Fortnightly bulletins

During the school summer holidays, bulletins are being issued fortnightly instead of weekly: i.e. the bulletin for Sunday 14 August will also cover Sunday 21 August. Weekly bulletins will resume on Sunday 28 August. Please make sure any items for the bulletin reach the Parish Office by the Friday morning preceding publication.

For the most up-to-date information please refer to the parish website, www.stcuthberts-durham.org.uk.

Events Group

The Parish “Events Group” will meet after the 10:00 Mass on Sunday 31 July 2016, over tea and coffee in the Parish Room: if you have ideas for social events or can give a little of your time to building up our community together, please come along.

Look not on our sins

‘Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church’

This prayer, tucked away between the Lord’s prayer and greeting each other in the peace of Christ, always encourages me. However much I might fail to live up to the calling of Christ, there is a greater body, a greater reality, that holds the faith for me when I am too weak to hold it for myself. My feeble attempts to believe and to follow Jesus often founder, and my most ardent desire to be ‘all for Jesus’ (in the words of Mother Teresa) soon cools.

Fortunately for me, and for all of us, the faith we proclaim does not belong to us, but to the Church. It is a faith that goes before us, and comes to us as a gift. We are invited not to take it on as a burden, but to participate in it by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. By the Holy Spirit, we are joined to the Church, the body of Christ, and her faith becomes ours as well. Saving faith in Christ comes not by a mighty effort of will and intellect, but by grace.

That doesn’t mean, however, that there is no work for my will and intellect to do. By no means! To receive the gift of God involves an attitude of humility and gratitude; we do not sit passively but train our wills actively to desire the faith of the Church. Fortunately the Holy Spirit shapes our hearts just for this purpose: to welcome Jesus, and in welcoming him, to become like him. With the Holy Spirit, my weakness becomes his strength.

Foster Carers Needed

St Cuthbert’s Care fostering agency, Fostering North East, desperately needs more foster carers to provide stable, loving homes for children in the region.

If you think you could foster a child or are interested in finding out more about fostering, you can go along and meet the team for an informal chat at the Farmers’ Market in Market Square, Durham on Thursday 21 July between 10:30am and 2:00pm.

If you can’t go along on the day, but would still like to know more about fostering, please visit www.fosteringnortheast.org.uk or ring Fostering North East Operations Manager Joann Gibson on 0191 2280111 or email joann.gibson@fosteringnortheast.org.uk

Visiting Friars

In advance of taking up his new role as Procurator General of the Order of Preachers, fr. Ben is away at the Order’s General Chapter in Bologna until 5 August. Please keep him and the members of the Chapter in your prayers.

While he is away, in addition to fr. Tony and fr. Becket, we welcome fr. Euan Marley of St Columba’s, Glasgow. Masses on Sunday 31 July by fr. Euan.

Parish Evening

The next Parish evening will be on Wednesday 20 July, with Mass at 7.00pm, followed by a shared meal and a discussion. We will be joined by Karen Kilby, who will lead our discussion on the relationship of love and suffering. The evening will finish at about 9.30pm. All are welcome.

Diocese becomes Living Wage Employer

The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle is pleased to announce that it is now an accredited Living Wage Employer. This means that every diocesan employee earns not just the minimum wage but the Living Wage.

The Diocese perceives the commitment to the Living Wage as upholding the Common Good and the dignity of work and ensures that people have quality time to spend for themselves and with their family. This development is a response to Pope Francis’ call to be a ‘poor Church for the poor’ (Pope Francis, Audience with Journalists, 16 March 2013).

The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet. The Living Wage is £1.05 per hour above the National Living Wage which was introduced by the Government in April 2016.

You can find out more about the Living Wage by visiting www.livingwage.org.uk or contact Katherine Nugent on 0191 243 3301 or katherine.nugent@diocesehn.org.uk

Deanery Reflection and Prayer for Vocations

You are invited to come along to Ushaw College on Thursday, 14th July, for a deanery evening of prayer and reflection for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life. The evening will begin with coffee at 7.00pm and be finished by 8.15pm. Please give this event your prayers and support. For further details contact Fr Shaun O’Neill (Diocesan Vocations Director) or Fr David Smith (Diocesan Vocations Promoter) on vocations@rcdhn.org or see the poster at the back of the church.

New Parish Priest

Fr Andrew Downie

Bishop Séamus has appointed Fr Andrew Downie as Parish Priest of St Cuthbert’s and Catholic Chaplain to Durham University in succession to fr. Ben. The formal handover will happen later in the summer.

Fr Andrew is a native of Sunderland; he studied Natural Sciences at the Cambridge and later qualified as a solicitor. He trained for the priesthood at the Venerable English College, Rome, where he gained a Licence in Fundamental Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Ordained priest in 2002, Fr Andrew is currently parish priest of St Patrick’s and St Pius X, Consett,  having served in the past as Vocations Director for the diocese and Chaplain at the Universities of Newcastle and Northumberland.

Fr Andrew has a special interest in the teaching of Vatican II, and in the encounter of faith with contemporary culture, and is studying for a PhD part-time in the University’s Department of Theology and Religion.

From fr. Ben…

To all at St Cuthbert’s:

Dear brothers and sisters,

It is the task of all Christians – and in a particular way members of the Order of Preachers – to proclaim the Good News we have received. It is never pleasant for us to have to give or receive bad news.

I am therefore particularly grateful that our Prior Provincial, fr. Martin Ganeri OP, came to Durham last weekend to tell mass-goers at St Cuthbert’s personally of the decision of the Friars’ recent Provincial Chapter to withdraw the community of friars from Durham (as well as Glasgow and Newcastle). The decision was made in order to strengthen the communal life in a Province that has become increasingly stretched in recent years, and there is more information on the Province’s website, www.english.op.org.

Since the announcement, many people have spoken to me or written to express their emotions: sorrow, dismay, distress, surprise, perplexity; even devastation and anger. I understand those emotions and have shared in many of them; this was not the way I had hoped, planned or expected to leave Durham. But I am grateful too for the understanding, sympathy and promises of prayers expressed by so many.

I thank the Diocese and to Bishop Séamus for the generous welcome and the trust placed in us four years ago when St Cuthbert’s Parish and the University Chaplaincy were entrusted to the Order. I am desperately sorry that this charge is being returned after such a short time. The Bishop clearly understands the vital importance of the Church’s ministry in and around Universities, and is appointing a dedicated and experienced Parish Priest and University Chaplain in the person of Fr Andrew Downie. I know he will receive a warm welcome from all here when he comes in the autumn.

There will be opportunities in the coming months for me to express my thanks to all at St Cuthbert’s for their support and welcome, whatever anxieties there might have been about these strange friars, and to ask forgiveness for my faults, failures and shortcomings.

I will be in Oxford on Sunday 10 July for the Ordination of three of our young friars: frs. Matthew Jarvis and Oliver Keenan to the priesthood and fr. Jean-Baptiste Régis to the diaconate. These occasions are signs of hope for the future of the Church; please keep these brothers in your prayers. At the request of the Master of the Order, I will then be in Bologna 15 July – 5 August providing canonical support to our General Chapter. I expect to be back in Durham for the Sundays of August.

Whatever bad news, disappointments or farewells may come our way, we must never forget our Christian mission to preach the Good News: that Christ is the first-born from the dead, and that everything in heaven and everything on earth is reconciled through him and in him when he made peace by his death on the cross (cf. Col 1:18, 20). Let us pray for each other at this time, that our dedication to proclaiming that joyful truth may be renewed.

fr. Benjamin Earl OP
Vicar, Parish Priest and Chaplain

The kingdom of God is at hand

The gospel passage for this Sunday makes clear the challenge of proclaiming the gospel. Christ sends out the seventy-two disciples with nothing but the Good News that the “kingdom of God is very near” (Luke 10:9).

There must have been tremendous uncertainty among those seventy-two about how they would even survive, with no guaranteed food or lodging; most likely they had had little chance to plan. Yet they are given confidence that the Lord’s message is true; the Lord himself is to visit the places his disciples prepare.

We face uncertainty in the future too: the Diocese this weekend launches the next stage of the Forward Together in Hope process, which will inevitably mean change in many places. St Cuthbert’s parish and the University Chaplaincy too will inevitably face change and uncertainty in coming months.

But amid all this we must remember that we are disciples; the Lord is with us. The message we proclaim is true and is good news, and where we are faithful in proclaiming him, the Lord will come – and we will have cause to rejoice, not in our achievements, but in the promise of the kingdom.

Forward Together in Hope

There is a pastoral letter from Bishop Séamus for Sunday 3 July, and a new leaflet detailing the progress so far in the Forward Together in Hope renewal process across the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

Please take copies of both when you leave Mass, and keep the future of our Diocese, Parish and Chaplaincy in your prayers as we continue together to work out how best to serve and proclaim Christ in Durham and across the North East.

More information about the process is available on the Diocesan website at hope.rcdhn.org.uk, or on the Parish Website at www.stcuthberts-durham.org.uk/ftih.

Durham Miners’ Gala, 9 July 2016

This year’s Miners’ Gala is on Saturday 9 July, and as usual we will be selling refreshments to raise money for charity. If you can help on the day itself, or with preparations beforehand, please sign up on the list at the back of church.

We are also looking for contributions of quiche and of cakes. Please sign up on the list if you can help, so we will have some idea of how much we may need to buy.

And, of course, if you are visiting the Gala, do drop in to our little oasis of peace and (relative) quiet!

Ministries at Sunday 6:30pm Mass over the summer

During the long summer vacation (i.e. until Sunday 2 October) the Sunday 6:30pm Mass becomes a much quieter affair as many students leave Durham. We need people to take on those ministries normally looked after by students during term time: to welcome into the church, to read, to help with the collection and (if qualified) to act as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. You can voluteer whether you are a remaining student, or a longer-term resident; whether you are a “regular” at this Mass, or at another.

If you can help, please sign up on the list at the back of the church, or get in touch with Ciara (Parish Secretary) on office@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk, noting how you can help and when you are available. Thank you for your generosity!

Remain Free

We speak of Christ’s saving work as freeing us from sin. St Paul reminds the Galatians in this Sunday’s second reading (Galatians 5:1) that “he meant us to remain free”.

While freedom can mean a freedom from constraint and a freedom to choose, this sort of freedom entails an obvious risk. Free to choose as we wish, we can choose to return to our previous slavery. We are free to give up our freedom. Put in those stark terms it seems a particularly stupid thing to do; and yet all of us, despite being freed from sin by Christ through baptism, keep turning back to sin. We turn back in pride to a self-indulgence which limits us from being what each of us is called to be, and what we are called to be as a community.

St Paul echos Christ himself by reminding us that the whole of the Law may be summarised as “Love your neighbour as yourself”… St Paul obviously taking love for God as read. Thinking of others and acting for their good is what love is – a love that is free from limit. Being absorbed with self places limits on love, and renders us slaves once again.

Even physical captivity does not limit our freedom; indeed St Paul himself showed his love for the churches by continuing to write to them and pray for them while imprisoned.

The move we love, the more we enjoy the true freedom given us by Christ.

We celebrate the principal feast of St Paul, along with St Peter, on Wednesday 29 June.

Welcome to fr. Becket Soule OP

We are joined at St Cuthbert’s over the next two months by fr. Becket Soule OP of the Dominican Province of St Joseph in the United States. Fr. Becket is Professor of Canon Law at the Pontifical University Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio; he is in Durham as a visiting fellow at the Centre for Catholic Studies. A very warm welcome to fr. Becket!

St Peter and St Paul

The Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul, 29 June, is a Holy Day of Obligation when the Church asks Catholics to participate in the celebration of Mass. At St Cuthbert’s a Vigil Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday 28 June at 6:30pm and Mass of the day on Wednesday 29 June at 12:15pm.

Please note that these will be the only Masses on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 June.

A prayerful and thoughtful vote

The UK faces a momentous choice on Thursday 23 June: on that all sides of the debate can agree. While there isn’t an official Catholic position on whether the UK should remain in the European Union or leave, there are certainly important Catholic principles which should guide our decision.

When making moral choices – i.e. choices about how to act – we are called to make decisions in conscience. That doesn’t mean following some sort of gut feeling, but making reasoned and properly informed choices.

We should, of course, begin our deliberation in prayer: asking that we may be filled with the wisdom and prudence of the Holy Spirit as we weigh up the arguments and come to a decision.

We must make sure that we are informed about the arguments on both sides, and can separate the substantive reasoning from the unsubstantiated speculation and emotional manipulation which so often afflicts political campaigning.

And we must remember that we, the people, are given authority in this matter not just to serve our own individual ends, but in order to serve the common good: the good of the community, whether local, national, European or worldwide. Whether or not we remain part of the EU, we remain part of the communities of our continent and our planet. We must strive so that all these communities may flourish, not merely economically, but in justice, in peace, in solidarity and in everything that leads to true human fulfilment.

Prayer, careful consideration and the common good: these must lie behind our votes on Thursday.

Find out more at www.catholicnews.org.uk/eu-referendum

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