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7th Sunday of Easter 24th May 2020
Yellow Book Page 137
A year without Mum!
Friday 22nd was the 1st anniversary of Mum’s passing. She was such a strong presence in our lives. There has never been a moment in my memory when she was not a source of love and kindness. But more than that she brought an ingredient that is missing in so many people’s lives today.
For Priests Monks & Nuns in the Benedictine Order Stability is the fourth vow. To stay in the same place with the same people. Not to go off on some “wild goose chase” searching for “enlightenment” but to go on a journey where you are, with the people whom God has given you, in the place where you belong and find Christ present where you live. Mum & Dad have lived in the same house for 62 years. My brother was born there, my Grandmother died there and now (effectively) so has Mum, when she took an unexpected brain haemorrhage on the night of the 20th May last year.
I survey so many pictures of her life. Her childhood home in Highgate. A cradle of love in a tiny council house off the Archway Road with all the extended family nearby. The war years when she was a telephone operator at Mayfair and her young married life. I thank God for the extraordinary woman who was given to us as a mother. Of course, she had her moments; You might disagree with her at your own peril… Any suggestion that she might have a disproportionate obsession with Athletics, Wimbledon, Snooker, Football, the Olympic Games and every other conceivable sport, would invite an explosive reaction. This was a spectator event in itself, though definitely not a mark of stability. One of the greatest mysteries of our lives was that Mum was such a universal sports competitor while her first-born child has not the remotest athletic gene in his body. Here she is, above at her 60th birthday with Sarah & Lisa who are younger then than our grandchildren today. Dads 90th Birthday.Her own
when she commanded the floor with an impromptu speech. My Ordination at Peterborough in 1982. Her Gt Granddaughter Grace and a High Tea at the Ritz (Only the best). All this except that, a year on I feel no sense of grief or sadness (other than for Dad) only gratitude. I suppose that’s the stability part… Besides I have this unavoidable conviction that someone has “gone before her to prepare a place” and that she is gathered at “mount Sion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, with an innumerable company of angels… and to the God who is Judge of all, and the spirits of just men made perfect” Including my grandparents. (Hb12v22) Let hope there’s a tennis court available!
Numerous people are contacting me asking for advice about the reopening of our churches and the resumption of Sacramental Ministries especially for Baptism, Marriage and of course Mass. Archbishop John wrote to all the clergy of the Diocese late last Saturday as follows:
Getting Ready to Open Churches for Private Prayer – but not yet!
The Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales is continuing to work with our Government to enable our churches to be opened as soon as possible for private, individual prayer. As you know, the Government stated recently that places of worship would probably not open until early July. This, however, was with a view to them being able to resume some form of collective worship. Following recent discussions, a Task Force for faith groups has been established by the Government and this met yesterday. It included Cardinal Nichols whom I know has shared with the Government the desire of Catholics to be able to enter their churches to pray. The Bishops’ Conference has also prepared information which will assist with the opening of church buildings for private prayer. As soon as these guidelines are finalised through the Task Force, we will be in a position to act. Therefore, please begin to consider how you might be able to open your church for visits by individuals for private prayer.
This will be for limited times each day, or even on certain days of the week.
a. In this first step, it will not be for the celebration of Mass or any of the Sacraments, but purely for individual prayer
b. It will have to be well supervised and will need a team of volunteers to manage the process who are not in any Covid 19 vulnerable category
c. There will need to be the facility for socially distanced queuing to enter the church building
d. Hand sanitisation will probably need to be available on entrance and exit
e. The entrance and exit to the church building may need to be by different routes
f. The floor and seating space will need to be properly marked out, and social distancing will need to be in force
g. Holy Water will not be available and, depending on demand, visits may have to be
limited to a certain length
h. It may not be possible to visit every part of the church, or to light candles or venerate statues and images
i. Those supervising the entrance, exit, and interior of the church, will need to wear some protective items, such as masks and gloves
j. There will need to be clearing and hygiene regimes in place.
k. Risk assessment may need to take place before opening can take place. Detailed information about this will be forthcoming when we are nearer to a date for opening; but it is important to begin to give this some thought. At the moment our churches must continue to remain closed by order of the Government.
It is very important to understand that:
1. Churches will only be allowed to open if the parish can demonstrate that it can put the necessary measures in place
2. Any parish which cannot do this, for whatever reasons, is not obliged to open. At this first stage, opening will be a matter for local determination with full support from the Archdiocese for any parish that cannot manage to put in place the requirements necessary
3. We are exploring the possibility of centrally purchasing cleaning, hygiene, and protective clothing materials, both to ensure a good supply and to reduce costs. These will then be available from designated locations.
In the words of Corporal Jones in Dads’ Army, ‘Don’t Panic!’ We do not have a date, as yet, for when churches will be allowed to open by the Government. But the discussions are taking place with a view to this happening before the beginning of July. We will need to manage this calmly and sensibly. Not every church will be able to open at once, and not every church will be able to open in the same way according to the same timetable. Each parish and church will need to move at the pace that is right for them. As soon as I have more detailed and precise information, I will send this out. The central services of the Archdiocese are ready to assist in any way necessary. Abp John Wilson
At the present time we are no further forward but I hope to explore the possibility of Open-Air Masses in the School Grounds as Summer unfolds
Saturday & Sunday Masses continue to be livestreamed to Facebook search “Our Ladye Star of the Sea” and are also visible on YouTube later in the week.
Mass will be offered Privately Each Day for the following intentions
Saturday 23rd OLSS 6.00pm My Mother Irene Robinson (1st Anniversary)
Sunday 24th St J’s 10.00am Int: Maureen D
Monday 25th OLSS Int: Well Being of the People The Ven St Bede
Tuesday 26th St Js’ Int: Beulah B (Exams)
Wed 27th OLSS Int: Sr Felicity O.P. (RiP) St Augustine of Canterbury
Thurs 28th St J’s Int: Daphine (Ints)
Friday 29th OLSS Int: Paul K (RiP)
Saturday 30th OLSS 6.00pm Int: Deceased Ursulines of Greenwich
Feast of Pentecost – The Coming of the Holy Spirit – Birthday of the Church
Sunday 31st St J’s 10.00am Int: Well Being of the People
Nicolette W 4th June Honor Oak
Mary L Monday 29th June Streatham 2.00
Augustine of Canterbury Should not be confused with his name sake, the older Augustine of Hippo. We do not know his precise dates except that he landed at Canterbury with his Benedictine companions in the year 597 (died circa 604). From Canterbury he launched his mission to the British Isles. The Great Augustine of Hippo (from whom he took his name) lived 200 years before that in North Africa (354-430). Christianity had actually been in the UK since the 1st century as the legend of the Glastonbury Rose tells us. But with the withdrawal of the Roman Empire at the end of the 4th Century Britain largely returned to pagan practices. Celtic Christianity survived in the remote parts of these Islands in Wales and the West Country and the Scottish Islands. Augustine launched a new mission to Britain restoring the Christian faith, seeking out the older Christian remains and bring them into unity with the Church across Europe. We know a great deal about these times thanks to the writings of The Venerable St Bede (the “Father of English History” Monday) Bede was also a Benedictine who lived 672-735. From his monastery in Jarrow he set off to survey life in England at that tim e and left us his writings
On the Feast of St Augustine of Canterbury, 27th May at 7pm (Wednesday), Abp John will be livestreaming May Devotions and a Scripture Rosary of the Mysteries of Light from the Cathedral. He invites us to join him. It would be wonderful if we could unite across the Archdiocese in this act of prayer. There is more information on the Archdiocese of Southwark website and Facebook page.
Work is underway on the tower at OLSS. The costs are likely to run away but a conservative price, just to ensure that the tower is safe is in the region of £64.000.
Please call me at home if you are in any anxiety or difficulty using the number at the front of this newsletter. If you need to leave a message on the answer phone please say your number slowly & clearly.
An International Ecumenical Bible Study
If you would like to join this group at 3.pm UK tomorrow I will forward a link at around 2.30. www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_dByvETNKw Thaddeus is the group host who will send an invitation on Sunday to share in the discussion. Or search YOUTUBE “Reasoned Answers Apologetics”
Post expires at 6:52pm on Thursday June 11th, 2020