Dear friends,

Tomorrow (Thursday), the Church celebrates the beautiful Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, and then – with the apostles – enters a period of prayer for the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the conclusion of Eastertide. Do join us tomorrow for Mass at 6pm for the Ascension, and again on Friday at 9.30am – when we will be joined by the Rt Rev’d Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy, the Bishop of Willesden. A light breakfast will be available after Mass on Friday morning.

The great Christian apologist C. S. Lewis explains the importance of belief in the Ascension of the Lord as follows, asking first –

Can we then simply drop the Ascension story? The answer is that we can do so only if we regard the Resurrection appearances as those of a ghost or hallucination. For a phantom can just fade away; but an objective entity must go somewhere – something must happen to it…

In other words, if we hold fast to the doctrine of Christ’s physical Resurrection, as also to belief in the immortality of Christ’s Resurrection body – then, if Christ no longer walks among us today in bodily form, we must conclude that his body is elsewhere – that, as the Ascension story narrates, he was taken up into heaven, the pioneer of our faith – plotting that route which, by faith, we too hope to walk, from earth to heaven, to paradise from the grave.

The Resurrection points out the power by which Christ conquers death: the Ascension relates the purpose for which this victory was won – to lead men home to the Father, following in the footsteps of Christ.

After Mass this coming Sunday, 21 May, there will be a short meeting in the Hall to commence planning for our Parish Barbecue – which is to take place on Saturday, 15 July. Please join us for 15 minutes, to get arrangements underway.

Next week on Saturday, 27 May, we will join our friends at St Augustine’s Church, Kilburn for their Patronal Festival (guest preacher: Bishop Rowan Williams, sometime Archbishop of Canterbury). Those who wish to travel together should gather at Kenton Station at 9.30am. There will be no Morning Prayer or morning Mass that Saturday.

Our young people are invited to sign up in church for “Pizza at the Vicarage”, on Thursday, 1 June.

There is likewise a sign-up sheet for a forthcoming parish outing to Hampton Court Palace on Sunday, 9 July: we will leave after Mass, to travel to Hampton Court by public transport – enjoying a light lunch, before Choral Evensong in the Chapel Royal, and a behind-the-scenes tour and talk by the Chaplain. Please sign up before 25 June, to confirm numbers. Further outings will hopefully take place later this year, to St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey!

I look forward to seeing you soon: may God bless you,

Fr Richard