All posts by Parish Priest

Dominican Friar; Parish Priest, St Cuthbert's Durham

Why Pray the Rosary? A Dominican Perspective

Have you ever wondered why Catholics pray the Rosary or asked yourself more fundamentally about the meaning of praying or contemplation within the Christian tradition? Then sign up and come along and join us on Sunday, 9th June at 8 pm in the Tunstall Chapel of Durham Castle where we will explore a Dominican perspective on Rosary praying with Fr Dr Dr Xaver M. Propach, OP (Province of St Albertus Magnus, Germany), who will be with us online, and followed by a led Rosary in the Norman Chapel. Everyone is welcome.

Fr John Gibbons

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Fr John Gibbons, who died recently. Fr John was ordained a priest of our diocese in 1963, and served as a Curate at St Cuthbert’s in 1979-80. His Requiem Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Stephen at 12.45pm on Wednesday 10th January at Sacred Heart Church, New Road, Boldon Colliery NE35 9DR.

Listening Meeting

There will be a meeting on Sunday 23rd July at 2.30pm in the Parish Room, to reflect on the recent CSSA safeguarding report and the events around the resignation of Bishop Robert Byrne. This will be an opportunity to voice our thoughts and feelings, to listen to one another and to consider our response as a community. Everyone is welcome.

A Conversation on the Digital Synod

The Church has begun the Digital Synod as an opportunity to listen to the voices of those who are or feel excluded from the traditional structures of the Church, and to take their experiences and perspectives into account as we walk together.

Dr Stan Chu Ilo is a Nigerian-born priest and Research Professor of Ecclesiology, World Christianity, and African Studies at the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, DePaul University, Chicago. Fr Stan was Richardson Fellow in Durham’s Department of Theology and Religion in 2019. He will be visiting Durham this week and you can meet him to learn more about the Digital Synod on Sunday 25th June at 2.30pm in the Chaplaincy Room. Everyone is welcome.

You can read the Summary of the Continental Stage of the Digital Synod here.

Visiting Preacher

Edward Hauschild, a Durham graduate and former CathSoc Secretary, was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Portsmouth last month. Fr Edward will join us at St Cuthbert’s on Sunday 30th April to celebrate the 6.30pm Mass as a Mass of Thanksgiving for his priestly ordination. We look forward to welcoming Fr Edward back to Durham.

Canonical Investigation – Parish Survey

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, as Metropolitan, has been asked by the Dicastery for Bishops in Rome to prepare an in-depth report into the events leading up to the resignation of Bishop Robert Byrne. Archbishop Malcolm has commissioned Carol Lawrence, Chief Operating Officer of the Shrewsbury Diocese, to carry out this investigation.

The investigation has now issued a survey to be completed by parishioners. This is an anonymous survey, all answers are provided in complete confidence, and you are asked to give your own individual views. The survey will run until Monday 27 March 2023 and can be accessed at or through the Diocesan website, or by scanning the QR code below.. Please complete the survey only once, even if you hold more than one role in the Diocese.

Catholic Theology Research Seminar

Dr Tia Noelle Pratt (Villanova University): Doing THE work: Anti-racism and the Catholic Church. Thursday 19 January 2023, 5.00-6.30pm.

Dr. Pratt, a sociologist of religion based in the United States, will discuss her research regarding systemic racism in the U.S. Catholic Church and its impact on African American Catholics. She will also discuss ways to engage the Church in anti-racism efforts.

All are welcome to join us for this seminar. Please register on Eventbrite via and the Zoom link will be sent to you.

Requiem Mass for Pope Benedict XVI

The Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle will celebrate a Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of the late Pope Emeritus at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle on Monday 9 January at 12.05pm. Bishop Séamus will preside at this Mass and all Clergy, Religious and Laity of the diocese are welcome to attend. The Mass will be live-streamed to the Cathedral YouTube page here. The Bishops’ Conference has produced a prayer card which you can view here.

Advent Reflections

The Diocesan Vicariate for Faith & Mission have produced a series of reflections on the readings used throughout our Advent preparations. The reflections have been written by members of the Diocese and offer an opportunity to pause and reflect as we prepare to welcome the Lord at Christmas. You can download a copy of the reflections here .

A Message from Bishop Robert

Bishop Robert writes:

For some time now, I have been discerning my future and after much prayer and reflection, I find that the office of the Diocesan Bishop has become too great a burden. I have therefore tendered my resignation to the Holy Father who has graciously acceded to my request. In the period prior to the appointment of my successor, the diocese will continue to operate under the governance of Archbishop Malcolm McMahon as Apostolic Administrator.

You will, I am sure, recognise that the formulation of this decision has not been easy but I have decided to tender my resignation in order to make way for my successor and ensure the best interests of the diocese as a whole.

As I prepare to return to my community in Oxford for the time being, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the clergy and religious of the diocese for the welcome, care and support which has been shown to me. I am and will remain deeply grateful for that support and the encouragement it represents.

With an assurance of my continued prayers for your own ministry,


You can read Bishop Robert’s letter to the people and clergy of our diocese here. Please pray for him, for Archbishop Malcolm McMahon who has been appointed as Apostolic Administrator, and for Canon Peter Leighton, Vicar-General, who will be responsible for the day-to-day running of our diocese.

Book of Remembrance

November is the month in which Catholics bring to mind those who have died and pray for their souls.  Our Parish Book of Remembrance will be open at the font all month from All Saints Day for you to write the names of your departed family members and friends. If you cannot come along to church in person, please e-mail Andy Doyle ( and he shall arrange for names to be added.

On Saturday 26th November, we will celebrate Mass at 10am, when we will pray especially for all who have died in the last few years together with those who mourn. All are invited, particularly if you have lost a family member, friend or loved one.  This Mass will be followed by simple refreshments.                                                                                          

Women at the Periphery Taking Centre Stage

A conference organised by the National Board of Catholic Women. A weekend of walking together on the Synodal Path; an opportunity to connect, support and learn from one another. The conference will focus on issues that affect women but is open to all. Friday 25-Sunday 27 November at Ushaw College, near Durham. Full details and programme here.

FREE TRANSPORT FOR STUDENTS: Bus transport is available from St Cuthbert’s Church in Durham City to Ushaw College, to enable students to take part in the conference events on Saturday 26th November. The bus is free, thanks to the generous support of the diocesan Vicariate for Faith & Mission. To book a place on the bus, contact Fr Andrew Downie on