newsletter 8th December 2019


5, Cresswell Park, SE3 9RD

Tel. 020 8852 5420



Mass times: Saturday: 6.30 pm (first Mass of Sunday) Sunday: 9.30 am, 11.00 am, 7.30 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 10.00 am Tuesday and Thursday: 7.30 am Eucharistic Service: Tuesday 10.00 am Confessions: Saturday 12 to 1.00 pm

Newsletter: 8th December 2019

Today, instead of the Second Sunday of Advent, we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

At 5pm today we have our Advent Service of Carols, Music and Scripture readings. After the Service, hot wine and mince pies will be served in the Angelus Room.

Next Sunday, after the 9.30 Mass, there will be a brief rehearsal for the cycle of Mystery plays. Please any further names to the list of parts today. There are still quite a few vacancies. On the days of the plays, arrive in good time and go to the big hall where the costumes will be laid out. Put on your costume and come to the Church and wait until it is time for the play to begin. After Mass, please take the costumes back to the big hall.

Thank you for your help in signing cards for prisoners of conscience. This year we were able to send over 80 cards.

The giving tree is at the back of the Church and you will be able to bring gifts and place them beside the tree.

There is a memorial Mass for Sue Gyde on Saturday afternoon at 3pm. Many of you will have known her, helping with the Children’s Liturgy and as a Governor of Christ the King College. We send our prayers to her husband Ted and to her son James.

A meeting for the priests of the Deanery at Charlton on Tuesday and to London for a Finance meeting on Wednesday.

Friday is the feast of St. Lucy and Saturday is the feast of St. John of the Cross. There is an extraordinary story of how the poet Roy Campbell helped to save the original documents of the writings of John of the Cross in Toledo during the Spanish Civil War. For the other days, the Mass will be for the Advent season.

Here is my customary recipe for the hot wine that we will serve on Sunday: half red wine and half fizzy lemonade: add some sugar, some oranges and some pieces of apple and stir in some cinnamon and some cloves. We used to serve this whenever we had a party at our College in Spain so it is a well tried recipe.

Here is Betjeman on Venice:

In their gilded old palazzos, while the music in our ears

Is the distant band at Florian’s mixed with song of gondoliers.

A lovely prayer from the Armenian Church:

O God, creator of light, at the rising of your sun this morning, let the greatest of all lights, your love, rise like the sun within our hearts

Gradually we are getting everything in the Church ready for Christmas. Thanks for all your help. The Church always looks wonderful on Christmas night. I seem to have solved the problem with the radiators and I hope that the Church is reasonably warm.

I am looking forward to seeing the great nephews and nieces – plus some of the nieces – at Christmas. It is quite complicated this year as due to building works, it seems that we will be borrowing a house elsewhere. I must see if I can work out where it is.

Best wishes to you all,

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon

Feast of Immaculate Conception

Today, instead of the Second Sunday of Advent, we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Lady. This is a doctrine of the Church which was solemnly defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854.

But what is this doctrine – Our Lady was born of her parents – Joachim and Anna and we celebrate her birthday on 8th September. And this doctrine states that from the moment of her conception, as the future mother of the saviour., she was free of any stain of original sin – not just personal sin in her life, but the original sin which is inherited from Adam and which is washed away in baptism –

It is one of the doctrines of the Church which has been there from the earliest centuries – but not always clearly understood – in the 5th century the Church in Syria spoke of Mary – as ACHRANTOS – which means free from all sin – the same idea is found in the writings of St. Augustine – but for the mediaeval theologians – it was a matter of speculation and debate – there was no doubt that Mary was free from all sin in her personal life – but St. Bernard and St. Thomas Aquinas found it difficult to understand how she could be free from original sin – if she was to share the fullness of our human nature – the Franciscan Duns Scotus – came up with a solution – Mary was in effect the proto-type of a fully redeemed humanity, redeemed in advance through the redemptive work of her Son.

But beyond the theological speculation, there was a popular devotion to the Immaculate Conception – whilst not using an explicit form, the Council of Trent carefully excluded Mary when it spoke of Original Sin. In many places, by the 19th century, there was a request that the doctrine should be confirmed and that the feast should be extended to the Universal Church. In 1830 Our Blessed Lady had appeared to St. Catherine Laboure in the Convent in the Rue du Bac in Paris – and the petition followed from this – Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee – In 1848 Pius IX set up a commission led by two Jesuits – Fr. Perrone and Fr. Passaglia – with twenty other theologians – to study the doctrine and to make recommendations – their report was presented the next year and the Pope sent it to Bishops around the world – six hundred replies were received – most were positive – though the Archbishop of Paris took the line that the belief was not definable and some, mainly from Protestant countries, suggested that a definition was inappropriate. And so the doctrine was solemnly declared as part of the teaching of the Church on 8th December 1854. It is perhaps worth noting that four years, in 1858, Our Lady appeared to Bernadette in Lourdes and used the phrase – I am the Immaculate Conception –

The teaching was completed in 1950 when Pius XII defined the Assumption of Our Lady – that at the end of her life she was assumed body and soul into heaven – a completion of the work which began in the Immaculate Conception – that the human nature of the mother of saviour should be without sin – and that as the proto-type of a fully redeemed humanity – her human body should not see decay but should become a glorified body, enjoying the fullness of eternal life.



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