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Supporting one another during the coronavirus outbreak

Many of our parishioners are elderly, or at risk of infection because of an existing condition. Some are self-isolating, in accordance with NHS advice. If you would be able to help with shopping for food and medicine for a housebound person, or if you are in need of such help, please contact Fr Andrew on parish.priest@stcuthberts-durham.org,uk or 0191 384 3442.

We already have a number of volunteers, both parishioners and students (some of whom have been unable to travel home and are staying in Durham), who are ready and willing to help, so please do get in touch.

Keep in Touch

There are many ways to keep in touch over the coming weeks and months. The website will be regularly updated to give you the latest information.

Please sign up for our e-bulletin, and you’ll receive a weekly email.

Please follow us on Facebook.

We’ve also set up a new Facebook Group, St.Cuthbert’s Parish Community, where you can share your thoughts, prayers, reflections and news. You can join the group on our Facebook page.

If you know of anyone who isn’t able to keep in touch on the internet or the Facebook page, but would welcome contact, please ask them to get in touch with Fr. Andrew on 0191 3843442. We have a network of volunteers who are happy to phone people to chat and pass on any news, and have already been in touch with some people.

22 March – 5 April 2020

Sunday 22 March – Lent V
No Public Mass
Tuesday 24
No Public Mass
Susan Laing
Wednesday 25 – The Annunciation of the Lord
No Public Mass
Thursday 26
No Public Mass
Friday 27
No Public Mass
Mary & Eileen Gooch (A)
Saturday 28
No Public Mass
Sunday 29 – Lent IV
No Public Mass
No Public Mass
Tuesday 31
No Public Mass
Wednesday 1 April
No Public Mass
Thursday 2
No Public Mass
Friday 3
No Public Mass
Saturday 4
No Public Mass
Sunday 5 – Palm Sunday
No Public Mass

Suspension of public acts of worship

In accordance with the statement issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales, there will be no further public acts of worship at St Cuthbert’s after Sung Vespers on Friday 20th March, until further notice. This decision has been taken by the Bishops in line with official advice and in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS. The celebration of Sunday and weekday Mass will take place without a congregation.

An excerpt from the Bishops’ statement:

‘Knowing that the Mass is being celebrated; joining in spiritually in that celebration; watching the live-streaming of the Mass; following its prayers at home; making an act of spiritual communion: this is how we share in the Sacrifice of Christ in these days. These are the ways in which we will sanctify Sunday, and indeed every day. We want everyone to understand that in these emergency circumstances, and for as long as they last, the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is removed. This is, without doubt, the teaching of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2181). This pandemic is the ‘serious reason’ why this obligation does not apply at this time.’

You can see live streams of prayer and worship on the Durham Martyrs Parish Facebook page and at www.churchservices.tv/

St Cuthbert’s Church will not close, but will continue to open as a place for prayer and reflection. We will need stewards to watch the church during opening hours. If you are able to volunteer to steward for an hour or two, please contact Fr Andrew on parish.priest@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk or 0191 384 3442.

Please watch the parish website and Facebook page, and our e-bulletin, for updates. You can read the statement from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference here.

Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has now moved to Stage 2 guidance in its guidance to parishes. This means that, as from now, Holy Communion will not be administered from the chalice, and communicants will be asked to receive the host in their hand. There should be no physical contact at the Sign of Peace, and the holy water stoups will be emptied.

You can read the full guidance here.

Gift Aid

Gift Aid (1)
As the parish’s financial year is drawing to a close, we will soon be compiling our Gift Aid return. If any Gift Aid donors now believe that, whether through changes in personal circumstances or increases in tax allowances, they will not have paid sufficient income tax to cover the Gift Aid on their donations (25p for every £1 donated) then please let Fr Andrew or Andy Doyle know as soon as possible. Also, if any donors have changed address in the last year and have not already informed the Gift Aid team at the Diocesan Offices then, again, let Fr Andrew or Andy Doyle know.

If you are not already part of the Gift Aid scheme and would like to know more, contact Andy Doyle on 0798 543 4185 or andydoyle1066@sky.com. Thank you for your generosity.

Gift Aid (2)

For those who donate to the parish via weekly envelopes, could you please include a slip of paper with your name on into the next donation you make. This helps us to ensure that our records are accurate and we do not make mistakes in compiling our returns. Many thanks.

Finchale Partnership Property & Community Review

In October 2019, we started a Property & Community Review, part of a Diocesan programme. Many people volunteered their time, efforts and ideas to carry out the Property Audit, a Community Audit and a 10-year financial forecast. The Diocese has now decided to pause the review and we are not preparing a report for the Diocese. However the Partnership Development Group agreed that we don’t want to lose the excellent work done so far, particularly on the Community Audit. It’s not too late to contribute ideas about the needs of the community and how we may be able to help. Parish Pastoral Councils will discuss the work done so far and the Partnership will consider anything we can work together on. Thank you to all those who volunteered – your work is very much appreciated.

Financial Briefing to the Parish

This time last year I was reporting on a financially stable year. However, this year has been more challenging with our balances about to be at their lowest level for some years.

We are not in serious trouble and your generosity continues at its usual high level. The issue is that we have had, and continue to have, a year of unusually high expenditure in maintaining the fabric of our beautiful church.

I think it is worth looking at the major items:

  • Boundary Wall  £25K 
  • Electrical Repairs £5K
  • Passage Lights Upgrade £5k
  • Drains Repair £4K
  • New Sound system £2K


Within the last few days we have been notified that the cost of upgrading the Presbytery Fire Alarms for multi occupancy will be at least £10K. This upgrade is a mandatory requirement as we want to be able to continue having visiting priests and religious to live in the Presbytery and be part of our community.

This work will take place over the next few weeks.

This gives a total of about £50K and it is this which has depleted our balances to the predicted level of £14K in the current account and £30K in our deposit account. In our experience the age and condition of our church and the possible need for urgent repairs requires that these predicted balances are the minimum acceptable level. The balances I reported a year ago were £22K and £63K respectively – this is a drop of £41K.

In addition we have one big project waiting in the wings. This is the repair to the presbytery stonework, this will be a six-figure sum, a challenge for future years.

In the year ahead we need to rebuild our balances and develop a strategy to raise the £100K for the stonework. I know we can depend on your continued generosity and a special thanks to those of you in the Gift Aid scheme. This raised nearly £10k in the last year. If you are a taxpayer and have not joined the scheme I would encourage you to do so; it is not too bureaucratic and all personal date is protected. Please see Andy Doyle or check our website to see how to join.

In addition, if you have a standing order with the Parish, it may be worthwhile to see if it has been de-valued in any way by inflation over the years.

 Also, as you know, under the diocesan development programme, ‘Forward Together in Hope’ we have started to work more closely in partnership with neighbouring parishes. A Partnership Finance Committee continues to operate with an annual budget of £5K for which our contribution will be £950 per year, based on an affordability calculation as specified by the Diocese. As well as giving financial advice to the Partnership, this committee reviews any project above £10k and advises the Diocese as to whether a project fits in the overall needs of the partnership. This is particularly important right now because of the ongoing property review by all members of our Partnership. The year ahead will see these new processes continuing to unfold and become an important part of our Parochial life.

In conclusion, the year ahead will present us with continuing financial challenges and more changes as we work within the new Partnership framework. I feel sure that your continuing generosity will see us through.

John Marsland

Chairman of the Parish Finance Council

November 2019

Newman: A Saint for Our Time

A public lecture by Bishop Robert Byrne CO, to mark the canonisation of John Henry Newman. Here at St Cuthbert’s on Tuesday 12th November: Vespers at 6.30pm, lecture at 7.00pm, refreshments at 8.15pm, 8.45pm Close.

This event is free, but please register at https://centreforcatholicstudies.eventbrite.com or by telephoning the Durham University Centre for Catholic Studies on 0191 334 1656.

Day of Reflection

The next Day of Reflection at Ushaw, with Sr Rosarie Spence RSM, will be on Wednesday 27th November, 10.30 am – 3.30 pm

An opportunity to step aside, experience different ways of praying and enjoy a time of personal prayer, all in the beautiful surroundings at Ushaw. The cost is £10 per person, including tea/coffee at the beginning and end of the day. Lunch may be purchased in the Refectory. 

Booking should be made at www.ushaw.org