A note from Martin D

Downs Syndrome is an inherited condition in which a child is born with an extra chromosome, which affects the child’s development. A child with Downs Syndrome has unique needs and they often require extra, specialist help, but with the right support, they are perfectly able to live a full life. I am arranging several fundraising events to support a local family who are facing some extra challenges, culminating with participation in the Great North Run. Please support this good cause as generously as you canMartin D.

There will be a Cheese & Wine quiz night on Saturday 9th March, 7:00pm at St Oswald’s Institute to raise funds. Tickets will be available after 10am Mass today. For more information please contact Martin or Liz Donbavand on 07903888399.

If anybody has any raffle prizes they would like to donate they would be greatly appreciated, these can be dropped off at the parish office. We are looking for donations of wines, spirits and chocolates, thank you.

Thank You

For all your generosity with fundraising over the past year. Before Christmas we sent off a donation to St Cuthbert’s Hospice of £868.64 from money raised at 10am Mass tea and coffees and profits from the Shared Harvest in September (please see letter on the noticeboard). This week we sent off to buy 13 birth certificates and a tree for life with the money raised over Advent and we have twinned our toilet with one in Malawi with money donated over the year in the toilet twinning box.

The First of the Signs

The wedding feast at Cana would be a huge celebration. The whole village would be invited, along with the family and friends of the bride and groom. It was a joyful day. But if the wedding party ran out of wine, joy would turn into embarrassment and social disgrace for the host family. Jesus’ mother spots the situation, and turns to her son, with absolute confidence that he has the power to help. Though Jesus at first seems reluctant, he works a miracle that saves the day: by changing water into wine, he transforms embarrassment into delight.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus’ miracles are described as ‘signs.’ They are signs that God is with Jesus, and working through him. The signs bring about faith, for those who are ready to see. This miracle, prompted by the unquestioning faith of Jesus’ mother, reveals Jesus’ glory and leads his disciples to believe in him. The revealing of the Son of God, which begins at Christmas and continues at Epiphany, reaches a new stage. Now Jesus will be revealed to the whole world.

Ushaw Lecture

Tuesday 22 January 2019: Ushaw Lecture by Julian Coman (The Guardian) on the Politics of Place. Globalisation, the economic crash of 2008 and a migration crisis have triggered a crisis in western European societies. From Brexiting Britain to an Italy where nationalism is resurgent, the far right is mobilising a romantic politics of place and identity, which is hostile to the outsider. How can progressive thought fight back? 5.30pm drinks for 6pm lecture at Ushaw College. All welcome; please register via https://centreforcatholicstudies.eventbrite.com or call 0191 334 1656.

Diocesan Holocaust Memorial Evenings

Diocesan Holocaust Memorial Evenings on the theme ‘Torn from Home.’ Tuesday 29th January at 7.00pm at St Mary’s Catholic School, Benton Park Road, Benton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7PE (speaker: Mrs Gay Keenaghan) AND Thursday 31st January at 7.00pm, at St Michael’s Catholic Academy, Beamish Road, Billingham TS23 3DX (speaker: Mr Zigi Shipper BEM). Booking is essential for both events, at www.interreligioushn.eventbrite.co.uk or by telephone on 0191 265 5290.

Finchale Partnership Confirmation programme

A Confirmation preparation programme will be run in the Finchale Partnership during 2019, open to all young people in school Y9 and upwards. The initial information session for young people and their parents is planned for March 2019.  We would like to establish a group of people from across our Partnership – experienced Confirmation catechists and adults who are not catechists but would be willing to help with the sessions.  There will be a meeting on Tuesday 5th February 7.15pm, St Patrick’s presbytery, Langley Moor, DH7 8JJ (parking available, Mass at 6.30pm). If you are interested in helping but cannot attend this meeting please contact Brendan Payne (brendanpayne@doctors.org.uk / 0771 753 1935).

Advent Collection

This year we raised money for birth certificates. A birth certificate costs £25, and is possibly the most valuable item a child could receive. When babies are born at home in poor, rural areas, it is too difficult to travel to register the birth. But a child without a birth certificate faces problems. In Zimbabwe, for example, children without a birth certificate cannot go to school, take exams, apply for an ID card, vote, or access many other basic essential services. Because of your generosity we have raised £336 enough for 13 birth certificates! Thank you.

YOU ARE MY BELOVED

John the Baptist drew the people with his message of repentance. They came to John for baptism in the River Jordan; a symbolic action, showing their desire for forgiveness of their sins and a new direction in their lives. So why does Jesus come to be baptised by John? He is without sin, and has no need for repentance or forgiveness. But, by immersing himself in the waters of the Jordan, Jesus shows us that he is fully immersed in our human condition. His baptism symbolises his unconditional ‘Yes’ to his Father’s plan of salvation. Without sin himself, he will share fully in the consequences of sin, all the way to the Cross. After his baptism, Jesus receives the Holy Spirit and hears words of consolation and encouragement from God the Father: ‘You are my Son, the Beloved.’ In our own baptism, we said ‘Yes’ to God’s plan for us, and we were adopted as God’s children – brothers and sisters of his beloved Son.

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