Posted by The Parish

Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time 13th August 2017
Orange Book Page 114

Top Dead Centre, 

Until about 25 years ago, if you serviced your own car, you would have known all about “Top Dead Centre”. TDC is the moment when each piston reaches the top of its motion and remains briefly stationary before traveling back down the cylinder from the force of COMBUSTION.

When you serviced your car (which was the only way this young curate with a family could afford to run a car) once or twice a year you needed to re-time the ignition to keep the car running smoothly without wasting petrol! For example on an old MINI the ignition needed to be timed at exactly 5° BEFORE TDC (or was it 8°?) You needed a good service manual then, with the aid of a bright light wired into the ignition and the help of a mirror, you could see the timing marks strobing on the flywheel. You needed this information especially if your car refused to start or if for some reason you had disturbed the DISTRIBUTOR.

The distributor was the device that sent the sparks at the exact moment for each plug. If the distributor had been removed you needed to know roughly the position it needed to go back into the block in order for the engine to actually start, and then reset it accurately. The thing is, you could go “By the Book”. You could set the ignition exactly spot on the mark, but very likely your car would still not run as well as you knew it should. You see, despite what the book says, there are too many variables. The Valves might be set just a fraction too wide, the Timing Chain just a fraction too tight, the Points might be just a fraction too close, the Compression might be just a fraction too high, or the Carburetor might make the mixture just a fraction too rich. Besides that, your engine might also be worn out! You had to set the ignition using the manual and then listen carefully for the TUNE of the engine. Then with a gentle twist adjust the distributor just a fraction one way or the other.

None of this is relevant today. Motor car engines are governed by Electronic Control Units. ECU’s monitor all the variable information from tiny sensors across the engine compensating perfectly as the car travels along. That is until one sensor stops working. Then you might as well scrap your car. The cost of finding which sensor has failed or purchasing a whole new set, replacing them all one by one will be more than the value of the vehicle!

What has all this got to do with spiritual life or the faith of the church? Everything! You see you can run the church exactly according to the rule book but you must also listen for the tune. You can apply the letter of Canon Law to every aspect of church life, but there are too many variables. Unless you listen for the tune and allow for just a fraction of pastoral adjustment, the church will never run as the owner requires. It needs a gentle hand, an attentive ear and all our senses working.

None of that belongs exclusively to the priest. It belongs more to the hand and the ear of the owner. It also needs some of the people to compensate just a fraction so that the Body of Christ can run as the owner intends. No mechanism ever ran with the ignition set at “Top Dead Centre” because that position is exactly what it means. What tune are we making in our two churches as Catholics in Greenwich?

God Bless Fr Kevin

Please Remember 

Joe now home again.
Adrian following surgery in Mexico
Alice now at home.
Margaret at home.
Helen a young wife who is gravely ill
Larry very poorly and grieving at home
Simon recovering from surgery 


Ellen N, Laurence K, Patrick F, Fr John Maxwell, Sarah G, John C, Philomena H, Francis F, John C, Betty G, Roseanna K, Daniel B

May They Rest in Peace 

Mums (& Dads) and Babies etc 

Welcome again this week at the Ursuline Convent 66 Crooms Hill from 2.00pm. Don’t be stuck at home with a screaming child, come and make new friends.

The Feast of the Assumption August 15th 

Falls this Tuesday. There will be 9.30 as usual at OLSS and a SUNG MASS NB. At St Josephs at 7.00pm. This is the great Summer Festival of the Church come and join us at that time (Wedding admin as usual after Mass)

SAVE THE DATE! Parish Quiz Night Friday, 13th October at 7.30pm. 

A fun evening of trivia – no need to be good at quizzes! Details to follow soon…

Philomena RiP
Requiem Mass St Joseph’s Friday 25th 10.30 

Philomena was a quiet faithful lady who worshipped at St Joseph’s often bringing flowers. She was lately suffering an aggressive cancer. Having made her confession she was anointed and received communion at home with her family gathered around. She died peacefully in the early evening of the same day June 9th
Burial at Woolwich

“The Hopkins Conundrum!”
Thursday 31st August at 6.00pm. 

Hello Fr Kevin, I promised I would get you a copy of my novel “The Hopkins Conundrum!” In the meantime I’m doing a short talk with readings at the Greenwich Library: The book is based on the life of Gerard Manley Hopkins, the Jesuit priest/poet, and the five Catholic nuns on whom he based his most famous poems. People who know his poetry hold him in very deep affection. I do hope that you and others may join us at this time.

(Simon has been much affected by the passing of his beloved partner Ezio. We recently celebrated a memorial at OLSS. Simon has nevertheless succeeded in the publication of his book on which he has worked for several years do come and support this event) 

Fr John Lavery RiP Memorial Mass 

I have invited Abp Peter to come to Greenwich to celebrate a Memorial Mass for Fr John. The Archbishop is away on summer leave from August 18th but his secretary (who is also currently away) will arrange a date in the autumn to be confirmed later this month.

Diocesan Day for Catechists
Saturday 23rd September 

Here is a day of training organised by the Centre for Catholic Formation with an invitation from the Archbishop. The day runs from 11.00 until 4.00pm concluding with a Mass celebrated by Bp Patrick. The fees are covered from parish funds. The booking form is available in September. You will need a packed lunch. Please speak to Tina at OLSS or Sr Mary at St Joseph’s put this date in your diary today.

Baptism Preparation 

If you are seeking the Baptism of a child at either church the next preparation evening will be at OLSS on Wednesday September 13th at 7.00pm. No need to book. Bring your child if necessary. Then we discuss times and dates.

Thankyou for your Offering Sunday 6th 

Olss £500 Cafod £21 Xavarian Fathers £317

St J’s £384 Xavarian Fathers £215

Fr John Zampesi & Fr Bederi thank you for your kind welcome last week and for the generosity of their combined appeal.

12th Mass OLSS 6.00 Int: Fr John Lavery (RiP)

Welcome David & Diana H (50th Wedding Anniversary today)

Sunday 13th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Maureen B 78 (RiP)

19th Sunday Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Elizabeth E (RiP)

in Ordinary Time Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Joe & Mary C (W/An)

Monday 14th No Mass on Monday

Tuesday 15th ASSUMPTION OF THE Blessed Virgin Mary 

Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Baby Gillian M THG

(Ints Sr Reetha Paul) SUNG Mass NB: at St Joseph’s at 7pm 

(Wedding administration will be available as usual after this Mass)

Wednesday 16th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int:Parish&People (Lieu of Sunday)

Thursday 17th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Neil M (RiP)

Mass St J’s 11.00 Int:

Friday 18th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Charlie M (RiP)

Saturday 19th Holy Baptism 12.30 OLSS Joshua W, Blessing K, Joseph K, Maeve H 

Mass OLSS 6.00 Int: Parish & People

Sunday 20th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Trudi & Robert L Thg & WB (adopted Grandchildren)

20th Sunday Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Kathryn O (RiP)

in Ordinary Time Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Vanessa N (RiP)

The Rev (Fr) Francis Gardom is an old friend who lives nearby in Maze Hill. He is an Anglican Priest attached to St Stephen’s Church in Lewisham who stands in the best of the old school traditions of the CofE. Since the loss of his dear wife Ann he has set up a local bereavement support group somewhat dramatically called THE LEWISHAM DEATH CAFÉ. They meet on the FIRST SATURDAY OF EACH MONTH at Coffee Costa, (opposite Peacock’s Dress Shop in Rushey Green) from 2.00 to 4.00pm. If you are grieving or struggling with the loss of a loved one you will find kindly and good humoured companionship among people from many backgrounds with this group. Anybody is welcome to attend, late-comers included and there is no obligation whatever to stay to the end – although many people choose to do so, and some leave later still! If you would like to know more you can contact

Post expires at 7:51pm on Saturday September 16th, 2017