newsletter 8th November 2020

St. Mary’s Blackheath.

Newsletter 8th November 2020

I regret that once again we are back to lock-down and it has become necessary to close the Church for normal Masses for the time being. It is suggested that this will last until the beginning of next month and I hope to be able to resume Masses again on 3rd  December. So back to a longer newsletter.

I will however open the Church for private prayer from 9.30 to 11.30 on Sunday morning.

We were unable to hold our Confirmation and First Communion classes last week. I will let you know when we can arrange some new dates.

I will try to keep you informed of developments through the web site.

During these days I will be celebrating Mass on my own in the Church and will be praying for your intentions.

All this is most disappointing as gradually we were beginning to recover and many of you were able to come to Mass each Sunday. It is always good to see the children and whatever the weather, they enjoy playing in the garden.

Already a few thoughts about Christmas: if possible, we will try to put up the giving tree with presents for the Manna Centre and the Jesuit Refugee Service.  There will not be much time: I understand that the Manna Centre welcomes gifts such as socks and soap whilst the Refugee Service welcomes cans of food for their food bank.  In the past we used to provide toys for children for the centre in Dulwich, but these are no longer required. Maybe you can think about collecting a few things so that you can bring them when the Church opens again.

The students at the College in Spain will be coming home for Christmas. The Rector tells me that they will be coming on 9th December to allow them time for isolation before the celebrations.  They will return in mid-January as it is not possible to arrange placements in parishes at present.

Aubergines – known as Berenjenas – are popular in Spain. Cut the unpeeled aubergines into thin rounds and sprinkle with salt. Leave for about 3o minutes and then dry them and dip them in flour. Fry in hot oil for a few minutes until they are golden.

Due to the shut- down, it will not be possible to publish the parish magazine in November. The next issue will be in December. Soon I will set to work on a quiz. It is always great fun. My sister-in-law is the expert and answers most of the questions whilst she drains the sprouts on Christmas Day. I think she is coached by my nieces who instruct her on the way in which my mind works. 

A prayer for today:

May holy Mary, and all the saints, intercede for us this day with the Lord that we may be helped and protected by him who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Alexander Dennis has sold some double deck buses to Berlin with six wheels, two staircases and three doors, known as the MMC 500 model. I wonder if some of these may appear in London in due course. It would be interesting to compare them with the “Boris” buses. The new buses on the 202 seem to have settled well, though the operating company would have had second thoughts if they had known how much time would be spent in traffic queues on the South Circular Road.  There have been threats that the oldies travel pass might be withdrawn but is good to see that this idea has been abandoned. Without this some of my excursions would be severely limited.

I have been reading a book recently on human consciousness and the different theories on the distinction and the interaction between body and soul.  It is more than something merely physical and mechanical, yet it is the body which helps to give conscious identity. There is then the thought that consciousness can only be observed by inter-action with others, but how does personal consciousness continue after death. One is moving from what is scientifically observable into belief in eternal life.    A fascinating study, and I must try to set down my own thoughts. The problem is that medicine is continuing to discover how the brain operates.  All this leads to a reconsideration of the resurrection of the dead at the end of time which forms part of our belief.  The body is not simply an envelope which is discarded as we move to an afterlife but is an integral part of our being.  Most complex and the possibility of science, philosophy and belief coming together is fascinating.

And now a poem for today – some Milton, describing Satan in Paradise Lost.

At once as far as Angels kenn he views

The dismal Situation waste and wild;

A Dungeon horrible on all sides round

As one great Furnace flam’d , yet from those flames

No light, but rather darkness visible.

One of the best opening lines of all time must be from the Towers of Trebizond:

“take my camel, dear” said my aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass. The camel, a white Arabian Dhalur (single hump) from the famous herd of the Ruola tribe, had been a parting present , its saddle-bags stuffed with low-carat gold and flashy orient gems, had been a parting present from a rich desert tycoon who owned a Levantine hotel near Palmyra.

 My pots of herbs are looking sad. The autumn weather together with attacks from birds and animals has caused some damage. There is a reasonable pot of perpetual spinach but the basil, the parsley and the dill are on the way out.  I will have to wait until next spring and start again with some fresh compost and sone new packets of seeds. 

It thought that you might like something from Abbot Marmion speaking about the celebration of Mass. “The Fathers of the Church have insisted on the symbolism of the two elements. The bread is made of grains of wheat ground and kneaded together so as to form only one substance; the wine is made of grapes gathered and pressed together so one drink may flow from them. This is the image of the union of the faithful with Christ and of all the faithful with one another.

The boy and his sister are back at school after the half term. An annual event is a collection of photographs from the previous year to form a calendar for distribution to grand parents and others.  Each year it becomes more exotic.  Not too long before they are teenagers, and it will become impossible.

I hope that you are all keeping well.  If there are any questions, you can contact me by email and I will at least see if I can answer them

Best wishes to you all,

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon

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