Category Archives: Announcements

Follow me

When Jesus begins his preaching, Mark tells us that his message is: ‘Repent, and believe the Good News.’ The good news that Jesus brings is news of God’s mercy, and the promise of eternal life. There is a sense of urgency. The time has come. John the Baptist has been arrested, and Jesus knows that the same fate could await him. He goes to Galilee and calls the people to repent; to change their hearts and their lives – to turn back to God.

The first disciples whose lives are changed by Jesus are four fishermen; Simon and his brother Andrew, James and his brother John. When Jesus calls them, they leave everything behind to follow him; job, family and home. Jesus tells them that they will ‘fish’ for people instead – they will catch disciples for him.

We too have been called by Jesus to follow him. When we were baptised, we became his disciples. Like Simon and Andrew, James and John, Jesus wants us to be ‘fishers of people’ – to catch disciples for him, witnessing to our Christian faith in word and action. Like the first disciples, Jesus wants us to put him at the centre of our lives. It’s not easy to be a disciple of Christ. It can be costly – the Good News isn’t always welcome. But Jesus is calling us by name. Are we ready to follow him?

Parish bulletins and Catholic newspapers

Parish bulletins and Catholic newspapers will be available for collection in a box outside the church door. Please pick up a copy of the bulletin and put it through the letterbox of a friend or neighbour who might not be able to get out. 

Northern Cross: the January edition of our diocesan newspaper is now available online at www.northerncross.org.uk  Please consider taking out a subscription to support the Northern Cross.

Hospital Visits

The University Hospital of North Durham still has restrictions in place regarding visits to patients – see the hospital website for the latest information. However, the Catholic Chaplain is still able to visit patients, and can bring them Holy Communion and the Sacrament of the Sick. If you know of a patient who wishes for a visit from the Catholic Hospital Chaplain, please inform Fr Paul Tully on 01388 818544 or frpaultully@outlook.com 

For visits to patients in St Cuthbert’s Hospice, in care homes or in their own homes, please contact Fr Andrew.

Holocaust Memorial Day

‘Be  a light  in  the darkness’ is  the  theme for  2021’s annual Holocaust  memorial  day. Holocaust  memorial  events take  place  around January  27th,  the anniversary  of the  liberation  of  the  Auschwitz Camp in 1945. Due to Covid restrictions,  the  Department for  Interreligious  Relations  are  unable to  hold  the usual annual  events. However, an online commemoration will be available from 25th January on the diocesan website, www.rcdhn.org.uk This  will  include  a testimony  given  by Anita  Lasker  Wallfisch, who  is  a survivor  of  the infamous  Auschwitz  orchestra. Contributions  have  also been  given  by members  of  The United  Hebrew  Congregation Synagogue  in  Newcastle, and  Anita’s  grandson Simon,  a  renowned cellist.

Public Masses at St Cuthbert’s

A new lockdown has been announced by the Government. However, churches can continue to celebrate Mass publicly, while maintaining the usual Covid-19 safety practices, and Mass at St Cuthbert’s will continue for the time being. Thank you to the volunteer stewards and cleaners, who have made it possible for us to continue celebrating Mass as a community.

The capacity of St Cuthbert’s church is limited to 36 places under the diocesan Risk Assessment, and members of a single household or support bubble can sit together. Please observe all of the rules, which have been put in place for everyone’s safety; socialising with anyone outside your household or bubble is prohibited.

If you wish to attend Sunday Mass, you must book a place, by emailing office@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk or telephoning 0191 384 3442, by 6pm on Saturday. You will be asked to give a contact telephone number or email address. If you come to church without having booked a place at Mass, you may be asked to leave. 

For weekday Masses, you can attend without prior booking, but you will be asked for ‘Track and Trace’ details. We have a QR code displayed at the church entrance, which you can scan using the NHS Track & Trace app.

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.

All Masses at St Cuthbert’s are live streamed on our YouTube channel.

Volunteers are needed to clean the church after each opening, and to act as stewards. If you can help, please get in touch by telephone or email.

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 and hold your arms at ‘full stretch,’ so that there is a good distance between you and the priest, with hands, palms upwards, one on top of the other, extended as flat as possible. Consume the Sacred Host and then replace your face covering, before moving back to your seat.

Please note that we are obliged to keep all the church doors open during Mass, for maximum ventilation, in order to prevent the spread of the virus. So remember to wrap up warm for Mass!

Urgent Appeal

 Local hospitals are in urgent need of toiletries for the many patients they are currently treating.  Please help the NHS by donating: Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, Shower Gel, Shampoo, Combs/Brushes, Shaving Cream, Razors and Flannels. Items can be left in the box in the porch at St Cuthbert’s – please do not go to the hospitals.

Keeping in touch

Many members of our community could still be feeling isolated, especially now we are back in lockdown. If you are in need of any practical help, eg with grocery shopping or collecting prescriptions, or if you just want to chat, please contact Fr Andrew by email, or by telephone on 0191 384 3442. If you know of someone who might need support, please make contact with them, or let Fr Andrew know.

Regular Events on Zoom

We have a number of regular online events. Please do join us on Zoom. You can access the log-on details by joining the parish Facebook Group, ‘St Cuthbert’s Parish Community’, or by emailing margaretdoyle1066@sky.com

Sunday: There will be a shared reflection on the readings and the Gospel, at 11.00am.

Saturday: There will be a virtual coffee morning, at 10.30am.

Monday to Friday: Morning Prayer of the Church (Lauds), at 8.00am.

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

Come and see

‘What do you want?’ Jesus asks the two disciples who approach him. Probably, they don’t really know what they want. They were followers of John the Baptist, until John pointed them towards Jesus. They address Jesus as ‘Rabbi’ – Teacher – and they ask him where he lives. The two men must see something in Jesus that draws them to him. They want to find out more.

Jesus’ response is ‘Come and see.’ He spends the rest of the day talking with them. We don’t know what was said during those hours, but by the next day, Andrew is convinced that Jesus is the Messiah – God’s chosen one. Andrew is so impressed with Jesus that he brings his brother Simon to meet the new teacher. And Jesus calls Simon, too. Jesus changes Simon’s name to Cephas (Peter, in English) – the Rock. Jesus will not just change his name, but his whole life, too.

Jesus called Simon and Andrew to become his disciples, and he calls each one of us to be a disciple, too. But Jesus gives us a choice. Like the first disciples, he invites us to ‘come and see.’ When we meet Jesus and listen to his words, we realise, like Simon and Andrew, that he is the Teacher who can give meaning to our life.

Simon and Andrew weren’t rich, famous or educated. They were ordinary working men, until Jesus called them to follow him. Jesus has a unique call for each of us. However the world may see us, we are precious to God. Jesus calls us to meet him; to ‘come and see.’

Living out our Baptism

Today, the Church concludes the Christmas season by celebrating the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus, as a young man, left his family home and appeared in public for the first time, when he was baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. Jesus’ baptism was an important moment for him. He saw the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, and he heard the voice of God the Father telling him, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’ These words of the Father strengthened Jesus to begin his public ministry. After a time of trial in the wilderness, he would set out, preaching and teaching, healing the sick and forgiving sins.

For each one of us, our baptism was the beginning of our life as a Christian; a new birth. Whether we were baptised as a baby or as an adult, that was the day when we became a member of the family of Jesus’ disciples, the Church. On that day, we too, like Jesus, were given a promise of God’s love and favour, and we too were filled with the Holy Spirit, to strengthen us for the journey of life that lay before us.

In today’s Second Reading, St John reminds us of the two commandments that God gave us through Jesus; to love God, and to love God’s children, our fellow men and women. Every day, we have to choose whether we will be true to the promises of our baptism by showing love to others. Every day, we should remember that we are God’s beloved children, and that our Father’s favour rests on us