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CORPUS CHRISTI Sunday 14th June 2020
Orange Book Page 83 

At this time of the year I am normally run off my feet; Corpus Christi brings Children’s First Holy Communions, celebrations in the garden and private parties elsewhere. Now, when I enter the church alone, I am more and more saddened to think how long it has been since we gathered as a family. It seems so long since I conducted a Wedding or held a baby for Baptism. At Baptism ceremonies I always read the old form of the Gospel passage: “Suffer the little children to come unto me”. It means that the disciples needed to have more patience to let the children come. I often remark that when we read the Gospels, we are doing two things: Yes, we are reading the words of Jesus but we are also reading the selected memories of the early Christians. Then I begin to wonder…? 

Of all the things that Jesus must have said and done in the course of his life, of all the personal encounters that he shared in the period of those extraordinary three years, why is it that we have just these certain short memories, often repeated verbatim in our Four Gospels? 

Towards the end of his Gospel St John says; 

If everything was written down that needs to be said about Jesus, the whole world would not be large enough to hold the books that would need to be written!” Jn21v25. 

So, what do we read this weekend? “They started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ Non-Catholic Christians are quick to point out that this simply has a “Spiritual Meaning”, but what do they mean? Spiritual things are never “Simple”? I am tempted to think that what they mean is that the text doesn’t say what it actually says: Nowhere in this passage does the word “Spiritual” appear. Quite the reverse: Many people were offended “and walked with him no longer” v66. We know well enough that John’s Gospel has a different quality to the others. John is less concerned for a geographical and chronological sequence or to catalogue yet another series of short stories and parables that were presumably well known by the time he was writing. Instead he styles long reflections where Jesus gradually unfolds the meaning of his life and the mystery of his presence. It’s more like the intimate thoughts he might have shared late in the evening, round a fire, over a glass of wine. Some Christians are perturbed that in his account of the Last Supper John never mentions the business with the bread and wine. Instead he gives us this extraordinary proclamation much earlier in the text: 

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst… unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life within you”. Vs41&53 

He does the same with the Resurrection: By definition, that can only come at the end of the Gospel sequence except John puts the proclamation slap bang in the middle: 

I am the Resurrection and I am the Life”. Ch11. 

When you look at St John you realise that nearly 1/3rd of his Gospel is set apparently at the Last Supper. From Ch12 to the beginning of 18. You get the impression that if he could, he would have set his whole narrative in that upper room! But then we could never have got from Galilee to Golgotha. Isn’t he emphasising something? Isn’t he saying that it all unfolds deeply in the mystery of the Eucharist? 

God Bless you this Corpus Christi
Fr Kevin 

Towards the Re-opening of Churches for individual and private prayer. 

WE have received an outline from the Archdiocese allowing for the re-opening of churches for individual and private prayer only. The Catholic Church is anxious to co-operate with Government regulations in order to reduce and contain the spread of the virus. We must conform to the legislation requirements. At the 

present time OLSS is covered at the front tower with an enormous scaffolding. There is some ongoing stone work but it is anticipated that the scaffolding will come down at the end of this week. The tower prevents normal access to the church especially while work is continuing on weekdays. The current situation is this: 

Churches are encouraged to open for “Private Prayer” only from Monday 15th. Before that is permitted, a risk assessment must be completed and approved by our Area Bishop Patrick. There must not be any type of activity that might encourage people to gather and form a congregation. I.e, No Mass, no prayer groups, Benediction or public Rosary recitation. In collaboration with other local Catholic Churches, most parishes are making a gesture to open for a couple of hours on certain weekdays. At St Joseph’s we have a plan to open the church just for two hours on two days per week from 5-7.00pm on Tuesdays and from 11.00-1.00pm on Thursdays. Congregations are not to form at the time of livestreamed Masses. Opening the churches at the conventional times on Sunday would create the impression that we are open again for business as usual. 

I think, complementing St Josephs, in the first instance we should open OLSS for THREE days perhaps Wednesday’s, Fridays and Saturdays for two hours say from 12.00till 2.00pm. We must have TWO stewards. I have collected supplies of PPE from the Cathedral sufficient for our needs. Toilets are not allowed to be open. The church has to be taped up to restrict movements. Icons and images must not be touched. The floor needs to be marked and signed for two way traffic. Sanitisation has to be supervised and the church cleaned at the end of each day. 

“Stewards” must not include anybody who is at risk with underlying health issues that might make them vulnerable to infection. Do we have at least SIX volunteers who are willing to assist from OLSS. At St Joseph’s Sr Mary has already co-ordinated a group of helpers but if you would like to add to that number you would be welcome. 

I am inviting volunteers on this basis for the week beginning 21st assuming that the tower is down. Please drop me an email at [email protected] 

We could meet in the garden at OLSS at 11.00am on this coming Tuesday 16th. 

I am very encouraged by the number of people who value the livestreamed Sunday Masses at 6.00pm on Saturday and 10.00am on Sunday but I always forget to say the prayer to make a “Spiritual Communion” which is as follows; 

Oh Jesus, I turn towards the Church where You dwell for love of me hidden and silent in the Tabernacle. I love you, O my God. I cannot receive you in Holy Communion at this time. Come, nevertheless, and visit me with Your grace. Come spiritually into my heart. Purify it. Sanctify it. Render it like Your own most Sacred Heart. Amen. 

Church Collections 

It is now nearly 3 months since OLSS was open for Sunday Mass and receiving the collection. We have continued to receive from those who pay their Gift Aid by direct debit/standing order. Thank you very much. 

If you normally give by Sunday envelope or on the plate could you consider making a contribution either by: 

  • Bank transfer to
    National Westminster Bank 60-09-16
    Our Ladye Star of the Sea 2524 0676
  • Or by cheque payable to Our Ladye Star of the Sea and post it to Fr Kevin,
    The Presbytery, 68 Crooms Hill
    London SE10 8HG
    or pop it though the Presbytery letter box.

If you give by envelope can you put your name and envelope number as the reference in the transfer or write on the back of the cheque. 

Thank you
Andrew (Finance Group)

While the Church remains closed Saturday & Sunday Masses  are livestreamed to Facebook search “ Our Ladye Star of the Sea ” also visible on YouTube later in the week. 

Mass will be offered Privately Each Day for the following intentions 

Saturday 13th OLSS 6.00pm Int: Bridie & Martin
Anthony of Padua 

Sunday 14th St J’s 10.00am Int: Well Being of the People
FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI 

Monday 15th OLSS Int: 

Tuesday 16th St Js’ Int: Akin A (RiP)

Wed 17th OLSS Int: Intentions for Peace (MJT) 

Thurs 18th St J’s Int: Adrian G (RiP) 

Friday 19th OLSS Int: Fr John Lavery (RiP 60th Ann of Ordination)
Sacred Heart of Jesus 

Saturday 20th OLSS 6.00pm Int: Salako Family (Ints) 

Sunday 21st St J’s 10.00am Int: Well Being of the People (12th Ord Sunday) 

Sacred Heart of Jesus (Friday) Devotion to the Sacred Heart is one of the most popular Catholic Devotions. It is rooted in the much older devotion to the Five Wounds of Christ which was widespread in England before the reformation and frequently seen illustrated in stained glass windows. The Sacred Heart of Jesus emphasises the humanity of Christ. It is associated with the lives of many Saints through the last 1000 years. It is a very popular devotion in Catholic houses where an image is traditionally seen “enthroned” in the front doorway. Pope Pius XII declared that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is “the foundation on which to build the kingdom of God in the hearts of individuals, families, and nations”. Not a bad reminder and something for everybody to restore in these turbulent times. 

An online group for Women: “Rooted”, published by “Blessed is She” is a multi-topic study of the Catechism for women of all ages. If anyone would like to participate in the study, beginning with a focus on the Trinity (chapters available for free at https://blessedisshe.net/product/rooted-individual-studies/), please get in touch with Val. We hope to meet online Thursday evenings from 9-10pm. 

Toilet Plan St Joseph’s. God willing the plan to construct a new toilet suite is still going ahead this year at St Joseph’s. We are dependent on receiving permission from the Archdiocese following a forthcoming meeting this Monday 15th June to which we have submitted the relevant papers. 

Among the Sick Bridie is progressing very well at Lewisham Hospital. She is regaining her strength and getting back to her usual self. Martin hopes that she will be home at the end of this week. We send them our love and affection, especially as it is her Birthday Today! Meanwhile Sr De Angelis OP. continues to gain strength at the Dominican Convent and thanks everybody for their concern. She says that she had time to make prayers for everybody in Greenwich while in Guys Hospital… so you all owe her one! 

Greenwich Foodbank A number of people have been asking about the Foodbank system, not so much being in need for themselves but desiring to contribute and help. At the present time the foodbank system is working well. It now runs from a warehouse in Eltham with plenty of volunteers. Since the moment of the lockdown they received a plentiful supply of various preserved foods. This is distributed directly to people in their homes who may be in difficulty. The Manager is Mr Alan Robinson and we are in contact. If anybody is in need, I am able to make a direct referral online. Alan says that a greater crisis may lay in wait towards the end of summer when “Job Retention Payments” (the “Furlough Scheme”) will come to an end. It will be at that time when matters may become desperate for some people that a new appeal for food and financial support is likely to be necessary. If you are aware of any family who may be in difficulty or if you would value this help yourself individually do not be embarrassed to get in touch.

Fr Kevin 

Post expires at 8:47pm on Monday July 20th, 2020