This Sunday sees the beginning of the Season of Advent – the time of waiting for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. A time of waiting shouldn’t be a dead, empty time, like waiting for a bus. Advent is the season when we prepare ourselves to welcome the Son of God.
The prophet Isaiah in today’s First Reading was writing at a time when the people of Israel were living in exile. The prophet laments that his people have forgotten their God and forgotten who they are. Their hearts are hardened. Isaiah cries out to God to come back to his people. St Paul reminds the Corinthians that God is faithful and will return as he has promised. They are waiting in hope and expectation.
Today’s Gospel finds Jesus preparing to face his own death. He warns his disciples that he will return at a time that they do not know – so they must be awake and ready, expectant and hopeful. We can prepare ourselves for Christmas by prayer and by reading the Scriptures. If we use this blessed time of waiting well, we will be ready to welcome Jesus with joy when he comes.
The First Sunday of Advent begins a Year of Prayer in 2024 leading to the Year of Jubilee in 2025. The Jesuits have produced some prayer resources entitled “Pilgrims of Prayer” for this Year of Prayer, which you can find on the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Year of Prayer ‘Pilgrims of Prayer’
Printed copies are available in the narthex, or you can download the reflections from the diocesan website.
Reflections for the Season of Advent
Awake and Ready. A booklet to help us prepare for Christmas, with daily reflections and articles. Cost £2 (students £1)
Finchale Partnership Advent Service of Reconciliation: Wednesday 13th December at 7.00pm, at St Joseph’s, Gilesgate.
St Cuthbert’s Parish Pastoral Council will meet on Thursday 14th December. If there are any matters that you would like the PPC to discuss, please contact the Secretary, Susan Penswick, or Fr Andrew.
Ushaw will be featured on an upcoming episode of Matt Baker: Travels with Mum & Dad. Travelling across the North East, Matt Baker takes his mum Janice and dad Mike to landmarks on their doorstep.
The episode will be aired on Monday 4 December at 9pm on More4.
On Friday 15th December we will be showing our festive film, the 1994 version of “Miracle on 34th Street” starring Richard Attenborough. Doors to the Parish Room open for pizza and drinks at 6:30pm and the screening begins at 7pm. There is no charge but, to help us with the catering, please let Andy Doyle know (0798 543 4185 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are planning to come along.
If you can spare an hour or so to scrub, clean, decorate and generally prepare the Church for Christmas then come along after the 10am Mass on Sunday December 24th, between 11:30am and 1pm. Hot chocolate and mince pies will be available!
Durham Winter Night Shelter will be opening again this winter, providing a safe shelter for vulnerable homeless people over the winter months. For information about volunteering, go to;
Volunteering at Durham Winter Night Shelter
and to donate, go to https://www.justgiving.com/northeast-mission
We are now working on the Christmas Flower Arrangements. Would you like to sponsor an arrangement in memory of a loved one or for a special occasion? Perhaps you would just like to contribute towards the cost of the flowers. Flowers are not getting any cheaper particularly at this time of year! Donations can be made via the dedicated box in the Narthex or by Debit/Credit card and the machine has a heading for flowers. Many thanks for your support. I can be contacted either by phone or email – 0191 386 3400 or email@example.com
Those who are sick:
Stuart Button, Phil Bawden (Australia), Francis Mangion, Andrew S, Christopher Browne, Hugh McElhennon, Mary Skelton, Clare Humphrey and David Moore.
Those whose anniversaries occur at this time:
Eric Cheeseman, Matthew John Purvis, George Caveny, Margaret Sharron, Francis Xavier Mangion, Denis Dixon, Martha Mahan, James Saynor, Michael Farthing, Anne Wardman, Marjorie Ryan, Kathleen Pringle. May they rest in peace.
Money raised each year from Coffee after Mass supports one local charity and one overseas charity. From April 2024 to Mar 2025, Kidshelp Cambodia is the chosen overseas one.
For the local Charity, suggestions are now being invited from parishioners. It must be a registered Charity.
If you have a charity which you wish to be considered please complete the details on the sheet in the narthex. The Justice and Peace group will then make decisions for the coming and possibly future years.
The Rosary Group is at 6:30pm every Friday at St Cuthberts.
We meet on Zoom each week to reflect together on Sunday’s Gospel – a way to share your thoughts and hear what others have to say. The reflection lasts 45-50 minutes, followed by a short break to make a cup of coffee, and time for a chat. Everyone is welcome to join us for the whole call, or to leave after the reflection, or to join us for social time at 11.30am. The reflection is at 10.30am every Saturday; but if you would like to take part and can’t make it that time, please contact Fr Andrew – we’re open to changing the time. For the login details for this regular call please see the St Cuthbert’s Parish Community Facebook group, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Billy Crozier (Durham University) on The Quince Made Sweet: Love and Suffering in St Bonaventure’s Tree of Life. Thursday 7th December in Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham. Drinks from 5.00pm, seminar begins at 5.30. Also available online. Details and booking at on the Centre for Catholic Studies web page.
Lay Dominicans North East will be holding their monthly meeting at St Cuthbert’s on Saturday, 16th December, from 11am to 3pm. All are welcome to come along. Contact Andy Doyle (email@example.com or 0798 543 4185) if you would like more information.
Churches Together in Elvet & Shincliffe are considering re-starting our long-standing tradition of annual day pilgrimages to Holy Island. Our last was in 2019 and we would like to gauge the appetite for us to have one in 2024. An important part of this is to check the financial viability as costs have increased significantly over the last 5 years. Please help us to do this by completing a simple survey to be found at https://forms.gle/9YjsE5UhY3oiiPUV8 taking care to enter the address correctly. The survey will be open until 31st December 2023.
Bishop Stephen has written a Pastoral Letter for the Feast of Christ the King and the celebration of Youth Sunday. You can read the letter here.
Bishop Stephen’s Pastoral Letter for Christ the King
Today’s Gospel presents us with a stunning image. At the end of time, Jesus the Son of Man will sit on his throne of glory, surrounded by the angels, and will judge all the nations of the earth. Everyone will recognise his majesty and authority. Today we celebrate the Lord Jesus as Christ the King.
The King’s commandments seem simple. Give food and clothes to those who need them, welcome the stranger, visit those who are sick or in prison. Small things that every Christian can do. But Jesus tells his disciples that those small acts of kindness are the most important things we can do in this life. And the people who don’t seem to matter in this world – the least of our brothers and sisters – are the most important in the eyes of God. We will be judged on the way we treat those who are poor, powerless and pushed to the edges.
Today’s Feast of Christ the King brings the Church’s year to its end. Next week the season of Advent begins and we prepare to welcome the Lord at Christmas. We are disciples of a King who was born in a stable, a Saviour who was nailed to the Cross. He offers us eternal life and he calls us to care for the least of our brothers and sisters.