newsletter 30th August 2020

St. Mary’s Blackheath

Mass times: 6.30pm Sunday evening 9.30 and 11am and 5 and 7.30 pm Sunday

Weekdays: Tuesday and Thursday 7.30am

Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10am.

Due to the distancing regulations it is not possible to hold confessions at present

Newsletter 30th August 2020

Today is the Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Thursday is the feast of St. Gregory the Great, the Pope who sent Augustine to England. It is also the anniversary of the consecration of the Church in 1906.

Monday is the Bank holiday. Normally I would be working on the railway on this day, but due to the virus the service is limited and there are no duties to be filled. This means that I will be here for the Mass at 10am as normal.

From next week, the newsletters will return to normal form – with a printed text on one side.

Almost the end of the summer and soon it will be necessary to drain the pool and put it away for another year. It has had good use this year and we have had some enjoyable days. The best days were in early August when the temperature reached twenty- nine degrees.

I am working on the First Communion Mass for 20th September.  This will be the 11am Mass and will be reserved for the First Communion families alone. There are limited spaces in the Church and there will not be room for anybody else. Just for this one week, if you normally come at 11am, please come to one of the other Masses. It is not easy to organise things in these difficult days and I will appreciate your help.

Time for school application forms once again. I need to sign them and to add the parish stamp. Please let me have them in an envelope marked with your name. I can then attend to them and return them to you the following week.

There are several baptisms pending which we had to postpone when the Church was closed earlier this year.  Please speak to me and we can see if we can arrange another date.

A few weeks ago, the railway lines to Hither Green where closed for a couple of weeks for a re-signalling project. A replacement bus service was provided with hired vehicles and I was delighted to see a green and cream Southdown bus at Lewisham. It brought memories of summer holidays many decades ago.   

I hope to be able to meet with the Rector from the College in Spain in the coming days. He is home at present, staying with his family in North Yorkshire.  He usually has to come to London so normally we meet for an extensive lunch. Our favourite place is the Parcels’ Office which is up beyond the platforms.  It has been converted into an eating place and provides us with a good space to spread out our papers.  I am worried about my proposed trip to Spain at the end of October and I hope that the quarantine rules will have been relaxed by then. 

A prayer to the Holy Spirit:

Come thou, Holy Spirit; restore the lives, which, without thee, are dead; kindle the hearts, which, without thee, are cold and dull; enlighten the minds which, without thee, are dark and blind; fill the Church, which, with your love and teach us to pray.

In these summer days, many meals with salad. I have given this to you before, but you might like to use this for the lettuce. Mix together some lemon juice and some sugar with some good quality olive oil. Possibly add a small pinch of salt and coat your lettuce well. This is good as it avoids the sharpness of a wine vinegar.

I was reading William Cobbett the other day: The county of Surrey presents to the eye of the traveller a greater contrast than any other county in England. It has some of the very best and some of the worst lands, not only n England, but in the world. We were here upon those of the latter description. For five miles on the road towards Guildford the land is a rascally common covered with poor heath, except where the gravel is so near the top as not to suffer even the heath to grow.

And now some Auden:

Men would never have come to need an attic.

Keen collectors of glass or Roman coins build

Special cabinets for them, dote on, index

Each new specimen: only women cling to

Items out of their past they have no use for,

Can’t name now what couldn’t beat to part with.

(This reminds me of some my own curious collections: old bus tickets, ancient timetables and one-inch ordnance survey maps – cloth backed of course.)

Sympathy for all those who have experienced troubles with their exam results. For the sixth form College, the rules seem to change from day to day – it must be very difficult for those working to find a university place. I was fortunate to live in a golden age when two As were sufficient for the desired place.

And here is an old favourite:

And were you pleased? – they asked of Helen in Hell.

Pleased? – she answered- when all Troy’s towers fell.

And dead were Priam’s sons, and lost his throne?

And such a war was fought as none had known;

And even the gods took part; and all because

Of me alone! Pleased?

I should say I was!

Best wishes to you all,   Monsignor Nicholas Rothon

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