It’s shocking to see pictures of the war in Ukraine. Cities being bombed, families driven from their homes, innocent people shot in the street. And, of course, this is not the only war that is raging in the world today. In Syria, in Yemen, in Afghanistan, people’s lives are being turned upside down by conflict. In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus say, ‘My own peace I give you,’ but peace seems as far away as ever.
Jesus promises his disciples ‘a peace the world cannot give.’ There can be no peace where there is hatred, suspicion and anger. Peace can only come when we follow the teachings of Christ, who tells his disciples, ‘If anyone loves me they will keep my word.’ If we love Jesus and keep his word, he will change our hearts, moving us from hatred to love, from fear to trust, from vengeance to forgiveness. He will teach us to listen to others and be reconciled to those we think of as enemies. This is the only way to peace, in the world and in our own communities. This is the peace that Christ gives to his disciples; a peace that the world cannot give.
The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated this Thursday, 26th May. Mass at St Cuthbert’s will be on Wednesday at 7pm (vigil) and on Thursday at 12.15pm.
World Communications Day is next Sunday, 29th May. We are asked to pray for those who work in the media. A retiring collection will be taken to support the work of the Bishops’ Conference Media Office, which promotes the Church’s and the Bishops’ message in the local, regional, national and international mass media, and helps journalists to a better understanding of the Church’s activities and witness.
This event has been POSTPONED due to unforeseen circumstances.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales has issued a statement about attendance at Sunday Mass, as we emerge from the Covid pandemic. The Bishops judge that the reasons which have prevented Catholics from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation no longer apply. However, the Bishops recognise that there will still be some members of our congregations who are unable to return to Mass for reasons such as ill health, responsibility for the care of others or genuine concern about their safety. In these circumstances, there is no breach of the Sunday obligation.
Read the Bishops’ full statement here.
Please sanitise your hands as you enter and leave the church, and wear a face covering. If you are showing any symptoms of Covid-19, you should stay at home and not come to church.
The Platinum Jubilee of HM The Queen will be celebrated in a special service of thanksgiving at Durham Cathedral on Saturday 4 June at 3.00 pm. You can book free tickets at: https://durhamcathedral.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173624846/events All congregational seating is unreserved. The service will last about one hour.
The Parish Reading Group will be meeting at 8.00pm on Monday 6 June to discuss Noreena Hertz, The Lonely Century. We’ll be meeting face to face at Orchard House (after meeting on Zoom for the last 2 years).
New members are always welcome, from the parish and the Chaplaincy communities. Contact Margaret Harvey: email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0191 3840080, if you would like to join the group.
Lay Dominicans North East invite you to A DAY OF STUDY, PRAYER and REFLECTION on Saturday 25th June, 10:45am to 3:30pm, here at St Cuthbert’s.
The day keys in to our Diocesan Year of the Eucharist and is on the theme of THOMAS AQUINAS, THE EUCHARIST and SALVATION. Our main speaker will be Dr Rik van Nieuwenhove of Durham University and the day will include talks, Mass, prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and a buffet lunch.
There is no charge for the day but, to monitor numbers for catering purposes, please book by contacting Andy Doyle at email@example.com or 0798 543 4185.
The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle has the following vacancies:
Property Surveyor – full-time, fixed term contract – 2 years. Flexible working is available. Closing date for applications: 1 June 2022
IT Project Manager – full-time. Fixed term contract – 12 months. Closing date for applications: 2 June 2022
Please visit www.diocesehn.org.uk for full details or contact us 0191 243 3301
CAFOD’s latest campaign is asking us to email the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, urging her to ensure that the UK government implements its COP26 commitments to support agricultural systems that put local communities first and protect the planet. For further information please go to https://action.cafod.org.uk/page/102736/-/1
Pope Francis invites Catholic communities around the world to participate in Laudato Si’ Week 2022 from May 22-29. The global event will mark the seventh anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on creation care and unite the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics to listen and respond to the cry of God’s creation. In our diocese, a special Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Robert in St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle on Monday May 23 at 7pm.
In aid of The Peru Mission. Friday 17th June at Rainton Arena, Houghton-le-Spring. The evening includes a 3-course meal, Brazilian Dance Band “Viramundo”, raffle and auction. Tickets are £60 per person. All proceeds to sponsor the work of The Peru Mission in education, healthcare and creating opportunities amongst the poor of Peru. To reserve a ticket: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 25th May at 5.30pm, in Durham Cathedral. Sung by the Cathedral Choir. Preacher: Rev Canon Prof Sarah Foot (Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History, University of Oxford.) Followed by drinks in the Cloisters. Tickets (free of charge):
A conference organised by Durham’s Centre for Catholic Studies. 12-14 July at the University of Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway. Details and registration at https://www.durham.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/catholic-studies/about-us/events/catholicism-literature-and-the-arts-conference/
St Vincent de Paul Holy Island Children’s Camp needs volunteers to provide a Christian camping experience for children from the North-East this summer. Details at https://www.svp.org.uk/microsite/holy-island
Day of Prayer: This day enables you to experience different ways of praying in a beautiful setting and gives you time for quiet personal prayer. Led by the Minsteracres team. Lunch, tea and coffee are provided. Wednesday, 25 May, 10am – 4pm. Suggested donation: £30.
Pentecost Retreat: Jesus Breathed On Them And Said ‘Receive The Holy Spirit.’ Led by Fr Chris Thomas. Friday 3-Sunday 5 June. Suggested donation: £190.
Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) Day of Prayer and Pilgrimage on Holy Island, led by Bishop Paul Mason on Saturday 4th June. For more information, contact Stella Maris Regional Chaplains Paul Atkinson (07906 212426) or Deacon Peter Barrigan (07713 924504).
Today’s Gospel reading comes from the Last Supper. Judas has just left the table and gone out into the darkness, intending to betray Jesus to his enemies. Before the night is over, Jesus will be arrested, and the next day he will be crucified. And yet, Jesus says that he is about to be ‘glorified.’ What can he mean?
Jesus’ whole life on earth was driven by his love for God the Father. He was ready to go to his death on the Cross, because this would complete his Father’s plan. The Cross was glorious because it brought about the fulfilment of God’s plan of salvation. Jesus knew that his Father would raise him up, from death to glory.
The new commandment that Jesus gives to his disciples is, ‘Love one another just as I have loved you.’ It’s an awe-inspiring commandment; Jesus went to the Cross for love of us, and he asks us to show the same love to one another. We may not have to prove our love by dying, but Jesus calls us to give our lives in love and service of others. This, the Lord tells us, is how we will be known as disciples of Christ – by our love for one another.
Congratulations to Fiona, who will be received into full communion with the Catholic Church at 10am Mass today. Please pray for Fiona and her family.