The Heart of Prayer: an Introductory Day on Centering Prayer

This introductory day will be held at Ushaw, Saturday 21st September 2019, 10.00am – 3.30pm, led by Elizabeth Smith B.Ed. 

Elizabeth Smith has given numerous retreats and workshops on Centering Prayer, sharing the teaching of Fr Thomas Keating.  Thomas Keating was Elizabeth’s mentor and friend.  Elizabeth founded Contemplative Outreach UK with Fr Keating’s blessing and support in 1989.

The cost for the day is £10 per person, to include tea/coffee in the morning and in the afternoon. Light meals may be purchased in The Refectory. Booking is essential. To purchase a ticket, go to www.ushaw.org

Church Cleaning

To get ready for the Heritage Open Days and Partnership Open Afternoon, it would be good to have a cleaning blitz in the Church and Parish Room in particular. So, if you can help, please come along from 2.00pm on Saturday 7th September, ready to dust, sweep, polish and generally spruce up our beautiful church.

Congratulations

To Ciara Courtney and Matthias Müller, whose Nuptial Mass will be celebrated at St Cuthbert’s this Saturday, 24th August, at 12.30pm. Ciara and Matthias were both students at St Mary’s College from 2008-11. Please pray for them as they begin their married life. Everyone is welcome to the Nuptial Mass.

I have come to bring fire to the earth

We know Jesus as the Prince of Peace. So why does he speak in today’s Gospel of bringing fire to the earth, and of causing division within families? Because Jesus speaks the truth, consistently and fearlessly, and the truth is not always welcome. He denounces injustice and challenges the hypocrisy of the chief priests and elders, who lay heavy burdens on the ordinary people of Israel. He eats with tax collectors and sinners, cures lepers and welcomes pagans. Jesus causes division because he challenges the powerful and disturbs the status quo. Like all of the prophets before him, he encounters opposition and, in the end, the rulers of the people bring about his death in order to silence him.

The Franciscan Legacy

From the 13th Century to the 21st: An international conference hosted by the Centre for Catholic Studies in partnership with the Capuchin Franciscans of Great Britain, to mark the 800th anniversary of St Francis’ meeting with Sultan Malek Al-Kamil. In Durham, Tuesday 5 – Thursday 7 November. Deadline for registration is Monday 30 September. Centre for Catholic Studies email: ccs.admin@durham.ac.uk or tel: 0191 334 1656.

Events at Minsteracres

The Beatitudes under the rainbow of God’s healing love: This retreat will look at the Beatitudes and colour in terms of our spiritual and psychological growth and developments. The retreat will be held in silence with a daily introduction with time for reflection and questions. Led by Treasa Ridge PBVM, a Presentation Sister with a background in teaching. She is also an experienced retreat director, psychotherapist and colour practitioner. Friday 30 August-Friday 6 September. Suggested donation: £500.

Individually guided retreat: This retreat is held in silence and will be led by members of the Ignatian Spirituality Centre from Glasgow in collaboration with the team at Minsteracres. Friday 30 August-Friday 6 September. Suggested donation: £500.

Walking retreat: Enjoy a walk of 7-10 miles through the beautiful countryside around Minsteracres, with time for prayer, reflection and sharing of the beauty of creation. You will need suitable walking boots and warm, weatherproof clothing. Please bring a packed lunch. Saturday 7 September, 10am-5pm. Suggested donation: £10.

The Kaki Tree Project

Commemorates the sufferings of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where atomic bombs were dropped on 6th and 9th August 1945. Ewan Anderson will speak about the Kaki Tree at 10.00am Mass on Sunday, to mark the anniversary of the bombs, and will show a drawing of the tree which survived the nuclear blast.

Thursday 15th August is the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady

A Holy Day of Obligation. Mass will be celebrated at St Cuthbert’s at 7.00pm on Wednesday 14th August (Vigil) and at 12.15pm on Thursday 15th August. Mass in Durham Martyrs parish will be on Thursday 15th at 9.30am at St. Bedes (in St. Godric’s School), 10.00am at St Godric’s church and 7.00pm at St Joseph’s. Mass at St Patrick’s, Langley Moor will be at 6.30pm on Wednesday 14th August (Vigil) and at 9.30am on Thursday 15th August.

Real Treasure

Jesus is faced with a man who asks him to resolve a disagreement with his brother about an inheritance. Such family disputes can bring out the worst in people, and can be impossible to resolve. Jesus refuses to judge between the brothers; instead, he uses the request as an opportunity to teach his disciples. Where does our sense of security come from? If it comes from our wealth and possessions, it is a false security. As the Preacher reminds us in today’s First Reading, all that we own, all that we work for and all that we achieve in this life will be left behind at the moment of our death. Avarice can distort our priorities until wealth becomes a false god for us. The Lord urges us instead to make ourselves truly rich, by loving God and our neighbour. Our only true security comes from our trust in God’s promise of eternal life.

How to Pray

Jesus’ disciples ask him to teach them to pray. They have seen that prayer – time spent in silence, alone with his Father – is at the heart of Jesus’ own life. A distinctive prayer will be a mark of their own identity as Jesus’ disciples. The prayer that Jesus teaches them is simple, but striking. He tells his disciples to address God as ‘Father,’ in trust and simplicity, as he does himself. He tells them to ask God for what they need – daily bread – and to pray for forgiveness of their sins.

Jesus teaches his disciples, too, to be persistent in prayer. When we pray for what we need, we are expressing our absolute dependence on God; recognising that we receive everything we have as a gift from God, like young children who depend completely on their parents. We may feel discouraged when prayer seems to go unheard; we may even wonder if God hears us. But we should never be afraid to ask God for our needs, and we should always trust that our loving Father wishes to give us what is truly best for us.

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