I call you friends

How do we know that we are loved? Actions speak louder than words. We know that someone loves us because they show it, in the way that they take care of us. Only if a child experiences love, and grows up feeling loved and secure, can they learn to love others.

Today’s Gospel reading comes from the Last Supper. Jesus is giving his final teaching to his disciples, before going to his death on the Cross. He tells the disciples, ‘Remain in my love.’ He has shown his disciples what love means, by his life and teaching. Now he is about to give the greatest sign of all, by laying down his life on the Cross. There is no greater love. And with the gift of love, there is a challenge. Jesus  tells the disciples, ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ This is his commandment, and it comes with a promise. Jesus calls the disciples to be his friends; no longer servants following orders, but friends who show to one another the same love that they have received from Jesus.

Jesus’ call is for us, too. He has given us the example of love and, like the first disciples, he calls us to follow his example, and to love one another as he has loved us. He wants to call us his friends.

Public Masses at St Cuthbert’s

The capacity of St Cuthbert’s church is limited to 36 places under the diocesan Risk Assessment, and members of a single household or support bubble can sit together. Please observe all of the rules, which have been put in place for everyone’s safety; socialising with anyone outside your household or bubble is prohibited.

If you wish to attend Sunday Mass, you must book a place, by emailing office@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk or telephoning 0191 384 3442, by 6pm on Saturday. You will be asked to give a contact telephone number or email address. If you come to church without having booked a place at Mass, you may be asked to leave. 

For weekday Masses, you can attend without prior booking, but you will be asked for ‘Track and Trace’ details. We have a QR code displayed at the church entrance, which you can scan using the NHS Track & Trace app.

Please do not come to church if you are in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ group, if you are showing any of the symptoms of Covid-19, or if you have any concerns about your safety. The obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been dispensed by the Bishops until further notice.

All Masses at St Cuthbert’s are live streamed on our YouTube channel.

Volunteers are needed to clean the church after each opening, and to act as stewards. If you can help, please get in touch by telephone or email.

Receiving Communion: Please wait in the pews until instructed by the stewards to come forward to the priest for Holy Communion, always aware of social distancing in the queue. Please unloop your face covering and hold your arms at ‘full stretch,’ so that there is a good distance between you and the priest, with hands, palms upwards, one on top of the other, extended as flat as possible. Consume the Sacred Host and then replace your face covering, before moving back to your seat.

Please note that we are obliged to keep all the church doors open during Mass, for maximum ventilation, in order to prevent the spread of the virus. So remember to wrap up warm for Mass!

Hospital Visits

The University Hospital of North Durham still has restrictions in place regarding visits to patients – see the hospital website for the latest information. However, the Catholic Chaplain is still able to visit patients, and can bring them Holy Communion and the Sacrament of the Sick. If you know of a patient who wishes for a visit from the Catholic Hospital Chaplain, please inform Fr Paul Tully on 01388 818544 or frpaultully@outlook.com 

For visits to patients in St Cuthbert’s Hospice, in care homes or in their own homes, please contact Fr Andrew.

Parish bulletins and Catholic newspapers

Parish bulletins and Catholic newspapers will be available for collection in a box outside the church door. Please pick up a copy of the bulletin and put it through the letterbox of a friend or neighbour who might not be able to get out. 

 The May edition of our diocesan newsletter Northern Cross is now available online at www.northerncross.org.uk Please consider supporting the Northern Cross by taking out an online or print subscription.

Lay Dominican Group

 A small group of Lay Dominicans meets on the third Sunday of each month at 2:30pm – currently on Zoom – for about 60-75 minutes. We have a blend of prayer and of discussion as we consider what it means to bring the Word of God into our daily living. If you would like to know more about the Lay Dominicans or would like to join our Zoom meeting on Sunday 16th May when we shall be exploring some of the ideas and suggestions proposed by Pope Francis in his recent book “Let us dream” then contact Andy Doyle (andydoyle1066@sky.com or 0798 543 4185).

I am the vine, you are the branches

Nothing is more important than keeping in touch with the people we love. The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to find different ways of staying connected, and has made it seem more precious than ever. We need love and friendship to feel fully alive.

Jesus wants to stay connected with us, too. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches.’ A branch can only grow if it remains attached to the tree. We can only be fully alive and flourishing if we remain connected to Jesus, the vine, and live in his love.

We connect with Jesus through prayer. In the Gospels, we often see Jesus spending time on his own, in a lonely place, praying. Jesus drew strength for his mission from the time that he spent alone with God the Father. He needed to connect with the Father who loved him, and we need to give time to connecting with Jesus.

We connect with Jesus, too, through the life of the Church. In today’s First Reading, we meet Saul, just after his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. Saul would become St Paul, the greatest and most fearless preacher of the Gospel. But, in spite of the extraordinary call that he received from God, Paul didn’t try to preach the Gospel on his own. He worked together with the other apostles, and shared in their ministry. Jesus wants us to ‘bear much fruit’ for him. We can only be fruitful if we remain connected, to Christ and to his Church.

Morning Prayer (Lauds)

Everyone is welcome to join us at 8am, Monday to Friday. It lasts about 15 minutes. The Zoom details will be the same every day and you will always find them in the Announcements section of the St. Cuthbert’s Parish Community Facebook group or by contacting margaretdoyle1066@sky.com

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the Prayer of the Church – you’ll soon pick it up. We use Universalis and will share screens so you don’t need a Morning Prayer book to join us.

You Just Have To Listen

 A six-week online Listening Skills course to learn basic skills from counselling theory and practice, to help and support people experiencing difficulties in their lives. Tuesdays, 6.30 – 8.30pm, 11 May to 22 June (excluding 1 June.) Cost of the course is £120 per person and applications must be endorsed by a priest/deacon. For further details, contact the Diocesan Faith and Mission Team on 0191 243 3316 or adminfaith.mission@diocesehn.org.uk  for further information or to apply.

Faith and Thought; Exploring ‘The Art of Attention

 A series of virtual discussions, bringing together theologians, writers, spiritual directors and young scholars in conversation. Wednesdays 5, 12 and 19 May, 5-7pm. Hosted by Durham University Centre for Catholic Studies and the London Jesuit Centre. Everyone is welcome – suggested donation £15. Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ccs-study-series-faith-and-thought-exploring-the-art-of-attention-tickets-133225512093?aff=ebdsoporgprofile

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