newsletter 27th September 2020

St. Mary’s Blackheath

 Parish Newsletter

Sunday 27th September 2020

Mass Times:  Saturday 6.30pm: Sunday: 9.30 and 11am and 5 and 7.30pm.

Weekdays: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10am

                   Tuesday and Thursday: 7.30pm.

For the time being it is not possible to hold Confessions on Saturday.

Today is the Twenty sixth Sunday of the Church’s year.

Congratulations to the children who made their First Holy Communion last Sunday. Also, thanks to all the parents who helped with the classes earlier in the year and for all who helped on the day.  It was not easy to arrange it all, but we made it a special day.

We are already thinking about the classes for the coming year for a First Holy Communion in May 2021. We were not able to hold the initial meeting or start the classes – but I am looking to see what might be possible and will let you know the details as soon as possible.

Forms are now available for the Confirmation class. I would be grateful if they could be completed and returned so we can have an idea of the numbers and order the textbooks. I am still waiting for a date from the Bishop, but I am asking him if can be in the late spring.

Tuesday is the feast of St. Michael and the Angels.  Wednesday is the feast of St. Jerome, the great Biblical scholar and Thursday is the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux.

On Thursday we start the month of October which is the month of the Holy Rosary. Maybe you might find time to finger your beads each day.  I found it helpful during some of the long days of the lock-down.

When are we going to be back to normal? This is the big question at the moment. For the time being I am leaving rotas for Eucharistic Ministers and Readers pending.  There was a suggestion that the rules would be relaxed but in fact they have become stricter in recent weeks. I am already beginning to think about Christmas. Will it be possible to produce the mystery plans – and what to do about midnight Mass with limited spaces in the Church. I hope and pray that it can all be resolved by then.

I have been working recently on an article for our College Magazine about the history of the College during the Second World War and the role of the Rector at the time, Monsignor Henson. It is a fascinating story, with escaped air crew staying at the College, mysterious visitors who were locked away and helping generally to promote the British cause in neutral Spain. One of the books I consulted referred to the Rector as “the most eccentric of spies”. I will see if I can include this in the Parish magazine.

My experiments with custard powder are continuing. It is important to use a good quantity of powder – 2 full tablespoon for a pint of milk.  I add some pieces of sponge cake and some currants and it makes an acceptable pudding. Remember to stir the milk all the time with a moderate heat as otherwise it tends to catch.

Again, arcane information but it seems that the Mercedes Citaro buses on the 108 route may be replaced with some newer Citaros – the K series – from another route.  They are now 12 years old and started life on the Red Arrow routes. I understand that they are expensive and have not been bought by many of the operating companies but generally they have been reliable and served us well.

Something from the writings of St. Therese this week: What an extraordinary thing it is the efficiency of prayer! Like a queen, it has access at all times to the Royal presence and can get whatever it asks for. And it’s a mistake to imagine that your prayer won’t be answered unless you’ve something out of a book, specially devised for this moment. For me, prayer means launching out of the heart towards God; it means lifting up one’s eyes, quite simply to heaven, a cry of grateful love which opens out my heart.

In the garden it was necessary to replant the area of grass where the pool was situated. We roughened up the surface, sowed some grass seed and added a top layer of compost. We then rolled it well to avoid attacks from the birds. It is now growing well.  The pool was enjoyed by many people this summer: already I am looking forward to April next year when we can fill it again.

The boy and his sister are enjoying the new terms at school.  Gradually the boy is settling into his books, leaving his sister to play on her own. It is a bit early to start him on George Eliot, but I might try some Evelyn Waugh. He should enjoy Decline and Fall.  A favourite game is to devise new titles for future Harry Potter books – which leads to much jollity.

Something from Andrew Marvell this week, writing about the Garden:

Yet it creates, transcending these,

Far other Worlds, and other Seas;

Annihilating all that’s made

To a green Thought in a green Shade.

(This brings back memories from a long time ago: when I went up to Cambridge, one of the first books that we were asked to study was a collection of Marvell’s poems as an introduction to the metaphysical poets. As T.S. Eliot explained – A thought to Donne was an experience, it modified his sensibility – in the mind of a poet, experiences are always forming new wholes.

I hope that you are all continuing to keep well in these unusual days.

I liked these translations I found the other day: Carpe diem means Fish of the day and Apres Ski means Plaster of Paris.

Best wishes to you all,

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon.

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