Posted by The Parish

2nd Sunday of Advent Year A 15th December 2019
Yellow Book Page 88

 ‘……Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven……’ 

Casper David Fredrich (1774-1840) was a German artist who became known for his moody and sometimes symbolic evocations of landscape and figures. Acknowledged as the leading exponent of German Romanticism, all his paintings were meticulously executed with a luminous quality. Fredrich trained at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen whose approach in this period was characterised by emotional restraint and realism. 

I find myself looking and thinking about this painting (The large enclosure near Dresden, right) particularly around Christmas and Easter. At first glance it doesn’t include any obvious symbolism, none the less it seems to me to embody something very significant to the Christian faith. Art critic Martin Gaysford wrote about Fredrich being: ‘…a devout Protestant, which meant that he had an ingrained distrust of the power of images to depict religious and spiritual truths. So, put simply, the problem he set out to solve was how to paint a picture that suggested there were deep, perhaps unknowable, mysteries, without actually depicting anything except the natural world.’
(Martin Gaysford in ‘The Spectator’ August 2012) 

I think this gives us certain permission to delve deeper into what is at first glance simply a beautiful painting of a bend in the river Elbe near his home in Dresden at dusk. Notice the strange almost fish eye perspective and the way in which the cloud patterns in the sky are echoed by the patterns in the river. In fact, the more we look the more it appears that there are two semi-circular domes – land and sky which almost touch – but not quite. What at first appears as pure landscape takes on cosmic significance, “….where earth and water repeat and reflect almost divinely lit shapes in the heavens”
(Diana Finello Zervas from ‘Edges of Experience: Memory & Emergence’ Cowan, 2004)

The painting has an eschatological (i.e about the “last things”) flavour in that it seems to refer to the ‘new heaven and new earth’ (Rev21.1) which will come to pass. Yet perhaps because of the way the artist uses reflections we get the sense of the two being related and that what happens ‘below’ will matter ‘above’ in the fullness of time. These things are a deep mystery and hard to comprehend for Christians. That there will come a time: ‘that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.’
Rms 8.21 (NIV)

For Catholics, the mass and the sacraments offer a ‘touching point’ between the earthly and the heavenly. Perhaps the notion of natural signs gives us a richer way to appreciate and understand the painting beyond just its pleasing nature. In the sense that all ‘below’ somehow already contains an inkling of what is ‘above’. Fredriche’s protestant reticence concerning religious imagery provides an opportunity to consider how the near at hand points to ‘the already but not yet’ of the kingdom to come.


Click here for the Christmas Programme.


For anyone thinking of becoming a Catholic. We are meeting this Thursday at 7.30 at the OLSS Presbytery 68 Crooms Hill 

If you are on the edge of the Catholic faith and would like to explore more email: [email protected] 

Thank You for your Offering Dec. 8th 

OLSS £500 The Passage £370 D/D’s Nov £3016 NB letters available stating 2018/19 Gift Aid tax return Sp Thanks to Rosemond for £75 from H/M Jam 

St J’s £428 Toilets £45 

Volunteering in London over Christmas 

Here is a brilliant site if you would like to give some time as a volunteer over Christmas: 

Don’t Forget Manna Centre Collections 

During Advent & Christmas we collect all kinds of preserved & tined foods, hats gloves & warm clothes which are given to the Manna Centre for the Homeless at Christmas. 

There are bins provided in the front entrance. 

Nessa RiP 

Nessa’s Funeral is this Sunday at: Holy Family Church, Kilitimagh Co Mayo. 

The service will be live streamed at 1.00pm on the internet: Go to – – Enter Surname and location Co.Mayo 

A service is planned in the New Year for Nessa’s London based family & friends at the time of the “Months Mind” in January at Our Ladye Star of the Sea. Details to follow. Paul is comforted by his two boys Osin & Devlin and by the affection and kindness of so many people nearby in Greenwich. 

Impromptu Christmas Choir 

We need cheerful singers for the impromptu Christmas Choir especially for Midnight Mass Please see contact details in the newsletter in the church. 

“Restored Lives” 

Helping & supporting people recover from relationship breakdown. 

For those who would like to respond to Vanessa’s invitation in the new year. Email: [email protected] 

Lock up Garage to Rent 

St Josephs has a lock up garage to rent in East Greenwich with power and water for £150 PCM. Ideal to keep a car off the road or for use as a workshop. Email: [email protected] 

CALENDAR FOR 14th – 22nd DECEMBER 2019 

Saturday 14th Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Dc’d Fmy & frds (RiP) Kath P 

Sunday 15th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Christine & Nigel B (RiP) Maggie 

Third Sunday Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: “Mani” (RiP) Chitra (Inc Holy Baptism St J) 

of Advent Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Joe C (RiP) 

Monday 16th No Masses on Monday 

Tuesday 17th 9.30 Eucharistic Service (Fr Kevin takes care of his Dad on Tuesday Morning) 

Mass St J’s 7.00 Int: 

Wednesday 18th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Eustace S (GW/WB) 

Thursday 19th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: With The Ursuline School (No exposition) (Parish & People) 

Mass St J’s 11.00 Int: Dc’d FSM Sisters (RiP) 

Friday 20th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: With The Ursuline School (No exposition) (Paul, Osin & Devlin) 

Mass OLSS 11.30 Int: With The Ursuline School 

Saturday 21st Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Michael & Kevin J (RiP) 

Sunday 22nd Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Dc’d Members Hynes Fmy (RiP) 

Fourth Sunday Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: 

of Advent Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Fr Tomasz Family (WB) 

End of Term Masses with the Ursuline School Thursday 19th at 9.30 

and Friday 20th 9.30 & 11.30 everyone is welcome at these times 

Children’s Nativity Masses are planned at both churches on 

Christmas Eve. 24th December 

At 5.00pm OLSS and 6pm at St Josephs (With thanks to Fr Malcolm) 

The children’s liturgy groups at each church are preparing now. 

Anniversaries Mary D, Mary S, Harry H, Mary O, Jemima M, Martin O, Tom K, James B, George D, Michael A, Davies J, Patrick O, Fergus M, Susan M, William O, Daniel C, Christopher Y, Molly H, Monica C May they Rest in Peace 

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