St Mary’s Parish Magazine | NOV 2021 £ 1
is published monthly by the Parish Communications Committee.
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Mary Bennett, Sue Bingham, Judith Rice Nickson, John Sabido & Ali Smith
THIS MONTH’S EDITOR
Judith Rice Nickson
Contributions for the next issues should be emailed to:
BEFORE Monday 6th December 2021
The views expressed in the articles in this magazine
are the personal opinions of the authors only.
“an excellent parish magazine”
Bishop’s Visitation Report 2017
MEDIEVAL WEST TOWER OF THE FORMER CHURCH OF ST MARGARET, LEE
WAY I WORK
In the next instalment of our occasional series,
Theresa Freeburn recalls the impact of the pandemic on
her work as a primary school music teacher.
One week before the first lockdown in March 2020, there was
a real sense that everything was going to change. I remember
one Year 3 boy, just 8 years old, coming up to me and
saying:”Does this mean that I’m not going to learn anything
else on the recorder?”. A Year 6 child asked me “Are we still
going to be able to do our Year 6 show?”. My only answer was
“I don’t know”.
Though several friends were saying that the lockdown would
be just for a few weeks, I was frightened and thought it would
be for a long time. We had been going to do a concert the
following week, but instead we brought it forward and
performed it to the children on the last afternoon of school,
even though by that stage many were already not coming in.
When the children left after the concert, I cried.
During that first lockdown, schools were still open for kids who
were vulnerable and for children of key workers: so children
from several schools were being brought together in one
school in mixed year groups. I was going in once a fortnight to
assist in the general provision of online lessons: certainly when
it came to online maths I was really glad that there was always
another teacher to take the lead.
At the same time, I was being asked to provide remote
content. My headteacher said “I want you to provide three
singing assemblies a week [for younger children; for Years 1-2;
and Years 3-6]”. I had been that person at work who was
hopeless with technology and asked my son, Sebastian “What
can I do?” He said: ”Well, the first thing you’re going to do is to
buy a new Macbook”. He taught me how to film myself and
how to use iMovie and edit. In the first films I made I had no
idea how to put them together, but by the third or fourth week
I was doing some serious editing and overlaying soundtracks.
The very first task was to arrange remote teaching of the
school’s instrumental lessons, and to make sure all the
instrumental teachers had got to grips with online teaching.
Perhaps surprisingly, some children made more progress
through remote lessons than they had done through in-person
classes. I think it was because the children really appreciated
live 1-1 contact with an adult outside the family, but mostly
because the children practised more, as there was simply
nothing else to do.
At the end of the first lockdown, I put together the first of two
whole school multi-screen lockdown music videos. I invited all
the children to participate and children sent me videos of
themselves singing or playing a song called “Amani Utupe”
which is the Swahili phrase meaning “Grant us peace, give us
courage”. Well over 100 took part.
In the second lockdown, I continued with the singing
assemblies, but this time I also delivered weekly live lessons to
every year group. Out of a group of 60 children, I could see 16
faces on screen but wasn’t sure how involved the other 40
plus were. I tried to involve many more students by asking
them questions but there was an element of teaching into a
void: it’s weird not seeing how the whole room is reacting,
Even though we are back in the classroom now, there are
undoubtedly some longer-term changes. For a start,
I discovered some amazing online resources that I have
continued to use – such as a US elementary teacher who has
playlists for different musical activities. Also, I will still film big
school events like the Year 6 summer production and Christmas
concerts and Nativities, so that relatives who perhaps live miles
away or in another country can enjoy them too: it’s really not
that difficult to do.
There has definitely been a bit of a hit on singing, as there
were all those months when we just weren’t allowed to sing.
I’m putting a lot of emphasis on singing at the moment to make
up for lost time, but I hope that by Christmas the children will
sound as good as they used to. And the other immediate
effect on my work? Well, that will be wearing lots of layers in
the classroom, so we can have windows open and help to
defeat the virus that way.
AT ST MARY’S
All parishes have been asked to take part in the
consultation ahead of the synod in Rome in October 2022.
Monsignor invited Colm Lanigan and Una Palmer to
help organise the parish response on three themes:
Communion, Mission and Participation.
The work was carried out to meet the original deadline of 18
November, with various ways for parishioners to respond to
questions on these themes. Each topic was broken down into
three areas: our own parish; the local area; the universal
Church. Though the deadline has now been extended into
January, the substantive work has been completed, and the
below is a summary of what St Mary’s submission to the
diocese looks like.
1.1 Parish life
The parish is fortunate in having some excellent facilities,
including the large garden which is much appreciated. There is a
suggestion that the meditation group, suspended during the
pandemic, should be re-started, and that possibly a prayer
group and Bible reading group might be added also. There was
discussion of groups for young people, both post-confirmation,
and between first Holy Communion and Confirmation. There
could also be better street signage giving directions to the church.
1.2 The local area
London seems to operate as a number of villages, so that
people no longer instinctively look for their nearest church, but
for a local church that suits their own personal wishes and style
of worship. As a result, inter-parish partnership is not always
easy. There was a suggestion that charitable work might be
more locally focused, and the Justice and Peace Group is
1.3 The universal church
There is a real need to review the position of women in the
Church. Though women already play some leading roles in the
life of the Church, the ultimate decisions are always male-led:
in some cases the life of the parish is shared, but in others the
role of the male priest is dominant.
It was proposed that the question of the ordination of women
to the priesthood should be re-examined as a theological
issue. A change would have implications throughout the world,
including in regions where male and female roles are more
differentiated than they are in, say, Western Europe. These
barriers may well be dismantled in the coming years, and the
Church should help to make this possible.
There is also the whole question of the pyramid structure of
leadership, with scope for many decisions to be made through
consultation. For example, a new priest coming into a parish
should not have the freedom simply to impose his own ideas,
but should act in partnership with the people of the parish and
what has gone before.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community should also be
considered, with pastoral support and consideration for the
possibility of arranging formal blessings for same-gender
partnerships. There is also a need to reconsider how those
who have entered into a second marriage might still be able to
receive Holy Communion.
2.1 Parish life
There is a need to improve catechesis for adults, not least as
the basis for missionary work, and a recognition that greater
knowledge of the Bible is important for all age groups. There is
a proposal to form a Catholic Men’s Group. There is a need to
welcome and encourage newcomers to the parish. There
needs to be further work on how online communication can
foster the mission of the Church within the parish. In recent
years, more than 100 members of the parish have been able to
visit the English Seminary at Valladolid in Spain
2.2 The local area
There is already co-operation with other local churches on
practical social action such as food banks. Members of the
parish also take part in local churches acting together, for
example through the Christmas Eve procession and the Good
Friday procession through Blackheath.
2.3 The universal Church
As before, the role of women in the leadership and the
hierarchy of the Church must be fully considered. To many
people, leadership at the Vatican seems remote, and better
communication on a broader Catholic level would be welcome.
When it comes to potential converts, personal witness is more
effective than confrontation.
3.1 Parish life
St Mary’s is already seeking to be inclusive in what it offers
parishioners, for example through facilities for children, and
post-Mass coffee mornings. Beyond ideas mentioned earlier in
this summary, proposals include a summer fete, regular social
events, and better sharing of information about what is
happening in the parish and the diocese.
3.2 The local area
Arrange visits of individual parishes to the Cathedral to share in
a Mass once a year.
3.3 The universal Church
A spirit of welcome by priests in all parishes – making sure
there is not an over-zealous application of rules – so that all
groups are made welcome and none is marginalised. This
would include, for example, those in second marriages and
those in same-sex relationships. As before, the role of women
in the Church is most important, and the ordination of women
should be considered.
A BIBLE TIMELINE COURSE
My last brush with formal religious education was at the
age of 13, so I was intrigued when my wife, Margaret,
suggested that we register for the Bible Timeline Course,
writes Stephen Lear.
I have always found the 73 books of the Bible somewhat long
and daunting to follow and this course provided an opportunity
to gain a clearer understanding of how the various sections fit
together to form a coherent whole.
One of the insights of the course is that the Bible consists of a
narrative comprising 12 chronological periods from Adam and
Eve to Jesus Christ and covering the Old and New Testaments.
These periods are colour-coded on a timeline chart which, alas
does not translate well to a B&W page! The timeline begins with
the Early World, the Patriarchs, Exodus and Desert Wanderings,
and continues through to Messianic Fulfilment and the Church.
This narrative describes how over time the problem of Man’s fall
from grace in the Garden of Eden is solved by Jesus dying on
the cross to save mankind – in short, the salvation story
showing God’s awesome love for Mankind.
Another theme is the evolution of God’s family plan traced
through a series of covenants, beginning with One Holy Couple
(Adam & Eve, Genesis1-3), then One Holy Family (Noah,
Genesis 9), One Holy Tribe (Abraham, Genesis 15), One Holy
Nation (Moses, Exodus 24), One Holy Kingdom (David, 2
Samuel 7) and finally One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church
(Jesus, Luke 22). The course also traces the genealogy of
Jesus – starting with Adam, Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham and
Isaac through to Zedekiah, Zerubbabel and Joseph and Mary.
It provides the historical and political background to the Bible –
for example, by showing the reigning world power for each time
period – Egypt (Early World to Royal Kingdom, 3000-1000 BC),
Assyria (Divided Kingdom, 930-722 BC), Babylon (Exile, 722-538
BC) through to Greece (Return, 483-166 BC) and Rome
(Maccabean Revolt, Messianic Fulfilment and the Church, 167
BC to AD 68 onwards). It also matches books in the Bible with
secular events in history – for example, Israel’s darkest period
(Divided Kingdom, 930-722 BC) coincides with the first Olympic
Games (776 BC) and the founding of Rome (753 BC). The
timeline chart also geographically represents where Bible events
occurred ranging from the Land of Canaan (Nehemiah rebuilds
Jerusalem’s Walls) to the South & Egypt (Slavery in Egypt) and
Northern Countries (Babylonian Captivity).
Interspersed between the 14 narrative books of the Bible are
59 supplemental books which deal with other topics and are
placed in their historical context on the Bible Timeline – for
example, poetry (Song of Songs), prayers (Psalms), laws
(Leviticus), Proverbs and the Wisdom of Solomon. These
culminate in the Book of Revelation which was written in the
early years of the Church.
The course is run by Catholic speaker, Mauro Iannicelli,
through eight weekly live-streamed talks, based on Jeff Cavins’
worldwide-famous Bible Study. Additional materials which are
available include a colour timeline chart, study questions and
recommended reading. Mauro delivers this interactive course
with humour, a lightness of touch and most importantly great
enthusiasm. It may be taken by an individual, a group of “study
buddies” or at a parish level and is free of charge. It has
allowed us to “grasp the big picture of the Bible from start to
finish” and given us the confidence to navigate its various
sections and how they fit together, including how the Old
Testament pre-figures the New. We would recommend this
course to fellow parishioners who are looking to deepen their
Christian knowledge and faith. Although the course is currently
nearing completion, it is likely to be offered again in the near
future. In the meantime, Mauro will shortly be running an online
Advent course for those who wish to gain a better
understanding of the events and gospels leading up to Christ’s
birth. Don’t forget to register at www.comeandsee.org .
HELL IS THIS?*
- Greeting when answering the phone or the doorbell.
MORE DOROTHY PARKER QUOTES
from John Sabido
Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967)
was an American poet, short story writer, critic and
satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks and
observation of 20th Century foibles.
The best way to avoid a hangover is to stay drunk.
Never complain, never explain.
She realises she doesn’t know as much as God, but feels she
knows as much as God knew when he was her age.
Money cannot buy health but I’d settle for a
“When I was young and bold and strong,/ The right was right,
the wrong was wrong./ With plume on high and flag unfurled,/ I
rode away to right the world./But now I’m old – and good and
bad,/Are woven in a crazy plaid./ I sit and say the world is so,/
And wise is s/he who lets it go.”
“Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,/ a medley of extemporanea,
And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
and I am Marie of Romania.”
It turns out that, at social gatherings, as a source of
entertainment, conviviality, and good fun, I rank somewhere
between a sprig of parsley and a single ice-skate.
“The only “ism” Hollywood believes in is plagiarism.”
I regret to say that during the first act of this, I fell so soundly
asleep that the gentleman who brought me piled up a
barricade of overcoat, hat, stick, and gloves between us to
establish a separation in the eyes of the world, and went into
an impersonation of A Young Man Who Has Come to the
Out in Hollywood, where the streets are paved with Goldwyn….
You can’t take it with you, and even if you did, it would
All right, God, send me to hell.
You think You’re frightening me with Your hell, don’t You?
You think Your hell is worse than mine.
Four be the things I’d been better without:/ Love, curiosity,
freckles, and doubt./ Three be the things I shall never attain:/
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.
“Age before beauty,” Clare Boothe Luce once remarked as she
invited Parker to proceed her through a doorway; Parker swept
past and retorted “Pearls before swine.”
Excuse my dust – Her Epitaph.
ST FRANCIS IN MEDITATION BY FRANCISCO DE ZURBARAN
Part of the daily routine of our Seminary was a period of
meditation during the morning prayer, writes the
Blackheathan Reviewer. Topics were suggested on the
previous evening for use the next morning. Ideally,
meditations would have been be based on the Scriptures
but it was recognised that this was not always easy
and so a number of books were published suggesting
an outline form for the meditation.
During the past year, I have been using a book of meditations
prepared by a Vincentian Priest, Father Dominic Phillips,
Meditations for priests, seminarians and religious. It was
prepared in New Zealand but was published in Dublin in 1954.
At the time it was considered to be one of the best books
available. My copy had remained unused for many decades,
and I thought that it would be an interesting exercise to use it
The format gives a page for each day with the meditation
divided into three stages. It obviously takes its form from the
Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.
The first section introduces the subject in a prayerful manner
and, if appropriate, it explains the setting which is sometimes
described as a composition of time and place.
The second section is usually instructional, explaining the
reasons for or the nature of the topic under consideration.
The final section gives practical applications and sometimes
suggested resolutions based on the earlier considerations.
I am almost at the end of a year and my conclusions are as
From time to time the meditations are incisive and give helpful
reflections on the mysteries of faith. For example on Fridays,
there is normally a meditation on the various stages of the
Passion of the Lord. It is possible to reflect on the different
people involved in these events and how they behaved, from
the mindless cruelty of the soldiers with the crown of thorns to
the vacillating personal doubts of Pilate.
Some of the reflections clearly belong to a former age; to a time
when there were large numbers of students for the priesthood
in the Seminaries and an ordered discipline was important.
There is an obvious hierarchy and the idea of absolute
obedience is repeated frequently. There is no possibility of
debate, questioning or consultation. It needs to be remembered
that this was part of the spirit of the age and was the norm in
many other places. Frequently there is a suggestion of the
exalted position of the priesthood which in another age might be
identified as encouraging clericalism.
Also, this comes from a pre-Conciliar Age and tensions which
could result from the use of such a book may have led to
some of the intensive debates that took place during and after
And some of the conclusions and resolutions, in our present
age, frankly, seem quite silly – “if you find difficulty in having
matter for conversation, accustom yourself to gather
wholesome points from Catholic newspapers”.
Certainly the use of this book over the past year has been a
fascinating exercise; I have not taken it all literally, but it lead to
a reflection on the journey that we have undertaken in recent
years – which is still continuing.
& ITS INFLUENCE
Bill White explores the Church’s first challenge to the
problems thrown up by the Industrial Revolution.
The encyclical Rerum Novarum, subtitled On the Condition of
Labour, was published by Pope Leo XIII in May 1891. At the time,
the Industrial Revolution had caused a massive dislocation of
society from the land to the cities. As a result, many people were
left homeless, or working for low wages and living in deplorable
conditions: many families found their lives utterly disrupted.
This provided fertile ground for radical movements – many of
them hostile to the Church, which they saw as allied to the ruling
and exploiting classes. Leo had decided that he must counter
revolutionary ideas but show that the Church was on the side of
the poor and oppressed. He was encouraged in this by his own
experience as Nuncio in Belgium, and by other Catholic
churchmen in Europe, including Cardinal Manning of Westminster.
The document itself is not revolutionary. In these new conditions, it
sought to apply to traditional Catholic teaching on the importance
of the family, the harmonious society and the relationship of a man
to his work. The encyclical maintained that the place of women
was in the home, caring for her husband and family. It also
proclaimed the natural right to private property and condemned
what it referred to as ‘socialism’ as infringing this right.
Yet it also asserted that it was the duty of the state to preserve
justice in all aspects of employment. It upheld wage settlements
arrived at by free bargaining, and the rights of employers and
workers to form combinations for this bargaining process.
This was, in effect, legitimising trade unions. The purpose of
these negotiations would be to achieve a ‘just wage’, defined as
enough to support the wage-earner and family in ‘reasonable
and frugal comfort’. This seems an obvious criterion now, but
was a complete break from the idea that wages were simply the
minimum price for labour in a free market.
While some saw as subversive this new concern of the Church
for workers’ conditions, the encyclical has since been acclaimed
as an important pronouncement on social justice. Succeeding
Popes have acknowledged its importance, and updated or
developed its main ideas.
The first encyclical updating Rerum Novarum was
Quadragesimo Anno issued by Pope Pius XI in 1931. He decreed
that capitalism must have regard to ‘the human dignity of workers,
the social character of economic life, social justice and the
common good’. Extremes of individualism and collectivism were
to be avoided.
Thirty years later, Pope John XXIII issued Mater et Magistra ,
which said ‘wage levels could not be left entirely to unregulated
competition …. or to the will of the most powerful’ and that class
differences should be lessened …’so that everyone in the
community can develop and perfect themselves’.
Gaudium et Spes, a Vatican II document of 1965, called for
economic matters to be organised oh the principles of justice and
equality. It asserted that as all people were created in God’s
likeness and enjoyed the same divine calling and destiny, the
‘basic equality of all must receive increasingly greater recognition’.
In his 1971 apostolic letter, Octogesima Advenius, Paul VI
referred to the ‘flagrant inequalities’ causing serious problems.
He was particularly concerned with the problem of ‘urbanism’,
the hidden misery found in crowded cities, and with how young
people’s needs were neglected. He urged equal rights for women,
and condemned all forms of discrimination, particularly racial.
Pope John Paul II issued two documents with the common
theme of criticising injustice and inequality. Perhaps drawing on
his experiences in Communist Poland, his 1991 encyclical
Centesimus Annus criticised what he called ‘the social
assistance state’ and insisted that the ‘principle of subsidiarity’
must be respected. In his 1994 Apostolic Letter, he called for a
‘jubilee year’ to begin the new millennium where, as in the Old
Testament, slaves were freed and debts cancelled.
These successors to Rerum Novarum emphasise the two
central themes of Catholic social teaching: the ‘Common Good’,
where everyone can flourish and achieve their aims and
ambitions; and ‘Subsidiarity’ where decisions about peoples’
lives are taken by people themselves..
SISTERS OF ST ANDREW
A LITTLE REFLECTION ON
As the Christmas season is at our door, it’s time to consider
Christmas cards, writes Sr Marie-Christine.
Without wishing to sound unseasonal, there is a dark side to
sending Christmas cards! Getting organised is one more
festive chore, and quite an early and time-consuming one:
for cards to arrive before Christmas, they can’t be left until the
last minute. And each year the list gets longer, with new
relationships added – and those people who have sent you a
card but have not made it on to your own list.
There are other factors too. The financial cost is noticeable;
the ecological cost is apparent too, when you think about the
plastic wrapping, the carbon used in sending them, and the still
limited facilities for re-cycling.
This all poses some questions: would we lose face if we didn’t
take part in this tradition? Would people be disappointed, sad
or cross if they don’t receive a card, thinking they’ve been
neglected, or – even worse – deliberately snubbed?
That suggests that perhaps a good basis could be to answer
those who write to us. But here comes another difficulty. There
is rarely a return address and rarely a surname. In the waves of
cards poured in the letterbox by the post person, how can we
recognise…John? Which John? What’s John’s address? Is he
on my list already? Can I recognise the handwriting on a single
word added after the printed season wishes?
Then there is choosing the cards themselves. Take your pick:
good taste, bad taste, museum cards, charity cards, winter
classics, robins and fir trees, modern style… In the competition
of originality, nativity themes are less and less present: you
have the three kings, the animals of the crib – sometimes
without Mary and Joseph and often without baby Jesus. Peace
is the closest of the Christian themes, or a snowy picture of
choir boys singing near a church.
All that said, there are certainly benefits in writing Christmas
It’s nice to stay in the tradition, to sit down with the list and let a
proper pen glide on the good-quality paper, to write a short
message or more, even the treasure of our name, which is
what actually really matters.
Me, writing to you. You, writing to me. Us.
We want to remind people that they are not forgotten, that
they have a place in our hearts, in our lives. We want them to
be happy during the festive season.
It’s nice to choose cards carefully, look for cards, to support
charities – many of whom rely heavily on Christmas – with this
kind of money.
It’s good to receive cards, to hear the fall of them on the mat or
in the box, to rejoice in the memory of people and times far
away, to place them artistically in the living room, on the chimney
sill, hanging on a wall, to put them on display for all to see.
It is good to write to prisoners of conscience, to people in
hospital, in prison, through charities, hoping they will receive
through this modest act of strangers a bit of comfort.
A card is a modest present, amongst the presents we
exchange at Christmas. A way to enter in the movement of
giving and receiving, a way to remind us of the greatest gift:
God became one of us, Jesus Christ gave himself totally to us.
As young people typically send fewer – or no – cards, the social
conventions are waning and it is increasingly up to us to
choose if and how we want to send cards. I know of an Abbey
in England where some years ago the nuns decided to stop
writing Christmas cards. A token of simplicity, I suppose. If we
make this choice, we might think more deeply about finding
alternatives to convey kindness to others around us in this
Christmas season and through the year to come.
With the move into wintertime on the 31 October, we entered a
season with more times spent in the darkness of night and we
come closer to Advent and Christmas. During these last weeks
of the year, St Andrew’s will continues to hold a little light up
through varied events. You can find more information about
them and other new events on our website.
Sunday 28 November
Open Afternoon, for the feast of St Andrew.
You are invited to come any time between 2 pm and 5.30 pm
Wednesday 15th December
Advent Quiet Evening, ‘In that day the wolf shall live with the
lamb …they will neither harm nor destroy on all my Holy
Mountain’ Isaiah 11: 6-9,
7.30 to 9pm, led by Sr Regula. All are welcome.
Wednesday 29th December
Meditative Evening Prayer including Taize chants at 7.30pm in
the chapel. Arrive at 7pm if you wish to practise the songs
beforehand. All are welcome.
From 1st to 25th December. You can find it on our website or
subscribe on the website to receive it in your mailbox.
A programme of events for 2022 is also available.
We continue to welcome guests to St Andrew’s for silent
retreats (private or individually guided), quiet days (including a
meeting with a sister if arranged in advance) and groups. To
help everyone feel safe during the pandemic, we continue to
encourage the following hygiene measures here : frequent
handwashing, use of hand sanitizers and face masks, social
distancing and ventilation.
With very warm greetings from the sisters of St Andrew in Lewisham
Sigrun, Beatrice, Regula, Christiane,
Marie-Christine & Fiona
ACTION BY CHRISTIANS
ACAT`s aim is to increase awareness among Christians of
the widespread and evil use of torture and the need, for
reasons of Christian faith, to campaign for its abolition,
writes Colm Lanigan.
ACAT(UK) was formed in 1984 by the then British Council of
Churches, with the active support of Amnesty International.
We reference our thoughts and actions through prayer:
Lord Jesus, You experienced in person what it is like to have a
death sentence hanging over you. You were plotted against,
betrayed by a friend, and arrested under cover of darkness by
men who came with clubs and swords.You were tortured,
beaten and humiliated; sentenced to an agonising death,
though you had done no wrong. Be now with prisoners
throughout the world. Be with them in the darkness of the
dungeon, in the loneliness of separation from those they love.
Be with them in their fear of what may come to them, in the
agony of their torture and in the face of execution and death.
Stretch out your hands in mercy to all who have need of you at
this time. Amen
The Death penalty. It is estimated that more than 1000 people
are executed in China each year, but as each case is treated as a
state secret, exact figures are unavailable. Iran, Pakistan, and
Saudi Arabia also regularly execute their citizens. In the United
States, Donald Trump sanctioned more federal executions than
any president in the last century. It is sobering to reflect that if
you are black, poor, or ill, you are much more likely to be arrested
and convicted of crime. You are then more likely to receive a
more severe sentence and punishment than your white
neighbour. Justice is not colour-blind when it comes to crime:
between1976 and 2020, ten times as many black defendants
were executed in the U.S. for murdering white victims than white
defendants for murdering black victims (296 vs 21 respectively).
Many factors lead to such injustices.
Yet there is hope. More and more countries around the world are
removing or restricting the use of the death penalty – some 181 of
195 countries worldwide have now abandoned capital
punishment. This is due to continuing pressure from groups such
as ACAT, and the recognition that capital punishment is wrong.
“Whoever tortures a human being, Whoever abuses a
human being, Whoever outrages a human being, Abuses
God’s image, And the church takes as its own That cross,
that martyrdom.” Archbishop Romero of El Salvador,
murdered in 1980 because of his support for the poor and
suffering people of his country.
Support for those in prison. The ACAT newsletters, which are
sent out to members ahead of Easter and Christmas, contain
many names of individuals and organisations, who would
appreciate a greetings card. In some cases, it is safer for the
prisoner to receive a non-religious card, but others may be
especially pleased to receive a card with a Christian message.
This is specified on the mailing list. You may wish to write a
simple card or greeting to an individual saying, for instance,
that you are thinking of him/her and/or perhaps urging them
not to lose hope (or words to that effect). A picture postcard is
always welcome and cheapest to send. You can include your
name and address (if you wish) but please do not mention
ACAT or include a religious greeting (if so advised), as
communication from a foreign organisation can endanger the
prisoner and lead to harsher sentences.
Because of COVID restrictions this year, the J&P group is not
organising a parish card signing event, but if you would like to
have names for sending cards this Christmas, please email me,
Colm Lanigan, at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact ACAT(UK)
direct at www.acatuk.org.uk
Many thanks for your prayers and support.
‘PEOPLE LIKE ME’, OR
‘THEM AND US’?
‘In a real sense, all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an
inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.I can never be what
I ought to be until you are what you ought to be…. and you can never
be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be … This is the
inter-related structure of reality.’ Dr Martin Luther King Jr
‘Every migrant has a name, a face, a story’
Pope Francis’s words on a plaque on Dover promenade.
‘Every individual has something special to give, but they need to
have both time and the opportunity to give it.’
Yusra Mardini, refugee Olympic swimmer.
In: Pravda Ha Ha, by Rory Maclean, Bloomsbury, 2019, p303.
You can read more of her remarkable story by
googling her name on line.
‘No one chooses to be a refugee. Yet tens of millions of Africans
have fled their homes in recent years to escape war, famine and
drought. Half of them are under eighteen years of age, risking
their lives so that they, and their families, may live.’
Pravda Ha Ha, by Rory Maclean, Bloomsbury, 2019, p292
‘Migrants are not seen as entitled like others to participate in the life
of society, and it is forgotten that they possess the same intrinsic
dignity as any person. Hence they ought to be ‘agents in their own
redemption’. No one will ever openly deny that they are human
beings, yet in practice, by our decisions and the way we treat them,
we can show that we consider them less worthy, less important, less
human. For Christians, this way of thinking and acting is
unacceptable, since it sets certain political preferences above deep
convictions of our faith: the inalienable dignity of each human
person regardless of origin, race or religion, and the
supreme law of fraternal love.’
Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti #39
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or
naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ And He
shall respond to them by saying: ‘Amen I say to you, whenever you
did not do it to one of these least, neither did you do it to me’
Lord, grant me the courage to see you in the migrants
I see, and the wisdom to practise your love.
The Jesuit Refugee Service accepts donations at
www.jrsuk.net or tel: 020 7488 7310. Our November Christmas
Giving Tree will include present choices for refugee families.
St Mary’s Giving Tree is back
again this year. From Advent
onwards there will be a Christmas
tree at the back of the Church in
front of the Justice and Peace
notice board with lots of gold and
red gift tags. The gifts tags
provide details of presents that
have been suggested by either
The Manna Centre (a day centre
for homeless in Southwark) or by
the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).
The presents suggested are a
range of things that the Manna
Centre and the JRS know their
homeless and refugee clients
really need and would be very
If you’re able to help this year, it’s
very easy: just take a gift tag; buy
the present described on the tag;
wrap the present and put it under
the tree with the tag attached by
Sunday 2 January 2022.
Thank you for all your giving.
28th November 2021
Sunday Masses Saturday 6.30pm first Mass of Sunday
Sunday 9.30 and 11am and 5pm.
Monday to Friday Mass at 8am.
Saturday Mass at 10am and 6.30pm
Confessions Saturday 12 to 1pm
Today is the First Sunday of Advent.
Advent is a period of prayer and penance in which we
prepare for the celebration of the Feast of Christmas. Not as
severe as Lent, but the purple vestments appear once again,
and we do not recite the Gloria at Mass on Sundays. We keep
the Alleluia verse.
This it the First Sunday of the Church’s year and the
readings will be taken from the Third cycle, “C”. When we
reach Ordinary time, the Sunday gospel readings will be taken
Tuesday is the feast of St Andrew and Friday is the feast of
St Francis Xavier.
This year our carol service will be taking place on Sunday
Thanks to the magazine editors for providing a
comprehensive article on the work that we have undertaken in
preparation for the Synod. It is already on display in the
Angelus Room and is available on the website, but it is good to
have a printed version. From what I hear, we have worked
hard and well in our parish and are way ahead of what has
taking place elsewhere. Thank you for all your help and
A note about the bells in the Church tower. You will have
noted that the new grills are firmly in place. The repairs to the
clock and bells are due to take place in mid-December –
striking the hours from 9am to 10pm and the Angelus at midday and at 6 in the evening. There is also a special machine to
ring the bell at other times.
Thanks to those who have helped to clear the leaves and
twigs in the garden. It seemed a mammoth task and it was
good to have some help. The leaf blower works well but it is
hard to find a suitable machine to collect the leaves.
And some Binyon.
Now is the time for the burning of the leaves.
They go to the fire; the nostril pricks with smoke
Wandering slowly into a weeping mist
(actually, if I do this in the garden, the neighbours complain!)
My recipe for cauliflower cheese – I prepare the sauce with
some margarine, milk, a spoon of mustard powder and a
sprinkle of pepper as well as the grated cheese, stirring all the
time to make sure that it does not catch. Pour over the
steamed cauli – and bake in the oven until it bubbles and starts
Our usual Advent prayer: Stir up our hearts, we beseech you
O Lord, that we may prepare the way for your Son; so that by
his advent we may be enabled to serve you with pure hearts
and minds. Amen.
Best wishes to you all,
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon