They were like sheep without a shepherd

Jesus and his apostles were overwhelmed. The people were flocking to see him; so many were coming and going that they didn’t even have time to eat. Jesus had planned a time of rest and reflection with his apostles after their missionary journey, but instead he took pity on the people and gave some time to teaching them. 

Mark tells us that the people were lost, ‘like sheep without a shepherd.’  They were drawn to Jesus because they saw his love and compassion for them. They saw that Jesus was a good shepherd. Their religious leaders – the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees – didn’t have the same care for the ordinary people that Jesus did. They were negligent shepherds like the leaders that the prophet Jeremiah denounces in the First Reading, for bringing disaster upon Israel.

In John’s Gospel, we hear that ‘God so loved the world that he sent his only Son.’ Today we see how Jesus, the Son of God, is moved by compassion for his people. That love and care was the driving force of his whole mission. He taught the truth in love and in the end he gave his life for us, as St Paul reminds us in the Second Reading. He calls us to show the same love to others. Our witness to the truth will be convincing only if the love of God is our driving force.

St Cuthbert’s Library

We are fortunate to have a library at St Cuthbert’s. Do you use it? Would you like to use it more? How could we improve it?

Student volunteers have worked hard over the past year to tidy up the library, and now it’s being catalogued. To help us make the best use of this valuable resource, please take a few minutes to complete this online survey on your use of the library.

(Photo by Unsplash from Freerange Stock)

Research Project

A student is conducting research into the challenges and opportunities faced by refugees pursuing higher education at Durham University. The primary objective is to capture diverse experiences and perspectives among refugee students, considering the impacts of the University’s policies, institutional frameworks, community dynamics and support systems. The research will be conducted through in-depth interviews (oral histories) to delve deeper into refugee youth’s experiences, perspectives, and narratives regarding their educational journeys.

If you are able to help with this project, please email

Proposal for Sculpture at St Cuthbert’s

St Cuthbert’s has been offered a sculpture by the noted Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, whose work highlights modern-day concerns of poverty and justice. His sculpture Homeless Jesus is on display in the Vatican and examples of his art can be seen all over the world.

This work, When I Was Hungry and Thirsty, is already on display at Holy Trinity parish, Washington, DC (see below.) Our copy would be placed in the courtyard in front of the church doors. A patron is willing to meet the cost of casting and transporting the sculpture. The proposal has received a positive recommendation from the Diocesan Historic Churches Committee and is now out for statutory consultation – details here.

Cardinal Gregory blessed a dramatic new sculpture by artist Timothy Schmalz depicts Jesus as a poor man needing help, reflecting what Jesus said in Matthew 25 about seeing Him in the poor and suffering, outside the parish chapel of Holy Trinity Church

Liturgy Day for Readers and the New Lectionary

The Diocesan Liturgical Formation team are running a day for readers of all levels of experience to explore the new translation of the Lectionary on Saturday 9 November at St Augustine, Darlington, DL3 7RG This day will provide an opportunity to look at the background of the new Lectionary and to be ready to proclaim the Scriptures.

For more information and to book, please visit: You can also book by contacting Ciara in the parish office.

Research Project on Employment

Dear all,
I am a postgraduate student at Durham University and a member of St Cuthbert’s community. In partial fulfilment of my MSc in Management and Finance, I am currently working on my dissertation which requires me to conduct a research project. I have teamed up with a group of fellow students, under the direction of our supervisor Professor Bart de Jong, for data collection. Using an online survey, we are collecting data on work experiences, work relationships and workplace behaviours. This research project has been ethically approved by Durham University Business School and participants in this study will help us to better understand how organisations can support employees to thrive and be productive in the workplace. We are collecting matched data by sending a survey to employees working within teams, together with a matching survey to their supervisor/person to whom they report. Participants won’t be asked to write up answers, it only involves box ticking. Participation would take 15-20 minutes for each employee and 10 minutes for their supervisors. In order to be eligible for participation in our study, participants must be salaried employees at an organisation – either on a part-time or full-time basis. Unfortunately, due to our eligibility criteria in place, those working on a voluntary basis are excluded from the study. If anyone is interested in participating, you can reach out to me on the email address, and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
Thank you very much! Elise

Travelling light

Jesus sends out the twelve apostles to share in his ministry of teaching. Rather than telling them what to say, he instructs them on how they should live when they are on the road. Jesus sends the apostles out in pairs, for friendship and support. He tells them to travel light, with no money and very few possessions. They will depend on the kindness of those they are sent to, hoping that someone will welcome these wandering preachers into their homes.

The message that the apostles brought was one of repentance. They called the people to turn away from sin, with the promise that God would forgive them. And they brought healing, setting the people free from sickness and from demons. It was Good News. No doubt they also shared their own faith in Jesus; the wisdom of his teaching and the power of his miracles. Mark tells us that the ministry of the apostles was fruitful though, as Jesus foresaw, not everyone welcomed them.

Every baptised Christian is sent out to witness to Jesus. We are all called to share our faith and our experience of Jesus’ presence in our lives. We may hesitate to talk to others about our faith, but in the words of Pope St Paul VI, the people of our time will listen to witnesses rather than to teachers. Every disciple can be a witness.

Sea Sunday

Seafarers and fishers play a vital role in all of our lives and they often work in difficult, hazardous conditions. This Sunday, 14th July, is Sea Sunday, when the Church prays for all those who live and work at sea and for the work of Stella Maris, which supports them. You can donate in church, via the contactless terminal or on the Stella Maris website. Your support will make a big difference to seafarers and fishers in need.

Thanks to a number of generous knitters since Sea Sunday 2023 we have sent 124 hats to the chaplains at NE ports.  They give these to seamen on the cargo vessels which have often come from much warmer climes than the North Sea.   A big thank you to all the knitters, and if you would like to join them a suitable pattern is on the parish website or paper copies are at the back of church.

Open Day

St Margaret’s Allotments, Centre and Church are holding a joint open day this, Sunday 14th July 1:30-5:00pm. All proceeds go to charity. Attractions to include history, archeology and gardening tours, freedom to roam the site, children’s activities, scarecrow competition, refreshments and much more. Entry fee is £5. All are welcome.  

Diocesan Job Vacancy

The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle is looking to appoint a Director of Education. This role is crucial to the development and protection of Catholic Education within the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. Please visit for full details or contact them on 0191 243 3301. Closing date for applications: 22 July.

They would not accept him

Jesus goes back to his home town and is rejected by his own people. No one denies that he is teaching with wisdom and working miracles, but they ask, ‘Where did the man get this from?’ Perhaps Jesus’ teaching is too difficult and challenging. Or perhaps they feel that the local boy has become ‘too big for his boots.’ He’s just a carpenter, after all. 

Mark tells us that Jesus could work no miracles because of the people’s lack of faith. Miracles and cures come about because someone asks for them and there are no miracles without faith.

We may be shocked that the people treated Jesus in this way. But for us too, there’s always a reason to reject the message of the Gospel. We can find fault with the preacher or with the way that the message is put across. We may feel that the things of this world are more important or more urgent. It may not seem like ‘the right time.’

Jesus always respects our free will. Faith is a choice. We have to be ready to hear the Good News that Jesus brings, and to respond with our whole hearts.