St. Mary’s Blackheath – Newsletter 29th November 2020
The last few days of the lock-down, thank God. Somehow it seemed much longer than last time and I hope that this will be the last. November seemed longer than ever this year. I already have my sleeve rolled back for the jab. I hope that you are all keeping well and that these last few weeks have not been too difficult for you.
On Thursday, we return to normal. There will be Mass at 7.30pm. Next Sunday there will be Masses at the usual time, including the 5pm Mass.
We can have confessions once again and I will be available in the Church from 12 to 1pm on Saturday.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent – the beginning of the period of preparation for the celebration of Christmas. The purple vestments appear again and there are special readings and prayers at Mass each day. On Sundays, we do not say the Gloria, but continue to use the Alleluia – this only disappears during Lent.
It is the beginning of the Church’s year and for the coming year, the Scripture readings at Mass will be taken from cycle “B”, the second cycle. During the weeks in ordinary time, we use Mark’s gospel. This is the shortest of the gospels, so during a few weeks in the summer, we fill in with readings from John’s gospel.
Monday is the feast of the apostle St. Andrew and Thursday is the commemoration of St. Francis Xavier.
I wanted to fit in some classes before Christmas so there will be a First Communion Class in the hall next Saturday, 11th December starting at 10.30 and lasting until 11.30. I have sent out a message to all the families and do your best to come.
Also, I wanted to start the Confirmation classes and the first class will be on Wednesday evening 9th December at 6.30 pm in the big hall. Normally we had arranged classes for Thursday evenings, but I have a local Authority meeting on Thursday this week.
The current plans for Christmas are that the Masses will be at the normal times and I am thinking of the possibility for an additional Mass on Christmas Eve. At present this means a Mass at 6.30 on Christmas Eve, the midnight Mass, and 9.30 and 11 on Christmas Day.
There will be no carols or hymns, but it should be possible to arrange some organ music. Also, there will not be the usual vigil service before the midnight Mass.
Much depends on the new regulations, but I will keep you all informed. Please remember to look at the website.
I feel that I should say something about the recent IICSA report, which has caused such great sadness and distress to so many of us. We offer our sincerest sympathy to all who have been affected in any way. If there is anybody who feels that they need help in this matter, please contact me: I can at least try to find out what is possible. On the positive side, we take great care with safeguarding in our parish. I suggest that the effect of this can seen by the way in which so many families and children enjoy coming to play in the garden: a good place where they feel safe.
I saw recently that there is a danger that Italian children can become obese through eating too much pasta. It is a great favourite when the boy and his sister come for a visit. They eat the first plate, ask for a second helping, then go to the kitchen to see if they can find some more. My usual dish is to cook some linguine, add some tomato sauce and some small pieces of ham and maybe top off with some grated cheese. Their mother takes them on long cycle rides so that they can burn off some of the calories.
A few journeys recently allowed for some interesting observations. The former Eurostar depot outside Paddington is used by the Great Western Railway to service the new Hitachi trains – which look very smart as they speed by. The former Old Oak Common depot has been demolished and will become the site of the new station for HR2. Local services are provided by the modern units that will be used on the Elizabeth line in due course. In contrast, on the West Coast Main line the Pendelinos have lost their Virgin Trains branding. A few carry the new Avanti trains green livery but the majority look tired and dowdy in a grey undercoat.
A prayer to Christ the King:
O King of glory, Lord of hosts, who rose above the heavens: do not leave us orphans but send us your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, promised us by the Father. Amen.
An autumn poem from Laurence 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.
Brittle and blotched, ragged and rotten sheaves!
A flame seizes the smouldering ruin and bites
On stubborn stalks as they resist.
Thanks to all who have generously made standing orders for the benefit of the Parish. It is a great help when we no longer have the usual Sunday collections. After a few trial problems, the card machine seems to be working reasonably well. After a morning’s work, it needs a recharge before the evening Masses. The donations come through regularly as credits to the Bank account. If it does not seem to be working, let me know and usually I can work out the problem.
A great deal of work this year clearing up the leaves in the garden. We have four green wheelie bins for garden waste, and I seem to fill them each week in a short time. I tried to burn the pine needles, but this led to complaints about the smoke form the office.
Keep well and with kindest wishes
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon