A change and co-incidence of time

There are two temporal co-incidences this Holy Week which perhaps can help us in our spiritual life… First of all, the clocks go forward from 1:00am GMT to 2:00am BST on Easter Sunday Morning. This means that, unusually, the whole of the Easter Triduum takes place before summer time starts; as a result we are able to start the Easter Vigil a little earlier than usual, at 7:30pm on Saturday 26 March. Especially if you haven’t been accustomed to the Easter Vigil, why not take advantage of the earlier start and experience this highlight of the Church’s whole year? We take the liturgical passage from the darkness of sin to the light of the resurrection through procession, song, scriptures and sacrament. Truly the death and resurrection of Christ mean that we have moved from one time to another, from one era to another.

The second co-incidence is that Good Friday falls on 25 March; which in other years is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord – that is, the day that the angel Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Son of God took flesh in her womb. The fact that Christ’s incarnation and his death fall on one and the same day shows us what it was Christ come among us to do: to bear our sins on the cross, and to give us hope by rising from the dead. We won’t miss out the Annunciation entirely this year: it will be celebrated on Monday 4 April, once the Octave of Easter is over.

Holy Week and Easter

Principal celebrations during Holy Week and Easter Week will be:

Palm Sunday, 20 March: Masses at 10:00am (with procession) and 6:30pm.

Holy Thursday, 24 March: Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00pm followed by watching, concluding with Compline at 11:50pm.

Good Friday, 25 March: Tenebrae (Office of Readings and Lauds) at 10:00am, followed by Confessions; Solemn Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00pm.

Holy Saturday, 26 March: Tenebrae at 10:00am, followed by Confessions; Easter Vigil and First Mass of Easter at 7:30pm.

Easter Sunday, 27 March: Mass at 10:00am BSTPlease note that the clocks go forward one hour on the morning of Easter Sunday; and also that there is no evening Mass on Easter Sunday.

Easter Monday, 6 April – Easter Saturday,11 April: Lauds at 8:45am (except Monday), Mass at 9:15am, Vespers 6:15pm.

Full details of the celebrations at St Cuthbert’s during Holy Week and Easter are available on our website at www.stcuthberts-durham.org.uk/holyweek and cards with this information are available at the back of church.

Please sign up on the list in the narthex if you can welcome, usher, read or minister Holy Communion during the Triduum and Easter morning. Please respond generously.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord

The first part of the Sanctus has not always been followed by ‘Benedictus qui venit…’ as it is today. Its history is not entirely clear. At one time, the whole of the Sanctus included part of Ezekiel 3.12: ‘Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place’ (KJV; for those interested, the Vulgate reads, ‘magnae benedicta gloria Domini de loco suo’). One conjecture how and why this sentence (Matthew 21.9) came to replace Ezekiel’s words is that it began to be used one Easter, and it just stuck. (See Bryan Spinks, The Sanctus in the Eucharistic Prayer.)

Now we, too, come near to that point in the Church’s year in which we welcome him, ‘who comes in the name of the Lord,’ echoing the very first acclamations in Jerusalem, and joining with Christians since at least the fourth century. Yet Palm Sunday arrives with a mix of joy and confusion. Jesus met a crowd in Jerusalem who seemed ready to recognise him as their king; yet he rode in on a donkey. Not the most triumphant mode of transport; and the next few days followed a course nobody (except Jesus himself) expected. Who in that crowd would have guessed that the one who came into Jerusalem amidst shouts of praise would be put to death not long after?

The Benedictus should remind us, all the year through, of the lowliness of Jesus’ human estate, and the hiddenness of his glory. Lent may be nearing its end, but the suffering of Jesus remains with us all year, even as we celebrate his resurrection and anticipate his glory each Sunday. As we live in him and he in us, we can expect a mix of joy and confusion in our lives as well. This is not bad news, however, for it is not the end: the end will come when the glory of the Lord (which fills heaven and earth!) is revealed — and his resurrection will at last be ours as well.

Part of a series by Medi Ann Volpe

Celebrating God’s Mercy

On Thursday 28 April at 7:00pm St Joseph’s, Gilesgate, Durham will host our Deanery Service for the Year of Mercy.There will be a preparation meeting held at St Joseph’s on Tuesday 29 March at 11am, and we will be joined by Kathryn Turner, Head of the Diocesan Department for Spirituality and Sister Michael from the Evangelisation Team. Their role is the help us as a deanery prepare a unique liturgy specifically tailored to the choices of our deanery – i.e. our favourite readings about mercy, hymns etc. If you would like to attend the preparation meeting please contact Ciara Herbert in the Parish Office (office@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk; tel. 0191 384 3442).

The Passion and the Arts

Churches Together in Elvet & Shincliffe invite you to explore “The Passion and the Arts” on three Tuesdays in Lent. The last session is on 15 March, focusing on Music; it will be hosted at St Cuthbert’s, starting at 7:30pm. All are welcome and light refreshments will be provided.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini

As we come to the fourth Sunday of Lent, change is coming. We look up from our penitential practice, to the horizon. Rose-coloured vestments suggest the dawning light of the Easter morning. We sing benedictus qui venit… (blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord) with a fresh anticipation. Though Lent is not over — we have three weeks yet! — we have made it halfway. If we have not been as disciplined as we had hoped, here is an opportunity to make a fresh start. With the Lord, it is never too little, too late.

Just as the father received back his son, the one who had squandered everything and debased himself; just as the father welcomed and forgave the older son who sulked, so also he holds his arms open to us. Whatever we have done or failed to do this Lent, now we can put it behind us and, even in the midst of Lent, try again. Now, as ever, we depend not on our own merits, but on God’s abundant mercy. He waits for us, with a patience that is unimaginable.

As we return to him, as we are called to do especially in Lent, we begin to receive the joy that will be ours on Easter morning. So let us unite ourselves to the one ‘who comes in the name of the Lord’ now in our penitence, that come Easter we may be found in him, rejoicing.

Part of a series by Medi Ann Volpe

Heaven and earth are full of your glory

The glory of God might seem an odd topic for reflection during Lent. After all, we omit the Gloria at Mass, and we direct our attention to the Lord’s temptation and his passion. But the Sanctus reminds us, week by week — even during Lent — that ‘heaven and earth are full of [God’s] glory’. We don’t always recognize that glory: it is hidden. As John’s gospel tells us: ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father’ (1.14). Jesus makes God known to us; all the fullness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell—hidden—in Christ. Peter, James and John glimpsed that glory at the transfiguration of the Lord. They learned to see in Jesus, even after his brightness subsided, the radiance of divine glory. So also we learn to see the world differently as the eyes of our hearts are trained by faith: to see Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, for example; or to see his face in the faces of the poor and the marginalized.

Learning to see in this way does not give way to full vision, however. The mystery of God’s presence in the world is like the mystery of the Incarnation itself. How does God become human without eliminating or overriding the human? The Old Testament reading from today gives us a way in to contemplating the mystery: Moses encounters a bush that burns, but is not consumed. So also God’s presence with us and in us throughout creation enlivens and enlightens us, but does not consume us. Only that which is incompatible with God’s presence (that is, sin) cannot survive the coming of the Lord. The flame of God’s holiness burns in us—as in the burning bush—but all it consumes is sin.

As we sing ‘pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua’ (‘heaven and earth are full of your glory’), let’s remember that ‘caeli et terra’ includes us. We strive for holiness in the hope that the glory of God may one day be revealed in us as well.

Part of a series by Medi Ann Volpe

RCIA Open Session – Social Living

AnnaRowlandsThis year’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programme for those exploring the Catholic faith is nearing its conclusion, and some of the last few sessions are being opened to a wider audience. All are welcome to join the group in the Parish Room on Thursday 10 March at 7:00pm when Dr Anna Rowlands of the University’s Centre for Catholic Studies will speak on A Catholic understanding of social living.

Ushaw Mass and Lecture: Monarchy and Catholics in Britain

MonarcyAndCatholicsProf. Philip Williamson will deliver an Ushaw Lecture Monarchy and Catholics in Britain, 1689-2012 on Wednesday 9 March. Prof. Williamson is Professor of Modern British History and Durham, and is a historian of twentieth-century British politics, political culture and government.

5.30pm for drinks; lecture 6:00pm-7.30pm

Venue: Ushaw College, Exhibition Lecture Theatre

The Lecture will be preceded by a Mass of Thanksgiving for the Centre for Catholic Studies at 5pm in St Cuthbert’s Chapel.

If you wish to attend the lecture and/or Mass you must register with Dr Hannah Thomas on hannah.thomas2@durham.ac.uk or Jane Lidstone on 0191 334 1656, indicating whether you are coming to the lecture, the Mass, or both. If you need help with transport to and from Ushaw College, please mention this when booking.

Data Analyst/Manager sought

Forward Together in HopeThe Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle seeks to appoint a Data Analyst/Manager on a Fixed Term Contract ending 30 June 2016.

A temporary Data Analyst/Manager, full or part-time, is required to analyse quantitative and qualitative data from a range of questionnaires arising from the Forward Together in Hope project, summarise findings and produce high quality written reports.

The successful candidate will have a relevant degree and/or equivalent experience in the management of quantitative and qualitative data and the ability to analyse and interpret data to support the development of a qualitative narrative to inform future planning for the Diocese.

Strong problem-solving skills and excellent IT skills including in-depth knowledge of Excel and data quantitative analysis software are essential. A post-graduate qualification in a relevant discipline (e.g. Social Sciences) would be an advantage.

The post-holder must be conscientious and loyal to the aims and objectives of the Diocese, having regard at all times to its Catholic character.

Salary: £22,603 (FTE) per annum rising to £23,010 on 1 April – or pro rata

Hours: Up to 37.5 per week– part-time hours will be considered. Normally between 8.30am – 4.30pm

Further information is available on the Diocesan website www.rcdhn.org.uk or contact Tony Sacco for an informal chat on 0191 243 3304.

To apply, please forward your CV, along with two referees and a covering letter to human.resources@diocesehn.org.uk. Please include detail of the time commitment you can make.

Jubilee Vespers at Westminster Cathedral

JubileeLogo2016 is the year when the Dominican Order celebrates 800 years since its foundation. There are various events happening throughout the year to mark this anniversary, but our big celebration event, which will gather together all parts of the Order in Britain, and their friends and supporters, will be held at Westminster Cathedral in London on Friday 29 April (Feast of St Catherine of Siena) at 2.30pm.

We would like to welcome as many members of Dominican parishes and chaplaincies as possible to join us for this celebration, which will take the form of a Solemn Vespers with Cardinal Nichols; Most Rev. Malcolm McMahon OP (Archbishop of Liverpool and our Metropolitan) will preach, and we will be joined by Dominican sisters, Lay Dominicans, schools with Dominican connections and many friends and family. Durham alumnus Sir James MacMillan has composed an antiphon especially for this occasion and it will be sung by the Cathedral Choir.

If you would like to come, please could you sign up by Sunday 28 February on the sheet provided at the back of church, giving your full name, address and email address; alternatively e-mail these details to Ciara Herbert (Chaplaincy/Parish Secretary) on office@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk.

Book Launch: The Lost Knowledge of Christ

LostKnowledgeOfChristThe Centre for Catholic Studies and the Catholic Chaplaincy are pleased to host the Durham launch of The Lost Knowledge of Christ: Contemporary Spiritualities, Christian Cosmology and the Arts by fr. Dominic White OP of St Dominic’s, Newcastle, and Catholic Chaplain to Newcastle and Northumbria Universities on Tuesday 1 March.

5:00pm for drinks; Vespers at 6:15pm

Venue: St Cuthbert’s Parish Room, Old Elvet

A group will share a meal afterwards at a local restaurant.

All are welcome to attend. Please email Jane Lidstone on ccs.admin@durham.ac.uk or call 0191 334 1656 if you wish to attend, noting whether or not you wish to dine afterwards.

Lay Dominicans

The Newcastle/Durham Fraternity of Lay Dominicans will be meeting today, Sunday 21 February at 3:00pm. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the Lay Dominicans is most welcome to come along. The main part of the meeting will be our Lenten Stations of the Cross composed by fr. Timothy Radcliffe OP.

The Holiness of the Lord

The scene that follows the announcement ‘holy, holy, holy’ is dramatic: ‘the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke’. Isaiah’s response is not worship, as we might expect. Instead, he exclaims, ‘Woe is me!’ Seeing the holiness of the Lord makes Isaiah aware of his own lack of holiness, and fearful: ‘a man of unclean lips’ should not (he thinks) behold ‘the King, the Lord of hosts’. God’s glory shows up all that is unworthy about us. Similarly Peter, in the gospel reading from a few weeks ago, responds to the miraculous catch of fish: ‘Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man’. Beholding the greatness of the Lord brings about a new, and unsettling, revelation of our own lack of sanctity. The response from on high is not judgement, however, but comfort. One of the seraphim brings a burning coal from the altar, touches Isaiah’s lips with it, and announces, ‘Behold…your guilt has been taken away, and your sin forgiven’. Likewise Jesus reassures Peter (in the same words the angel used to put Mary at ease): ‘Do not be afraid.’

Contemplating the holiness of God ought to make us mindful of the ways we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. This is not the way into condemnation, though, but the door to forgiveness and new life. For both Isaiah and Peter, the recognition of his own unworthiness marks the beginning of a career (if we may call it that) in the service of God. Isaiah accepts the invitation to take God’s word to the people of Israel, and Peter becomes that rock on which the Church is built. Our own careers of discipleship may be less dramatic, but God nevertheless promises to draw us near and involve us in the real drama—the drama of our redemption and that of the whole world. We need not ask whether we are worthy; we need only allow God to make us so.

Part of a series by Medi Ann Volpe

Receiving Holy Communion

A request from the Parish Pastoral Council: if receiving Holy Communion, please approach the altar row by row, starting with the front row once the servers and choir have received. We hope this will make these moments before receiving the sacrament less “scrum-like” and more dignified and prayerful. Thank you for your co-operation!

RCIA Open Session – Moral Living

47cc8b81-6373-43c5-9456-c86a5c27df77This year’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programme for those exploring the Catholic faith is nearing its conclusion, and some of the last few sessions are being opened to a wider audience. All are welcome to join the group in the Parish Room on Thursday 25 February at 7:00pm when fr. David will speak on A Catholic understanding of moral living.

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