Collection for People of Ukraine

Pope Francis recently said: “My thought goes to all the populations who thirst for reconciliation and peace. I think in particular, here in Europe, of the tragedy of those who are suffering the consequences of violence in Ukraine: of those who remain in lands shocked by the hostilities which have already caused thousands of deaths, and of those — over a million — forced to flee from the grave situation which is ongoing. It involves above all elderly people and children. Besides accompanying them with my constant thoughts and with my prayers, I have decided to promote humanitarian support in their favour. For this purpose, a special collection will be taken up in all Catholic Churches in Europe… I invite the faithful to join in this initiative with a generous contribution. This act of charity, in addition to alleviating material suffering, seeks to express my personal closeness and solidarity and that of the entire Church. I sincerely hope that it may help to promote, without further delay, peace and respect for law in that land so afflicted.” (Regina Caeli, 3 April 2016)

The collection requested by the Pope will be taken in this diocese on Sunday 1 May. Please give generously.

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bruno/ALETEIA CC BY SA 2.0

Catholic Theology Research Seminar: Trinity as Comedy

Dr Marcus Pound will speak on “Trinity and Comedy” at the Catholic Theology Research Seminar on Tuesday 3 May.

5.15pm for drinks; seminar 5.30pm-7.00pm
Venue: Seminar Room C, Abbey House.

A group will share a meal afterwards at a local restaurant.

All are welcome to attend. Please email or call 0191 334 1656 if you wish to attend, noting whether or not you wish to dine afterwards.

Looking forward from Easter

Come the fifth Sunday of Easter it may be that our paschal joy is beginning to wear a bit thin. But we have pointers in this Sunday’s readings that direct us beyond this time of rejoicing; indeed beyond any joys of this world.

Jesus reminds us in the gospel that he “shall not be with you much longer” – even though he rises from the dead, he does not remain here with us. He will pass from this world; but that is not the end of the story. As the risen Christ is transformed, so we look forward to a transformation of all humanity and of the world itself: “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1).

Only then will we see the God living with us and an end to sadness (Rev 21:3). Only then will we have what the Catechism calls “the final realisation of the unity of the human race, which God willed from creation” (CCC 1045). The Church here and now is a sign of that destiny: we are already God’s people, but our whole communion here and now points to the much greater reality of the vision of God and the transformation even of the universe.

We rightly rejoice, then, that Christ is risen; but we look forward to experiencing the fullness of a joy of which we will never be bored.

Events Group

The Parish “Events Group” will meet after the 10:00 Mass on Sunday 24 April 2016, over tea and coffee in the Parish Room: if you have ideas for social events or can give a little of your time to building up our community together, please come along.

Ushaw Lecture: Catholic Martyrdom

Prof Michael Questier (Queen Mary University of London) will deliver an Ushaw Lecture Catholic Martyrdom in Late Elizabethan England on Tuesday 26 April.

5.30pm for drinks; lecture 6:00pm-7.15pm
Venue: Ushaw College

All are welome; registration is required. To book a place please email Dr Hannah Thomas, or telephone Dr Jane Lidstone on 0191 334 1656. If you need help with transport to and from Ushaw College, please mention this when booking.

Celebrating God’s Mercy

Year of Mercy LogoOn Thursday 28 April at 7:00pm St Joseph’s, Gilesgate, Durham will host our Deanery Service for the Year of Mercy entitled Celebrating God’s Mercy. The Sacrament of Penance (Confession) will be available with priests from across the Deanery.

In preparation for this initiative, Jeremy Cain from the Diocesan Evangelisation Team will be speaking briefly at the end of Masses on Sunday 17 April.

Bishop Séamus writes:

“God’s mercy is for all people and he wants everyone
to come to him with trust and confidence.
The mercy of Jesus is kind and understanding;
now is the time; it is never too late; he forgives all things.
Let his gentle healing put your worries to rest.”

Ecumenism: what can we learn from other Christian communities?

During the university term the students gather at the Chaplaincy each Wednesday for ‘Cathsoc night’ and on Wednesday 20 April, we will be doing something similar for the Parish. There will be exposition from 6.30pm and the opportunity for confession. Mass is at 7.00pm, and we will gather after Mass (at about 7.30pm) for a shared meal and a discussion led by Dr. Marcus Pound, on the subject of Ecumenism and what we can learn from other Christian communities, concluding with prayer at about 9.00pm. You are welcome to come along for as little or as much of the evening as you like.

Vocations Sunday 2016

A reflection for Vocations Sunday, 17 April 2016, from the National Office for Vocation:

Isn’t it strange that people have to change in order to stay the same? So, for example, people who ran stagecoaches with horses had to change to motor coaches with engines if they wanted to stay in the transport business. Of course, they could have kept with the stagecoaches but then they would soon find themselves in the leisure business and no longer a serious transport provider.

Human beings are the same. Being a disciple who follows Christ involves continuous development. Childhood prayers must evolve into adult prayer, an easy going friendship may lead to marriage, a person working at a simple task could aspire to the demanding responsibilities of leadership. If prayer, relationships and work never change over a lifetime then the person will no longer be as fully alive as God intends Christian disciples to be.

That’s why Blessed John Henry Newman’s insight is so important: ‘to live is to change.’ Those called to consecrated life and priesthood live this out in a special way: a divine disruption takes their lives in unimagined directions. In turn, their changed lives influence others and help many people make the changes necessary to growing in faith, in relationships and in responsibility.

The apostles are the most startling example of divinely disrupted lives. ‘Follow me,’ said Jesus, and they left their fishing nets and went, so that untold numbers of people might hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Today we pray especially that those God is calling may allow the divine disruption into their lives so that they might become the disciples Christ intends them to be as priests and religious.

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Obedience of Christ

Peter in this Sunday’s first reading tells us, “Obedience to God comes before obedience to man” (Acts 5:29). He has learned this lesson the hard way from Christ himself; indeed he was the man who sought to bend Christ to his will.

However much they loved Jesus, indeed because they loved Jesus, Peter and the disciples could not face him being handed over to death. They sought to prevent it, in fact. One of them, identified as Peter in John 18:10, went as far as to cut off the ear of one of the party who came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Peter is not being completely unreasonable: humanly speaking, handing oneself over to what appears to be a futile death does not seem a rational thing to do. But the wisdom of God far transcends human reason. There was method in the divine plan, even if Peter could not understand it at the time.

And so Christ – hearing, understanding and submitting to the divine plan – was obedient to the will of his divine father, rather than the dictates of human beings, even when they were his friends. This is gloriously summarised by St Paul writing to the Philippians (2:8-9):

“[Christ] humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.”

Through this experience, Peter came to understand that loving Jesus and loving God meant seeking to understand and do the will of the Father: feeding his lambs and sheep even to death. In the light of Easter and the risen Christ may we similarly seek to understand God’s will and devote ourselves to it wholeheartedly.

I am not like Thomas…

The great Eucharistic hymn Adoro te devote, attributed to St Thomas Aquinas, contains a verse most commonly translated into English (by Gerald Manley Hopkins SJ) as:

I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
but can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
this faith each day deeper be my holding of,
daily make me harder hope and dearer love.

Perhaps St Thomas is having a little joke with us when he writes that he is not “like Thomas”. But he is also making a serious point. We do not see the risen body of Christ in the same way St Thomas does. But we do see the body of Christ.

We see Christ’s body in the Church, our brothers and sisters who with us are members of Christ.

We see Christ’s body – with all its wounds – in the sick, the suffering, and the oppressed of this world.

We see Christ’s body present sacramentally in the Eucharist.

And when we affirm our belief that Christ is risen, we affirm too that he raises up all who have been baptised into him; he raises up suffering humanity; and he raises up those who are nourished in the Eucharist.

This Easter time may our devotion to Christ’s body – in all its aspects – be redoubled as we celebrate with joy his resurrection and ours.

Solemnities Transferred

The early Easter has meant we weren’t able to celebrate two great feasts on their usual days, and they have been transferred to Low Week – that is, the second week after Easter.

The Solemnity of the Annunciation, normally 25 March, fell this year on Good Friday; and so will be transferred to Monday 4 April. Mass will be celebrated at 9:15am.

And we would have celebrated our Patronal Solemnity of St Cuthbert on 20 March, had that not been Palm Sunday; instead we will be celebrating St Cuthbert on Tuesday 5 April with be a sung Mass at 12:15pm. It is not often that we get to celebrate our holy patron in the splendour of the Easter light – so do come along and join the feast.

Easter Collections

Collections taken at the Easter Masses are taken for Parish Funds, in the same way as at Sunday Masses throughout the year.If you would also like to make a Easter gift to the Dominican Community of Friars which serves St Cuthbert’s, you may do so using one of the blue envelopes available on display in the narthex. Envelopes can be dropped into the collection basket or returned to the presbytery.

If you are a UK taxpayer, you can increase the value of your gift by completing the Gift Aid declaration on the envelope. Cheques should be made payable to “The Dominican Council”.

Thank you for your generosity both to the Parish and to the Dominican Community now and throughout the year – the Friars wish you a fruitful celebration of Holy Week and a joyous Easter!

A change and co-incidence of time

There are two temporal co-incidences this Holy Week which perhaps can help us in our spiritual life… First of all, the clocks go forward from 1:00am GMT to 2:00am BST on Easter Sunday Morning. This means that, unusually, the whole of the Easter Triduum takes place before summer time starts; as a result we are able to start the Easter Vigil a little earlier than usual, at 7:30pm on Saturday 26 March. Especially if you haven’t been accustomed to the Easter Vigil, why not take advantage of the earlier start and experience this highlight of the Church’s whole year? We take the liturgical passage from the darkness of sin to the light of the resurrection through procession, song, scriptures and sacrament. Truly the death and resurrection of Christ mean that we have moved from one time to another, from one era to another.

The second co-incidence is that Good Friday falls on 25 March; which in other years is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord – that is, the day that the angel Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Son of God took flesh in her womb. The fact that Christ’s incarnation and his death fall on one and the same day shows us what it was Christ come among us to do: to bear our sins on the cross, and to give us hope by rising from the dead. We won’t miss out the Annunciation entirely this year: it will be celebrated on Monday 4 April, once the Octave of Easter is over.

Holy Week and Easter

Principal celebrations during Holy Week and Easter Week will be:

Palm Sunday, 20 March: Masses at 10:00am (with procession) and 6:30pm.

Holy Thursday, 24 March: Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00pm followed by watching, concluding with Compline at 11:50pm.

Good Friday, 25 March: Tenebrae (Office of Readings and Lauds) at 10:00am, followed by Confessions; Solemn Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00pm.

Holy Saturday, 26 March: Tenebrae at 10:00am, followed by Confessions; Easter Vigil and First Mass of Easter at 7:30pm.

Easter Sunday, 27 March: Mass at 10:00am BSTPlease note that the clocks go forward one hour on the morning of Easter Sunday; and also that there is no evening Mass on Easter Sunday.

Easter Monday, 6 April – Easter Saturday,11 April: Lauds at 8:45am (except Monday), Mass at 9:15am, Vespers 6:15pm.

Full details of the celebrations at St Cuthbert’s during Holy Week and Easter are available on our website at and cards with this information are available at the back of church.

Please sign up on the list in the narthex if you can welcome, usher, read or minister Holy Communion during the Triduum and Easter morning. Please respond generously.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord

The first part of the Sanctus has not always been followed by ‘Benedictus qui venit…’ as it is today. Its history is not entirely clear. At one time, the whole of the Sanctus included part of Ezekiel 3.12: ‘Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place’ (KJV; for those interested, the Vulgate reads, ‘magnae benedicta gloria Domini de loco suo’). One conjecture how and why this sentence (Matthew 21.9) came to replace Ezekiel’s words is that it began to be used one Easter, and it just stuck. (See Bryan Spinks, The Sanctus in the Eucharistic Prayer.)

Now we, too, come near to that point in the Church’s year in which we welcome him, ‘who comes in the name of the Lord,’ echoing the very first acclamations in Jerusalem, and joining with Christians since at least the fourth century. Yet Palm Sunday arrives with a mix of joy and confusion. Jesus met a crowd in Jerusalem who seemed ready to recognise him as their king; yet he rode in on a donkey. Not the most triumphant mode of transport; and the next few days followed a course nobody (except Jesus himself) expected. Who in that crowd would have guessed that the one who came into Jerusalem amidst shouts of praise would be put to death not long after?

The Benedictus should remind us, all the year through, of the lowliness of Jesus’ human estate, and the hiddenness of his glory. Lent may be nearing its end, but the suffering of Jesus remains with us all year, even as we celebrate his resurrection and anticipate his glory each Sunday. As we live in him and he in us, we can expect a mix of joy and confusion in our lives as well. This is not bad news, however, for it is not the end: the end will come when the glory of the Lord (which fills heaven and earth!) is revealed — and his resurrection will at last be ours as well.

Part of a series by Medi Ann Volpe

Celebrating God’s Mercy

On Thursday 28 April at 7:00pm St Joseph’s, Gilesgate, Durham will host our Deanery Service for the Year of Mercy.There will be a preparation meeting held at St Joseph’s on Tuesday 29 March at 11am, and we will be joined by Kathryn Turner, Head of the Diocesan Department for Spirituality and Sister Michael from the Evangelisation Team. Their role is the help us as a deanery prepare a unique liturgy specifically tailored to the choices of our deanery – i.e. our favourite readings about mercy, hymns etc. If you would like to attend the preparation meeting please contact Ciara Herbert in the Parish Office (; tel. 0191 384 3442).

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