Greetings to everyone and may I wish you all a happy and blessed New Year 2021.
By the time you read this it will be New Year. I have already seen in the new year with (brilliant) fireworks from Sydney on TV, as Australia changed calendars 21 hours before us. It is eerie – almost as confusing as seeing a global map published in New Zealand, with NZ upside down at the top in the middle, and the UK (guess where!) in the bottom right hand corner. There is no ‘right way up’ for the Earth, really, when you think about it. In the Antipodes they don’t have snow and slippery car parks at New Year. We too can be thankful to Mark Swetenham who cleared our church car park of snow on his own this morning, ready for church on Friday.
I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas, though inevitably there is always sadness for some people. I try to appreciate all the blessings I enjoy – so many wonderful positive messages from lots of you, and generous gifts too. I imagine what life must be like without Supermarkets or central heating, water and fresh milk, a telephone, and even the internet.
Talking of which, I thank the technicians who made streaming of Christmas Eve Mass possible, and trust that a good number of you could share with me in that celebration of the Incarnation. I understand there was no transmission of the mass on Christmas morning. Why the connection failed we have no idea. I also thank God that Tier 4 restrictions do not ban worship in church, but hopefully we all realise how important it is not to abuse church gathering, and take care to keep social distancing. It was good to see the church beautifully decorated for Christmas, and our Christmas tree welcoming us in the porch. The crib looked wonderful on the computer screen. Thank you to our volunteers who brought a touch of normality in this way; and to our stewards who valiantly make our worship possible week after week, arriving early and cleaning up afterwards.
We have a full house for Mass in honour of Mary the Mother of God on New Year’s Day. Saturday and Sunday Mass will be of the Second Sunday after Christmas, but I think it is excusable if we welcome the Magi early – (perhaps they have had to anticipate Brexit border restrictions this year.) It is the first time for years that we have been asked to celebrate the Epiphany actually on 6 January and not on a Sunday, so I’ve decided not to offer a public Mass on Wednesday because arranging it is so complicated. I hope nobody minds. I’ll be available to accept bookings for next weekend as usual on Wednesday between 2pm and 10pm.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Phyllis Lundy of Weaste Lane, who died last weekend. Her funeral is on Friday next. I have offered Mass for Christopher McAllister, for John Field, Winefride Field, Mary Higgins, James Comerford, and Sean O’Cleirigh. I’m aware of how difficult it must be for all who have to stay home from work, losing money in some cases, and even your jobs. It must also be dreadful to try and arrange child-minding when schools are closed. Our health workers and teachers are yearning for a real holiday, I’m sure. This won’t last for ever, but stay safe till it does stop.
Fr Tony Elder