Newsletter Sunday 5th July 2020.
First, I am pleased to welcome you back to our Church after many weeks and to be able to celebrate Mass for you once again.
I hope that you and your families are well. There were no deaths in the parish due to the virus but some of you may have lost members of your families. I offer you our sympathy. Please let me know their names and we can include them in the bidding prayers.
Masses now return to the normal timetable: 9.30 and 11am and 7.30pm on Sundays and I have added an additional Mass at 5pm on Sundays as a temporary measure. This is due to the limited accommodation in the Church. We will see how this develops and whether there is a need for it to continue.
During the week, the Masses will revert to the former times: 10 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and 7.30 on Tuesday and Thursday. The pattern of Masses is somewhat curious and resulted from requests from individuals who no longer live in the parish. I would be interested to hear your view on whether a change might be appropriate – say a daily Mass at 9am.
For the time being it will not be possible to celebrate the Novena prayers on Wednesday – we are not allowed to use books – and there will be no confessions on Saturday due to distancing regulations.
There are practical details for the celebration of Mass – I have prepared a sheet giving details and you might like to take a copy. I have used some yellow tape to distance the benches as recommended by the Diocesan Office. You may have noted some new lights in the Church at the front– very bright indeed – let me know what you think, and I may order some more.
There are several outstanding baptisms. During the lockdown I did not fix any dates but please speak to me after Mass so that we can arrange a new date. For some I have the form giving the family details, but if you have not completed one, please let me know.
Also, some marriages were postponed, some to next year, so please let me know if you would like to confirm a new date.
First Holy Communions were postponed but we have now agreed a new date, Sunday 20th September at the 11am Mass. I will be in touch with the families in the coming weeks to arrange the practical details.
Also, in the next couple of weeks I will be putting out inscription forms for the children who wish to attend the classes for First Holy Communion in 2021. It would be appreciated if you could complete and return these promptly. Most years there is a problem with last minute applicants, and I have to find additional textbooks and crosses at the last minute.
Next year will be the year for Confirmations and I will be organising the classes in the coming weeks.
One of the sad events during the lockdown was the death of Father Hartley on 28th May. It was not possible to celebrate a formal funeral Mass, but I attended his burial at Biggin Hill cemetery. I would like to have a memorial Mass for him, and I have reserved Sunday 28th July at 11am. The magazine will be published on this day and will include special appreciation of his life.
Set of offertory envelope are available today. The previous set expired in May, but it was not possible to issue new sets. As I explained in the newsletter last week, if possible, I am asking you to move to standing orders and forms are available on the paper rack. You can either complete and return the standing order form to me or use the details to set it up on line. Also, the use of cash generally is in decline and I am investigating the possibility of a touch screen for card payments. I will explain the details in due course. We cannot use the baskets so there is a box for cash donations and envelopes on the paper rack.
Several things to attend to in the garden in recent weeks – there are couple of tomato plants and I looking for some fruit soon. The basil plant hardly survived so I have sown a new pot of seedlings and hope to produce some strong plants. The parsley is doing well. I have harvested some of the spinach and the lettuce and will plant some more for a second crop. The step at the back of the house seems to be an ideal place for pots with plenty of sun and a regular supply of water.
Birthday times are coming round for both the boy and his sister – so I must look out for some presents for them – and remember to stand at a distance when they collect them.
A recipe for today. Melt some butter in a pan. Add some tomatoes, a handful of well washed rice, a finely chopped onion, and a sprig of thyme. (If you need some thyme you can pick some from the plant outside the Church) Stir well and season and add some water, cooking until the rice is soft. Pass through a sieve and you may wish to add a little stock. Put some cream and some butter in a tureen and pour the soup over it.
A prayer for the Environment. Almighty God, you have graciously given us this world to live in; may w respect both natural law and the law of your Spirit; that in using, and above all, sharing this world’s resources we may be made fit for the whole company of heaven. Amen.
Now Belloc on his travels:
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees
And the wine that tasted of tar,
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers.
The Mercedes Citaro buses on route 108 are popular. They started life in 2009 to replace the bendy buses on the Red Arrow routes and moved to the 108 when the electric buses arrived in 2016. They have achieved high mileages: for some it is over half a million miles. Whilst still reliable, the engines must be wearing out and they may be replaced soon.
Best wishes to you all,
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon