Category Archives: Announcements

Centre for Catholic Studies

ISHWRA Seminar: a seminar offered by the International Scholars of the History of Women Religious Association. Women and the Jesuit norms in Europe: from the Matres Societatis Iesu to the Jésuitesses, 17th-19th centuries by Dr Sarah Barthélemy. Wednesday 12th January 2022, 2.00-3.00m, online.

Catholic Theology Research Seminar: ‘Normative’ and ‘Dissident’ Ecclesial Narratives in Dialogue by John O’Brien, Associate Professor (Research) at the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham. Thu, 13 January 2022, 5.30-7.00pm in Seminar Room B, Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham. 

See the Centre for Catholic Studies website for details and registration for both seminars.

Changes to On-line Events over Christmas

Over the Christmas period we’ll be taking a break from our regular on-line events.

There will be no Gospel Reflection and Coffee morning on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. We’ll be starting again on Saturday 8th January.

We’ll also be taking a break from Lauds on Zoom on weekday mornings. We won’t be meeting from Monday 20th December over the Christmas period. Lauds will start again on Monday 10th January.

A Saviour for all the nations

Luke places the birth of Christ in history, telling us that it happened when Caesar Augustus had ordered a census of the whole world. Joseph and Mary were subjects of the Empire, and so they had to obey the Emperor’s command and travel to Bethlehem to be registered, even though Mary was close to the birth of her child and they could find no room at the inn. The Son of God was born into a family who were poor and powerless. 

The first people to hear the news of the birth of Christ were shepherds – rough men doing a rough job – living in the fields with their sheep. Jesus, the Saviour of the whole human race, would spend his life among the poor and the outsiders. 

Pope Francis has reminded us that the birth of Jesus Christ is good news for people of all nations. There are many things in the world that divide us from one another, and the pandemic has, in some ways, deepened our divisions. But Jesus comes to unite us. Whether we are rich or poor, old or young, black or white, we are called to come together and worship the Son of God, born in the stable at Bethlehem.

Christmas Masses -Bookings Closed

Bookings for both of the Christmas Masses at St Cuthbert’s is now closed. Please do not go along without having received confirmation of your place.

You can book for 10am Mass on Sunday 2nd from 8:30am on Monday 27th December.

NHS staff and key workers: if you have been unable to book a place in advance, you are welcome to come to Mass, and stewards will do their best to accommodate you.

Two mothers

In today’s Gospel, two women are placed at the centre of the story; Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Each woman has become pregnant unexpectedly, through God’s power. Each is looking forward to the birth of her child with hope and joy, but also, perhaps, with some uncertainty and even fear. They have come together to support and encourage one another.

John the Baptist, still in the womb, recognises Jesus and leaps with joy to greet him. As a man, John will recognise Jesus and prepare the way for his coming, not seeking glory for himself, but pointing the people towards the Saviour. For now, Elizabeth and Mary rejoice together, because God is bringing salvation to his people. 

But salvation comes at a price. Both John and Jesus gave their lives in obedience to God’s plan. Mary had to watch her Son suffer and die – as Simeon prophesied, a sword of sorrow would pierce her soul. Mary faced her ordeal with absolute faith and trust in God. As we prepare to celebrate the feast of Jesus’ birth, let us remember and pray for all mothers, especially those caring for their families in difficult circumstances, and those who have to watch their children suffer.