The Bishops of England and Wales have issued guidance to parishes about the Coronavirus outbreak. At present, the risk to the public in this country is low, and there is no need for special measures around the Sign of Peace or reception of Holy Communion from the chalice. We are advised to maintain good hygiene; ministers of the Eucharist should sanitise their hands before and after distributing Communion. We should all combat prejudice and discrimination against people of Chinese origin.
Soup lunch in aid of CAFOD, every Friday in Lent, after 12.15pm Mass. Volunteers are needed to make soup – please sign up!
This Lent, CAFOD’s Family Fast Day is an opportunity to reach out to some of the poorest, most marginalised of our sisters and brothers. Your donations go to highly-trained, highly-skilled local experts who support the health of the world’s poorest families. On Friday 6 March, will you eat a simple meal in solidarity and give what you save to help CAFOD’s work? Through CAFOD’s global Church family – one of the largest aid networks in the world – your support can reach to the ends of the earth. Please collect your Family Fast Day envelope from church this week and give whatever you can.
We will be celebrating our patron saint with Sung Vespers at 6.30pm on Friday 20th March. The preacher will be the Revd Michael Everitt, Canon Pastor of Durham Cathedral. On Saturday 21st March, Fr Andrew will be preaching at the 4.00pm Eucharist in Durham Cathedral, for the feast of St Cuthbert.
If you enjoy the singing at Mass why not consider becoming more involved, even for just a short time? The choir invites you to help support the singing of the Liturgy over the Easter Triduum. We rehearse every Tuesday evening from 7.45 – 8.45pm. Every week, as well as rehearsing for the upcoming Sunday, we will be refreshing/learning items for the Easter Triduum, so why not come and join us? Don’t worry if you can’t read music or feel like your voice isn’t good enough. It’s not a performance; it’s about coming together to use the gifts we have to enhance our Liturgy and help our congregation in its worship. Why not give it a go? If you’d like more details please contact Alison McLean on 07770 884692 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you spare an hour or more to help get the Church and Parish Room ready for Holy Week and Easter? We will be having a spring clean on Saturday 4th April from about 10:30am and if you can help, please do come along.
If you can help with welcoming, reading or administering Holy Communion at our Easter services, please sign up on the rota on the noticeboard as soon as you can. We need lots of volunteers to ensure that our liturgies are celebrated with dignity and joy without overloading our ministers.
If you would be willing to take part in the foot-washing which is part of the Mass on Holy Thursday evening, then also sign up on the list on the noticeboard or let Fr Andrew or Andy Doyle know as soon as possible.
At the heart of Christian faith is the doctrine of the Incarnation – our belief that, in Jesus, the Son of God became truly human. Jesus’ humanity is revealed in today’s Gospel reading. Having been baptised by John, he goes into the wilderness to pray and prepare himself for his public ministry. Alone and hungry, Jesus is vulnerable. The devil comes to tempt him: to use his divine powers for his own benefit; to work a spectacular miracle that would gain the attention of the crowds; or to worship the false god of worldly power. The temptations are real, but Jesus resists them, because he trusts absolutely in his Father, and is utterly committed to the mission that his Father has given him – in contrast to Adam and Eve, who were deceived by the devil and turned away from obedience to God. By Jesus’ obedience to the Father, our sin is overcome. As we begin the season of Lent, we are called to follow the Lord’s example. The Holy Spirit who, strengthened Jesus in the wilderness, will strengthen us in our own struggles with temptation.
The candidates and catechumens taking part in our Journey in Faith programme will be enrolled at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle, Sunday, 1st March. Please pray for those preparing for Baptism, Confirmation or Reception into full communion with the Church, and for their sponsors and families.
Holy Island Summer Camp offers a Christian camping holiday to boys and girls in school Years 5 & 6. Bookings are open now. Details at www.svpholyislandcamp.co.uk If the cost of camp is a problem, please speak to Fr Andrew.
The camp also needs volunteers for dormitory, kitchen and caretaking roles – see the website.
A Lenten Reflection at Ushaw: An opportunity to experience different ways of praying at this time of Lent and on the feast of the Annunciation, led by Sister Rosarie Spence RSM, on Wednesday March 25th, 10.30am-3.30pm. The cost is £10.00 per person, to include refreshments at the beginning and the end of the day. Lunch can be purchased in the Refectory, and you can book online at www.ushaw.org or on 0191 3345119
Ushaw Lecture: The Materiality of Christian Pilgrimage, Medieval to Modern: Reflections From a Church Historian and Sometime Pilgrim. Presented by Prof Salvador Ryan, St Patrick’s College Maynooth. Wednesday 26 February at 5.30pm.
An opportunity for people to come together to explore this resource and learn how to lead groups who will be using it after Easter. This event is part of The God Who Speaks, the Year of the Word. On Saturday 21 March, at St. John Vianney Church, Newcastle. Please contact email@example.com to register your interest.
Pride and Providence: Reflecting With St Augustine on Our Political Malaise. Presented by Sr Margaret Atkins OSA, Augustinian Sisters, Boarbank Hall, Cumbria. Wednesday 10th March at 5.30pm, at Ushaw College. Entry is free, and transport will be provided from Durham city centre, but you need to register at https://centreforcatholicstudies.eventbrite.com/
The first day of the season of Lent, is this week. It is a day of fasting and abstinence. Mass with imposition of ashes will be celebrated at St Cuthbert’s at 12.15pm and 7.00pm.
The ancient law of ‘An eye for an eye’ seems brutal to us. It was a harsh law for a harsh time; a law that put a limit on vengeance, so that violence did not escalate out of control. Jesus calls his disciples to a higher standard: to resist violence and injustice without resorting to violence themselves. Modern movements for civil rights and justice show us the power of non-violent resistance, but it can be a difficult and costly road to follow.
The Law required the people of Israel to love their neighbours, but was often interpreted as imposing no obligation to love sinners or enemies. Jesus, again, calls his disciples to do more; to love the enemy and pray for the persecutor, following the example of God our Father, who loves all those he has created. Such a radical vision may seem impossible, even foolish. This is not the wisdom of the world, but a wisdom that changes the world.
Ash Wednesday this year is on 26th February. After the 10am Mass this Sunday we shall, as is traditional, burn your palm leaves and crosses from last year in order to provide the ashes – so please bring your palms to church and place them in the box provided in the porch.
Canon Bob Spence will celebrate the 10.00am Mass this Sunday. Please give him a warm welcome.
The Centre for Catholic Studies has a vacancy for a Postdoctoral Research Associate. Details at https://www.dur.ac.uk/theology.religion/ccs/new/
During the Fridays of Lent, we shall be arranging celebrations of the Stations of the Cross. If you, as an individual or a group, would like to arrange and lead a celebration, please let Fr Andrew or Andy Doyle know as soon as you can.