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.

Keeping in touch

Please check the parish website, www.stcuthberts-durham.org.uk for regular updates. If you’re not already subscribed to our weekly e-newsletter, you can subscribe here. Also check the ‘St Cuthbert’s Church, Durham’ page on Facebook – from there, you can join our new Facebook group, ‘St Cuthbert’s Parish Community,’ which already has more than 100 members.

We have a network of parishioners who are keeping in touch via telephone, while social distancing is in force. If you would like to be contacted regularly (especially if you don’t have internet access), or if you know someone who would welcome such contact, please contact Fr Andrew on 0191 3843442 or parish.priest@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk.

Northern Cross

The August edition of our diocesan newspaper is now available, online only, at www.northerncross.org.uk The Northern Cross is facing significant financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – please consider supporting the paper by taking out an online or print subscription, via the website or by post: Subscriptions Dept, Northern Cross, c/o WM Fortune & Son, Collingwood House, Church Square, Hartlepool, TS24 7EN.

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Just over a week ago, the world remembered the horrors of the atomic bombs  which were exploded above Hiroshima on the 6th August and Nagasaki on the 9th August, 1945. Among the survivors from the hypocentre, in each case, were a few devastated trees. Many years  later, cuttings from these trees were distributed internationally as a peace offering. Small progeny now grow in Gloucestershire; Maidenhair Trees from Hiroshima and Kaki Trees (Chinese Persimmon) from Nagasaki. Commemorative cards are available – please take one.

Counselling & Listening Service

A number of qualified counsellors and listeners have generously made themselves available to anyone who may be troubled by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown. These counsellors and listeners can be contacted through the St Mary’s Cathedral Listening Service on 0191 232 6953 and the Northumberland Listening Service on 07732 980740.

Please pray

Please pray for the repose of the soul of James McAloon, who died recently, and for his family. His funeral service will be celebrated at St Cuthbert’s on Saturday 15th August at 10.00am. Please note that due to Government regulations, attendance at the funeral service is limited to family members and invited guests. Please join with us in prayer at the time of the service, rather than attempting to attend.

Do not be afraid

Sudden storms are common on the Sea of Galilee, and in today’s Gospel, we find Jesus’ disciples battling a storm in the middle of the night. They were experienced fishermen and they knew the power of the sea. But if the disciples were frightened by the storm, they were truly terrified when, as they thought, they saw a ghost walking across the waves towards them. Peter recognised Jesus and, at first, put his faith in the Lord, walking across the waves towards them. But Peter panicked when he felt the wind, and he needed Jesus to save him. The disciples were in awe when they saw that Jesus had power over the wind and the sea – surely only God can control the forces of nature?

This Gospel story is both a demonstration of Jesus’ power as Son of God, and a symbol of the Christian life. As we journey through life, we sometimes face high winds and rough seas. We may feel afraid and wonder if we can make it through. Or, like Peter, we may be ready to put our trust in Jesus, but then panic when we see what we are up against. Sometimes, we have to experience those moments of panic to remind us that we do depend completely on God.

The coronavirus pandemic is a storm that has turned our whole world upside down. We have learned that the forces of nature are not always under our control, and we are left wondering what the future holds. This strange and disturbing time is the right time to renew our faith in Christ, the one who does have power to calm all the storms that threaten us. Like Elijah, we will encounter the Lord, not in the violence of the storm, but in the quiet of the gentle breeze.

Meet a Columban Missionary

Following on from their visit to St Cuthbert’s earlier this year, the Columbans in Britain would like to invite you to join a virtual encounter with Marjorie Engcoy, a Columban Lay Missionary from the Philippines assigned to Fiji, on Wednesday 12th August at 7.00pm.  In her work as a lay missionary, Marjorie has been involved in various different ministries such as youth, children, women, liturgy, evangelisation, leadership and JPIC. Marjorie looks forward to explaining some of these ministries in more detail and how through her mission work overseas she has experienced God’s love and His promise: “I will be with you, always.” The free hour-long call will include a prayer, a short introduction and then move to a question and answer forum. We hope this will be a real encounter and not simply something to watch, so numbers will be limited. The webinar encounter will be held on Zoom, and so you’ll need a suitable device and a reliable internet connection. Register at https://tinyurl.com/MeetAColumbanMissionary

Volunteering for Cleaning

We are currently opening the church 3 times a week for private prayer, and for Mass on Sunday. Every time church is open volunteers are needed to clean the church.

Please note the  following, from the Diocesan Handbook for the Reopening of Churches: 

‘Stewards and cleaners must not be drawn from the clinically extremely vulnerable group. Those in the clinically vulnerable group, including people aged 70 or over, could be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. The clinically vulnerable group are advised to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household or support bubble. Those from this group who still wish to volunteer will be asked to confirm that they have read and understood the Diocesan Handbook for Re- Opening of Churches and HM Government Guidance on Staying alert and safe (social distancing.)’ 

If, having considered this information, you wish to volunteer, please get in touch by emailing office@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk or telephoning 0191 384 3442.

They all ate as much as they wanted

Today’s Gospel begins with Jesus receiving the news of the death of John the Baptist. He and his disciples go off to a lonely place, probably intending to grieve and pray in peace. But there is no peace for Jesus. The crowds come and find him, out in the countryside. Matthew tells us that Jesus took pity on the people – in the original Greek of the Gospel, that he was ‘moved with compassion’ for them. Even when he was sad and grieving himself, Jesus didn’t stop caring for the people. He healed their sick and then, seeing that they were hungry, he gathered the crowd together and fed them, working a miracle with the little food that his disciples were able to bring.

The miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand points to the greatest miracle of our faith. Jesus feeds us with his own body and blood in the Eucharist. It is when we gather for Mass that we are most fully the Church; Vatican II teaches that our celebration of the Eucharist is the ‘source and summit’ of our life as a Church. The coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible for us to gather and eat together. We have had to wait patiently to celebrate the Eucharist again, and now we have to resume our celebration gradually and cautiously, making sure that we keep everyone as safe as possible.

But we are still a Church, even when we are apart. Jesus is still moved with compassion for us, his disciples. He still heals us and feeds us with his Word, and he still calls us to show care and compassion for one another. God pours out his gifts upon us, even in the most difficult times.