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Events at minsteracres

Lenten Days of Reflection: An opportunity to step aside during the season of Lent, listen to God in scripture and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the countryside. On Wednesday 22 March, Wednesday 29 March and Wednesday 5 April, 10:00am–4:00pm, with a light lunch provided. Suggested donation: £20.

Holy Week Retreat: Join the community on their journey towards Easter, including time for reflection and the opportunity to take part in the liturgies of Holy Week. This retreat starts on Thursday 13 April at 6:30pm and ends on Sunday 16 April at 2:00pm. Led by the Minsteracres team. Cost £165.

Ushaw College

The Main House and Chapels are now open, Wednesday-Saturday 1-5pm. Entry to the Main House and Chapels is free – guided Tours and certain events are chargeable. See

The Durham Scratch Choir– A community choir that prides itself in drawing members from all backgrounds and walks of life. Saturday 25 March at 2:30 pm in St Cuthbert’s Chapel. Admission: free – retiring collection.

Breaking down the barriers

John tells us that “Jews do not associate with Samaritans.” This is an understatement. In the time of Christ, Jews and Samaritans hated and despised one another. This is why the Samaritan woman in today’s Gospel reading is so surprised when Jesus asks her for a drink.

But Jesus simply ignores such divisions, based on prejudice and suspicion. As a Jewish man, it was scandalous for him to be seen even speaking in public to a woman who was a Samaritan and a stranger. But Jesus sees another human being, who needs to hear the Good News.

After speaking with Jesus, the woman hurries back to her home town, to bring her own people – Samaritans – to hear the Jewish prophet she has met. Jesus has evangelised her – brought her good news – and now she becomes an evangelist to others. She tells the people, “Come and see,” the same invitation that Jesus offered to his first disciples. Her encounter with Christ has brought her to believe in him, and given her the desire to share her faith with others.

Pope Francis urges us to be an evangelising and missionary Church. We can only evangelise effectively by following the example of Christ – sitting down with others, listening to their stories, and inviting them to come and see.


During the season of Lent, we shall pray the Evening Prayer of the Church (Vespers) each Friday evening at 6:10pm. At 6:30pm each Friday we shall follow the Way of the Cross using devotions both traditional and modern.
Morning prayer of the Church Is celebrated each day at St Cuthbert’s – why not make this one of your Lenten commitments? Why not take up a discipline of prayer for this holy season and join us for one or all of these Lenten opportunities?

Parish Pastoral Council

The first meeting of the newly constituted Parish Pastoral Council will be held on Thursday 23 March. If you have any items that you would like to have discussed by the PPC, please give them to Fr Andrew or to Margaret Doyle. Elections for members of the PPC will be held at the Parish Assembly on Thursday 25 May, to which all members of the parish are welcome to attend.

Planned Giving

Firstly, thank you to all who donate so generously to our parish. The set of planned giving envelopes for the new financial year is now available in named boxes in the porch for donors to pick up. There are also some unnamed boxes and people are free to take these but please add your name and contact details to the sheet nearby. If anybody wishes to know more about planned giving, envelopes, standing orders or Gift Aid, please contact Andy Doyle ( or 0191 378 3660).


If you can help with welcoming, reading or administering Holy Communion at our Easter services, please sign up on the rota on the noticeboard as soon as you can. We need many, many volunteers to ensure that our liturgies are celebrated with dignity and joy. Also, if you would be willing to participate in the foot-washing as part of the Mass on Holy Thursday evening, please let Fr Andrew or Andy Doyle know as soon as possible. Many thanks.