newsletter 31st January 2021

St Mary’s, Blackheath


31st January 2021

Mass times: Saturday 6.30pm (first Mass of Sunday) 9.30 and 11am and 5 pm.

Please note there is no longer a 7.30pm Mass on Sunday.

The weekday Mass is at 8am each day Monday to Friday. There is no longer a 10am Mass on Saturday morning.

For the time being it is not possible to hear Confessions.

Today is the Fourth Sunday in the Church’s year.

February 2nd is the Feast of the Purification, otherwise known as Candlemas day. In a normal year, we would bless the candles before the Mass and process into the Church. This year it is not possible, and we will simply celebrate the Mass of the day.

Not too long until we begin Lent: this year Ash Wednesday comes on 14th February.  There is a revised ritual for the distribution of Ashes – sprinkled over the top of the head rather than the mark on the forehead. Two more weeks of green vestments and then they will be put away until after Trinity Sunday, when we have completed the Easter Season.

The Confirmation classes seem to be going well – Anna and Kamara send out reminders of the days.

There is a great deal of debate as to whether Churches should remain open. I suggest that we are taking reasonable precautions to keep the Church safe and asking you to keep the distancing regulations. It is up to you to decide whether or not you think it is safe to come to Church.

I always like St. Francis De Sales. Here is some of his advice:

One of the best exercises of gentleness is to be patient with ourselves and our imperfections. Though it is reasonable to be displeased and sorry when we fall into faults, it should be without bitterness, anger or sulkiness. It is a great failing to be angry with oneself.

A stew is a great comfort on winter days. I make mine with some lamb chops, carrots, parsnips, peas and some tinned tomatoes.  Add some stock and maybe a little wine. It is cooked very slowly in my big cast iron pot until the meat is tender. If necessary, you can thicken the sauce before serving.

Some Eliot is appropriate this week:

Midwinter spring is its own season

Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,

Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.

When the shortest day is brightest with frost and fire.

And a prayer: Spirit of the living God, hyo renew your Church by offering us a springtime of reconciliation: guide us by your Word.

I expect you are looking for the answer to the question last week – on non-Oriental pasta. The answer is obvious – a spaghetti western.

Best wishes to you all,

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon.

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