All posts by Margaret Doyle

Retreat in Daily Life: 24th -29th January 2021

A ‘Retreat in Daily Life’ brings the experience of an individually guided retreat to you, fitting around your work and study commitments.

What does it involve?

  • Roughly 30 min daily personal prayer & 30 min daily one-to-one meeting with a guide for 5 days.
  • An opening (Sunday evening) and closing meeting (Friday) to top and tail the retreat
  • Evening workshops exploring how to live out faith in this complex world (e.g. ways of praying, discerning God’s will and making God-centred decisions, images of God)

This year, all meetings and workshops will be held online, via Zoom or other platforms.

Who is it for? Christians wanting to deepen their prayer life, or if you aren’t sure what you believe but are willing to risk seriously exploring the reality of God. Either way, for any generous soul willing to commit to the elements of the week.

Why do it? When we are generous, God is more so. Everyone receives even more than they give. We meet a God who loves us and wants to use our gifts. It can also be a great help in making or confirming decisions, big or small. We learn new ways of praying.

Will it affect my work or studies? Yes and no. Participants will be busier that week because of these extra demands, hence the need to be generous. The retreat runs alongside a normal week, however, so no one will miss any lectures, seminars, or housework responsibilities. Sorry 🙂

Contact Fr Andrew Downie – email: andrew.j.downie@durham.ac.uk, tel.: 0191 384 3442

Christmas Carol Service

With no prospect yet of congregational singing we have a somewhat different Carol Service for 2020. The compilation of music, readings and images of our church has been put together by Alison McLean, and will give you a sense of what we might have experienced at St. Cuthbert’s had things been different this year.

The video is available in our Parish Facebook group. If you know of anyone who would enjoy watching this video but is not on Facebook, please ask them to get in touch with Alison at alison.mclean1@hotmail.com and she will send a link to their email address.

Thank you to Alison, and to everyone who took part in the music and the readings, for their contributions.

Christmas Mass Times at St. Cuthbert’s

Mass will be celebrated at St Cuthbert’s on Christmas Eve at 9.00pm, and on Christmas Day at 10.00am. If you wish to attend either of these Masses, you need to book a place. Please book as soon as possible, by email: office@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk or by telephone: 0191 384 3442. Daily Mass will also be celebrated throughout the Christmas season, and you are encouraged to come to Mass on another day if you can’t make it on Christmas Day.

Carol Service

Carol Service: This year’s Carol Service has been recorded, and is now available to download from the ‘St Cuthbert’s Parish Community’ Facebook page, with Scripture readings and beautiful music from the choir. If you don’t have internet access, please contact the Parish Office to request a copy of the service on CD.

St Cuthbert’s & the Chaplaincy COVID & Christmas Chat

At this time of year parishioners and students would usually be chatting over a glass of mulled wine after our joint Advent carol service. This year, we can catch up on Zoom.

Join us on Thursday 10th December at 7.00pm to hear from the student community about their experiences of university life during COVID, for all of us to share our thoughts on how we’ll be celebrating Christmas this year, and to plan how the parish and the chaplaincy can work together..

Details of how to join the call will be available in the ‘St Cuthbert’s Parish Community’ and the ‘Durham Catholic Chaplaincy Events’ Facebook Groups.

Financial Briefing to the Parish November 2020

A short annual briefing on the Parish Finances from John Marsland, as chairman of the Parish Finance Council.

This time last year I was reporting on a financially difficult year, however, this year has been even more challenging with lockdowns and a closed Church for some periods.

You may remember that we spent about £40K on repairs and maintenance during last year. This year the equivalent figure is about £10K and most of this is for the fire alarm upgrade.

We expected to see a significant deterioration in our financial position following the closures of the Church and the restriction on the number of parishioners who could attend during services. However, as a result of the low spend on repairs and maintenance, our balances are in better shape than we expected. We have £34839 in the Parish account and £31145 in the deposit account with the Diocese.

As always, your generosity continues with many parishioners continuing to donate with standing orders or online even though they are unable to attend Church at this time. Many thanks for your continued contributions.

The next few months are shrouded with uncertainty and our stewardship needs to be sensitive to unforeseen demands and we will continue to depend on your donations even more as things unfold. We are also fully aware that our Church is an old building and significant repair costs can be incurred at any time.

With regard to the Diocese as a whole, the latest information is that the financial position is stable, for now the pandemic shock has been absorbed, however the future is still uncertain.

If you have not already set up a standing order or online donation and would like to do so please contact Andy Doyle for details, he can be contacted via the Parish Office for which the number is on the weekly bulletin.

A further significant contribution to our funds is made by the Gift Aid scheme, currently around £8K per year. This excellent scheme costs nothing to join with no complicated paperwork and is of considerable benefit to the Parish. If you would like to join, again, please contact Andy.

I hope and pray that my next annual report in November 2021 will report on a more stable situation, in the meantime, I will ensure you are briefed on any significant financial events if they occur.

Many thanks again for your support during the past year.

John Marsland

November 2020

Parish Reading Group

The parish has a Reading Group which discusses all sorts of literature (not just theology, nor only Christian writing). All members of the parish are welcome to join, including undergraduates and postgraduates.

The next meeting is on Tuesday 1 December at 8pm, when we will be discussing Paul Nurse, What is Life?

The group is currently meeting on Zoom.

Contact Margaret Harvey: email margaretharvey@uwclub.net or phone 0191 3840080.

The Spirituality of the Benedictines

The Finchale Partnership and the University Chaplaincy have organised a series of events on the Spirituality of the religious orders. The events take place on Zoom.

The third event in our series is The Spirituality of the Benedictines.

Speaker: Scholastica Jacob was a nun of Stanbrook Abbey, and is now living as a Benedictine in Durham, conducting research at the Centre for Catholic Studies on the experiences of English Benedictine nuns in the early 19th century.

Date: Thursday 26th November at 7.00pm

Details of how to join the session are available in the parish Facebook group or by contacting margaretdoyle1066@sky.com

The picture is a statue of St. Benedict at Monte Cassino.

Remembrance

Sadly, and as a result of the new COVID restrictions, our Mass of Remembrance scheduled for Saturday 7th November is not open to the public. Names of deceased family and friends can still be added to our Parish Book of Remembrance by e-mailing Andy Doyle (andydoyle1066@sky.com).

Our Online Gospel Reflection on Sunday 8th November will begin with a two minute silence in memory of those who fell in two world wars and the many subsequent conflicts.

Mass and Private Prayer at St. Cuthbert’s

St. Cuthbert’s is now open for public Mass throughout the week as well as on Sundays.

Please do not come to church if you are in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ group, if you are showing any of the symptoms of Covid-19, or if you have any concerns about your safety. The obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been dispensed by the Bishops until further notice.

You will be asked to give contact details and we have a QR code displayed if you are using the NHS COVID-19 Test & Trace App.

Face coverings became mandatory in Places of Worship from Saturday 8th August 2020. All those who are attending churches must wear a face covering unless they are exempt from doing so.

Sunday Mass: Mass will be celebrated on Sunday 1st November at 10:00am and 6.30pm, and Sunday 8th November, at 10.00am and 6:30pm. The capacity of the church is limited to 36 people under the diocesan Risk Assessment. If you wish to attend Sunday Mass, you must request a place, by emailing office@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk or telephoning 0191 384 3442. If you come to church without having booked a place at Mass, you may be asked to leave. If there is a high demand for places at the 6:30pm Mass, priority will be given to students.

Masses during the week. You can attend without prior booking, but you will be asked for contact details. Church will be open for an hour each time there is Mass and you are very welcome to come into church for private prayer immediately before and after Mass.

Receiving Communion: Please wait in the pews until instructed by the Stewards to come forward to the priest for Holy Communion, always aware of social distancing in the queue. Please unloop your face covering, hold your arms at “full stretch” so that there is a good distance between you and the priest, with hands, palms upwards, one of top of the other, extended as flat as possible, consume the Sacred Host and then replace your face covering before moving back to your pew.

Volunteers are needed to act as stewards, and to clean the church after each opening. You must not volunteer if you are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, and if you are in the clinically vulnerable group, you should consider carefully your safety before deciding to volunteer. If you do wish to help, please get in touch by telephone or email, as above.

The Spirituality of the Dominicans

The Finchale Partnership and the University Chaplaincy have organised a series of events on the Spirituality of the religious orders. The events take place on Zoom.

The second event in our series is The Spirituality of the Dominicans.

Speaker: fr. Benjamin Earl OP. fr. Ben lived in Durham as Parish Priest at St. Cuthbert’s and University Chaplain, from 2012 to 2016.

Date: Thursday 29th October at 7.00pm

Details of how to join the session are available in the parish Facebook group or by contacting margaretdoyle1066@sky.com

Keeping in Touch

Did you know that you can still hear our choir each week as they record the music for us all to hear?

As further local restrictions are now in place in the North East, it seems that it will be some time before we are all able to attend Mass at St. Cuthbert’s and meet together as a community. So we will be continuing to offer opportunities for everyone to participate as much as they are able on-line.

In our parish Facebook Group you will find the links to our Virtual Coffee Morning every Saturday, the Gospel Reflection every Sunday morning and the weekly bidding prayers, as well as the recordings which the choir make for us every week.

If you haven’t already joined the Facebook Group, search for ‘St. Cuthbert’s Parish Community’ or follow the link from the Parish Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/stcuthbertschurch.

Visiting St. Cuthbert’s: What to Expect

If you haven’t yet visited St. Cuthbert’s since we re-opened, you are very welcome. This what you can expect.

As you come into the church, please use the hand sanitiser and follow the one-way system. There are no Mass or hymn books available, but we will provide paper bulletins and Mass sheets at Sunday Mass, and you can access the readings and Morning and Evening Prayer from Universalis on your phone, using the QR codes displayed on the noticeboard.

Many of the benches are not available, and those that are, are clearly marked so that you will be able to find a place to sit. At Sunday Mass, you will be shown to an allocated seat by the stewards.

Face coverings are mandatory in Places of Worship from Saturday 8th August 2020. All those who are attending churches must wear a face covering unless they are exempt from doing so.

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Receiving Communion: Please wait in the pews until instructed by the Stewards to come forward to the priest for Holy Communion, always aware of social distancing in the queue. Please wait behind the yellow line until you can move forward to the square marked on the carpet. Please unloop your face covering, hold your arms at “full stretch” so that there is a good distance between you and the priest, with hands, palms upwards, one of top of the other, extended as flat as possible, consume the Sacred Host and then replace your face covering before moving back to your pew.

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.

Keep in Touch

There are many ways to keep in touch over the coming weeks and months. The website will be regularly updated to give you the latest information.

Please sign up for our e-bulletin, and you’ll receive a weekly email.

Please follow us on Facebook.

We’ve also set up a new Facebook Group, St.Cuthbert’s Parish Community, where you can share your thoughts, prayers, reflections and news. You can join the group on our Facebook page.

If you know of anyone who isn’t able to keep in touch on the internet or the Facebook page, but would welcome contact, please ask them to get in touch with Fr. Andrew on 0191 3843442. We have a network of volunteers who are happy to phone people to chat and pass on any news, and have already been in touch with some people.