newsletter 5th April 2020

newsletter 5th April 2020

Newsletter 5th April 2020.

Once again, the newsletter is in an unusual form.

First, greetings, best wishes and prayers for you all. I hope that you and the members of your families are keeping well.

Thank you for all your kind wishes and many offers of help which are much appreciated. I am pleased to say that for the present, all seems to be going well. I hoped to have some quiet days, but several people have discovered Microsoft Team and hours are spent staring at my laptop.

Today is Palm Sunday. Normally on this day, we would be blessing the palms in the garden before the 9.30 Mass. This year I will bless the palms and leave some branches outside the Church so that you can take some if you wish.

Also, we would be reading the account of the Passion of the Lord from St. Matthew’s gospel. It is not possible to read it at Mass, but you may like to read it in private.

I regret that it will not be possible to celebrate our normal Holy Week ceremonies which means so much to us – the Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, the solemn Liturgy on the afternoon of Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. So many things that we normally think about at this time – the renewal of promises for the Eucharistic Ministers on Maundy Thursday with the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament to the altar of repose and the stripping of the High Altar of all its decoration –  On Good Friday the veneration of the Cross – On Holy Saturday evening, there is normally so much to prepare, including the large fire in the garden and the new Paschal Candle.  At present I do not know when it will be possible to open the Church again, but I will let you know when this will be.

The  service on the Heath on the morning of Good Friday will not now take place.

As regards the Sacrament of the Sick,  this will be administered in hospital by the hospital chaplain. If anybody from your family is taken to hospital, please let me know so that I can advise the Chaplain. If anybody is very sick at home and needs the Sacraments, please let me know and I will see what is possible.

A store of Easter eggs, which we normally keep for use in the garden on Easter Sunday, has been put away carefully and I am sure that we will be able to have a special day of celebration later in the year.

I do not have facilities for “streaming” the celebration of Mass but probably you have been able to pick it up from some of the other Churches.

I put out copies of the March edition of the magazine on the step of the Church – I am not sure when it will be possible to publish another edition. A contributor, under various pseudo-names has been hard at work preparing articles so the next edition will be a bumper number.

Prayers for all working in the health service. Special prayers please for one of my nieces who is an NHS doctor working in A and E at present, so she is very much on the front line. Prayers that she and her family will keep well. 

I hope that you have managed to cope with the shopping problems and that you have been able to find the things you need.  I suggest a good stand-by, which can be made in quantity, is a Shepherd’s Pie.  Most people have their own version of this, but here is mine. Cook some mince with a grated carrot and a grated onion, add a handful of frozen mixed veg and season with some pepper and mixed herbs. At the same time cook the potatoes until they are soft and cream with some milk, a little butter and some more pepper. When the meat is cooked, line a pie dish and add the potatoes on top.  Cook in a hot oven until the potato is crisped.  A good-sized pie will last several days and can be re-heated.

 Travel is curtailed at present so that there is little opportunity to observe new developments. I am intrigued by the railway power supply system which can be seen from the bridge in Pond Road. There is a technical notice on the gate explaining it all.  It seems that the power supply now covers the line between Lewisham and Eltham. There is a large aerial so that there is a possibility that in time, trains will operate with in-cab signalling rather than with the existing colour light signals.  The current Networker trains were introduced in 1991 so it is probable that design work is beginning for their replacement. Suburban trains usually have a life of about 40 years with a mid-life refurbishment. 

A prayer for Good Friday:

Jesus Christ give us patience and faith and hope as we kneel at the foot of your Cross and hold fast to it. Teach us by your Cross, that however ill the world may go, the Father so loved us that he did not spare you, but received the offering of our life so that we might live through you  and in you and for you, who are the resurrection and the life.

Here is John Donne on Good Friday

And thou look’st towards mee,

O Saviour, as thou hang’st upon the tree;

I turne my back to three, but to receive

Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.

At the College in Spain we would celebrate the Holy Week services in the chapel but would then go out to share in the special events in the City.  On the evening of Good Friday, there would be a procession through the streets using the statues taken from the Churches and the Museum and portraying the events of the Passion of the Lord. On Easter Monday there would be a day visit to the Country House at Viana – in theory we were meant to walk there – a distance of about 12 miles – but I recall that some boys managed to travel on the footplate of one of the steam engines.   

So, what to read at present?  I have recently finished reading a major new book on Spanish history.  John Buchan is always a good stand-by.  His adventure stories are good, but his prejudices would be totally unacceptable today. I saw some Dornford Yates in the bookshop – do you remember “Berry and Co” – but everything is locked up at present. Inevitably I have started to read Camus “The Plague”. My copy includes my notes from when I was writing a tortuous undergraduate essay many moons ago.  It is possible that my ideas will have changed since then. 

So quite a lot today – please keep in touch by email –

Best wishes to you all,

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon

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