St Mary’s: 1960 – 1979

Father Jermyn
Father Jermyn - 3rd Vicar of Kenton

In 1973, Fr Jermyn became the third Parish Priest of Kenton, having been an assistant in the parish of St Mary the Virgin, Primrose Hill, and then Parish Priest of three country parishes, in north Norfolk. It would be true to say that he has made an impression both on the fabric of St Mary’s as well as in the lives of the faithful committed to his charge. St Mary the Virgin, Kenton today stands in the mainstream of Western Catholicism as practiced by the Universal Church.

The Church here worships God with as much reverence as earth, and our human resources, will permit. The serving is of a standard seldom seen these days. The church is clean and well cared for, its ornaments, pictures, shrines, and decorations are an aid to devotion, its congregation are large, though only about an eighth of the size the Parish Priest would like! The music is, without doubt, the best that any London or Home Counties church of parochial status can produce. And all this is for two ends. To worship God first; none of the glories of the High Mass at Kenton are for human pride, but all for Jesus through Mary [we also enjoy it – which proves the authenticity and reality of our Faith]. Our worship now, as from the beginning in 1927 [as from the beginning in the whole Church], is centred on Christ the King with us always in the Blessed Sacrament. Secondly to build up the Body of Christ in love, kindness and sympathy. Sin tries to occlude this aim, but sin is already conquered, and the grace we ask for is for perseverance for the next fifty years.

The chief event of November 1979 was the observance of the Forty Hours of Prayer, which was kept from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th November. The Forty Hours is a Devotion that celebrates the time Our Lord spent in the Tomb, the time between Calvary and the Stone Rolled away, between Death and Resurrection. It is a time of renewal, a time of prayer, a time of effort and a time of silence. Fr Jermyn wrote: apart from the liturgical services [the Mass of Exposition, the Mass for Peace and the Sunday Masses] the only interruption of the silence will be the ferverino by Fr Burgess on Saturday night and the singing of Mendelssohn’s moving setting of S Thomas Aquinas’s hymn ‘Lauda Sion’. The only illumination in the Church will be the candles around the Host. Silence is the thing – silence and the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.