Newsletter: 30th June 2019
Mass times: Saturday: 6.30pm (first Mass of Sunday)
Sunday: 9.30 and 11am and 7.30pm
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 10am
Tuesday, and Thursday, 7.30am
Eucharistic Service: Tuesday 10am
Confessions: Saturday 12 to 1pm
Thanks to everybody who helped make the Confirmations last Sunday so special. Congratulations to the young people and our thanks to Bishop Lynch for coming to our parish. A special word of thanks to the various people who helped with the classes during the year.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Normally we keep the feast on 29th June but this year it has been transferred to the next day – the Sunday.
From Monday onwards back to the Thirteenth week in ordinary time with the use of the green vestments and readings from the first cycle.
Wednesday is the feast of the Apostle St. Thomas. At one time his feast was celebrated on 21st December but for reasons that I cannot explain it was moved to July.
I am off to Spain again this week for a very short visit to the College. I will leave on Monday morning and will return on Wednesday afternoon. I am not sure if the Bishop will be available for Masses on some of these days but I will let you know.
Not for work this time I am pleased to say. We have an Association for those who have studied at the College and this year our celebration is taking place in Valladolid. There will be a solemn Mass on the Tuesday, a formal meeting, and then a lunch. Something to look forward to and a great opportunity to meet with many of my friends. I will make sure that my office at the College is kept locked and I will not look at my computers during these days.
To Greenwich Town Hall on Thursday and also work at the Sixth Form College on Thursday and Friday so the week is very full.
Probably you will have noted that the herb pots have been cleaned out and replanted. I discovered a large colony of snails under the pots, which explains why the basil never survived. A variety of seeds have been planted and I will have to see what comes up. Parsley is usually a safe bet but some of the others are more difficult.
A request pleased to keep the garden gate closed if you bring your car into the garden. IT would be appreciated if you could close the gate when you leave.
Already enquiries about First Holy Communions next year. I will put out the inscription forms during the next few weeks. There will be a meeting of the parents in mid-September and the classes should begin at the end of September.
A prayer for today: Lord, all power is given to you in heaven and on earth. Transform our understanding and our will by the gift of your Holy Spirit; may our minds and hearts be subject to your Sprit and our affections towards your holy will, to the praise and glory of your name. Amen.
I like this:
White on a throne, or guarded in a cave
There lies a prophet who can understand
Why men were born: but surely we are brave
Who take the Golden Road to Samarkand.
Here is something for a special tea: butter some slices of brown bread and some slices of white bread. Fill the brown bread with watercress and the white bread with some shrimps or prawns and alternate the white and the brown sandwiches. I will make some of these the next time the boy and his sister come to tea.
Best wishes to you all,
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon
Peter and Paul 2019.
Today the feast of the two great apostles Peter and Paul – in many ways the foundation stones on which the Church was built.
But how much do we really know about them? Our main source of information is the Scriptures, but in fact our information is quite limited and in fact the gospels are not totally consistent – rather a series of memories from different sources rather than a formal biography. We know that Simon Peter, together with his brother Andrew, were fishermen from the village of Capernaum on the lake of Galilee – we know that he was married – the Lord cured his mother in law – and today the traditional site of his house is on a lane leading down to the shore of the lake, opposite the synagogue – with a curious Church, in the shape of a fish built on the site – throughout the gospels he appears in different incidents – showing both a loyalty but also an impetuosity – which at times can lead to problems – but there are two special moments from the gospels – which point to his primacy over the other apostles – when he respond to the question of the Lord – who do you say that I am – and he replies – you are the Christ- the Son of the living God – and then at the appearances of the risen Lord beside the lake – when the Lord asks him – three times – do you love me – and gives him the command – feed my lambs, feed my sheep. It is on these texts that we recognise the primacy of Peter and the authority of the Holy Father as the successor or Peter. In the book of the Acts, we see Peter on the day of Pentecost, filled with the Holy Spirit and together with the other disciples boldly proclaiming his faith – the whole house of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ. But from then on, in the Scriptures, the story becomes less clear – Peter receives some of the first gentile converts as Christians and there is the intense debate on how far they should be expected to observe Jewish laws and customs – but then, from the Scriptures alone, the story fades – and so we move to the writings of some of the early Christians – there is a tradition that due to persecutions, the life of the Church in Jerusalem became difficult and for a time Peter moved to Antioch possibly for as long as seven years. There is one tradition that he moved to Corinth for a short time, but several writers speak of his arriving in Rome, probably in the mid-50s AD. There is the tradition that he stayed in the house of a retired Roman Senator, Pudentius and was visited my many of the early Christians in Rome – his companion was Mark and Mark’s gospel is said to be based on the teachings of Peter. All went well for several years– but then in the year 64, there was the great fire in Rome and the emperor Nero, seeking s scapegoat, blamed the Christians. Peter was arrested and put to death, probably by crucifixion. He was buried on the site of what is now the great basilica of St. Peter’s. Excavations took place in the 1950s and in 1960 the bones in the traditional tomb were examined – nothing certain – but the relics of man probably in his early sixties, who had died a violent death and during his lifetime used to hard physical work – may be a fisherman – so no certainty but at least a possibility.
A reconstruction of the life of Paul is more difficult – a recent book by John Barton, a History of the Bible – reminds us that we have two sources for the life of Paul. A reconstruction from the personal details given in several of his epistles – and it is by no means certain that all the epistles attributed to him were in fact written by Paul – and then parallel with this the details given in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. The Acts tells of the conversion of Paul and then of three extensive journeys through what is now Turkey and Greece and a final journey to Rome – where the book ends. It is quite difficult to reconcile the details taken from the epistles with the account given in the Acts. The Acts suggests Paul is sent on specific missions by the Church in Jerusalem but the epistles hint at a far more independent Spirit – and the letters are not absolute expressions of faith – but rather the grappling’s of a mind trying to come to come to terms with the truths of faith – the divinity of Christ, the Trinity, the presence of the Holy Spirit. The simpler version – of Paul setting off on his journeys with Luke to found new Churches made an attractive story – but current scriptural research has recognised that the story is more complex – no absolute solution as yet but in recent years there has been some fascinating books on the life of Paul –
So these are the two great Saints whose feast we celebrate today – maybe no absolute certainties about all the details of their lives – but of great importance to us as we recognise them as our Fathers in the Faith.