Category Archives: Announcements

Centre for Catholic Studies

Distance Learning programme in Catholic Theology: The Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS) at Durham University is offering a fully online Distance Learning programme in Catholic Theology. The programme is designed so that participants can work through material at their own pace, studying equally well in any time zone and in many different life situations, alongside work, ministry, family or caring obligations.  Participants can study for an MA, a Postgraduate Diploma, a Postgraduate Certificate, or opt to complete a single module: ‘Catholic Theology: A Preliminary Tour’. Full details can be found at Distance Learning – Durham University  The CCS is offering bursaries towards tuition fees for 2024-25 – CCS Bursary for Distance Learning 2024-25 – Durham University  The deadline for applications has recently been extended to 7 July 2024. Please contact Theresa Phillips, CCS Manager, if you have any questions about this opportunity – theresa.phillips@durham.ac.uk

You are Peter…

Today we celebrate Peter and Paul, the two great apostles and leaders of the early Church. Peter was a fisherman, Paul was an educated rabbi. Peter was one of the first disciples called by Jesus; Paul only came to know the Lord after his dramatic experience of conversion on the road to Damascus. For both Peter and Paul, life changed forever after they came to know Jesus. Peter became the leader of the Church, while Paul was the great missionary and preacher who spread the Gospel of Christ all over the world. Each of them would, in the end, give his life for Christ.

Today’s feast shows us that the Lord chooses imperfect people as disciples. Peter was hotheaded and impulsive; in today’s Gospel we see him recognise Jesus as Christ and Son of God, but when Jesus was arrested, Peter denied even knowing him. Paul was a determined persecutor of the Christians until he became an equally determined preacher for Christ. It was God who gave them the gift of faith and the courage to witness to the Good News. God calls us and he will change our lives, too, if we trust in him.

‘Even the wind and the sea obey him’

Every sailor learns to respect the power of the sea. A storm can blow up suddenly and without warning. Even an experienced seafarer will feel afraid when they are faced with a gale-force wind and crashing waves. That’s what happens in today’s Gospel. Jesus is in the boat with his disciples, on the Sea of Galilee, when suddenly a gale and rough seas threaten to swamp them. The disciples are afraid for their lives, but Jesus is calmly asleep. When they wake him, he calms the sea at once and tells his disciples off for not having faith.

Jesus’ disciples were shocked. They knew very well that only God has power over the forces of nature and now it seemed that the power was in Jesus’ hands. ‘Even the wind and the sea obey him,’ the disciples said. They were slowly beginning to recognise Jesus as the Son of God.

When we face the storms of life, we might ask the same question the disciples put to Jesus: ‘Master, do you not care?’ But Jesus does care. He is in the boat with us and he has the power to calm the storms. He asks us to have faith in him and not be afraid.

One year on

June 12th 2024 is the 12-month anniversary of the publication of the Catholic Standards Safeguarding Agency’s (CSSA) Report on the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle. You can find a statement from the CSSA which relates to their recent follow-up Review of the Diocese, together with the diocesan statement in response, on the diocesan website.

This is what the kingdom of God is like

Jesus often speaks about the kingdom of God – it’s one of the key themes of his teaching. The kingdom of God will come in its fullness at the end of time, when the powers of this world pass away. But the kingdom begins here and now, when God reigns in the hearts of disciples. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his followers two parables about the kingdom. Grain grows in the earth, silent and unseen, to produce precious crops. A tiny mustard seed grows into a large shrub.

The parables teach us that the kingdom grows from small beginnings and that God gives the growth. By the time that Mark wrote his Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ had reached the city of Rome and was spreading across the world. The tiny seeds planted by the Lord were already bearing fruit.

Jesus’ parables are seeds of the kingdom of God. If we allow his teaching to take root in our hearts, we will be fruitful – God will give the growth. These tiny seeds will change our lives and change the world.

Significance Festival

All are welcome to the Emmaus Village for the Significance Festival on Saturday 29th June from 10.00am. The day will offer a fayre of stalls and activities, sessions for children and young people, guest speakers and live music. Mass celebrated by Bishop Stepen Wright will take place at 3.15pm, followed by a Barbecue and Ceilidh in the evening. Entry is free with charges for accommodation and camping (self-catered) on Friday and Saturday nights. BBQ tickets will cost £10. All proceeds and any donations will support Significance, the charity founded by Fr Dermott Donnelly. Please support this vital work. To book email Nicole at nsalkeld@ymt.org or Tel. 01207 592244.

How can Satan cast out Satan?

Jesus’ family are concerned for him. He has left his home and his job to become a wandering rabbi and now he is surrounded by the poor, the sick and the outcasts. They are worried about his welfare and perhaps afraid that he is attracting the wrong kind of attention. Will his ministry get him into trouble with the authorities?

The scribes who have come down from Jerusalem to Galilee are worried for a different reason. They can’t deny that Jesus has power – he is healing the sick and casting out demons. But he challenges their teaching and their authority. The scribes conclude that Jesus must be working with Beelzebul, the prince of devils. Jesus points out that this is nonsense – how can Satan cast out Satan?

Jesus often challenges and disturbs us. His teaching can make us uncomfortable and so we look for reasons to reject its demands. Adam and Eve hid from God after they had eaten the forbidden fruit, and we are tempted to hide from God when we know we have sinned. Jesus asks us to put our trust in him and in the power of the Holy Spirit – even when he makes us uncomfortable.