During the university term the students gather at the Chaplaincy each Wednesday for ‘Cathsoc night’ and on Wednesday 13th January, we will be doing something similar for the Parish. There will be exposition from 6.30pm and the opportunity for confession. Mass is at 7.00pm, and we will gather after Mass (at about 7.30pm) for a shared meal and a discussion, about our role as citizens in Durham today, concluding with prayer at about 9.00pm. You are welcome to come along for as little or as much of the evening as you like.
It has been a damp start to 2016, with the Wear breaking its banks in Durham, and far worse further afield. So perhaps it is not the best year for Alcohol Concern‘s annual “Dry January” campaign.
The thinking behind the campaign is excellent. Christianity, like many religious traditions, recognises the need for tempering periods of feasting with periods of abstinence. This is good for personal and public health, both physically and spiritually.
Christianity is rather out of step with the world, though, on its feasting and fasting. The High Street celebrated Christmas from early autumn; we didn’t begin Christmas until 24 December. The secular party was over within days of that, and talk is now of recovery; for us Christians the party is very much still on. We are still celebrating the manifestation of Christ’s divinity in this time of Epiphany: last Sunday, to the Magi; this Sunday at his Baptism; and next Sunday at the Wedding at Cana. Our crib will remain in place until Candlemas, 2 February.
Of course we will fast, abstain and do penance when we get to Lent… but Ash Wednesday isn’t for another month. In the meantime, we should not let the return to work, to school or to university, be a mere resumption of dry drudgery. Instead, we take the festal joy of the coming of our Saviour into the world of our daily lives. Like the Prophet we continue to shout joyfully on the mountain, “Here is your God!” (Isaiah 40:9).
During the University Christmas Vacation the Sunday evening Mass will be relatively subdued musically and there will be no Wednesday “Holy Half Hour” of Exposition with Confessions from Christmas until the new term begins.
The Sung Student Mass resumes on Sunday 17 January, and Holy Half Hour on Wednesday 20 January.
Durham Churches Together – the group of Christian communities in Durham (including St Cuthbert’s) working together – holds its annual Candlelit Procession and service on New Year’s Eve (Thursday 31 December) in thanksgiving for the year past, and praying for God’s blessings in the year to come.We gather in the Market Place at 6:15pm (please bring your own candle/lantern), and then proceed along the Bailey to Palace Green. There is a service of prayer together in Durham Cathedral at 6:30pm.
On Sunday 20 December please do come along and join us to sing Christmas Carols for the residents of Hallgarth Care Home. We will meet at the church at 1:45pm to walk up to the home.
Following the carol singing there will be a childrens party in the parish room 3:30 – 5:30pm. All children (big and small) are welcome to join us for fun and party games. Please bring something for a shared party tea.
Sacrament of Penance (Confession)
For more details about Christmas services, see www.stcuthberts-durham.org.uk/christmas.
Forward Together in Hope is taking place across the whole of the Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. It is about everyone, young and old, getting involved in thinking about and discussing what our Church should be like so that we can bring the Good News of God’s love to others.
We are really keen to get views from young people aged 11-19, whether you are Catholic or not – and whether you go to church or not. We want to look at our Church through your eyes and want to learn from you.
The survey can be found at forwardtogether.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/young-peoples-survey and more information about the process can be found at www.hope.rcdhn.org.uk.
Over the last few years, the parish has gradually populated a virtual village for CAFOD. In Advent last year the young people of the parish, raised enough money to buy a camel. This year we are hoping to add another camel to the village.
A camel costs £400. The gift of a camel provides a poor family with up to seven litres of milk a day, which can be sold to buy food and school books. The family can also rear and sell calves for a much needed income. Furthermore a camel can carry weights of up to 200kgs, meaning that a family has a source of transport, that can be used to help them earn a living. Thank you for help with this project.
Collections taken at the Christmas Masses are taken for Parish Funds, in the same way as at Sunday Masses throughout the year.If you would also like to make a Christmas gift to the Dominican Community of Friars which serves St Cuthbert’s, you may do so using one of the blue envelopes available on display in the narthex. Envelopes can be dropped into the collection basket or returned to the presbytery.
If you are a UK taxpayer, you can increase the value of your gift by completing the Gift Aid declaration on the envelope. Cheques should be made payable to “The Dominican Council”.
Thank you for your generosity both to the Parish and to the Dominican Community now and throughout the year – the Friars wish you a very happy and holy Christmas.
Greetings Cards with images from the recently-restored Canon Brown Memorial Window designed by Harry Clark are available at the back of church. These are ideal as Christmas cards, but also throughout the year. There is a selection of six designs, priced at 60p each or £3 for a set of six (envelopes included).