You are Witnesses

We might expect the disciples to be joyful when they encountered the risen Jesus. But each of the Gospels tells us that their first reaction was one of shock and fear. In today’s Gospel reading, Luke says that the disciples were ‘in a state of alarm and fright’ when Jesus appeared among them. They thought they were seeing a ghost.

Jesus calms his friends down, wishing them peace. He shows them his hands and feet, to let them see that he is not a ghost; he is the same person who was nailed to the Cross. He was really dead, and now he is truly risen. He even eats with them, as he has done so many times before. Then, Jesus teaches the disciples, opening their minds to understand how the Word of God in the Hebrew Scriptures has been fulfilled in him. And finally, he sends them out with a mission: to witness to all the nations about his life, death and resurrection; to preach the Good News of forgiveness of sins.

The mission that Jesus gives his disciples is our mission, too. Jesus has opened our minds, helping us to see the world in a different way. He has given us his peace, so that we can rest in his love, whatever difficulties we face in our lives. Jesus has promised us forgiveness for our sins, and he sends us out to share that Good News with all those we meet. We are his witnesses.

Lay Dominican Group

 A small group of Lay Dominicans meets on the third Sunday of each month at 2:30pm – currently on Zoom – for about 60-75 minutes. We have a blend of prayer and of discussion as we consider what it means to bring the Word of God into our daily living.

If you would like to know more about the Lay Dominicans or would like to join our Zoom meeting on Sunday 18th April where fr Samuel Burke OP, RC Chaplain to the University of Edinburgh (and the group’s chaplain too!) will help us to consider the place of mercy in contemporary society, then contact Andy Doyle (andydoyle1066@sky.com or 0798 543 4185).  

Donations & 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 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 parish or 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.

(2): Lockdown has led to a number of donors who have previously given via weekly envelopes switching to standing orders. If you would like to donate in this way, which is more convenient for both the donor and the parish, please contact Andy for guidance as to how to make the switch.

(3): New donation envelopes will be available soon for those who wish to continue to use this method. Please let Andy know if you do wish to receive a box of envelopes to be used from early April.

What do you believe? An Evening with Fr. Stephen Wang (Sycamore)

Fr. Stephen Wang is the author of Sycamore, a programme that has grown into a resource being used throughout the world. In the bible, Jesus comes to the town of Jericho. A man called Zacchaeus is so curious about Jesus that he climbs a Sycamore tree to get a better view. When he finally meets him, they begin a conversation, and his life is changed forever. The Sycamore tree seemed to be the perfect image of something that helps others to get a wider perspective on life and faith. 

The Diocese’s Vicariate for Faith & Mission is pleased to welcome Fr. Stephen to our diocese on Wednesday 21st April 7-8pm for a virtual conversation about how we can make genuine human connections, share our Catholic faith and reach out for a real sense of community with a spirit of friendship. Booking is essential; please register at https://forms.office.com/r/X42EZKpGKz or contact Faith & Mission by email at adminfaith.mission@diocesehn.org.uk or telephone 07375 934713.

WeCraft

WeCraft Durham is a student-led initiative that aims to offer social events and craft activities for older residents in our city. Possible activities include group singing, quizzes, book clubs and creative writing. If you might be interested, please contact Fr Andrew.

The light is dawning

It is still dark when Mary of Magdala goes to Jesus’ tomb, early in the morning. But she can see that something has happened. The stone blocking the entrance has been moved, and the tomb is empty. Mary’s first reaction is to  run to Simon Peter, and the disciple Jesus loves, and share the news with them. What’s going on? The disciples discover that the linen cloths, used to wrap a dead body, have been discarded. Jesus doesn’t need them any more. 

John tells us that, until this moment, the disciples had ‘failed to understand.’ Jesus had taught them that he would rise from the dead, but it was impossible for them to take in his teaching. But now, they see and they believe. They suffered the darkest day of their lives when they saw Jesus die on the Cross, but as the day dawns, the light is dawning for them. As they share the news, the light will dawn for the whole community of disciples – and then for the whole world.

Jesus’ disciples would spend the rest of their lives coming to understand what they had experienced – the mystery of his rising from the dead. We, too, are still coming to understand the full meaning of what God has done. The Resurrection of Christ is good news that changes the world.

On-line services this Easter

Due to the restrictions on numbers in all our churches across the Partnership, many of the Easter services are fully booked. If you are not able to attend services in person, here are the services in the Partnership which you will be able to join on-line. 

St. Cuthbert’s 

Here are the details of services which will be live-streamed on St. Cuthbert’s YouTube channel

Maundy Thursday 7.00pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper 
 9.00pm Night Prayer 
Good Friday 10.00am Morning Prayer and the Office of Readings 
 3.00pm Celebration of the Lord’s Passion 
Holy Saturday  10.00am Morning Prayer and the Office of Readings 
 8.00pm Easter Vigil 
Easter Sunday 10.00am Mass 

The following events will be on Zoom. See St. Cuthbert’s Parish Community Facebook Group or contact  margaretdoyle1066@sky.com for Zoom log in details. 

Good Friday 6.30pm The Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross 
Easter Sunday 11.00am Gospel Reflection 

Durham Martyrs 

Here are the details of services which will be live-streamed on Durham Martyrs’ YouTube channel: 

Maundy Thursday 7.00pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper 
 8.30-9.30pm Watching 
Good Friday 3.00pm Celebration of the Lord’s Passion 
Holy Saturday 8.00pm Easter Vigil 

St. John Boste 

Services are not live-streamed, but recordings of the following services will be available shortly afterwards on St. John Boste’s YouTube channel 

Maundy Thursday 7.00pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper 
Good Friday 3.00pm Celebration of the Lord’s Passion 
Holy Saturday 7.30pm Easter Vigil 

Crucify him!

Today’s Mass begins with Jesus’ triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem. The crowd are shouting ‘Hosanna!’ And yet, a few days later, the same crowd are shouting ‘Crucify him!’ What has changed? Mark tells us that the chief priests incited the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus. It’s easy to whip up a crowd into an angry mob – not so easy to control the mob’s lust for blood. Even Pontius Pilate, with an army under his command, is afraid of the crowd. He releases Barabbas – guilty of murder – and hands Jesus over to be crucified, knowing him to be innocent. The soldiers make fun of Jesus and the passers-by jeer at him. Even the robbers being crucified with him join in with the mockery. 

It’s a scene that has been repeated many times, throughout history; a crowd ganging up on a helpless victim. Everyone joins in, for fear that they could be the next target. But this time, it is different.  At the moment of his death, Jesus cries out, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ These are the words of a Psalm – a prayer of hope and trust in God. With his last breath, Jesus is calling on his Father to witness his suffering, and expressing his trust in the Father’s plan. He knows that God has not forsaken him.

Holy Week Liturgies

The times of liturgies during Holy Week will be as follows:

  Mass of the Lord’s Supper; Thursday 1st April at 7.00pm

   Celebration of the Lord’s Passion; Friday 2nd April at 3.00pm

   Easter Vigil; Saturday 3rd April at 8.00pm

   Easter Sunday Mass; 4th April at 10.00am 

  (No Evening Mass on Easter Sunday).  

All of the services are now fully booked.

All of these liturgies will be live streamed on St Cuthbert’s YouTube channel.

Diocesan Chrism Mass

The Diocesan Chrism Mass will be celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle at 11am on Holy Thursday. At this celebration, the Holy Oils are blessed, and the priests and deacons of the diocese renew their commitment to service. Attendance at this year’s Chrism Mass is by invitation only, due to Covid restrictions, but you can watch a live stream on the Cathedral’s YouTube channel.

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