FR. MICHAEL WRITES:-
Repent! The time is nigh! Monday week to be precise. St John’s vision of the Apocalypse is coming to Our Lady of Grace and St Edward’s, Chiswick. Though undoubtedly one ought to welcome any such apostolic visitation, which we do, nonetheless, if one were to be thinking in the mode of unrepentant worldliness, one might have hoped for another time of year. What do I mean? “Flashes of lightning were coming from the throne and the sound of peals of thunder. Between the throne and myself,” St John says (Rev. 4:5-6) “was a sea that seemed to be made of glass, like crystal.” This is what the church floor will be like when you come to Mass on 18th December but from Monday 12th December (Tumult! Horror! Dust and Ashes! – not of the cricket variety) we will have the apocalyptic trauma of the once-a-decade total restoration of our parquet church floor. Not only over the summer did we have our fine external brickwork restored to its Victorian splendour but while here the Diocesan Surveyor checked when we had last had our church floor stripped to its original and restored, only to find that the years were passing too swiftly and that it was more than ten years since the last restoration. Thus, the current job was booked in but at a time yet to be determined. We do not, to recall last Sunday’s Gospel, know the day or the hour. At least in this case we’ve had a week’s notice! This upheaval does need your attention as our beloved parish church, apostolically open from 7.00am to 6.00pm every day to welcome sinners and saints alike to the Risen Lord at the centre of our lives, will be hideously shut for the week Monday 12th to Friday 16th December inclusive. All Masses will be celebrated in the main hall of the Parish Centre, which is also where the daily Holy Hour of Exposition of the Lord from 3.00pm to 4.00pm will take place. Full details will be in next week’s newsletter. On Monday 12th itself, the church pews will be removed to the St Edward’s Room so that the work on the floor is unhindered. This does also splendidly mean that when the pews are replaced, they will be replaced properly so that they will be evenly spaced with no crushing between badly placed pews. Indeed, all things, at least regarding the floor, will be made new! It will seem like St John’s sea of glass, nay, of crystal. Another grace to emerge from this ordeal is that the St Mary’s Primary School Carol Service, which we were due to host in church at 6.00pm on Thursday 15th December, is now to be welcomed to Christ Church, Turnham Green. The Rev’d Richard Moy and the Anglican parish community have graciously welcomed us in our hour of need so the St Mary’s Carol Service will now take place at the same time and date but in the church on the green. All of this is replete with the Advent theme that all things are made new in Christ. This is the hope our ancestors heard prophesised by Isaiah as we hear in today’s first reading. It is the truth manifested in this week’s great Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the compelling injunction of St John the Baptist in our own day: Repent! The Kingdom is at hand! Let’s attend to it.