This year, we celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection in strange and difficult circumstances. We cannot gather in church for the liturgy as we usually do. But we are united in prayer with one another, and with the Church all over the world. I have been struck by how well our community has pulled together, and how many offers of help I have received. Please keep in touch; pray for those who are suffering because of the pandemic, and those who are working to combat it; look out for family, friends and neighbours; and look forward to the time when we can gather again as a community to celebrate the Resurrection. Fr Andrew.
Mass Intentions can requested by email, telephone or letter. No offering is needed for a Mass intention.
The Pope’s Easter liturgies will be live streamed on https://www.vaticannews.va/en
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland is inviting all Christians to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection by singing Easter hymns at 10am on Easter Sunday. Details at ctbi.org.uk/sing-resurrection/
Catholic newspapers can be found in a box outside the church door. You will also find paper copies of the parish bulletin, and copies of ‘Walk with Me,’ a booklet of Eastertide prayers and reflections. If you pass St Cuthbert’s during your daily exercise, or while doing essential shopping, please pick up a copy. And if you have a friend or neighbour who is quarantined, please pick one up and put it through their letterbox.
Please check the parish website, www.stcuthberts-durham.org.uk for regular updates. If you’re not already subscribed to our weekly e-newsletter, you can subscribe here. Also check the ‘St Cuthbert’s Church, Durham’ page on Facebook – from there, you can join our new Facebook group, ‘St Cuthbert’s Parish Community,’ which already has more than 60 members.
We have a network of parishioners who are keeping in touch via telephone, while social distancing is in force. If you would like to be contacted regularly (especially if you don’t have internet access), or if you know someone who would welcome such contact, please contact Fr Andrew on 0191 3843442 or email@example.com.
The Parish Office is closed until further notice. Ciara is working from home, and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org but replies may take some time. You can contact the church by telephone on 0191 384 3442 – please leave a message if Fr Andrew is not in.
If you can, please support charities which are continuing to care for those in most need during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Aid to the Church in Need: www.acn.uk.org
Depaul (working with the homeless and vulnerable): uk.depaulcharity.org
Little Sisters of the Poor: www.littlesistersofthepoor.co.uk
St Cuthbert’s Care: www.stcuthbertscare.org.uk
Hospital visits: The University Hospital of North Durham has suspended visiting of patients, with limited exceptions for children’s wards, maternity wards and end-of-life patients. However, the Catholic Chaplain is still able to visit patients, and to 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 email@example.com
St Cuthbert’s Hospice is closed to all visitors, with limited exceptions for end-of-life patients. If you know of a patient in the hospice who wishes to contact a priest, please get in touch with Fr Andrew.
In ordinary times, this Sunday would be the day when we began using our new batch of offertory envelopes. This is clearly not possible at the moment, but if you would like to consider switching to making donations through a Standing Order with the bank, please feel free to contact Andy Doyle on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0798 543 4185.
St Cuthbert’s Church will remain closed until further notice. All Masses and liturgies will continue to be celebrated without a congregation.
Palm Sunday: Bishop Robert has directed that palms should be blessed at Mass, so that they can be distributed to the faithful when it is possible to do so.
Diocesan Chrism Mass: This will be postponed until it can be celebrated with a gathering of clergy and people.
Holy Thursday: The Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated, without the Washing of Feet or the procession to the Altar of Repose.
Good Friday: The Liturgy of the Passion will be celebrated, with special intentions included in the Universal Prayer.
Easter Vigil: The new Paschal Candle will be blessed and lit, without the lighting of the Easter fire.
You are invited to join in prayer with all of these celebrations, and with the praying of the Office of Readings on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Remember that Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence.
Mass Intentions can be requested by email, telephone or letter. No offering is needed for a Mass intention.
Bishop Robert has written a Pastoral Letter for Holy Week. You can read it online here.
This year’s Good Friday Walk of Witness is cancelled. However, the words of the service are available at www.durhamchurches.uk for you to pray them at home.
The Holy Places collection, which supports the Christian community in the Holy Land and would normally be taken on Palm Sunday, has been postponed.
The Little Sisters of the Poor have launched an emergency appeal to cover the cost of Personal Protection Equipment for staff at their care home in Newcastle, and the extra costs of caring for their residents during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can donate online at www.littlesistersofthepoor.co.uk/donate-here/
Who is this?
‘Who is this?’ the people ask, as the Lord enters Jerusalem. And the reply comes back: ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth.’ Jesus is given many different titles in the course of Matthew’s account of the Passion. Some are proclaimed in joy and faith, others in cruel mockery. When he enters the city, the crowd acclaim him as a prophet and as ‘Son of David,’ recognising a king who comes to his people humbly, riding on a donkey. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is in stark contrast to the power of Rome, or the pomp of Herod’s court. He is modelling a different kind of leadership and authority.
When Judas greets Jesus as ‘Rabbi’ – Teacher – it is a traitor’s signal. When the High Priest asks Jesus if he is the Christ and the Son of God, he describes himself instead as Son of Man – the Messiah who has come to fulfil the Scriptures, and who will be seated at God’s right hand. The claim is blasphemous to the Jews; it is enough to seal Jesus’ fate.
Jesus’ last title – King of the Jews – is nailed above the Cross, as a dire warning to any other king who might be tempted to rebel against Roman rule. And yet, the Roman centurion and his squad recognise Jesus as a ‘Son of God.’
The Passion story prompts us to ask, ‘Who is Jesus for me?’ In normal times, the liturgy invites us to enter into the story. We sing ‘Hosanna’ with the crowds as Jesus enters Jerusalem; we walk with him to Calvary; we wait quietly on Holy Saturday for the Lord to burst from the tomb on Easter Sunday. This year, we cannot celebrate the liturgies of Holy Week together. Instead, we are called to enter individually into the Lord’s Passion; to walk prayerfully with him in our own homes; to share his suffering in our own hearts, knowing ourselves to be in communion with one another and with the Church around the world. We witness to our faith in Christ by our care and compassion for one another, and we wait in hope for new life.
Readings for daily Mass, and the texts for the Prayer of the Church, can be found at www.universalis.com Texts for the next seven days are available free, or you can subscribe to the Universalis app for unlimited access.
Magnificat includes Morning, Evening and Night Prayer, the daily Mass Readings, a daily mediation and Saint of the Day. It is currently available free at: https://us.magnificat.net/free
Other resources, including links to live streamed Masses, can be found on the diocesan website, www.rcdhn.org.uk and the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference for England and Wales: www.cbcew.org.uk
Following the latest announcement from the Prime Minister on the measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, we are no longer able to open the church for people to call in and pray. This is a necessary measure to protect us all.
Please keep in touch as we find other ways to support each other and to pray together over the next weeks and months.
St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle is live streaming Mass via Youtube at 12 noon each day. You can find links to other live streams on the diocesan website, www.rcdhn.org.uk
Many of our parishioners are elderly, or at risk of infection because of an existing condition. Some are self-isolating, in accordance with NHS advice. If you would be able to help with shopping for food and medicine for a housebound person, or if you are in need of such help, please contact Fr Andrew on email@example.com,uk or 0191 384 3442.
We already have a number of volunteers, both parishioners and students (some of whom have been unable to travel home and are staying in Durham), who are ready and willing to help, so please do get in touch.