Deacon Peter writes...
Hello again everyone, I hope you are all still keeping safe and well and are continuing to enjoy the good weather from the safety of your own homes and gardens. I also have some competition now from lucky the cat who is getting very adept at writing? It is good also to hear that you are in good spirits as I know from speaking to some of you on the phone that you continue to take a positive attitude from our current situation.
Since writing last, things look as though they are beginning to change not just over the world but also here at home with a lot of the lockdown restrictions now being eased, but we must remember not to ‘run before we can walk’! and so the social distancing in some form in particular remains in place for the foreseeable future. We continue to salute the work of the NHS staff as they do all they can to help the people in their care so it was great also to see the street artist Banksy also recognising this with his painting at the Southampton General hospital last week depicting a child playing with a new superhero doll, that of a nurse, as Batman and Spiderman lay discarded in the toy box. What was disheartening though was to hear that someone had tried to steal it, some things never change.
Of course, there is a great deal of excitement about the lifting of the restrictions not least as we will be hoping that it will allow our churches once again to reopen and we await the response of the Bishops of England and Wales to see what measures will be implemented. I read last week the Church of England were coming under fire for doing nothing during the restrictions especially during the Easter celebrations when they compared The Archbishop of Canterbury celebrating mass from his kitchen whereas the Holy Father Pope Francis continued to address the world from St. Peters, I suppose it makes a change from Catholics taking a ‘proverbial bashing’.
On a lighter note, the current situation has forced me to cut into the Christmas cake I made in October, it’s still very moist and full of flavour (I do like a drop of brandy in the mix) and if nothing else the lockdown has given some of us a degree of structure that we don’t normally have due to our alternative lifestyle, so breakfast at nine, lunch at one, tea and cake at five and dinner at eight, perfect!
Many new words linked to coronavirus have entered our vocabulary since March, furlough being one, The New Normal another, self-isolating, pandemic, key workers, these are all words we are using on a daily basis but my attention now turns to Lockdown-hair! I feel I am going back to my early teens as my hair grows longer by the day, I may have to watch a you-tube video on cutting hair at home or return to church with a ponytail! Hmm, there’s an option. I have also noticed over the past few weeks the amount of people who are giving interviews from home specifically from a home office where the backdrop appears to be shelves full of books but I have also noticed the same in kitchens and living rooms, and there I am thinking most people now had a kindle.
This week we have also managed to transplant some large shrubs from tubs in the back to the front garden so I am hoping they take, I have dug them in deep with fertiliser and plenty of water so fingers crossed they will establish themselves ready for next year, we are still awaiting the vegetable plants that were ordered on-line a couple of weeks ago but I have the vegetable plot already dug and ready to go so again, fingers crossed, however that is minus the tumbling tomato plants we can’t seem to get. This week has also been interesting watching the television with all the programs dedicated to the 75th anniversary of VE day and the many sacrifices of so many, it’s extraordinary how people relate that time of their lives to what we are presently living through.
The time I have been away from my workplace has also given me time to sort through some old paperwork etc. and it’s interesting what you come across that you had forgotten about. I came across a parish newsletter from October 2015, it has all the usual features but also has a parish quiz section featuring ten questions, question number nine is; Name one of the thirteen seminarians studying for priesthood for Portsmouth diocese? And it goes on to list all thirteen, one of those in their final year at Allen Hall is a certain Ross Bullock, I wonder what became of him?
This month of May has also been dedicated by Pope Francis within his prayer intentions to pray for all Deacons;
“We pray that deacons, faithful in service to the word and the poor may be an invigorating symbol for the entire church”
So please continue to pray not just for deacons, but for all the clergy, for those parishioners who have recently died and for each other.
God bless you all
Friday 15th May 2020