This Sunday 26th November, the Feast of Christ the King, Pope Francis invites the global Church to celebrate and pray for young people. The diocesan Youth Ministry Team have taken the opportunity to share some Youth Ministry highlights since last year’s Youth Sunday, many of which would not be possible without the support of such wonderful chaplains, school staff and parishes, so on behalf of the YMT, thank you. The “Youth Sunday News” is posted on our notice board. The retiring collection on Youth Sunday will go towards the work of YMT. Gift Aid envelopes are available.
Congratulations to Mao Cheng, who will be received into full communion with the Catholic Church and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at 10.00 Mass today, taking the Confirmation name of Catherine. Please pray for her.
We had about 300 visits to St Cuthbert’s across the three evenings that the Church was open for the Lumiere Festival. Thank you to everyone who helped with welcome and hospitality.
The collection remains open until the end of November. Thank you for your support.
The ‘knit and natter’ group have knitted a crib (similar to the one we made last year for the children of the parish). We are going to raffle this to raise funds for CAFOD during Advent. Tickets will be available after Mass on Sunday. Tickets cost £2 for 1 ticket and £10 for 6.
November is the month in which Catholics bring to mind those who have died and pray for their souls. From All Souls Day (November 2nd), our Parish Book of Remembrance will be placed on the font and opened for you to write within it the names of your departed family members and friends. If you cannot come along to church in person, please e-mail Andy Doyle (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he shall arrange for names to be added.
Thank you to everybody that donated to the recent collection appeal of toiletries and food packs for women released from Low Newton prison. This year we also collected craft items for children attending visits at the prison. The team at Low Newton send their thanks to all who donated and that your kindness and support has made a big difference.
In today’s Gospel we meet three servants who are entrusted by their employer with a share of his wealth, in the form of valuable coins or ‘talents.’ Two of the three make good use of what is given to them – they manage to double the money. But the third servant does nothing with the precious coin. He digs a hole to hide it away.
We can try to make the most of the gifts that God has entrusted to us, or we can do as little as possible. The third servant is rebuked by his master for being ‘wicked and lazy.’ The truth is that he was afraid to take risks. For fear of losing his master’s money and perhaps being punished, he hid it away and did nothing with it. He was paralysed by fear.
This parable teaches us that we should not be afraid to take risks and be creative. We can step up, use our gifts and share the Good News of Christ that we have received; but only if we trust God. Our faith in God sets us free from fear – free to be adventurous and to hear the Lord’s words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’
St Cuthbert’s Parish Assembly will be held this Sunday 19th November after 10am Mass, in the Parish Room. There will be reports from the Parish Pastoral Council, the Parish Finance Council, Fr. Andrew and other parish groups and committees. Everyone is welcome – come along for an update about what’s happening in our parish.
Red Wednesday is on 22nd November and is the day when we are asked to remember and pray for persecuted Christians all over the world. St Cuthbert’s will be lit up in red that evening. The theme of Red Wednesday 2023 is the persecuted Church in Africa. On Thursday 23rd November at 7.00pm Dr John Newton of Aid to the Church in Need will speak at St Cuthbert’s on The crisis for northern Africa’s persecuted Christians. Everyone is welcome.
Thank you to everybody who has taken up a volunteering role in the parish and completed the necessary paperwork. Just a reminder it is Diocesan policy that before starting any volunteer role in the church a simple volunteer registration form needs to be completed. It is a very simple process. Please contact the parish safeguarding representatives Stephanie Brown 07809611640 or Mark Miller 07958174805 for the necessary form. It is important that all volunteers old and new read the Diocesan Safeguarding Guidlines. A copy of these can be found on the notice board at the back of church and here Diocesan Safeguarding Guidelines
Thank you to everyone who signed ‘Salina’s letter’ this summer. Salina is the small-scale farmer from Bangladesh who is calling on the World Bank to protect the rights of farmers over their own seeds. 70,000 parishioners in England and Wales signed the letter, and a third of all parishes took part. Salina said, “I am very happy to know about 70,000 signatures along with mine. This helped CAFOD to secure initial meetings with World Bank staff, who heard the message that seeds are for all. This is a long struggle but it’s a very promising start. Thank you for adding your voice.’’
You can watch the following videos to see the news of Salina’s letter reaching the community.
Hand in of Salina’s letter at the World Bank annual meetings October 2023: Ruth Segal and Farida Akhter present one of the ‘Salina letters’ signed by parishes to the World Bank Global Director of Agriculture and Food at the World Bank annual meetings in Morocco, October 2023.
Salina’s community react to support from parishes October 2023: Farida Akhter explains to Salina’s community that many parishes in England and Wales have supported Salina’s letter to the World Bank this year, and Salina reacts positively to that news.
The Little Sisters of the Poor are having a Christmas Fayre at St Joseph’s Home, Westmorland Road, Newcastle at 1pm-4pm on Saturday 25th November. All are welcome to attend.
Resound Worship is offering an evening of Thanks & Praise at St John’s Church of England, Nevilles Cross. Wednesday 22nd November at 7.30pm. Details at https://resoundworship.org/events/thanks-praise-resound-worship-durham
Holy Island Vinnies Camp is looking for new helpers to help in their kitchens on Holy Island. The Camp runs holidays for many of our Catholic Schools in the North East during the months of April to July and then September to November but relies on volunteers to do caretaking duties and kitchen helpers to wash up, serve meals and help prepare light meals, salads and sandwiches etc for the groups staying on site. Commitment can be as little as a few days a year or more if you are able to and willing! Anyone who is thinking they might like to volunteer in 2024 could also contact Barbara Taws via BarbaraT@svp.org.uk to find more information about Camp and the process of becoming a volunteer. We hope to see you soon!
So far this year the parish has sent over 60 warm, woolly hats the chaplains for distribution to seaman visiting local ports. Now that the temperatures are increasingly chilly there is an even greater need for hats. The pattern is on the parish website and at the back of church if you would like to knit hats for the seafarers.
Today’s readings offer both warning and comfort. The parable of the ten bridesmaids reminds us that our life will come to an end and we ‘do not know the day or the hour’ when the Lord will call us to him. But the words of St Paul to the Christians at Thessalonika in the Second Reading bring reassurance. Those early Christians wondered about their family members and friends who had died. Would they rise to eternal life as they had been promised? Yes, Paul assures the Thessalonians, they should be quite certain about those who have died. Their loved ones are in God’s hands.
The First Reading is a reflection on true wisdom and the parable of the bridesmaids reminds us that one day we will meet Jesus, the bridegroom. We are wise if we remember that we will stand before the Lord one day, and will have to answer to him for our lives. We prepare ourselves by prayer and good works.
November is the month of remembrance, when we traditionally pray for the loved ones whom we have lost, and for those who have died in war. Today’s Gospel reminds us of the reality that life has an end, but our faith gives us a firm hope in the face of death. By God’s mercy, there will be a place for us at the wedding feast in the kingdom of heaven.
Please note that Confessions on Saturday 11th November will be 9:15-9:45am.
Please pray for peace in the Holy Land.
Durham County Council is currently proposing to increase on-street car parking charges in Durham city and to extend them to Sundays. Details can be found at
https://www.durham.gov.uk/article/30424/Car-parking-charges-and-tariff-review and this page also includes a simple form where we can give our opinion regarding the proposal. If the proposal to extend charges to Sundays were to be approved this would obviously impact the people of our parish and others in the city centre and so please consider reading the proposal and submitting your opinion.
The deadline is 5pm on Monday November 13th.