Newsletter 23 February 2020
Fr Bill writes: Lent is here! What shall we give up? What I propose is that we give up being certain of anything much but the certainty of love!
For I can be certain of nothing except love. All love on earth and in heaven gains its certainty from God and in an uncertain world God is the only and abiding certainty.
Lent starts on Wednesday. On this Wednesday we have a special 15 minutes early morning prayer at a special early time of 7am for people who can’t make either of the two masses which are at 9am and one at 7.30pm.
At the early morning prayer and at the two masses we have the sign of the cross smudged onto our foreheads, a mark made with ash.
In this simple and moving ceremony I ask you all to come to the altar steps and I will make a sign of the cross on your forehead with ashes from last year’s palm leaves mixed with a little olive oil to help them stick. Palm leaves because they remind us of the palms that were waved in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. He was riding in to the holy city as king of love to be crowned with a crown of thorns and to be enthroned on a cross of wood because he would not give up his godly title, King of Love and Prince of Peace. As we receive the ashes on our foreheads we proclaim that we too are citizens of that same heavenly kingdom of love.
In an uncertain world, with flooding in so many parts of our beloved country, with health issues and new viruses, with political uncertainty and changes in the status of our nation and our belonging, with churches and mosques being attacked, with people denying God, with our community threatened by drug dealers and the terrible scourge of drug violence, with threats from and to computers and from Artificial Intelligence, with rising sea levels threatening the life and livelihoods of millions of people in the future, with species becoming extinct at a rate not known for millions of years, we need to find a rock on which we can build our lives.
That rock is love. Yes, human love first because that is how we learn about love. And then divine love, for when human love goes wrong that is not the end, all love comes from God who is the source of everything that is really good.
So let’s show our love for each other, first at home, being kind, supportive, forgiving, caring, compassionate and considerate, then to our relatives, ending family feuds, then to our neighbours, keeping an eye open for their needs, visiting and ringing them up if we are worried about them. Then let’s reach out to those not known to us who still need us – that’s why I want us to start a Society of St Vincent de Paul here on Monday 9th March, meeting in the parish hall at 7.30pm to learn more about it.
Masses this week and next: 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Page 238. Sat 22 Feb. 6.30pm Mass celebrated by Fr Brendan Carmody SJ (Farm Street/ Tyburn Convent). Sun 23 Feb 9am Mass. Fr Bill celebrating. Reader: Victor Scalzo. 11am Mass. Readers: Jocelyn Onyeka and Elizabeth Richards. Eucharistic Ministers: Liz Cetin and Jackie Charles. Hospitality: Jackie Baptiste. Geoffrey Yates, the sound engineer has fixed the sound system so it should now be ok.
Diary: Mon 24 Feb: 8am Mass, feria;
Tues 25 Feb: 7pm Mass, Pancakes afterwards in parish Hall.
Ash Wednesday: 26 Feb: 7am morning prayer and Ashes. 9am Mass and distribution of ashes. Intention Bernadette Quinn first anniversary mass. RIP. 6.15pm Meditation in sacristy. 7.30pm Mass and Ashes.
Thurs 27 Feb: 8.30am Adoration. 9.30am Mass, Lent feria.
Fri 28 Feb: 8am Mass, Lent feria. Stations of the Cross 7pm volunteer please!
1st Sunday of Lent, Page 532. Sat 29 Feb. 6.30pm Mass Sun 01 Mar. 9am Readers: Odete Lauritzson 11am Mass Readers: Elizabeth Richards and Alma Smith. Cleaning:
Caroline Bowder. Last week’s Offertory: Loose: £288.94 Envelopes: £125.10 Bingo: £210.00
Tuesdays 7.30pm in Lent in Hall: Tuesday 3rd. 1st of two Lent Talks on Papal Exhortation on the Amazon Synod – “Missionaries, lay leadership and strong women.” Tuesday 10th. Finance Committee. Tuesday 17th St Patrick’s Day Irish Saint introduced and remembered. Tuesday 24th Parish parochial Council. Tuesday 31st 2nd Talk on the Papal Exhortation on the Amazon Synod “What happens there happens to us all.”.
Sunday 29th March. Rededication of England to Our Lady as her Dowry.
Palm Sunday 5th April. No mass on Saturday and one mass that weekend on Sunday with Procession from Pineapple Park starting at 10am.
Maundy Thursday 9th April, evening mass and watching. Good Friday 10th April. 3pm reading of the Passion, Adoration of the Cross and distribution of Holy Communion. Saturday 11th April. Lighting of the New Fire 8.30pm, Easter Vigil, Baptism and Renewal of Baptismal Vows and First Mass of Easter. Easter 10am Easter Day Mass
Next Baptism Classes: The next classes will be on 11th and 18th March. Contact Liz Cetin on 07553 520 929 to inform her. There are no baptisms during Lent.
Society of Vincent de Paul (SVP) meeting in the parish hall at 7.30pm on 9th March to launch the parish’s SVP “Conference”- all welcome. Do come to this!
NEWSLETTER FOR 26 January 2020 The week in which we leave the European Union
Fr Bill writes: well, it’s come to this! Next week we will be out of the European Union and we will be facing a new and to many of us an unexpected future. Is there anything from the Christian tradition that might help us understand what we face and how we are to face it?
The first principle is that in The epistle to the Romans where Paul says that the authorities are put there by God to help us lead quiet and useful lives. So, principle 1: this might be what God wants for his people.
Second the great prophets in the Old Testament who warned the kings of Israel and Juda against standing up to the power of Assyria and Babylon if that was not God’s will for his people, were realists. They knew that against a mighty power, unless God was on their side, such as he was on the side of the young David when he slew the mighty warrior Goliath with a pebble from his sling, then it was foolishness to listen to the prophesies which said everything was going to be alright, God would rescue his people. God only rescues his people if that’s what he wants to do. So principle 2. Don’t assume God isn’t also on the other side as well. He uses non-believers to accomplish his will, as well as believers.
Then another principle is that what God does in the life of individuals, nations and the world has a purpose, even though we often cannot see it. Principle 3: God is working his purpose out (that is a matter of faith, and not easy).
Then it might well be that our sins are crying out to heaven for vengeance and vengeance is God’s and he will repay. So the sins of slavery, the sins of imperialism, the sins of selling vast amounts of arms to repressive governments, the sins of unfettered and amoral late capitalism, the sins of ignoring our own poor, of destroying industry, of leaving industrial wastelands in the north of England and in the mining and steel communities, the sins of not sharing our wealth with each other, the sins of stashing people in high-rise flats without adequate play space, the sins of pollution and over-consumption, yes, these all cry to heaven for judgement and this could be God’s judgement on us. We need God to teach us a lesson in humility and my guess is that we are going to get it! So, principle 4: God is just and will see justice done.
Then if that’s not all a bit too grim, God does not allow us to wallow in our sins but with every temptation he will provide a way forward. There will be a way forward, a good, loving, kind, compassionate, realistic, friendly, neighbourly, equitable and generous way forward we just need to look for it. This was the secret of the Kingdom of God which is all around us and it was what the prophet said when he told the people in exile to settle down and have families and benefit their new communities. Principle 5: There is goodness to be found, just look for it.
Next, don’t forget the mercy of God. The clouds might look dark with threat, there may be all sorts of horrors ahead, some real, some imagined but there will also be lots of mercy, that is the undeserved blessings that God gives us where we are and not because of what we are but because of who we are: the beloved children of the heavenly Father. So, principle 6: God is full of mercy and we must also be merciful. merciful.
And a final idea: what is most important is relationship – our relationship with God and with each other. We are family, the world and everyone in it is one big family, loved by God who creates us and sustains us. A family loves and squabbles but will not destroy each other. We are to witness to family, sometimes that’s easy, sometimes almost impossible. The Cross of Christ is also about our big brother Jesus taking all our anger onto himself and holding it close to him until it turns to repentance, forgiveness, mercy and redemption and a new life in the light. So, principle 7:When we are stuck, look on the cross and draw from it the inspiration you and I need to keep going forward into the light. Amen and God Bless!
Enjoying the first of our fortnightly community lunches cooked in our new kitchen in Our Lady’s Hall, Since October we have provided lunch once a month on a Tuesday and Sands End Adventure Playground in Pineapple Park has providing lunch two weeks later. We will start again in the New year.
The icon of Christ appears in glory lit by the late evening sun
Marie at the BBQ on Pentecost Sunday
Above: The Church Tower at evening time.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help here in Fulham, near the Thames is open for each and everyone of us all through this coming year. The church that carries her name is in Stephendale Road in Fulham, SW6. We have had many occasions to thank her for her intercessions to her Son in whose name we live and move and have our being. Here there is a welcome for everyone of goodwill, a place of prayer and beauty.
Our postal address is Parish House, 2 Tynemouth Street, Fulham, SW6 2QT. You will find Sand’s End east of Wandsworth Bridge Road, south of New King’s Road, north Imperial Wharf. You can contact us on 020 7736 4864. Fr Bill’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org and his parish mobile is 07598878599 and the parish email address is email@example.com