Posted by The Parish

Mauve Book Page 265

Deal or No Deal… 

Strange how times change. I remember a day in HMP Belmarsh, sometime around 2005. It was lunchtime in the Chaplaincy and I was alone. I was just making a cup of tea when, a Junior Governor came through the chaplaincy suite. He was accompanied unannounced, by a cohort of Turkish dignitaries. Turkey was in the process of applying to join the EU, but their human rights reputation, especially in matters concerning imprisonment, left something to be desired. The young manager explained that his guests, about 12 seriously suited & booted men, and just one well-dressed woman were making a formal visit on behalf of the Turkish Government. They wanted to gain a better incite of the British Prison system. Would I like to speak to them on behalf of the chaplaincy? I jumped at the chance. I had just finished reading an extraordinary book called “From the Holy Mountain” in which William Dalrymple traces the footsteps of a 6th century Christian monk called John Moscos (550–619ad).

In his day, Moscos travelled from Mount Athos, through the regions of the middle east: The parts of Greece, now known as Turkey, then Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Sinai and Egypt. He surveyed the widespread landscape of Christian Churches, monasteries, shrines and places of learning, 100 years before the Advent of Islam. His detailed writings survive in a text called The Spiritual Meadow. In 1994 Dalrymple resolved to set out on the same mission to document whatever Christian remains he could still find relating to Mosco’s writing. Suffice to say it is a very sobering read, relating mainly to modern times. Sometime in the late 80s Dalrymple, had made some preliminary visits. He had noted Syrian Orthodox & Armenian Christian Churches and cemeteries especially in Turkey. Now he was perplexed to revisit the same places and find no remains of what he had seen just ten years earlier! He was mystified until, investigating more carefully, he found that certain Christian sites had been literally erased. In places he rediscovered tomb stones stacked in forgotten piles. I welcomed the dignitaries to the chapel. Through an interpreter they asked me formal questions such as: Why do Chaplains exist in UK prisons? How do they function and how do the different faith ministers co-exist and interact?

I patiently answered their questions and they got up to leave. “One moment” I said “we have not finished. I have courteously answered your questions now you answer mine… What is this that I am reading about the removal of Christian Churches and Cemeteries in Turkey?” The atmosphere turned electric. Where was I getting such information? I held up the book. There was utter fury. Only one member was smiling. The only female representative stepped forward and stood boldly beside me. “We know that what the priest is saying is true!” They left in great anger. Some Home Office flunkey took me aside and chastised me. Apparently, this had not been part of my brief; “Strange” I said “I didn’t know I had a brief”. Later that day an uncomfortable encounter with the principle Governor concluded the matter. He had never received guests into his office in such a state of agitated fury. He suggested that it might be best resolved with a gun boat going out to the Mediterranean. I offered to sail on it! I think back and wonder… Was that “My finest hour?” Deal or no deal… Turkey is a long way from Europe!


Confirmation Group OLSS & St Joseph 

There will be a meeting for Parents in preparation for the Confirmation celebration in the Parish Rooms at OLSS on Thursday 23rd at 8.00pm. 

Mass in Celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage July 13th at St George’s Cathedral 

To receive an invitation from the Archbishop, if you are celebrating a 1st/10th/25th/40th/50th/60th wedding anniversary, contact Fr Kevin with your names, the anniversary you are celebrating, home address, email and telephone. 


Rose D, Jeremiah G, Irene M, Anne P, Eamon W, Rev D F Coffey, Matilda J, Fr Vincent Power, Paul O, Gladys J, Robert M, Kathleen F, Sr Eugene Ryan OSU

May they Rest in Peace 

Thank You for Your Offering 5th May 

OLSS: & St Joseph: TBC 


Some dates for your diary: 

• ‘Music for Midsummer’ Friday June 21st 

• Sunday, 14th July, from 12 Noon 

– Parish Auction in the garden – 

• Sunday 8th September, 12.30pm -3.30pm, 

Parish Picnic in Greenwich Park 

• Friday 11th October, 7.15pm – 10.30pm – 

Parish Quiz Night 

• Parish Auction – afternoon of Sunday 14th July Our summer event this year will be a Parish Auction in the garden! This will be a fun event for all and hopefully will also help us raise funds for much needed church repairs. To make this successful we need to secure suitable items to auction – ie. things that would attract people to bid for them! (We need to avoid bulky items, junk or jumble!). Perhaps an unwanted piece of jewellery? A nice framed picture? A celebrity signed photo or book? Tickets to an event that you’re unable to attend? An unwanted but attractive gift that you’re unlikely to use? Do you have anything that you would be willing to donate for our Parish Auction? Or do you have any suggestions on how to make this a success? If so, please let us know via email to: 

[email protected] or see contact details in the newsletter in the church.

Fr Kevin is back on Sunday 19th. This Newsletter has been prepared in advance. 

60+ group this Thursday 23rd May 

Welcome again at the Dominican Convent in Hyde Vale from 2.00pm. 

Endow – Young Women & Mothers Group 

This group continues to meet NB on Tuesdays at 11am in the OLSS basement rooms. We are following a course called “Light of the Nations” which focuses on the challenges of living and passing on the Catholic faith in the current time. Info: [email protected] 

Sam (Husband of Caz & Father to Ezra & Raphael) attends the 9AM mass at OLSS. As part of a group from Elmhurst Primary School, where he works in Newham, Sam will be climbing Mount Snowdon on Saturday 22nd June, to raise money for the people of Yemen, where there is a truly atrocious humanitarian crisis, including a severe famine where families are in desperate need of food and medical treatment. It would be wonderful if you could sponsor the group and help ease the suffering of some of the world’s most needy. You can donate by going online to the Justgiving page – 

MASS CALENDAR FOR 18th – 26th MAY 2019 

Saturday 18th Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Kathleen S (RiP) 

Sunday 19th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Karen M (RiP) 

Fifth Sunday Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Parish & People 

Of Easter St Joseph’s FHC Meeting after 10.00am Mass today 

Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Sarah S (RiP) 

Monday 20th No Mass on Monday 

Tuesday 21st Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Sarah & Stephen W (Wedding) 

Mass St J’s 7.00 Int: 

Wednesday 22nd Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Belen Fmy (W/B & Ints) 

Thursday 23rd Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: 

Mass St J’s 11.00 Int: 

60+ Group welcome again at the Dominican Convent in Hyde Vale 

Friday 24th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Ann C (RiP) 

Saturday 25th Holy Baptism – 12.30 Finley, Penelope, Theodore, George 

St Bede Nuptial Mass – 3.00pm Wedding of Hanna & Lee 

Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: William H (RiP) 

Sunday 26th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Parish & People 

Sixth Sunday Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: 

Of Easter Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Rudy & Mary H (RiP) Inc Baptism of Hailey 

Greenwich Historical Society (Correction) 

“The Slate on your Roof!” Fr Kevin will give a local history talk on WEDNESDAY May 22nd on the Victorian Hatcham Iron Works of Pomeroy Street New Cross and the Ffestiniog Railway including the scurrilous tale of Mr Robert Fairlie! 

From 7.30 at James Wolfe School, Royal Hill SE10 8RZ 

(Followed by beer in Richard lll) 

Post expires at 8:48pm on Sunday June 23rd, 2019