Newsletter 1st December 2019


5, Cresswell Park, SE3 9RD

Tel. 020 8852 5420



Mass times: Saturday: 6.30 pm (first Mass of Sunday) Sunday: 9.30 am, 11.00 am, 7.30 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 10.00 am Tuesday and Thursday: 7.30 am Eucharistic Service: Tuesday 10.00 am Confessions: Saturday 12 to 1.00 pm

Sunday 1st December 2019.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, a period of prayer and maybe some penance as we prepare for Christmas.

The purple vestments appear for a few weeks and we do not recite the Gloria at Sunday Mass.

This year the Scripture readings are taken from the First cycle.

A reminder of the Festive Carol Service next Sunday.

Thanks to the children who have added their names to the lists for parts in the Christmas plays. Please add some further names today if possible. We need some older people to help as readers.

Next Sunday, December 8th, instead of keeping the second Sunday of Advent, we will celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Also next Friday is the feast of our holy patron St. Nicholas whose relic is kept beneath the altar.

The new Mass books appear today. Of late quite a few hymn and Mass books seem to have disappeared. If you have taken one home by mistake, could you please bring it back.

We will be working on the crib in the coming days – putting up the structure and bringing the figure down from the loft. There is a box of acrylic paints to touch up the figures if they have been damaged in any way.

I hope that you like the framed pictures of the chapel at our College in Spain that I have put up in the Angelus Room. The story of the damaged statue – the Vulnerata – will be told in the next issue of the parish magazine.

The distribution of the collection of toy trains and buses last week was very popular; these came from Father Logan, an old friend of mine. He has moved to a retirement home and asked me to look after his collection of treasures.

A favourite dish from the Basque country is Marmitako. Fry and onion and some garlic in oil and add some potatoes, some salt and cayenne pepper. Add some tuna fish, ideally fresh, but you can use a can, and cover with water. Cook very gently until everything is tender and serve hot.

Excuse some Spanish, but this superb poem from John of the Cross is worth quoting:

Del Verbo divino

La Virgen Pre~nada

Viene de camino

Si le dais posada?

My pot of basis seems to be surviving quite well. It prefers to stay indoors, with a moderate amount of heat and regular watering. I am wondering if it will be strong enough to plant outside next spring.

Best wishes to you all,

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon  

First Sunday of Advent 2019

Today is the first Sunday in the Church’s year – the first Sunday of Advent – a period of four weeks in which we prepare for the celebration of Christmas.

The gospels for these Sundays represents three themes – normally the second and third Sundays tell the story of John the Baptist, preparing the way for the Lord – whilst the final Sunday tells of the events immediately preceding the birth of the Christ child – this year it will be the story of Joseph.

But always the first Sunday seems to span the ages between the first coming of Christ and his prophecy of his second coming at the end of time. In today’s gospel the Lord is telling his disciples of the uncertainty of the day of his coming – it will be at an hour you do not expect. It is a reminder that the first coming of the Lord was unexpected – in the sense that he was not immediately recognised – the wise men arrived at the court of Herod asking about the new born king – Herod had no idea of what was happening and had to rely on the speculations of the chief priests and the scribes – even John the Baptist is not certain and from his prison – he sends his disciples to ask the Lord – are you the one who is to come, or should we go elsewhere.

And today the Lord is reminding us that this uncertainty will continue to the end of time – it is as though, in the Christian era – we have started on a journey – but we do not know the time or the direction that it will take. In our own age – our own time – we continue to speculate about the future form of human existence on our planet – in our present age – a growing realisation that the resources of our planet are not unlimited and that there is a need to protect and conserve them for the benefit of future generations –

But perhaps the real lesson from the reading today is not about this – speculation about the future – rather it is a reminder about the immediate here and now – it may not be possible to control the remote future – but a message from today’s gospel – at the beginning of a new year – is to concentrate on the present – stay awake – stand ready – but what can this mean in practical terms – I suggest to you first a moment on penitence during Advent – seeking forgiveness for sins – possibly in the Sacrament of Confession – and during a moment of prayer trying to make an examination of conscience – it need not be totally negative – we can think of the good things – yes – this has worked and we can give thanks for this – but also digging down and finding some of the problems that are still there – yes – I’ve been meaning to attend to this for some time but somehow I have been putting it off – I do not need to tell you what these things might be – it is only too easy to discover them when we begin to think about them – at least this is one way of interpreting the gospel – stand ready –

So maybe this is what this gospel is about – not a remote gaze into the future – but at the beginning of a new year – to concentrate on the here and now.  



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