All posts by Margaret Doyle

Synodality: the Next Steps

12 months ago we had several local meetings to discuss the Synod on Synodality. We had some good discussions and were able to contribute to the synthesis which our Diocese sent in. During October, the Assembly of the Synod on Synodality met with Pope Francis in Rome and they have now published their report. Once again, we have the opportunity to share our thoughts, to listen to others and to make a contribution to the Synod.

We’ll be holding a series of discussions, and the first will be at 2.30pm this Sunday 3rd December in the parish room. We’ll be joined by Avril Baigent, who is a Director of the School for Synodality and synod co-lead for the Diocese of Northampton. Avril will be talking about Conversations in the Spirit, and sharing some advice on how to get the most from our meetings.

You can also take part in the meeting via Zoom; contact Fr Andrew on for login details.


Ushaw will be featured on an upcoming episode of Matt Baker: Travels with Mum & Dad. Travelling across the North East, Matt Baker takes his mum Janice and dad Mike to landmarks on their doorstep.

The episode will be aired on Monday 4 December at 9pm on More4.

Please Pray For ….

Those who are sick:

Stuart Button, Phil Bawden (Australia), Francis Mangion, Andrew S, Christopher Browne, Hugh McElhennon, Mary Skelton, Clare Humphrey and David Moore.

Those whose anniversaries occur at this time:

Eric Cheeseman, Matthew John Purvis, George Caveny, Margaret Sharron, Francis Xavier Mangion, Denis Dixon, Martha Mahan, James Saynor, Michael Farthing, Anne Wardman, Marjorie Ryan, Kathleen Pringle. May they rest in peace.

Online Gospel Reflections

We meet on Zoom each week to reflect together on Sunday’s Gospel – a way to share your thoughts and hear what others have to say. The reflection lasts 45-50 minutes, followed by a short break to make a cup of coffee, and time for a chat. Everyone is welcome to join us for the whole call, or to leave after the reflection, or to join us for social time at 11.30am. The reflection is at 10.30am every Saturday; but if you would like to take part and can’t make it that time, please contact Fr Andrew – we’re open to changing the time. For the login details for this regular call please see the St Cuthbert’s Parish Community Facebook group, or email

COP 28

The UN Climate Change Conference started this week In Dubai. Pope Francis is attending and is due to speak on Saturday 2nd Dec. He has written a new message, Laudate Deum, imploring political leaders to act with greater urgency to tackle the climate crisis. CAFOD have asked us to contact our local MPs to ask them to act on the Pope’s call.

Advent Day of Reflection at Ushaw

Advent is a time of waiting, and of preparation for the birth of Jesus at Christmas. At the start of Advent, Ushaw is providing a day of reflection with an Advent theme.  The day will include Mass, and time for prayerful reflection as we await the coming of the Saviour – an opportunity to take time away from our busy lives and think about the real meaning of Christmas.

Everyone is very welcome to join us on Friday 1st December, from 10.30am to 3pm.  Tickets for the day cost £10.  Refreshments will be provided on arrival.  Bring a packed lunch, or you can buy lunch in Welby’s café.  You can book your place at or by phone on 0191 373 8500.  

Synod on Synodality: Reflections

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe OP led the retreat for those involved in the Synod in Rome. He gave 6 reflections. They are each half an hour long, and you can listen to them on YouTube. (Some of the recordings include morning prayer for the retreatants, and the reflection starts half way through).

If you would prefer to read the transcripts of the reflections they are available on these links:

1. Hoping against Hope

2. At Home in God and God at Home in Us

3. Friendship

4. Conversation on the Way to Emmaus

5. Authority

6. The Spirit of Truth

Season of Creation

An Ecumenical Prayer Service: Sunday 1st October,  3pm

An ecumenical Prayer Service for the Season of Creation, when we are called on to commit to climate and ecological justice, and to speak out for those most affected by the climate and ecological emergency.  The theme for 2023’s Season of Creation is “Let Justice and Peace flow…..”.

The service will be held in St. Cuthbert’s Chapel at Ushaw. Everyone is welcome. No booking is required.

St. Francis in Art

The National Gallery in London is currently holding an exhibition on St. Francis of Assisi, with works by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Antony Gormley and many others. We’re planning 2 events connected with the exhibition:

Tuesday 4 July at 7.00pm: an evening at St. Cuthbert’s where we will talk about how St. Francis and stories from his life are represented in art.

Thursday 27 July: a trip to London to visit the exhibition. Details of the visit to the Gallery and of travel plans will be confirmed nearer the time, but first we need an idea of numbers, so that we can contact the Gallery and look into group discounts for travel. If you are interested in joining this trip (or if you have any questions), please contact Margaret Doyle on or 07719 906711. The exhibition itself is free, so the cost will be the train fare.

On CAFOD and Camels

Karen Kilby, the Bede Professor of Catholic Theology at Durham University, recently travelled with CAFOD to a region in East Africa suffering drought. Karen has served as a Trustee of CAFOD for the last 6 years. If you missed her recent talk, ‘On CAFOD and Camels: Theological reflections on a recent trip to the horn of Africa’, it’s available on our YouTube channel, on the link below.

St. Cuthbert’s Lecture

If you missed the lecture by Rik Van Nieuwenhove (Professor of Medieval Theology at Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies)  on “The Beauty and Significance of Jan van Ruusbroec’s mystical theology of the Trinity”, you can still watch it on YouTube. The Blessed Jan van Ruusbroec  (1293-1381) was a spiritual author of the Low Countries who developed an attractive and highly original spirituality, which influenced Spanish, French, English and German spirituality in the early-modern period. Ruusbroec describes the mystery of the Trinity as “an ebbing, flowing sea”, forever drawing us in into itself through a life of interiority and sending us out into the world through a life of charitable activity.

Donating to St. Cuthbert’s

The easiest way to donate to the parish is by setting up a Standing Order with your bank. This leaves you in full control of any donations whilst giving the parish a fair idea as to the income it can expect towards its running costs and other expenditure. Alternatively, you may wish to donate via the parish website. We also have a weekly Envelope Scheme if you prefer to give cash or cheques and a new batch of envelopes will be available from April. If you want to know more about any of these schemes or the Gift Aid Scheme then contact Andy Doyle ( or 0798 543 4185).

Parish Dinner

St Cuthbert’s Parish Dinner
is being held at 7.30pm on 16th of February at the Seven Stars, Shincliffe.

There is still time to sign up, so anyone wishing to attend please, when leaving the church on Sunday, sign up on the sheet in the porch or contact Gil Bolton (email or 07816819515)

To confirm your booking a £5.00 deposit per person will be required next week at the latest. This can be paid by cash or cheque. Cheques made payable to DHN Durham St Cuthbert’s. Please write Dinner on the back of the cheque.

CAFOD – Fix the Food System

The world produces enough food to feed everyone. So why do some people go hungry? What’s wrong with the way the world produces food?
Mark Maughan, Community Participation Coordinator for CAFOD, will lead a talk and discussion about why we need an alternative food system that puts people first.
Please come along at 7.00 – 8.00 pm, Thursday, 2nd February, in the Jubilee Room at St. Joseph’s, Gilesgate, and find out how the imbalance of power in the world’s food system is impacting farmers, their communities and all of us as members of one human family. And to learn a few simple ways YOU can help.