Category Archives: Announcements

I am the vine, you are the branches

Nothing is more important than keeping in touch with the people we love. The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to find different ways of staying connected, and has made it seem more precious than ever. We need love and friendship to feel fully alive.

Jesus wants to stay connected with us, too. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches.’ A branch can only grow if it remains attached to the tree. We can only be fully alive and flourishing if we remain connected to Jesus, the vine, and live in his love.

We connect with Jesus through prayer. In the Gospels, we often see Jesus spending time on his own, in a lonely place, praying. Jesus drew strength for his mission from the time that he spent alone with God the Father. He needed to connect with the Father who loved him, and we need to give time to connecting with Jesus.

We connect with Jesus, too, through the life of the Church. In today’s First Reading, we meet Saul, just after his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. Saul would become St Paul, the greatest and most fearless preacher of the Gospel. But, in spite of the extraordinary call that he received from God, Paul didn’t try to preach the Gospel on his own. He worked together with the other apostles, and shared in their ministry. Jesus wants us to ‘bear much fruit’ for him. We can only be fruitful if we remain connected, to Christ and to his Church.

Public Masses at St Cuthbert’s

As restrictions begin to ease we 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 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!

Morning Prayer (Lauds)

Everyone is welcome to join us at 8am, Monday to Friday. It lasts about 15 minutes. The Zoom details will be the same every day and you will always find them in the Announcements section of the St. Cuthbert’s Parish Community Facebook group or by contacting

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the Prayer of the Church – you’ll soon pick it up. We use Universalis and will share screens so you don’t need a Morning Prayer book to join us.

Pentecost Renewal Retreat

Pentecost renewal retreat at Minsteracres. ‘Jesus breathed on them and said; Receive the Holy Spirit.’ In this retreat we will reflect on the role of the Holy spirit in John’s Gospel and pray for the release of the Spirit in our lives, that we may  learn how to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with our God. There will be times of input, times of silence and times of prayer and praise to help us open ourselves more fully to God. Led by Fr Chris Thomas. Friday 21-Sunday 23 May. Suggested donation: £175. See for details.

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 

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

You Just Have To Listen

 A six-week online Listening Skills course to learn basic skills from counselling theory and practice, to help and support people experiencing difficulties in their lives. Tuesdays, 6.30 – 8.30pm, 11 May to 22 June (excluding 1 June.) Cost of the course is £120 per person and applications must be endorsed by a priest/deacon. For further details, contact the Diocesan Faith and Mission Team on 0191 243 3316 or  for further information or to apply.

Faith and Thought; Exploring ‘The Art of Attention

 A series of virtual discussions, bringing together theologians, writers, spiritual directors and young scholars in conversation. Wednesdays 5, 12 and 19 May, 5-7pm. Hosted by Durham University Centre for Catholic Studies and the London Jesuit Centre. Everyone is welcome – suggested donation £15. Register at