Diocesan Holocaust Memorial Evenings

Tuesday 28 January at 7.00pm at St. Mary’s School, Benton Park Road, Newcastle. Smajo Beso will tell of his parents’ experiences during the Bosnian Genocide in 1995, and Gerald Stern will recall his father’s experiences during the Holocaust.

Thursday 30 January at 7.00pm at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, Beamish Road, Billingham. Guest speaker; Marta Josephs, who will recall her father’s experiences during the Holocaust.

Church Stewarding

The church is open apart from service times from 10 to 3 on Fridays and 10 –noon on Saturdays. This allows people to pop in and pray and gives visitors to Durham a chance to see inside a building of considerable beauty.

To enable this to happen there is a small but dedicated band of stewards. There are proposals to extend the occasions when the church is open but for this to happen we need more stewards. It is not an onerous task. It usually means sitting in the narthex and saying ‘Hello’ to people, keeping an eye on the place and answering, as best you can, questions visitors might ask. There is a folder containing information on just about everything to do with the church. It is possible that no one visits on some days so it is a chance to read the paper do a few lines of knitting or whatever.

If you would like to join this group please let Fr Andrew, Ciara or David Crookes (davidcrookes@talktalk.net) know. Students are eligible too. It means studying in the narthex rather than the chaplaincy for a while.

Light of the Nations

John the Baptist was a powerful and challenging preacher – a prophet like the prophets of the Old Testament. He called the people to repent of their sins and receive baptism in the River Jordan – the same river that the people of Israel crossed when they entered the Promised Land. But when Jesus came for baptism, John demurred, knowing that Jesus had no need to repent and no sins to be forgiven. Jesus replied, ‘Let us do all that righteousness demands.’ Jesus would teach the people a new understanding of ‘righteousness.’ For disciples of Christ, to be righteous means to accept God’s love and mercy, symbolised by the water of baptism; to know ourselves to be forgiven sinners; to live the commandments of love of God and love of neighbour. Anyone who lives righteousness in this way, Peter says, is acceptable to God. Jesus’ mission is prefigured in Isaiah’s prophecy of God’s servant, who brings true justice to the nations. On the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we celebrate the beginning of Jesus’ mission to reveal God’s mercy to all the nations of the world.

A Light for all Nations

The wise men, or Magi, had travelled from a distant country in the East. They were astrologers, but somehow their study of the stars led them to seek the infant King of the Jews. They found the King they were looking for, not in Herod’s palace in Jerusalem, but in the poor family of Mary and Joseph.

On the feast of the Epiphany – a word which means ‘revealing’ or ‘manifestation’ – the Saviour begins to become known to all the nations as a light of hope, shining in the darkness of our world. The Magi were pagans, but they were sincere seekers after truth. They brought costly gifts: gold for a king, incense for the Son of God, myrrh symbolising Jesus’ suffering and death. The Magi were delighted to recognise and worship Christ, while Herod and his courtiers were ‘perturbed’ at the thought of another King arising in Israel. As we know, Herod did not hesitate to commit murder to protect his position. In contrast, the Magi show us an example of true discipleship: ready to recognise Christ, wherever we find him, and ready to bring the most precious gifts that we have to honour him.

Which Parish Charities, April 2020 to March 2021?

Each year, the proceeds from tea and coffee after Mass, the sale of refreshments at the Miner’s Gala and other parish events are divided between one international and one local charity. Currently these are St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham and the Adhanur Helping Hands orphanages and education project in India. The latter is also supported by Durham Martyrs Parish. In January 2020 we decide which two charities should be supported during the next financial year. Please offer some suggestions using the form in the narthex. You can opt to keep either or both of the current charities, or go for different ideas. Charities need to be UK registered and information about them needs to be provided to Father Andrew or the Parish Secretary.

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