Open House Weekend

Judy McLean will be hosting an Open House Exhibition of her paintings, drawings and etchings over the weekend of Friday 12 June – Sunday 14 June and proceeds will go to charity. All are welcome; Please see the poster on the notice board for more details.

Ushaw Lecture

The Centre for Catholic Studies and the Institute of Mediaeval and Early Modern Studies are jointly hosting an Ushaw Lecture on Monday 8 June:

Dr James Kelly (Durham): “Inevitable Rebels: Catholics, Conformity and Degrees of Rebellion in England, c. 1530-1745”

The lecture is linked to the Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt exhibition. Drinks reception: 5:30pm; lecture: 6:00pm-7:30pm. Venue: Main Lecture Hall, Ushaw College.

There is no charge to attend; all are welcome, but you must register with Dr Hannah Thomas on / tel. 0191 334 1656.

Stonework Project fundraising complete!

Following a recent legacy to the parish, we are now able formally to declare that the fundraising for the recent project to restore the church stonework and Harry Clarke window is complete. Many congratulations to those who worked hard to raise nearly £300,000 for this work. We will have the opportunity to give thanks and celebrate this achievement at a Garden Party and Barbecue after the 10:00am Mass on Sunday 28 June – more details to follow.

Encounter 2015

Encounter 2015: Saturday 6 June, 7pm. Come and encounter the living presence of our Lord and God Jesus Christ at St Cuthbert’s. Guest speaker Lynsey Neilson from Mary’s Meals will be sharing their great story of how a simple idea has allowed them to keep feeding almost one million of the world’s poorest children. Praise & Worship will be led by The Protomartyr. The Sacrament of Penance (confession) will also be available and this will be followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. All are invited and all are welcome at the Lord’s table! We hope you will be able to join us for this very special evening!

Dates for your diaries…

Corpus Christi Procession at Ushaw College Sunday 7 June, 2:00pm.

First Communion Mass at St Cuthbert’s – Sunday 14 June, 10:00am.

Parish Garden Party and Barbecue: from 11:30am (i.e. after Mass) on Sunday 28 June – to celebrate completion of payment for the stonework project!

Living the Joy of the Gospel: ecumenical celebration at Durham Cathedral with the Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool (fr. Malcolm McMahon OP) and the Anglican Archbishop of York (Dr John Sentamu), to celebrate our common call to proclaim and live the
Gospel with joy and hope – Sunday 6 September, 3:30pm.

Elvet and Shincliffe Holy Island Pilgrimage 2015

This year’s pilgrimage to Holy
Island with Churches Together in Elvet & Shincliffe will take
place on Saturday 20th June when we will travel, pray and
socialise together with our friends in the local churches. A coach will leave Dunelm House at
9:00am returning at about 8:00pm. Fares will be just £10.00 for adults and £8.00 for children so please book early to avoid disappointment.

More details and booking forms can be found on the noticeboard in the narthex.

Apocalypse Study Day and Visiting Preacher

fr. David Sanders OP
will lead a study day at St Cuthbert’s on Saturday 30 May on the theme of The Apocalypse. fr. David is Master of Students for the English Dominican Friars and teaches Scripture at Blackfriars, Oxford.

The day begins with refreshments from 10:00am for a 10:30am, and includes Mass (at 12:15pm, which will be the Parish Mass that day) and will finish by 4:00pm. All are welcome to attend. Lunch will be on a “bring and share” basis.

Please note that because of this Study Day there will be no Mass at 9:15am on Saturday 30 May.

fr. David Sanders will also preach at the Masses at St Cuthbert’s on Sunday 31 May, Trinity Sunday.

Diocesan Festival 2015

The third Diocesan Festival will take place over the weekend of Saturday 20 – Sunday 21 June at Emmaus Youth Village, Consett. There is guaranteed to be something for everybody! For more information please see the poster on the noticeboard; booking forms (to be returned by 31 May) can be found in the narthex or on-line at the diocesan website

College Mass – St Chad’s College

The first college Mass of term takes place at 7:00pm on Wednesday 27 May in the Chapel of St Chad’s College (a CathSoc exec member will be in the lodge for directions). All are welcome and warmly invited to the Mass.

Because of the college Mass there will be no “holy half hour” of Vespers, exposition and confessions at St Cuthbert’s that Wednesday evening.

Pastoral Council Meeting 26th February 2015

Minutes of St Cuthbert’s Parish Pastoral Council

26th February 2015

 1. The meeting opened with prayer.

Present:  fr
Ben Earl, Cliona Kear, Gil Bolton, John Marsland, Susan Penswick, Margaret
Doyle, Marianne Fleming, Norma Brown, David Hughes, Margaret Harvey

Stephanie Brown, John Urquhart, Michael
Laing, David Crookes,

3. Minutes of
the previous meeting were accepted.

4. Matters
– None

5. Reports from sub-committees/groups:

a.              Building committee report to St
Cuthbert’s Parish Pastoral Council 
Period ending 26th February

Choir loft balustrade. 

Details for fixing the balustrade extension have been drawn up and the
architect is getting costs for the work.

Works carried out since the last PPC.

Making good to the plaster in the porch was completed just before
Christmas and decoration is due to start week commencing 9

The lights in the church have all been re-lamped and one faulty
fitting had to be replaced.

Trace heating has been installed in a problematic section of gutter to
prevent, in bad weather, a build-up of ice resulting in water seeping/pouring
into the church.

The installation of the shower to the first floor bathroom is almost

The ground floor kitchen has been cleaned but some areas were not
  After much negotiation
the contractor returned on Tuesday 24
th February to finish the


Proposed work.

Porch and narthex

Next stage is to design the cupboards and obtain prices.

The church roof.

The high wind over winter has taken its toll on the church roof
resulting in some repair being required (more scaffolding), work is planned
to begin on Monday 2nd March and will last about one week weather


There is a considerable amount of making good to decoration which as
noted above is to begin week commencing 9th March.

Other maintenance continues as and when required.

Gil Bolton

Chair Building Committee.

b.                     St. Cuthbert’s
Fundraising Committee
Report to PPC 
period ending 26th February 2015

Events since the last PPC

Durham Ghost

David and Pauline Butler led two groups on this walk which took place
on Tuesday 28th October and raised £250.00.

quiz night
hosted by Liz and
Martin Donbavand was held on Saturday 22nd November at St Oswald’s Institute
and raised £270.00.

organised by Angela and Mike
Galloway was held on 21st January at the Seven Stars
Shincliffe.raising a total of £300.00 pounds.

. Angela Galloway had tea towels
made up with designs depicting prominent features of the church.

Initial sales of towels realised £700.00

organised by fr Ben, went on
sale before Christmas and together with tea towels are on continuous sale.

Initial sales of cards raised???


Andy and Margaret Doyle held a book sale on 14th February
which realised approximately £500.00.

fund raising events,

Miners’ Gala 11th July

Summer garden party with BBQ 28th June

Christmas raffle (local businesses to be approached
for prizes) ideas please?


Lumier is to take place in November, if there is
an installation close to St Cuthbert’s we will serve refreshments which did
very well at the last event.


At the last Fund Raising Committee Meeting it was
decided that “Stonework Project” should be renamed “Restoration Fund”.  This has come about due the continual work
needing to be carried out on the church and presbytery to keep it maintained.

of Fund Raising Committee.

The committee needs more people to sit on it and
help organise events particularly to promote events, sell tickets or to take
on an event attending to some or even all the detail.

Gil Bolton

Chair Fundraising Committee

d.  Catholic

In the absence of a report fr Ben said that the
Sunday evening Mass is very well attended and that the Chaplaincy Choir has
really taken off with 12-16 decent singers. 
The retreat to Ampleforth went really well.  Fr Ben is the Convenor of University
Chaplains and there is a rotating roll of 15-20 Chaplains.

e. Churches Together in
Elvet & Shincliffe:

of Elvet & Shincliffe Churches were encouraged to attend the Ecumenical
Service on 15
th November at St Mary’s Cathedral marking the 50th
Anniversary of the promulgation of Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism (
Unitatis Redintegratio)

Cuthbert’s hosted a Prayer Breakfast during the Week of Prayer for Christian
Unity on behalf of Durham Churches Together. 
On the same day, though in the evening, Elvet & Shincliffe held a
service at St Oswald’s which included a short presentation from each church on
what they treasure in their own tradition.

are looking to host a short series of Lenten evenings but are encountering
problems – please look out for details.

year’s pilgrimage to Holy Island will be on Saturday 20th June.


f.            Justice and Peace
Committee Report


are continuing to collect toilet rolls and biscuits for Failed Asylum Seekers
on the first Sunday of the month. We’ve asked Ciara to put a reminder in the
bulletin in advance.


continue about the lack of progress in getting money that we raised for
Belpahar actually to the intended recipients. 
It was suggested that alternatives be sought with the funds raised
divided between a local and an international charity. We were going to look
into the Colombia project supported by the Durham Martyrs Parish and perhaps a
prison charity.


Shared Harvest raised £128.77 for CAFOD.


Toilets:  Posters and collection boxes
have been placed in each toilet.


collection of Toys for Prison Visitors was very sparse this year and so it was
felt that we need to increase the publicity next year. 



Advent collection in aid of CAFOD:  the
young people raised £476.55 (a camel, 2 goats and some chickens for the virtual
farm). A semi-permanent display about what had been achieved was produced by
Judy McLean and can be seen during Lent in the narthex.


addition to Lenten Family Fast Day, we decided to embark on a parish ‘Carbon
Fast’ for Lent 2015. A sheet was produced and a notice of the weekly target
will be in the bulletin each week.

young people were asked to do the bucket collection again and proceeds will go
towards wood-saving stoves and a greenhouse for the virtual village.

g. Liturgy & Music:

Liturgy & Music Group has met twice since the last PPC.

response to some of the issues arising from the re-timing of the Carol Service
since the advent of the year-round evening Mass, we sounded the parish out and
transferred the service to a Friday evening. 
Numbers were up but it was notable that some who we would expect to see
did not attend.  We will be evaluating
this further.  We also continue to review
the Christmas Mass times but made no amendment in 2014.

the 10am Mass during Advent, we prepared a composite music sheet so as to
reduce the number of separate pieces of paper which the congregation can
sometimes have to handle.  This seemed to
work well and has been repeated for Lent.

has been mentioned in the bulletin, the weekday recitation of the Responsorial
Psalm at Mass has been reviewed.  It has
long been the custom here at St Cuthberts for all to say the psalm together.  This is not a common practice and can lead to
issues where people cannot see a Missal. 
As such, we have now moved to the more widespread practice of repeating
a response after each verse.

Liturgy & Music Group has arranged a series of Stations of the Cross
services, immediately following Vespers on the Friday evenings of Lent.

for Holy Week and Easter are in hand.  As
usual, we wish to emphasis the unity of the Triduum services and we are pleased
that there shall be a baptism at the Easter Vigil.

continue to deliberate as to how to increase the number of people on whom we
can call for the many lay ministries which support our celebration of


h.  Diocesan Meetings:


There have not been any meetings since the last PPC
meeting.”Forward in Hope” to next Council of Laity meeting in three weeks time.
Margaret Doyle is only on “The Council of Laity” now. 


6. Financial
: Deposit Account £22,400. Current Account £30,073.  The Diocese has put a moratorium on spending
so the lights cannot be done i.e. a new system. 
There is still the need to raise £25,000.  On the Quinquennial Report the stonework to
the Presbytery needs to be done which will be in the region of £40,000 and the
lighting £15,000.

7:   Parish
Retreats and Study Days – fr David

In fr David’s absence the following dates were announced:

Parish Retreat Day is 25th April – fr John Farrell

Study Day is 30th May – fr David Sanders from Blackfriars,

8.  Forward Together in Hope – fr Ben

Whilst Michael Laing is unavailable Margaret Doyle is the contact for the
Parish. There is an update on the Diocesan Website which is: or contact 0191 243 3304.

9. Items from the Parish Priest: All items have been covered

10. Any other business: 
There was a question re the Church heating – why has it seemed to be
colder this winter?  Fr Ben said that
under Health and Safety regulations the door between the porch and the Narthex
does have to be left open. 

11. Date of next meeting: 28th
May 2015 at 7.30 p.m. in the Parish Room

12.  The meeting closed with prayer

Proclaim 15

On 11 July, 35 people from the diocese led by Bishop Séamus will join 850 people from around the country for a one day gathering whose aim is to introduce people to the need for evangelising or missionary parishes in England and Wales.

The event is in Birmingham and a coach will pick up at Newcastle and Hartlepool or Darlington. It is hoped that those who attend will be on fire with the desire to spread the Good News of the Gospel. On their return they will be encouraged to put ideas into practice in our own diocese and create many missionary parishes and disciples – all in keeping with Forward Together in Hope and the Pope’s vision in Joy of the Gospel.

Anyone interested should contact Sr Michael on or 0191 581 3249: there are still a few seats available. More details on the poster on the noticeboard.

Pope Francis and Solidarity

Dr Meghan Clark will give a lecture entitled “Pope Francis and Solidarity” on Monday 18 May 2015, 4:00pm-6:00pm at Elvet Riverside 141.

Dr Meghan Clark is from St John University in New York. She is a world authority on Catholic Social Teaching and has worked in particular on the concept of “Solidarity”, and written widely on Human Rights and Theology. There will be plenty of time for discussion after the lecture.

If you would like to book a place please contact Booking is not essential, but it helps us to know numbers.

God does not have favourites

The first reading for this Sunday reminds us that “God does not have favourites” and that “anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34-35).

I am writing this text before the result of the General Election and the composition of the new government is known. But, given what the major parties have said during the campaign, it seems clear that tough immigration rules and targets will remain. Indeed, things may yet get more difficult for those who want to come here to live, work, study or visit.

It is, of course, reasonable that a society should protect itself from those who would harm it; but we must remember that welcome to people of all nations is part of what Christianity is built upon. St Peter and St Paul, those pillars of the early Church’s preaching, both became migrants. St Paul was shipwrecked three times and spent a night and day in the open sea (2 Cor 11:25). It is through their efforts to reach distant nations that we can now rejoice in the name of Christian.

Peter and Paul both got to Rome, where they died martyrs’ deaths; many hundreds of people each year do not make it as far as Italy, but drown in the Mediterranean or die in other futile attempts to cross borders. Whether these people are called migrants or refugees, the causes of their situation are complex; but the human tragedy is all too plain.

We have in the last few weeks focussed, unsurprisingly, on what is for the good of our national society; but now the election is over we must remember that our duties to a national society are secondary to our fundamental obligations as human beings and as Christians to cherish, support and welcome all human life. We must urge our newly-elected leaders to make these values a reality.

Celebration of Marriage

Bishop Séamus will celebrate Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday 9 May at 11.00am to
give thanks for the Sacrament of Marriage. All are welcome for what promises to be a wonderful celebration providing affirmation and support for Marriage across the diocese and to the wider North-East community.

General Election 2015

This coming Thursday, 7 May, sees one of the most significant responsibilities most of us have in making a decision for the good of our society. The Bishops of England and Wales, in their recent letter, remind us:

“The Gospel is radical and challenging. It is the saving message of Jesus Christ. It is a way of life. It teaches us to value each person: the vulnerable child inside the womb; the parent struggling with the pressures of family life; the person striving to combat poverty; the teacher inspiring students to seek the truth; the stranger fleeing violence and persecution in their homeland; the prisoner in his cell in search of redemption; the child in a distant land claiming the right to a future; and the frail elderly person needing care and facing the frontier of death.

“As Catholics, we are called to work for a world shaped by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel proclaims the mercy of God and invites us steadfastly to love God and our neighbour. Our relationship with God leads to the desire to build a world in which respect, dignity, equality, justice, and peace are our primary concerns…

“At this General Election we are asked to think about the kind of society we want here at home and abroad.”

Having heard the candidates, may we take time to pray and ponder this week about how best to serve our society by the way we vote. May the Holy Spirit give us the gift of right judgement in casting our votes, and rest upon the counsels of all those who are elected.

The Bishops’ letter is available at the back of the church or on-line at

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