None so blind as those who will not see

In Jesus’ time, it was taken for granted that sickness or disability was God’s punishment for sin. This idea lies behind the disciples’ question to Jesus: “Who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?” The man not only has to live with his blindness; he is also despised by those who judge him as a sinner, and has to live by begging.

Jesus rejects this whole way of thinking. By giving the blind man his sight, he also gives him dignity and independence. God’s power is displayed in the man; he can now recognise Jesus as a prophet, and witness to him courageously in the face of the Pharisees’ hostile questioning.

The Pharisees, in contrast, reject Jesus, even when they can see the miracles he works. They “know” that Jesus must be a sinner, because he heals the sick on the sabbath. Their reasoning blinds them to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God.

The blind man has been given his sight by Jesus. The Pharisees remain wilfully blind. By the gift of faith, God opens our eyes to see Christ, and our ears to hear the Good News that he brings. The season of Lent is a privileged time to renew the gift of faith, and to clear away the obstacles that can prevent us from seeing Christ clearly.

Events at minsteracres

Lenten Days of Reflection: An opportunity to step aside during the season of Lent, listen to God in scripture and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the countryside. On Wednesday 29 March and Wednesday 5 April, 10:00am–4:00pm, with a light lunch provided. Suggested donation: £20.

Holy Week Retreat: Join the community on their journey towards Easter, including time for reflection and the opportunity to take part in the liturgies of Holy Week. This retreat starts on Thursday 13 April at 6:30pm and ends on Sunday 16 April at 2:00pm. Led by the Minsteracres team. Cost £165.


As we move into new partnerships, an important emerging priority is our relationship with young people. The report of the young people’s survey ‘The Way We See It ‘ and Pope Francis’ call for a Synod on Youth invite us to reflect on this relationship. All adult parishioners and young people of sixth form age are invited to a Diocesan Conference at the Newcastle Assembly Rooms on Saturday 13 May Every church community is asked to be represented. Further details are in the booking form available from the parish priest or from the Youth Ministry Team (01207 592244 or Details also on YMT website

A day for Confirmation Catechists and those interested in becoming Confirmation Catechists

Saturday 29 April 2017, 10:00am – 3:00pm at St Joseph’s Parish Hall, Gateshead, NE8 1LX.
This day will look at the following:
Exploration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, Principles and planning of a Confirmation programme using the diocesan guidelines, What it means to be a Confirmation catechist.
There is no charge for this day. Please bring a packed lunch. Booking is essential. If you would like to attend, you can book online at or contact us at or on 0191 243 3313

Diocesan Chrism Mass

This is the annual celebration when the holy oils are blessed for the coming year, and the priests and deacons of the diocese renew their commitment to service, in communion with the Bishop. The Chrism Mass will be celebrated on Holy Thursday, 13 April, at 11.00am in St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle. Everyone is welcome.

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