Newsletter 22nd November 2020

St Mary’s Blackheath – Newsletter 22nd November 2020

Greetings to you all and I hope that you are all keeping well.

As in previous weeks, the Church will be open for prayer from 9.30 to 11.30 on Sunday morning. 

If all goes well, things will return to normal from 3rd December, with daily Mass and the usual Mass times on Sunday.  I am not sure what will happen with the distancing regulations – whether it will be possible to remove the tapes from the benches.

We will be able to start the First Communion classes and the Confirmation classes once again and I will send round dates. It should be possible to have one class before Christmas.

Today is the 33rd Sunday of the Church’s year – the last Sunday that we would use the green vestments for the time being. Next Sunday, the final Sunday in the Church’s cycle, is the feast of Christ the King – before we begin the Advent season in preparation for Christmas.

The stained- glass window how now been repaired – it is the picture of the Angelus on the left-hand side. See if you can spot the details of the repair. You may recall that the damage was caused by a falling gutter earlier in the year.

Saturday of this week is the commemoration of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 Once again busy clearing up the leaves in the garden – the big sweet chestnut tree at the end of the garden has now lost most of its leaves – which is the sign that winter has come.  The daffodil bulbs were well trodden in and so far, they have escaped the attention of the squirrels. There will be a splendid display when March arrives. I have been looking for a machine to clear up the leaves – not simply blow them about – but there seems to be nothing worthwhile on the market.  There are one or two machines that have poor reviews, so it is hardly worth thinking about them.  I find that the electric lawnmower is quite good, but it is hard work.

Here is a recipe to cheer the bleak autumn days. Half some croissants and put them in a baking dish. Cover them with grated cheese. Mix together some eggs, some crème fraiche, some mustard and some pepper. Pour half of this over the croissants and allow the mixture to soak in. Then pour over the remainder of the mixture and arrange some pieces of chopped ham on top. Bake in a hot over for about 20 minutes until it is crisp and brown.  The smell is  delicious.

Several on- line meetings this week. Gradually I am discovering how they work so that I no longer cut  myself off in the middle of a discussion. I have learnt how to use two screens – one for the actual meeting and one for the documents. It would cost a fortune to print them all out.  I look back with nostalgia to the days when a pack of papers would arrive in the post and coffee and sandwiches would be provided.

Richard Crawshaw dedicated poems to St. Teresa of Avila:

And so

Thou with the lamb, thy lord shalt go;

And whereso’er he sets his white

Steps, walk with him those ways of light,

Which who in death would live to see

Must learn in life to die like thee.

And a prayer for today:

Grant we beseech thee, almighty God, that we may be of good cheer because of thy loving kindness and may find thee mighty to save us from all dangers. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Trains from Victoria now regularly use the fast line as far as Denmark Hill.  In days gone by this was reserved for the Eurostar services from Waterloo. It means that there is no longer a need to make a conflicting movement at the junction outside Peckham Rye and the slow line is now used by an Overground train. Again in the distant past, if the train ferry boat was late in docking, the Night Ferry with its sleeping cars from Paris would sometimes travel round the Catford loop, through Nunhead and Peckham Rye on its way to Victoria.

Something from Thomas Merton:

The wax that has melted in God’s will can easily receive the stamp of its identity, the truth of what it was meant to be. But the wax that is hard and dry and brittle and without love will not take the seal; for the hard seal, descending upon it, grinds it to powder.

And Betjeman on Oxford:

Oxford remains an unplanned muddle. Motopolis, Christminster and the university are jostled together in hopeless disorder. And if the Redcliffe Square still remains a quiet civic centre for the University, it is because no one has yet had the courage to take down the University Church and turn that desirable site into something more profitable than the alms-box in the South Porch.

No further news about the boy and his sister for the time being. They are back at school, keeping the rules on distancing and wearing masks. The rules for A levels and GCSEs are being debated at length but to date, little has been said about SATs next year.

I have been busy with some translations:

Au ‘voir M’dame tarte d’Amerique,

‘Pris la guimbarde a la barrage,

Mais la barrage etait sec

Buvant whisky avec les mecs

Chantant – aujourd’hui nous allons mourir. 

(apologies for this – but it’s fun –  Best wishes to you all –

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon

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