A guided tour of the Parish Website

People sometimes ask where they can find out more about the parish, and you may not realise just how much information there is on our website.

On Sunday 8th March there will be a guided tour of the website, to help you find your way round, and explain how you can find the Facebook page and sign up for the e-newsletter. Please join us over coffee after the 10.00am Mass.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The Bishops of England and Wales have issued guidance to parishes about the Coronavirus outbreak. At present, the risk to the public in this country is low, and there is no need for special measures around the Sign of Peace or reception of Holy Communion from the chalice. We are advised to maintain good hygiene; ministers of the Eucharist should sanitise their hands before and after distributing Communion. We should all combat prejudice and discrimination against people of Chinese origin.

Rite of Election

The candidates and catechumens taking part in our Journey in Faith programme will be enrolled at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle, next Sunday, 1st March. Please pray for those preparing for Baptism, Confirmation or Reception into full communion with the Church, and for their sponsors and families.

Lent 2020: Collections for Prisoners being released from Durham and Low Newton Prisons

Nepacs is a north east charity which has been supporting people affected by imprisonment for over 135 years. This Lent we would like to collect items for nepacs to make up Toiletry Packs for prisoners being released who are in particular need.  Our previous support to Low Newton has been greatly appreciated.

Useful items to contribute to the Toiletry Packs are toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, shower gel, soap, deodorant (roll-on or spray), flannels, combs and wet wipes. Packs for anyone who is homeless on their release also include socks, plasters, waterbottle/flask, bacterial gel, and a dry food pack (coffee, tea bags, hot chocolate powder, cup-a-soup, cereal bars, sugar, stirrer, Mars Bars).  In addition, the packs for HMP Low Newton need lip balm and Sanitary Pack (STs, tampons, panty liners), and those for HMP Durham need disposable razors and shaving foam.

Please put donations in the boxes in the narthex throughout Lent.

God’s Wisdom

The ancient law of ‘An eye for an eye’ seems brutal to us. It was a harsh law for a harsh time; a law that put a limit on vengeance, so that violence did not escalate out of control. Jesus calls his disciples to a higher standard: to resist violence and injustice without resorting to violence themselves. Modern movements for civil rights and justice show us the power of non-violent resistance, but it can be a difficult and costly road to follow.

The Law required the people of Israel to love their neighbours, but was often interpreted as imposing no obligation to love sinners or enemies. Jesus, again, calls his disciples to do more; to love the enemy and pray for the persecutor, following the example of God our Father, who loves all those he has created. Such a radical vision may seem impossible, even foolish. This is not the wisdom of the world, but a wisdom that changes the world.

Parish Pastoral Plan- Building our Community

The Parish Dinner was to take place on the 5th of March but will now be held on Wednesday 1 April at 7.30 pm at “Finbarrs Restaurant” Aykley Heads. The meal will be three courses with three choices for each course and will cost £27.50 per person. Menus will be available next week. If you wish to register your interest please contact Gil Bolton directly or email gilmar.bolton@btinternet.com or by phone 07816819515.

Events at Ushaw College

A Lenten Reflection at Ushaw: An opportunity to experience different ways of praying at this time of Lent and on the feast of the Annunciation, led by Sister Rosarie Spence RSM, on Wednesday March 25th, 10.30am-3.30pm. The cost is £10.00 per person, to include refreshments at the beginning and the end of the day. Lunch can be purchased in the Refectory, and you can book online at www.ushaw.org or on 0191 3345119

Ushaw Lecture: The Materiality of Christian Pilgrimage, Medieval to Modern: Reflections From a Church Historian and Sometime Pilgrim. Presented by Prof Salvador Ryan, St Patrick’s College Maynooth. Wednesday 26 February at 5.30pm.

But I say this to you…

Jesus’ disciples would be shocked to hear him say that they had to be more virtuous than the scribes and the Pharisees. These were the people who were admired by other Jews, for their scrupulous observance of the demands of the Law. But Jesus challenges his followers to go further. External compliance with the Law is not enough; he wants their whole hearts to be given to him. The Law prohibits murder, but Jesus warns his disciples against destructive anger and hatred. Adultery is forbidden, but the Lord teaches us that adultery begins with the lustful look that objectifies another person. Moses allowed a man to divorce his wife (though a woman could not divorce her husband); Jesus upholds marriage as a sacred bond for both spouses. If we are people of truth and integrity, we will not need to swear oaths, but only to speak with simple honesty. These are the laws of the kingdom of heaven.

Listen

A Lenten Retreat for Young Adults (18-35): At Stanbrook Abbey, Friday 6th-Sunday 8th March. An opportunity to pray, worship, listen to God’s Word and reflect in the tranquil atmosphere of the Benedictine monastery of Stanbrook, Wass, North Yorkshire. Places are limited, so please call Sophie Taylor on 0191 410 0776 if you wish to take part.

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