was given to English wine merchants by the Duke of Medina Sidonia. It is a Catholic chapel dating from pre-Reformation times so it is an important part of the history of the Church in our land. I have powers of attorney and have arranged a formal lease with a local Confraternity – so one of my tasks is to make a visit every two years, celebrate Mass in the chapel and meet with local Confraternity. As you can imagine it is all most enjoyable.
Tuesday is the feast of St. Agnes so you will need to remember to read the Keat’s poem on Monday evening.
Friday is the feast of St Frances de Sales, the saintly Bishop of Geneva.
Alex is enjoying his stay here – a week at the Centre in Deptford and now he has moved on to help with the Chaplaincies at St. Matthew’s and at the Sixth Form College. He will be staying to the end of the month and has the task of looking after things for a few days whilst I am away.
A simple recipe this week: peel and core some sweet apples and cut into wedges. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and drizzle some warmed clear honey over them. Add some pieces of chopped walnut and maybe a little crème fraiche. Alex says it reminds him of things that you have in Spain.
The Boris buses provide a great deal of interest. There are now over 100 in service from the original order of 600. The newer buses are slightly lighter than the early deliveries, which means that they are able to take the full number of 82 passengers for which they were designed. The number of passengers is limited to 77 on first 20 or so. They have Northern Ireland Registrations as they are built at Wright’s factory in Belfast and the final numbers of the registration plate correspond with the fleet number.
A poem to read to day:
St. Agnes’ Eve – ah bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a cold;
The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Numb were the beadsman’s fingers while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath
Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seem’d taking flight for heaven, without a death
Past the sweet Virgin’s picture, while his prayer he saith.
And now Frances de Sales:
Since devotion is a high degree of charity it not only makes us ready, active and diligent in keeping God’s commandments but also moves us to do as much good as we can vigorously and zealously, going beyond what is commanded to what is merely counselled and inspired.
The great nephew shares a great interest in cars with his grandfather. He was very curious about my car and need to try it. Luckily is still short and cannot see over the steering wheel or reach the pedals but it will not be long before he is off on the road. His mother grew up in the US and I think that she started to drive when she was 15.
Now Christmas is over a very special word of thanks for the many gifts for the Manna Centre and for the Centre for families. All the presents have been safely delivered. They were used not only as presents but as stocks of important supplies for the coming year. Thanks especially to Michelle and her family for helping to organise it all. The tree is now back in the Sacristy loft together with the Crib figures for figures.
Lorries now have notices for cyclists about passing on the off-side or the near-side but I saw one the day about passing on the inside – which provides an intriguing thought.
Best wishes to you all
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon