Epiphany (12th day of Christmas) 5th JANUARY
2020 Yellow Book Page 114
Catholic parish life is very different over the other side of the river. This side, our neighbouring parishes are less than a mile apart. On a bicycle I could get around to St Joseph’s, Charlton, Deptford, Kidbrook & Lewisham in a short time. By contrast in Enfield the adjacent parishes are separated by considerable distances. They encompass remote rural parts such as Potters Bar & Cuffley alongside inner London areas like Palmers Green & Edmonton. I called in for a cup of tea with Fr Slawomir Witon. He has been parish priest at Enfield for 9 years. It was good to compare and share ideas. At Christmas he welcomes at least 2000 people at one church with more than six masses including several children’s’ celebrations, but he does have a companion. One idea is really lovely. At a strategic moment in the Children’s Mass the church darkens. A weary Santa makes his way in silence through the church. With a heavy sack he goes to pray at the crib. After a few moments he gets up. Without a word he glances briefly at the children and sets off on his long journey. The children are spell bound. Fr Slawomir explains to the children that even Father Christmas makes time to be with Jesus while, that night, he is busier than everybody. I felt touched by this Polish custom and wonder if it might work at Greenwich? There again I fear it could backfire and start a riot in the middle of Mass! Jackie, only one way to find out…
It brought to mind a memory of when I was a young curate. As Priest in Charge of a modern church on a residential estate we had lots of young families including my own! It was the bane of my life, every Thursday to run a little celebration called “Tiny Tots”. Babies and preschool age children would come with mums and nans and anybody else available and we would spend time in church. Drums, banners & whistles in procession were the order of the day with an “Our Father” a little story and anybody with “Good News” to share. It all ended with a cup of tea and cakes. At Christmas we would have a party with numerous small children.
The church had an integral hall with a flat roof and sky lights. One year, I got the other curate to climb on the roof dressed as Father Christmas. He had sleigh bells. At a strategic moment he jingled the bells. We all looked up through the sky lights. He whooshed the ladder horizontally over the skylights. It looked just like the under frame of a real Christmas sleigh. Next minute, “CRUMP” the sleigh landed. There were heavy footsteps on the roof and sounds of “Ho Ho Ho”. The children were petrified. The ladder dropped down and, the dodgiest looking Father Christmas descended with a big sack waving through the window. The children thought it was the “Child Catcher” from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They screamed blue murder and the place went into meltdown. With one voice, all the mums shouted “Don’t let him in!” I had to go through a back door and say “Right Fr Christmas, give me that sack of toys and *@$% #~F” Go Away!” These are just a few memories. The other curate liked dressing up in outfits: There was the time that he got a gorilla suit and we went to the local hustings for a general election chaired by the vicar, but that would be altogether another story…
Happy New Year,
Mums & Tots etc this Thursday (9th)
If you are at home with a baby or a small child come and make new friends at the Ursuline Convent 66 Crooms Hill from 10.15am.
The Children’s FHC Group at St Josephs Begins after Mass next Sunday 12th January with a parents after 10.00am Mass
And at OLSS from 10.45 commencing next Saturday 11th NB in the Church
Adoration of the Magi
Back in the 1970’s there was a commonly held opinion that the story of The Wise Men or Magi was simply a literary invention of St Matthew to emphasise the kingship of Christ. It was a drama, something like Shakespeare might devise, to drive home the idea that, from the moment of his birth Christ drew Wise Men into his circle. There is altogether another way of looking at the story. For one thing it embraces the people of Persia, that is to say modern day Iran & Iraq. Without being Jewish, Persians already had long standing connections to the prophetic events in Israel: In the Book of Daniel 520 years BC Daniel is already named as Chief among the Wise Men of Babylon 2v48. The word used here is also “Magi”. Matthew is telling us that “Wise Men” from those lands are already integral with the gospel story and have anticipated something momentous. In 1st Century Palestine learned people would have approached Jerusalem from every direction. Who are we to say that wandering Star gazing Zoroastrian Priests of high status should not have had such an encounter with the Holy Family? Often, parents of small children only realise the significance of events when they think back. Mary & Joseph must have realised on reflection that something much more than pure chance had happened?
Jean’s funeral is at OLSs on Wednesday 29th at 11.00am. Cremation at Honour Oak
Nb there will be No 9.30 Mass on that day
Francis (Frank) RiP
Funeral Friday 10th January 11.00am at St Joseph’s. (Cremation at Eltham).
My Father-in-Law Dennis (Frances’ father) burial in Norfolk on Tuesday 21st January
Thankyou for your Offering Sunday 29th
OLSS £452 Cafod £12 Crib £98 Hampers £372
St Joseph’s TBC
Front Door Key
If anybody is going frantic for a front door key with 3 little enamel cats attached it was found in church please ask Maggie
MASS CALENDAR FOR 4th – 12th JANUARY 2020
Saturday 4th Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Paul H (W/B)
Sunday 5th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Matthew T (Sp Int)
Epiphany Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Eileen A (W/B)
Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Johanna Thkg (HspTest)
Monday 6th NB NO MASS ON MONDAY
Tuesday 7th Eucharistic Service: 9.30 OLSS (Fr Kevin Caring for his dad)
Mass St Js 7.00pm Int: Christmas Day Martyrs of Nigeria
Wednesday 8th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Matthew T (Sp Int)
Thursday 9th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: 60+ Group Members
Mass St J’s 11.00 Int: Tony M (RiP)
Friday 10th Mass St J’s 9.30 Int: Mr & Mrs T (W/B)
Requiem Mass 11.00am St Joseph Funeral of Francis (Frank) O (RiP)
Saturday 11th Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Ann M (Ann)
Sunday 12th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Pitro S (W/B)
The Baptism of Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Dennis B (RiP)
Our Lord Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Tina & Greg K (Ints)
LONDON CATHOLIC HISTORY WALKS 2020 Come and enjoy discovering London’s History! No need to book – just turn up! Everyone welcome. Suggested donation: £10. Each walk lasts about 1&1/2 hours.
Monday January 6th: a lantern-lit Walk across the Thames to the City. Meet 6pm, Church of the Most Precious Blood, O’Meara Street, London SE1 (nearest tube: London Bridge). See contact details in the newsletter in the church.
Tuesday January 14th, WESTMINSTER: Parliament, the Abbey, and more. Meet 3pm (note time) steps of Westminster Cathedral SW1 (nearest tube: Victoria).
Items for the Manna Centre May still be received by weekend 5-6th in the New Year www.mannasociety.org.uk
Diocesan Directories 2020 Many people like to receive the Diocesan Directory showing the names and addresses of local Churches Schools & Clergy and including the liturgical Calendar as observed in Southwark. There has been a delay with printing this year but we are assured that copies will be available shortly in January. For those who need the daily calendar the relevant pages are available in Church
Post expires at 9:16pm on Saturday February 8th, 2020