JANUARY IS THE MONTH OF THE MOST HOLY NAME OF JESUS
Thank you all for your generous Christmas offerings to me, the cards and the very kind, supportive and encouraging words in them, the invitations to your homes, the deliveries of great home cooked food to my door, not to mention home grown Irish potatoes and indeed the extension cable, a most useful present indeed and one which I hope won’t walk out on us like all the others. I also love the tin with the image of Our Lady of Sorrows on the lid, the beautiful photo of St Therese of the Child Jesus, the wonderful CD of Vaughn Williams carols, the poetry and great reading, the most amazing nativity set and enough cakes and biscuits to keep me going to Candlemas 2024. For those of you who’ve written to me and also made an offering to the parish but still haven’t made it back to church since the pandemic, just to let you know, we miss you and pray for you to join us again. If for whatever reason you feel unable to come to church, please call me and I would be happy to visit you and bring Holy Communion to your house and have a chat and some tea. Equally, you are always welcome to come here any time.
Whilst I’m here, I would also like to thank all those who have made our church so beautiful this Christmas. Thank you Paul and Christine for the crib, the donor of our Christmas trees and Suzie and Michael for all you did to decorate the church for Christmas. Thanks to our amazing team of altar boys too for turning out in strength at our Christmas masses, some of them to two masses. We could not ask for more dedication than they give. We had all four Christmas masses which is proper ( vigil, midnight, dawn and day) and the music this year was also splendid, with our First Holy Communion choir leading well- rehearsed carols led by Natasha for the Vigil supported by Dorota and Suzie and St Thomas More Choir leading the midnight and the day masses, including a new setting of the mass ( for us) called ‘St Anne’s’ by James Macmillan which I hope will become familiar to you all. Thanks too to Helen for leading the music of our choir and providing such gorgeous music as always at the offertory. To Tony, Michael, Karla and all who have helped front of house with stewarding, thank you too and all who have helped with the cleaning just before Christmas, a big thanks and to all of you and never forgetting those who help in the office and behind the scenes, including Hugh and the team of counters, still counting the cash for those who still donate the old way. Thanks to Lorraine our sacristan, as always, Norma who has helped out with the laundry for the altar while Bernie’s away, and for the constant and ever reliable help given in the maintenance and supervision of our premises. I thank Blasco for helping to keep our old hall heaters going just a little bit longer, and another thanks goes to Milla again for the very fine needlework done on restoring and altering altar linen and vestments. A big thanks as always to Patrick, our treasurer, for managing our Finances. I would be lost without you. Thanks to all of you too who contribute to the social life of the parish, Mary, Joyce, Marian and Dave, Pat and Doris and all of you for providing meals and setting tables for our Thursday lunch club and for all who provide a bar on parish social occasions. Thanks go too to our pastoral council for their continued support and good intitiaves. I also thank Tom, Rosario and Bernie for taking Holy Communion to the housebound and helping to keep us all connected in this most essential way. For we are one body, even if you can’t physically make it to mass anymore, and through Holy Communion brought to your home, we all share in the same Bread of Life, Jesus Christ Our Lord.
I finally thank Conor, Matt and all at Praetorium Hall Hire for all the bookings for our church hall. These bookings play a major part in keeping us going and I do not underestimate the help this has been to us at a difficult time.
At this time of writing, please keep Pope Benedict XVI in your prayers. May God be with him in his struggle. No amount of prayers can be enough to thank him for all he has given the church. May Our Blessed Lady, mother of the Church, hold this great successor of St Peter, the first pope, in her immaculate heart as Pope Benedict moves from this life to the next. May her friendship for him unite his life here with the life to come and may he know God’s peace.
God bless you and all your families, dear parishioners, this New Year.
CRIB OFFERING 2022
In support of the Catholic Children’s Society Southwark Crisis Fund
The Catholic Children’s Society (CCS) is helping local disadvantaged families facing severe hardship due to the cost of living crisis. Through their Southwark Crisis Fund, CCS is providing immediate, practical support to famiies in need. Recently CCS helped a young mother who had to give up work to care for her five year old daughter who had been diagnosed with cancer. Her daughter often felt cold, so the mother would keep the heating on to help her child feel warm and comfortable. The family could just afford the rent and food but had no way to pay their rising energy bills. CCS provided a one off grant to help them get through winter. The mother said:
‘’ I felt so helpless and scared. All I wanted to do was look after my daughter, but I couldn’t stop worrying about how I would pay our bills. You have taken that worry away and now I can focus on caring for my child. Thank you’’
There are many more vulnerable families in need of support and our parish will be donating our Crib Offering to support this important work. Every penny donated will be given out via CCS’s Southwark Crisis Fund to support local families in need. You can donate at the Crib by cash or contactless or via the CCS website with message St Thomas More, Bexleyheath Crib Offering: https://www.cathchild.org.uk/crib/
PARISH NOTICE BOARD
MASSES AND INTENTIONS FOR SECOND WEEK OF CHRISTMAS
JANUARY INVOCATIONS TO THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS.