The Bishops of England & Wales have issued a paper reflecting on the way ahead for a return to a normal pattern of worship in our churches. You can read the paper here.
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.
St Cuthbert’s Parish Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 6th May at 7.00pm, on Zoom. If you would like to raise an item for discussion at the AGM, please contact Fr Andrew. For Zoom login details, see the ‘St Cuthbert’s Parish Community’ Facebook group, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Day of Prayer for Survivors of Abuse: Tuesday 4th May. Information and resources at https://www.cbcew.org.uk/home/our-work/safeguarding/day-of-prayer-for-survivors-of-abuse/day-of-prayer-for-survivors-of-abuse-2021/
- Virtual Coffee Morning; Saturday at 10.30am.
- Online Gospel Reflection; Sunday at 11.00am.
- Morning Prayer: Monday to Friday at 8.00am
For login details, see the ‘St Cuthbert’s Parish Community’ Facebook page, or email email@example.com .
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
As lockdown restrictions are eased, members of our community could still be feeling isolated. If you are in need of practical help, or if you just want to chat, please contact Fr Andrew on email@example.com or 0191 384 3442. If you know of someone who needs support, please contact them, or let Fr Andrew know.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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 www.minsteacres.org for details.
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 email@example.com
For visits to patients in St Cuthbert’s Hospice, in care homes or in their own homes, please contact Fr Andrew.
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.
The diocesan Emmaus Team are trained in listening skills and in supporting those who are suffering loss. If you feel that it would help you to talk with a member of the team, you can contact them on 07732 908 740, or speak to Fr Andrew.
Celebrated by Bishop Robert in St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday 22 May at 12 noon, and live streamed via the Cathedral YouTube channel.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or to apply.
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 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ccs-study-series-faith-and-thought-exploring-the-art-of-attention-tickets-133225512093?aff=ebdsoporgprofile
Black Saints and the Global Catholic Church, 1500-1750. Dr Erin Rowe (Johns Hopkins University, USA.) Tuesday 11th May at 6pm, online. Register at https://centreforcatholicstudies.eventbrite.com
The Challenge of Modernity. Presented by the Centre for Applied Theology, Monday 17th May at 7pm. Email email@example.com to register.
An online conference offered by Leeds Trinity University. Friday 28th May, 9am-3.30pm. Details and registration at https://www.leedstrinity.ac.uk/events/the-trinity-conference-2021-mental-health-in-education-a-catholic-approach.php
Pope Francis encourages the Universal Church to pray the Rosary during the month of May, for the end of the pandemic. More information at: http://www.rcdhn.org.uk/faithandmission/marathonofprayer.php
The Little Sisters of the Poor have launched a fundraising appeal in response to the increasing pressures faced by St. Joseph’s Care Home during the current pandemic. Details at http://www.rcdhn.org.uk/caritas/pdfdoc/2021/Diocesan%20Website%20Appeal%20April%202021.pdf