Newsletter: Easter Sunday: 12th April 2020
Greetings and blessings on this Easter Day as we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.
I hope that you and all your families are keeping well.
Normally, on this day, after the austerities of Holy Week, our Church would be filled with fresh flowers, there would be the new Paschal Candle as a symbol of the presence of the Risen Lord and everything would be clean and new. At the Easter Masses, you would renew your baptism promises and I would make sure that you were well sprinkled with the water blessed in the font during the Easter Vigil. The remains of the Easter fire would probably be still smouldering in the garden. Once a year, the ancient silver thread vestments which date back to the foundation of the Parish would be carefully brought out for use at Mass.
After Mass, there would be the usual rush to garden to find the eggs: at lunch time there would still a few hopefuls looking for the last of the eggs. The clever ones would know that there a few chocolate lambs to be found in the Angelus Room.
Yet this year it is has been very different, celebrating the Easter ceremonies on my own, whilst thinking of you all. I particularly miss seeing the children each week. The trampoline says that it is feeling very lonely. I hope that you will all be safe and well and that before long we can return to normal.
Bank holiday Monday and normally I would be off to work on the steam railway. This is closed- down for the time being. The full line from Alton to Alresford has been restored with the completion of the new bridge. Some maintenance work is continuing but there are no trains operating. I hope that it will be possible to have a few days in my alternative task as a railwayman before the end of the year.
All of us are keeping to the rules and finding ways to fill our days. There is a lot to do in the garden. My herb pots have been cleaned out and replanted as far as possible though I will need to buy some more seeds when the shops open again. The cherries and the apple trees are in blossom and I hope that there will be plenty of fruit. Last year plenty of blossom but not much fruit: I think that there are not enough bees about, and the birds steal the young fruit. I am having to rethink the arrangements for cutting the grass and may need some help for this.
A real Spanish dish for today: Cook some crushed garlic, some pieces of ham and a chopped onion in some butter until the onion is soft. Add some broad beans and some dry white wine and cook over a high heat until the liquid is reduced. Add some chicken stock, reduce the heat and cook slowly until the beans are tender and most of the liquid has been reduced. You can serve this as a first course with some bread.
I always like to quote George Herbert on Easter Sunday:
I got me flowers to straw thy way;
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brough’st thy sweets along with thee.
Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we inisse;
There is but one, and that one ever.
This week a quiz question: you are travelling about London, when it is allowed once again: but where would you be and on which bus route to reach – The Pawleyne Arms, The Swan and Sugar Loaf and The Plough.
I understand that some people are washing coins and plastic bank notes to avoid infection: this is known as money laundering.
An Easter prayer:
Grant, almighty God, that we who believe that you only begotten Son, Our Lord and Redeemer, has risen from the dead, may also have our hearts fixed on the things of heaven, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
The boy had been busy oiling his cricket bat and is most disappointed that he cannot start his practice for the present. His mother is very busy at the hospital: special prayers for her please so that she will keep well.
The students from the College in Spain are all at home: we do not know when they will be able to return indeed, this may not be possible before the academic year ends in June. We hope that it will be possible for them to come back, if only for a few days. They were a very good set this year and we would be pleased to welcome them. There is then the question of our usual visit to the College in October. I hope that things will be back to normal by then, but Spain has been seriously affected by the virus and travel may remain restricted for many months.
A word of thanks for all your kind messages – most by email – together with so many offers of practical help. I appreciate this very much and in return send best wishes to you all.
Video conferences are a special skill and I am having to learn how to share in them. A choice of place is important. I sit in front of a colourful print by Wassily Kandinsky, which is enough to confuse anybody. Remember to turn off the sound if you are playing Wagner in the background to relieve the boredom.
Best wishes to you all,
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon