Centre for Catholic Studies

Ushaw Lecture: Public Panel Event Marking the 800th Anniversary of the Meeting of St. Francis and Sultan Malek Al-Kamil in Egypt. Featuring HE Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald MAfr, Michael F. Cusato OFM, Pascal Robert OFM and Mona Siddiqui OBE. Tuesday 5 November; doors open 7.00pm for lecture at 7.20pm.

Wednesday 6 November 2019: Sr Prof. Ilia Delio OSF: Living Creation Theology in the Context of Contemporary Science: The Distinctive Contribution of the Franciscan Theological Tradition. 9am at Ushaw College.

Entry is free of charge and free transport is available between Durham and Ushaw for those who need it. Space at these lectures is limited so registration is essential via https://centreforcatholicstudies.eventbrite.com or by telephoning the CCS on 0191 334 1656.

Call for Volunteers: Silk Road Project

In November 2019 the Oriental Museum, Durham University is launching a new Silk Roads gallery development. The museum is seeking a diverse group of volunteers from the local Asian Christian community to work alongside museum staff to renew the Christianity displays in the new gallery. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Charlotte Spink, Access and Community Engagement Officer at the Oriental Museum: charlotte.spink@durham.ac.uk or telephone 0191 334 5691 for an informal chat.

Lumiere 2019

As on previous occasions, we shall be opening the Church during the forthcoming Lumiere festival in Durham (14th to 17th November). In common with many of the churches in the centre of the city, we hope to provide a place for quieter reflection where people can light a candle, say a prayer and also find some “light” refreshments. We hope to be open from about 6pm to 10pm on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday and after the evening Mass on the Sunday. To offer this opportunity, we will need willing hands to staff the church, to make soups, to sell tea and coffee etc. If you can help, in any way, please sign up as soon as you can on the lists on the noticeboard or see Andy Doyle. Thank you.

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.

God be merciful, to me, a sinner

Today’s parable presents us with two men whose position in society would be very different. The Pharisee would be admired as someone who lived a virtuous life, scrupulous in keeping to the demands of the Law. The tax collector, meanwhile, would be despised: a collaborator with the Roman occupation, and probably dishonest and corrupt. Faithful Jews might wonder how the tax collector had the nerve even to enter God’s Temple.

But Jesus shows us what is in the two men’s hearts. The Pharisee is puffed up with pride; he believes himself better than the tax collector, and indeed, better than the rest of humanity. Even his prayer is addressed ‘to himself.’ The tax collector, on the other hand, has a strong sense of his sinfulness, and he begs for God’s mercy without any pride or pretence. This is true humility. In our prayer, we stand naked before God, utterly dependent on God’s love and forgiveness. We can never earn our salvation – we can only receive it as God’s gift.

Prisons Week 13th-19th October

Today we would like to collect items for nepacs to make up Toiletry and Homeless Packs for prisoners being released from Low Newton. Nepacs is a north east charity which has been supporting people affected by imprisonment for over 135 years.

Useful items to contribute to the toiletry packs are toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, shower gel, soap, deodorant (roll-on or spray ), flannels, wet wipes, lip balm, combs, STs, tampons, panty liners. Packs for anyone who is homeless on release include toiletries plus socks, plasters, waterbottle/flask, bacterial gel, Dry Food Pack ( coffee, tea bags, hot chocolate powder , cup-a-soup, cereal bars, sugar, stirrer, mars bars ). Please put donations in the boxes in the narthex on these dates. Your generosity will be very greatly appreciated.

Pray Continually

Today’s parable is intended for disciples living in the time between the first and second comings of the Lord. As Christians, we are people of faith and hope. Faith tells us that Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world to save us from our sins. Faith also enables us to see God at work in our lives today. The Christian virtue of hope assures us that God has a plan for the world, and that each one of us has our part in the unfolding of God’s plan. This is what our lives are for.

But while we wait in hope for the Lord to return, we face many difficulties and struggles. The Christian response is to pray constantly, bringing all our fears and anxieties to God. The widow in the parable is a woman without power or status – one of the ‘little ones’ of Israel. But she obtains justice from the unjust judge by her persistence. All the more, Jesus says, will God, our loving Father, see justice done for his children. Sometimes, we feel that God is slow to hear and answer our prayers, but he asks us to persevere and trust in him.

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

Faith & Gratitude

Leprosy – Hansen’s disease – is a disease that causes disability and disfigurement. Today, leprosy can be easily cured, though there are still many people in the world who suffer from the disease because of poverty and poor hygiene. But in our Lord’s time, with no treatment, leprosy was a cause of fear and horror. Sufferers were labelled as ‘lepers.’ They were considered unclean, isolated from family and society.

In last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus taught his disciples about the power of faith. Today, ten men suffering from leprosy approach Jesus on the edge of the village. They have faith that Jesus can cure them, and he does. But only one man, finding himself cured, comes back to thank Jesus. His faith is completed by gratitude. Faith is a trusting readiness to receive the great things God does for us, and also a grateful recognition of what God has done and is doing in our lives. Ironically, the one man who comes back to give thanks is a Samaritan, a despised foreigner. Jesus welcomes everyone who has faith in him.

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