2nd Sunday of Lent 8th March 2020
Yellow Book Page 155
John Bell of the Iona Community has written a lovely hymn called: “Touching Place”. It goes to the Scottish theme “Dream Angus”. Most of his songs touch on matters of social justice and human compassion, and none more so than this:
Christ’s is the world in which we move;
Christ’s are the folk we’re summoned to love;
Christ’s is the voice which calls us to care,
and Christ is the one who meets us here.
In the light of the anxiety caused by this unhappy Coronavirus we suddenly realise how tactile the Catholic faith actually is in practice. Even in today’s Gospel we read: “Jesus came up and touched them”. When words fail, touching a person gently (and appropriately!) is the only universal language. Nowadays we have become too frightened to touch anyone for fear of a false allegation or that our actions might be misconstrued. Yet throughout the Gospels, Jesus reached out to touch broken and despairing people: Women, children, lepers, blind, dead people, even madmen. Covid-19 puts the tin hat on all of that, now Christ himself would be prevented from ministry. What sort of world are we coming to where humane gestures of loving kindness are prohibited? At Easter, Christ will invite us to reach out again and touch him in his risen life.
“Put your finger here… Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Jn 20v27.
“Touch me and see for yourselves” Lk24v39
I remember being a very young priest. An older man in the parish had got himself into a tangled situation. He had abandoned his wife of many years’ marriage, to live with a widowed neighbour. In the course of time the widow died and her family sold the house from underneath him. I hadn’t known him previously. Nearby the abandoned wife had discreetly disclosed the full story to me by phone. I was obliged to play along with the charade through the entire debacle. Unbeknown, the wife continued to observe my coming and going in the period that had seen, not just one, but two unexpected funerals at the same house in a little over a year – and they were not even elderly. All she wanted was that her husband should come home. I sat with him in the widow’s house. He was distraught, broken and disorientated. He began some rambling false story. I interrupted candidly to say that I knew the whole sorry tale. He looked at me shocked with embarrassment and disbelief. “What should I do?” he wailed. (They lived in adjacent houses!) “Go out of this door and close it behind you. Then go through that door and go home to your wife”. The man wept & wept & wept for a very long time. All I could do was hold him in my arms and say nothing. I was only aged about 25. Sometime later the woman phoned; “I just want you to know he came back”. I never saw them again…
It would all be 37 years ago now.
To the lost Christ shows his face,
to the unloved he gives his embrace,
to those who cry in pain or disgrace
Christ makes, with his friends,
…a touching place.
This is called “ministry”! It is not the exclusive domain of priests because it pertains to all Christians. To make with God’s friends a touching place. For the time being we are prevented even from shaking hands at the sign of peace! Please God that will be resolved by Easter! Meanwhile check that great 1969 Rock Opera “Tommy” by The Who online: “See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me” Wow, I’d forgotten just how good they are!
Archbishop Peter Smith RiP
With great sadness this letter is updated at short notice to bring news of the death of ABp Peter. He died late last night at the end of a short aggressive illness. I owe him a debt of gratitude from the time of my crossing from the CofE
CAFOD Lent Family Fast Day Friday
This weekend we welcome John at OLSS, to speak at all masses. He will update us on the work of CAFOD and thank you for your kind donations & prayers. If you are interested in volunteering with CAFOD – speaking in churches or schools, campaigning to your MP or involving others.
Please talk to John after Mass or contact the local CAFOD centre on [email protected] or 020 8466 9901
140 people signed up to the Parish 100 Club – so we’re now the Parish 140 Club!
The first draw will take place at OLSS after Coffee & Cakes this Sunday, 8th March.
Michael (RiP) Requiem Wednesday 11th
Michael was cremated privately according to his wishes. Please join us when receive his ashes to St Joseph’s at a Requiem Mass at 11.00am this Wednesday. Older children & staff will be attending from St Joseph’s school where Michael served for many years as Chair of Governors. There will be a reception and refreshments in the Church after Mass
Funeral – Thursday 12th March OLSS at 12.00
Deanery Penitential Service Our Lady of Grace Charlton 4.00pm this Sunday 8th
Lenten Penitential How long is it since you made your confession? It is a rule for Catholics that everybody should make their confession at least during Advent & Lent. I am always available at OLSS at 10.00am on Saturdays and when required at 6.30 at St Joseph on Tuesdays. If it is a long time since you have been to confession come and join this Sunday.
Coffee & Cakes
After 11.00am Mass OLSS this Sunday
If you are seeking the Baptism of a child at either church please come this Wednesday March 11th at OLSS at 7.00pm
Day of Reflection for Readers & Eucharistic Ministers
I have 10 names now several from St Joseph’s and OLSS. for the reflection day “The God who Speaks” at Sacred Heart School, Camberwell SE5 0RP from 10.00am on Saturday 14th.
Bible Study Group
In response to those who volunteered for a bible study group in the recent Time Talent and Treasure campaign we are organising a kick-off meeting on Thursday 12th March at 7.00pm in the Parish Room at OLSS. Everyone is welcome when we will decide what to do, what to study and how to do it. Come along with your ideas or just to learn.
Sr Beatrice OSU reading Group
Continues to meet at St Joseph’s from 2.00pm on Wednesday
Some dates for your calendar:
Saturday 11th July – Parish Summer Fayre (details to follow)
Friday 9th October – Parish annual Quiz Night
Thankyou for your Offertory 1st March
OLSS £500 Poor Parishes £138
Sp thanks for Rosemond’s Jam £85 Ch/Rest
St Joseph’s £349 Poor Parishes £43
Two Interesting Diocesan Job Vacancies
Southwark Archdiocese currently has two job opportunities available. If you would like more information, please look on the Diocese’s website www.rcsouthwark.co.uk
1. Marriage Tribunal Administrator – F/T based in Tooting Bec, London SW17
2. Safeguarding Office Administrator – based on the Cathedral site London SE1
St Michael’s Catholic College
Bermondsey SE16 4UN 11-18 Comp VA
Require a TEACHER OF RE (MPS) Info: [email protected]
Closing Date March 9th
MASS CALENDAR 7th-15th March 2020 (2nd Collections Cafod Lenten Friday Fast)
Coronavirus – For the time being we shall receive communion “in one kind only” that is without the shared chalice. Everybody is encouraged to keep extra vigilance for the washing of hands. There will be no Holy Water in the stoops on entry. At the Sign of Peace handshaking is discouraged but will be shared with a discreet bow or similar gesture.
Saturday 7th Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Anne C (RiP)
8th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Timothy L (RiP)
Mass St J’s 10.00 Inc Baptism of Taddeus (Florence GC)
Coffee & Cakes Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Jean M (RiP)
Deanery Penitential Service 4.00pm OLG Charlton
Monday 9th NB NO MASS ON MONDAY
Tuesday 10th Eucharistic Service: 9.30 OLSS (Fr Kevin Caring for dad)
Mass St J’s 7.00pm Int: Deceased Parents FSM Sisters
Wednesday 11th OLSS Mass 9.30 Int: Browne Family (W/B)
11.00am Requiem Mass St Josephs
Funeral Rite and Celebration of the Life of Michael V RiP
Sr Beatrice OSU reading Group at St Joseph’s from 2.00pm
Thursday 12th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Pat K (RiP)
Mass St J’s 11.00 Int: Margaret B (RiP)
Requiem Mass OLSS Funeral Rite of Gertrude F RiP 12.00noon
Friday 13th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Terry M (WB)
Stations of the Cross OLSS 10.00am after Mass OLSS every Friday in Lent
Stations of the Cross at St Joseph’s 7.00pm every Friday in Lent
Saturday 14th Holy Baptism 12.30 OLSS
Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: John M (WB)
15th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Parish & People
Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Fathima (RiP)
Fr Augustine Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Jacinta O (GW)
Fr Victor will make a welcome return just for one month from 3rd April. We look forward to seeing him hopefully in time for Holy Week & Easter.
Post expires at 8:52pm on Saturday April 11th, 2020