It had been hoped that new church lighting would be in place for Sunday 17 July; unfortunately, at the last minute a problem was discovered with the lights which had been specified. The work has therefore had to be postponed pending adjustments to the design; we still hope, however, to have the new system in place before the evenings start drawing in!
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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or see the poster at the back of the church.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
The newly-elected Prior Provincial of the Dominican Friars, fr. Martin Ganeri OP, will be visiting Durham and celebrating Masses on Sunday 3 July.
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 email@example.com, noting how you can help and when you are available. Thank you for your generosity!
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.
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!
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.
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
The last Holy Half Hour of the academic year will take place on Wednesday 22 June before the 7pm Mass – after the celebration of Vespers at 6:15pm, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and there is opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance (Confession). All are welcome to come along for this time of quiet prayer and reflection before a simple sung Mass.
A Catholic Social Thought and Practice Lecture will be delivered by Prof Martin Daunton (Cambridge) on Time will tell: thinking about intergenerational justice on Monday 20 June 2016, 4:00pm-5:30pm in the Pemberton Lecture Room (PG20), Palace Green.
Please contact Jane Lidstone if you wish to attend – firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0191 334 1656. Booking is preferred, though not essential.
Dr Claire Daunton (Cambridge) will deliver an Ushaw Lecture Mediaeval Stained Glass and Pugin’s neo-Gothic Designs on Tuesday 21 June.
Drinks Reception, 5:30pm; lecture 6:00pm-7.15pm
Venue: Ushaw College
All are welcome; registration is required. To book a place please email Dr Hannah Thomas, email@example.com or telephone Dr Jane Lidstone on 0191 334 1656. If you need help with transport to and from Ushaw College, please mention this when booking and book by 9am on Friday 17 June.
The parish reading group have arranged to meet for a meal together at The Rose Tree in Shincliffe at 7.30pm on 24 June. Please contact Margaret Harvey (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0191 3840080) if you would like to go.
Future meetings of the reading group will be at 25 Orchard House at 8pm on the following dates:
16 August to discuss J.R.R. Tolkien, Tree and Leaf
25 October to discuss Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch
6 December to discuss Michael Frame, Sweet Dreams.
In the Lutheran Book of Worship (my mother was a Protestant), the different prayers are set side by side, so that the difference in length is obvious. So as a child, I immediately saw which prayer was being used, and inwardly rejoiced if it happened to be the shortest one. Somehow I missed the drama of our redemption as it is recapitulated in the liturgy of the Eucharist!
Eucharistic Prayer I would have put me off. But in zoning out, I would have missed the opportunity to recall the mystery and glory of our salvation in Jesus Christ. Not only that; Eucharistic Prayer I gets its length partly from the lists of saints—apostles and martyrs, and special mention of Abel, Abraham, and Melchizedek.
Now, the saints don’t appear in any of the Eucharistic prayers I heard regularly as a child, which is a pity. Remembering the saints connects our Sunday worship with our weekday life: ‘we ask that through their merits and prayers, in all things we may be defended by your protecting help’. We ask the Lord to ‘admit us into their company, not weighing our merits, but granting us your pardon’. Meditating on the saints (especially if we are fortunate enough to have our namesake mentioned, as two of my children are) also gives us concrete examples of faith, so we have a sense of where we’re asking the Lord to direct his attention when the priest prays that the Lord ‘look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church’. These are the ones who have gone before us in the faith, lights who mark the way of Christ in this life and point us toward the joy of heaven. So the next time Eucharistic Prayer I begins, we should receive it as a gift, and listen for the names of those saints. We pray in communion with them as we gather for the celebration of the Eucharist, and seek to reflect the same light that shone through them as we go forth in the peace of Christ.
Part of a series by Medi Ann Volpe