newsletter 2nd June 2019

Newsletter 2nd June 2019

Today is the Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension.

There is a second collection today for World Communications. The main purpose of this is to help meet the costs of the Press Office of the Church in England and Wales.

Next Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost.

There is a cake sale in the Angelus Room after the morning Masses today organised by the Justice and Peace group.

The Parish Council meets on Tuesday evening at 8pm in the house. Agenda papers are available today.

The last class for the Confirmation Group takes place on Thursday evening at 6.30pm in the big hall. Please try to come. This will include a rehearsal for the Mass including the readings and the bidding prayers. The Confirmation Mass is at 11am on Sunday 23rd June.

Monday of this week is the feast of the Uganda martyrs.

You will notice that following Ascension Day last week, the Paschal Candle has been moved to is usual position beside the font. It is used for baptisms and for Requiem Masses.

The year at the College in Spain is now coming to an end and the students are returning to their home Dioceses. It has been a very busy year and the staff certainly deserve a rest. We look forward to our visit in October.

Remember to look for the weeping cherry tree planted by the First Communion children. There was quite a lot of debate as to where it should go but I hope that we have found a good position. I will look after it carefully during the summer and make sure that it is watered regularly.

A complex recipe from Spain that we have at the College from time to time. Cut some aubergines in half and bake face down for about 20 minutes. Scoop out the middle of the pulp and mix some minced beef, a diced onion, a beaten egg, some white bread crumbs, some garlic, a chopped tomato and maybe a little cinnamon and some chopped parsley. Mix with some of the aubergine pulp and fill the skins. Bake in a hot over for about 40 minutes.

A prayer from Teilhard de Chardin:

Lord, enfold me in the depth of your heart; and there hold me, refine, purge and set me on fire; raise me up so that I can know your presence.

Chesterton is always good fun:

Where you and I went down the lane

With ale mugs in our hands,

The night we went to Glastonbury

By way of Goodwin Sands.

A request please – if you can, please remember to turn off your mobile phones when you come to Mass. If calls are received, evening in the quiet mode, it seems to have an adverse effect on the sound system in the Church.

You might have seen a curious event on a Saturday a few weeks back when a bus on a Railway Replacement broke down at top of the Village and blocked the roadway. It was an elderly Volvo Gemini, no longer in regular service, and could not have been in a very reliable condition.  Boys were interested in examining the engine of the bus but those affected by the traffic problems were not amused.

Best wishes to you all,  Monsignor Nicholas Rothon

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon

Sunday within the octave of the Ascension

This Sunday we are in that curious period between the Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit which we celebrate as the feast of Pentecost.  We need to go to the first chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles to understand what was happening during these days – after the Ascension, the apostles returned from the Mount of Olives to the old city of Jerusalem and went to the upper room – the same familiar place where they had gathered for the Last  Supper –  the names of the apostles are given and they joined by several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus – this is the last time that she is mentioned in the Scriptures and others who are described as “his brothers” – these are also mentioned in Matthew’s gospel and generally considered to be cousins – or perhaps wider family – they are known to have had a distinctive role in the earliest years of the Church – it must have been quite crowded at times as the book of the Acts says that about 120 -persons were present.  At this time the city of Jerusalem was beginning to fill up as pilgrims arrive to celebrate the feast known as Shavuot – which commemorates the first harvest after the children of Israel arrive in the promised land – and also the giving of the tablets of the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

The days were spent partly in prayer – but there is also the need for a new apostle to replace Judas – an election is arranged with two candidates, Barsabbas and Matthias, who is the one who is appointed.

But this was not the only thing that happened and one can only speculate on what was happening during these days.   I suggest that it must have been a time of intense debate as the apostles recalled their memories and tried to give a sense, a meaning to it all.   In due course, these memories will be recorded as the gospels came to be written.  They would begin with the way in which they first came to know this stranger, who appeared among them and called them away from their normal work as fishermen on the shores of the sea of Galilee – they would recall his teaching and the miracles of healing, when the crowds gathered around him with great enthusiasm –  particularly after the feeding of the multitude when they want to him their king – and then the journeys to Jerusalem – and the realisation that all was not well with the growing opposition from the Pharisees – and the events of Holy week – beginning with triumphant entry to the Holy City on Palm Sunday –  but then the traumatic events with the arrest of the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane and the death of the Lord on Calvary – the final chapters of the gospels say that the apostles were terrified and hid themselves away behind locked – but the first stories of the resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday – and gradually in different ways they experience the presence of the Risen Lord so that by the time of the Ascension, they have a confident faith – that the Lord has indeed Risen –

But at this stage it is no more than a jumble of memories – as in human terms – they try to work out what it all might mean – with their knowledge of Jewish history, of Jewish traditions, they will know of the presence of the Lord God – particularly to Moses and they will have of the hopes of a Messiah who was to come.   They must have asked themselves if indeed they had come to know the Messiah – but how could this be possible, if instead of a human triumph, he had died on a cross.  Or was it all an illusion: some wonderful days and months, but now time to give thanks for these memories, but to return to their daily tasks on the Sea of Galilee.

I have tried to put all this in human terms – but it is no more than speculation on some of the debates, the conversations which took place. We have to wait until next week, when with the coming of the Holy Spirit, these ideas, these thoughts, become a confident faith that they can share.

But in these days between Ascension and Pentecost, we have an opportunity to share in this same process. To ask ourselves, what do we know, what do we understand from the gospels – as a purely human story how would we interpret it all – it is not an easy question to answer – but it will help us to understand what the coming of Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost must mean.

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