CAFOD Lent Fast Day

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.

Alone in the Wilderness

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.

Rite of Election

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.

Events at Ushaw College

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.

God’s Wisdom

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.

But I say this to you…

Jesus’ disciples would be shocked to hear him say that they had to be more virtuous than the scribes and the Pharisees. These were the people who were admired by other Jews, for their scrupulous observance of the demands of the Law. But Jesus challenges his followers to go further. External compliance with the Law is not enough; he wants their whole hearts to be given to him. The Law prohibits murder, but Jesus warns his disciples against destructive anger and hatred. Adultery is forbidden, but the Lord teaches us that adultery begins with the lustful look that objectifies another person. Moses allowed a man to divorce his wife (though a woman could not divorce her husband); Jesus upholds marriage as a sacred bond for both spouses. If we are people of truth and integrity, we will not need to swear oaths, but only to speak with simple honesty. These are the laws of the kingdom of heaven.

Listen

A Lenten Retreat for Young Adults (18-35): At Stanbrook Abbey, Friday 6th-Sunday 8th March. An opportunity to pray, worship, listen to God’s Word and reflect in the tranquil atmosphere of the Benedictine monastery of Stanbrook, Wass, North Yorkshire. Places are limited, so please call Sophie Taylor on 0191 410 0776 if you wish to take part.

Explore, Listen, discover God’s call

A weekend for single Catholic women open to a possible call to religious life. A weekend retreat of prayer, discussion, reflection and community. An opportunity to be accompanied in your discernment, and to find out more about the spirituality and mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Friday 28th Feb – Sunday 1st March at 216A Wingrove Road Fenham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE4 9DD. For more information, contact Sr Barbara Sweeney on 07752 300056 or 0191 272 3000 or societyofthesacredheart@gmail.com

Youth 2000 retreat

This retreat is centred around the Eucharist and is a great event for young Catholics to meet new people, hear some inspirational talks and enjoy some amazing praise and worship. Friday 21st-Sunday 23rd Feb at Leeds Trinity University. The current cost is £45/£55 (Student/adult) this includes accommodation and all meals (Transport will be by train and we are hoping to fundraise for this cost – any suggestions are welcome.) Accommodation will be in the sports hall, so you will need a camping mat and sleeping bag (these can be provided if you do not have them.) For more information, contact Katie Flood on youth.durhammartyrs@rcdhn.org.uk

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