Posted by The Parish

5th SUNDAY of EASTER 29th APRIL 2018
Teal Book Page 265 

The sacraments through art: 1. Baptism 

John Ruskin the nineteenth century artist and writer said that art teaches us many things, and indeed it does. This is the first instalment of what I hope might become an occasional series eventually covering all seven sacraments. 

According to one definition “Sacraments are ritual acts which both express and bring about a spiritual reality.” In other words, they act as a channel for grace. The sacraments all have a material element, oil, bread, wine and in the case of Baptism also water. I’ve chosen to look at a wall painting from 14thC Italy by Masolino da Panicale, Pietà, 1424, which is now in the diocesan museum in Empoli, and also a video installation, ‘Emergence’ (2003) by American artist Bill Viola which was directly inspired by that painting and is in fact complementary to it. (Search YOUTUBE “Emergence Bill Viola”) 

As it is called a ‘Pieta’ the painting would be expected to depict Mary holding the dead Christ in her arms after the crucifixion. At first glance what we seem to see is Mary and the beloved disciple (John?) apparently holding or lowering Christ’s body into a tomb. But this can’t be the case, since curiously the tomb looks more like a well or water cistern. Christ in fact seems to be standing upright, having broken the bonds of death as signified by the frayed ropes hanging from the cross. 

In his video art piece ‘Emergence’ whilst not intending an explicit affirmation of Christian doctrine, the artist explores these themes and I think expands for a modern audience the meaning of the original painting. Created as a commission for the Getty Museum in Los Angeles the video shows two women sitting either side of a large marble receptacle, each absorbed in her own grief. Then to their surprise a man starts rising out of it through gushing water. These actions unfold in extreme slow motion over eleven minutes until he is laid on the ground and covered gently with a cloth. In both the painting and the video the container cannot contain Christ and in the video he literally spills out of it. It’s worth remembering that a cistern is an underground chamber for collecting water (there’s one in Greenwich park). There is something here that reminds me of this piece of scripture: 

“Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 12v24) 

We can see how the painting and the video weave together the resurrection of Christ and rebirth through Baptism in a poetic and beautiful way. It also reminds us why Easter is a favoured time for Baptism. 


 It goes together with Paul’s saying that “In Baptism we are buried with Christ so that we can surface (rise) in resurrection”. Col2v12 Rms6v4. St Ephraim the Syrian (4thC) makes much about the Womb of Mary and the Tomb of Humanity: Both have to be opened for salvation to take place. They are like matching bookends of the gospel. Ephraim also speaks about Christ as the Light of the World going down into the water; instead of the light being extinguished the waters are ignited with his spirit.


Ann RiP
Ann’s Funeral is arranged for this Tuesday 1
st May 12.30 at St Joseph’s Church. Burial Falcon Wood.
“And the sun shines on…?” 

Children’s First Holy Communion 

The Children’s FHC groups have resumed both at OLSS & St Joseph. (With thanks to the Ursuline Sisters while work continues in the basement at OLSS). It is important that children attend all sessions during the last weeks. 

First Holy Communion Celebrations will be at St Joseph’s Sunday June 10th at 12.00am and OLSS on Sunday July 1st 

José  RiP 

José & Pila have been loving and cheerful members especially at 11.0am at OLSS for many years. José died at 3.00pm last Sunday at the Greenwich & Bexley Hospice with the unfailing presence of Pila and daughter Jane: Fortified by the rites of the church Funeral arrangements TBC 


Maria L, Mary O, Kevin M, Fanny D, Patricia H, Douglas R, Timothy P, Patrick O, Martin H, Adrian M.

May they Rest in Peace 

Meditation on the Five Wounds of Christ 

I kiss the Wounds of Your Sacred Head,
with sorrow deep and true,
may every thought of my mind today
be an act of love for You. 

I kiss the Wounds of Your Sacred Feet,
with sorrow deep and true,
may every step I take today
be an act of love for You. 

I kiss the Wounds of Your Sacred Hands,
with sorrow deep and true,
may every touch of my hands today
be an act of love for You. 

I kiss the Wound of Your Sacred Shoulder,
with sorrow deep and true,
may every cross I bear today
be an act of love for You. 

I kiss the Wounds of Your Sacred Heart,
with sorrow deep and true,
may every beat of my heart today
be an act of love for You. 

Baptism Preparation (no meeting in May) 

Fr Kevin will be away for the early part of May If you are seeking the Baptism of a child either at OLSS OR St Joseph the next preparation group will be on Wednesday 13th June at 7.00pm. 

Wedding Admin this Tuesday 

Fr Kevin will be available for wedding administration again this Tuesday at 7.00pm at St Joseph. 


Saturday 28th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Allan P (RiP) 

Sunday 29th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Parish & People 

2nd Collections Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Ann C (RiP) 

St George’s Cathed’ Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Jose (RiP) & Pila (WB) 

Monday 30th No Mass on Monday 

Tuesday 1st Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Alex I (death of Mum) 

Requiem Funeral Ann 12.30 St Joseph -Consolation of the Family 

Mass St J’s 7.00 Int: FSM Sisters (Dec’d Rels) 

St Athanasius 2nd Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Ev B & Family (Int’sWB) 

Philip & James 3rd Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Kathleen B (RiP) 

Mass St J’s 11.00 Int: Pat K (RiP) 

English Martyrs 4th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Ala L (RiP) 

Saturday 5th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Michael B (WB) 

Sunday 6th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Mr & Mrs Cox (40th Wedd Ann) 

Sixth Sunday of Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Fr Roy Joseph Parents Golden Wedding/Safe Journey 

Easter Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Frances & Paddy C (RiP) 

I am grateful to Jan for his front cover article this week. Jan was keen to draw attention to the “Austin (Augustine) Forum”: See also: & Vanessa has also written to share her interest in Icons and Icon Painting. CF Those who have an interest in learning Icon painting techniques and related skills will be pleased to hear from Simone. She is an icon writer in the Romanian & Byzantine traditions (example above). She would be willing to run An Icon Painting Programme for 3or4 days later in the summer. (A perfect project to run in the refurbished basement.) It would need about 8 participants to make a group, Simone will provide the materials (frame, glass, paints, brushes & golden leaf). The two styles of painting need different days. The cost would be circa £40 per person per day. Simone is a Romanian Orthodox friend of Kay. See contact details in the newsletter in the church.

Post expires at 9:43pm on Saturday June 2nd, 2018