17th Ordinary Sunday 26th July 2020
Orange Book Page 108
O God, protector of those who hope in you,
without whom nothing has
firm foundation, nothing is holy,
bestow in abundance your mercy upon us
and grant that,
with you as our ruler and guide,
we may use the good things that pass
in such a way as to hold fast even now
to those that ever endure…
The first reading today describes King Solomon seeking Wisdom as Gods special gift at the beginning of his reign. This is the Golden Age. David’s battles are long past. The 12 tribes are consolidated into a nation. With the Creator of the Universe enshrined in Jerusalem, Israel can flourish in pursuit of learning, culture and international trade. Solomon’s name attaches to all those books of the “Old Testament” where “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom”. This is the conviction that underpins the foundation of the British monarchy since the time of Alfred the Great. It is an ideology that specifically “Honors the stranger in the land”, “Protects widows and orphans” and is based on justice and integrity in all its dealings according to the message of the prophets. Whatever you think of the British monarchy, this purpose has distinguished the life of HM Elizabeth ll since the moment of her anointing. She is the world’s oldest surviving and longest ever reigning monarch, and the longest-serving head of state. There is no doubt that Catholics in Great Britain have an ambivalent relationship with the monarchy. Pp Pius V’ Bull Regnans in Excelsis of 1570 was gravely ill advised. It deposed Elizabeth 1st as a heretic and dispensed English Catholics from any bond of loyalty. The disastrous Armada in 1588 sealed the fate of Catholicism in England for the next 300 years, bringing all under the suspicion of sedition and treason. Yet there are British monarchs who are firmly numbered among the Catholic saints: Edward the Confessor (Westminster Abbey) Edmond the Martyr (hence Edmonton) & Queen Margaret of Scotland are all faces who look down from the pillars at OLSS. Mary Queen of Scots died for the Catholic Faith. The death of Charles 1st was not unrelated, Charles 2nd died as a Catholic leading to the expulsion of James ll for the same reason. The truth is that, in the blood line, Elizabeth ll bears no relation to any of these: She belongs to the Hanoverian dynasty that was imported from Germany in the wake of “The Glorious Revolution” in 1688. This is why, at the time of the Great War, the family discreetly changed their name from Saxe-Coberg to Windsor. Nevertheless, HM Elizabeth ll has devoted her whole life to this sacramental purpose. In the UK we are living at an extraordinary moment. England is no longer “Christian” as it was when Archbishop Michael Ramsey placed the crown on her head. There are questions about what we should teach children in school relating to history, identity and culture. So much is likely to be laid to rest, perhaps even the monarchy itself. It will be a sad day when we awake to the news that she has passed because, in Joni Mitchel’s immortal words, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. When the world threatens to become unstable you need very stable people in high places. Better still if they have been anointed by Christ for that purpose, otherwise we may find that:
“Nothing has firm foundation,
nothing is Holy…”
Gradually we have begun to open the two churches for Mass on weekdays. I am grateful to everybody for your vigilance and care to ensure that everything conforms with the requirements for Public Health. This weekend will be the first occasion that we have opened for Sunday Mass. There will be 6.00pm Mass tonight as usual at OLSS. 10.00am at St Joseph’s on Sunday and NB 12.00Noon at OLSS tomorrow. Going by experience at other local Catholic Churches I do not expect great numbers. Although OLSS has been mapped out for 60 safe places I will be surprised if we see 40. For the present time we are prevented from singing but we can have organ music and one Cantor. I shall offer Mass in the coming week with a congregation at the Following times:
Tuesday 7.00pm At St Josephs
Wednesday 12.00noon at OLSS
Thursday 12.00noon at St Josephs
Friday 12.00noon at OLSS
I do not propose that this will be a long term arrangement. We shall resume our normal Weekday Mass times later in August when we have confidently re-established reliable patterns of worship. NB. Bring your mask & a pen. NO TOILETS available. I am grateful to Stewards & Cleaners. We shall maintain these times for the time being. I shall be away 3-7th August. I expect to resume weekdays Masses at the usual time of 9.30 from week beginning Aug 10th. Depending on how many we begin to see for Sunday Masses at OLSS I will look to resume normal 9.00 & 11.00 Sunday times accordingly.
We will continue to livestream the Sunday Masses at 6.00pm from OLSS and 10.00am at St Josephs.
So many couples have been disappointed to have had to cancel their weddings this summer. Most have deferred to make arrangements again for next year. For any new couples seeking to make arrangements and for other couple verifying re- arrangements I am available at St Joseph’s (for the time being in the garden) on Tuesday evenings after the 7.00pm Mass. There are Government Guidelines that remain in place which are available on request.
Before the lockdown a number of Baptisms had been arranged which were inevitably cancelled. During the intervening period we have happily seen the safe arrival of new babies for several of our families. Baptisms must now be conducted individually with minimal arrangements and guests. It is impossible to arrange preparation meetings. For those families who already had arrangements in place please contact me and we will find a suitable time perhaps during the week when a private ceremony could be conducted. Likewise, for regular church families who are well known to us, contact me by email and we will make appropriate arrangements.
First Holy Communions
I am very grateful to Elisabeth at OLSS and Sr Mary & Roselyn at St Joseph’s for keeping in touch and sustaining all our First Holy Communion children. We are consulting with parents and families how best to proceed. Some may defer to the following year when we could amalgamate with other families but depending on each case, we are looking to conduct smaller celebrations with 7or8 children in the Autumn.
This Year we were looking forward to receiving two adults for Baptism & Confirmation as new Catholics at the Easter Vigil. This should be something that is celebrated with the whole church community gathered around the candidates to form “The Body of Christ”. Let’s see how many are coming to OLSS on Sunday in the next few weeks. Hopefully we can incorporate Sam & Tyroe at some suitable celebration before the end of summer.
We are now able to arrange funerals in church again but keeping numbers restricted to 30.
The funeral of Andrew will be at St Joseph’s Church on Wednesday 12th August at 12.00 noon followed by Cremation & Committal at Kemnal Park at 2.00pm
SUNDAY SERVICES WILL ALSO CONTINUE LIVESTREAMED AT WEEKENDS
Saturday 25th 6.00pm at OLSS Int John M (WB)
Sunday 26th 10.00am at St J’s Int: Well Being of the People
26th 12.00noon at OLSS Int: Fr John Lavery (RiP 3rd Ann)
Tuesday 28th 7.00pm at St J’s Int: Sr Dolores Caine OSU (RiP)
Wednesday 29th 12.00noon at OLSS Int: Rebecca L (RiP – Funeral)
Thursday 30th 12.00noon at St J’s Int
Friday 31st 12.00noon at OLSS Int: Zofia (Sophie) K (RiP)
Saturday 1st 6.00pm at OLSS Int: Well Being of the People
On Sunday 2nd 10.00am at St J’s Int:
12.00noon at OLSS Int: Salako Family (Ints)
An extract from Archbishop John’s weekly letter:
To the Clergy of the Archdiocese of Southwark Friday 24 July 2020
‘I shall not call you servants any more…I call you friends.’ (Jn 19:15)
… ‘My first appointment after ordination was to St Joseph’s in Pontefract. That’s in Yorkshire in case you didn’t know. The day I arrived, the Parish Priest took me on a tour around the parish in his car. He pointed out the primary and secondary schools, the hospital and the hospice, each where I would serve as chaplain. We drove past the nursing homes and housing estates I would visit. He told me that I could know when the sweet factory across the road from the presbytery was making humbugs because I would be able to smell mint in the air – and he was right. But most importantly, he said this: ‘I try to be an extension of the love of Christ in the service of His people.’ This is our shared mission in the presbyterate of the Church of Southwark: to be extensions of the love of Christ in the service of His people. Do everything you can to stay close to Christ, to draw others to Christ, to be Christ’s loving presence. When you celebrate the Sacraments, remember you are an extension of His love. When you preach and teach, remember you are an extension of His love. When you are misunderstood and treated with indifference, remember you are an extension of His love.’
‘In a few moments you will lay down your life for your friend. Literally, you will prostrate yourself in humble self-abandonment. It is only love that makes you fall flat on your face in this way. Only love. Totally surrendered to the Lord, completely vulnerable to God’s grace, remember the prayer of Blessed Charles de Foucauld:
Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all.
Post expires at 8:22pm on Saturday August 29th, 2020