Lockdown @ St Cuthbert’s

The Government has announced a four-week lockdown in England, starting today. During lockdown, there will be no public worship. However, St Cuthbert’s Church will be open for private prayer this week, at the following times:

Saturday 7th November 9.30-10.30am.

Tuesday 10th November 12 noon – 1.00pm

Thursday 12th November 5.00-6.00pm

Saturday 14th November 10.00-11.00am

Morning Prayer of the Church will be celebrated on Zoom, Monday-Friday at 8.00am.

Virtual Parish Coffee Morning: Saturday at 10.30am.

Online Sunday Gospel Reflection: Sunday at 11.00am.

For details of how to take part in these online events, and for information about the opening of the church for private prayer, see the ‘St Cuthbert’s Parish Community’ Facebook page, or email Fr Andrew on parish.priest@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk

We hope to begin the live streaming of Masses from St Cuthbert’s soon, but in the meantime, you can find a list of churches in our diocese which are live streaming here.

During this new lockdown, it’s important that we all keep in touch and look out for one another. If you are in need of any practical help, eg with grocery shopping or collecting prescriptions, or if you just want to chat, please contact Fr Andrew on the email address above, or on 0191 384 3442. Or if you know of someone else who might need contact or support, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Parish bulletins and Catholic newspapers will be available for collection in a box outside the church door. Please pick up a copy of the bulletin and put it through the letterbox of a friend or neighbour who might not be able to get out.

You can read a statement from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales on the new lockdown here.

Lockdown restrictions begin Thursday 5th November

The Government has introduced lockdown restrictions from Thursday 5th November. Public acts of worship are forbidden from that date, and all Masses from this Thursday onwards will be celebrated privately.

Churches can still open for private prayer. This week, St Cuthbert’s will be open at the following times:

Thursday 5-6pm; Friday 12-1pm; Saturday 9.30-10.30am.

Watch the website and the parish and chaplaincy Facebook pages for details of future opening.

How happy are the poor in spirit

The Gospel reading for today’s Feast of All Saints comes from the beginning of Jesus’  Sermon on the Mount. He goes up the hill and sits down, with a crowd of people waiting to hear him, and he sets out his teaching.

Our first reaction to Jesus’ words may be that his teaching is unrealistic. Jesus says, ‘Happy are the poor in spirit… happy the gentle… happy the merciful.’ But surely, that is not the way that the world is. It might seem more true to say ‘Happy are the rich… happy are the powerful… happy are those who fight to get what they want.’ Those are the values of the world.

But does it have to be that way? We have all known people who lived by the values that Jesus teaches us. We know people who are gentle, kind and merciful. There are people who are happy and contented, even though they seem to have very little. Those people are an example and an inspiration to us. They show us a better way to live.

Today, the Church remembers all the saints who are not canonised – those who are not famous, or even known. We celebrate the parents, grandparents and friends who taught us about Jesus, and who gave us an example of the Christian way of life. They lived by the values of the Beatitudes. The First Reading describes the gathering of the saints in heaven: ‘a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language.’ Everyone is invited into God’s kingdom, whoever they are and wherever they come from. There is a place there for each one of us.

Mass and Private Prayer at St. Cuthbert’s

St. Cuthbert’s is now open for public Mass throughout the week as well as on Sundays.

Please do not come to church if you are in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ group, if you are showing any of the symptoms of Covid-19, or if you have any concerns about your safety. The obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been dispensed by the Bishops until further notice.

You will be asked to give contact details and we have a QR code displayed if you are using the NHS COVID-19 Test & Trace App.

Face coverings became mandatory in Places of Worship from Saturday 8th August 2020. All those who are attending churches must wear a face covering unless they are exempt from doing so.

Sunday Mass: Mass will be celebrated on Sunday 1st November at 10:00am and 6.30pm, and Sunday 8th November, at 10.00am and 6:30pm. The capacity of the church is limited to 36 people under the diocesan Risk Assessment. If you wish to attend Sunday Mass, you must request a place, by emailing office@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk or telephoning 0191 384 3442. If you come to church without having booked a place at Mass, you may be asked to leave. If there is a high demand for places at the 6:30pm Mass, priority will be given to students.

Masses during the week. You can attend without prior booking, but you will be asked for contact details. Church will be open for an hour each time there is Mass and you are very welcome to come into church for private prayer immediately before and after Mass.

Receiving Communion: Please wait in the pews until instructed by the Stewards to come forward to the priest for Holy Communion, always aware of social distancing in the queue. Please unloop your face covering, hold your arms at “full stretch” so that there is a good distance between you and the priest, with hands, palms upwards, one of top of the other, extended as flat as possible, consume the Sacred Host and then replace your face covering before moving back to your pew.

Volunteers are needed to act as stewards, and to clean the church after each opening. You must not volunteer if you are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, and if you are in the clinically vulnerable group, you should consider carefully your safety before deciding to volunteer. If you do wish to help, please get in touch by telephone or email, as above.

Churches open for Private Prayer and Mass

St Godric’s Church has Mass at 9:00am on Sunday 1 November and Sunday 8 November ; Exposition at 9:30am and Mass at 10:00am on Tuesday 3 November and Thursday 5 November.. 

St Joseph’s Church has Mass at 5:00pm on Saturday 31 October and 7 November; 11:00am on Sunday 1 November and 8 November. Exposition at 9:30am and Mass at 10:00am on Wednesday 4 November and Friday 6 November.

For Saturday and Sunday Masses, the deadline for requesting a place at Mass is 2.00pm on Friday, to book a place please contact Marjorie on 07391529827 or secretary.stjandstg@btconnect.com You no longer need to book a place at the weekday Masses, but will have to give your contact details to the stewards on arrival.


November is the month in which Catholics traditionally bring to mind those who have died and pray for their souls. This may be particularly poignant in our current circumstances.

Our Parish Book of Remembrance will be open at the font all month from All Saints Day for you to write the names of your departed family members and friends. If you cannot come along to church in person, please e-mail Andy Doyle (andydoyle1066@sky.com) and he shall arrange for names to be added.

The 10am Mass on Saturday 7th November will hold especially in mind all who have died in the last few years together with those who mourn and you are invited to come along, you do not need too book for this Mass.

Unfortunately, we shall not be able to offer the refreshments that have been available in previous years. The 10am Mass on Sunday 8th November (Remembrance Sunday) will conclude with a short moment of gratitude and remembrance for all who died in the World Wars and other conflicts of recent decades.

Northern Cross

The Northern Cross has been part of the life of our diocese for over 60 years, but our diocesan newspaper has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic and closure of churches. You can help by:

Taking out an annual subscription; £36 for the print edition delivered to your door each month, £20 for the online edition. 

Advertising your business or service in the Northern Cross.

Sending in your stories. Northern Cross is your newspaper and we would love to hear what you have been up to over the past month.

You can contact the Northern Cross at  editor.norcross@btconnect.com, by post c/o WM Fortune & Son, Collingwood House, Church Square, Hartlepool, TS24 7EN, or on 01325 464008. Or go to www.northerncross.org.uk

Counselling & Listening Service

A number of qualified counsellors and listeners have generously made themselves available to anyone who may be troubled by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown. These counsellors and listeners can be contacted through the St Mary’s Cathedral Listening Service on 0191 232 6953 and the Northumberland Listening Service on 07732 980740.

Listening Skills Training

A course for those who would like to support members of our parishes and partnerships who may be experiencing mental health issues. A 6-week course beginning on Tuesday 10 November, on Zoom.  You will learn effective listening skills to offer support and if necessary “sign post” people to other sources of help. For further details on the course contact: Oonagh Atkinson on 0191 3891188. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Fr Andrew – sponsorship may be available from the parish.

The Spirituality of the Dominicans

The Finchale Partnership and the University Chaplaincy have organised a series of events on the Spirituality of the religious orders. The events take place on Zoom.

The second event in our series is The Spirituality of the Dominicans.

Speaker: fr. Benjamin Earl OP. fr. Ben lived in Durham as Parish Priest at St. Cuthbert’s and University Chaplain, from 2012 to 2016.

Date: Thursday 29th October at 7.00pm

Details of how to join the session are available in the parish Facebook group or by contacting margaretdoyle1066@sky.com

Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God

In Jesus’ time, the Jewish people lived under the rule of the Roman Empire. As always happens, a few people resisted the occupying power, a few collaborated, and most kept their heads down and tried to survive. But the people hated paying taxes to the Romans. And, to add insult to injury, the tax had to be paid in Roman coins, which bore the head of the Emperor Tiberius, and an inscription that described him as ‘Son of God’ and ‘High Priest.’ To the Jews, this was blasphemy. There were many among them who longed for a Messiah who would lead an uprising against the Romans.

In this explosive situation, Jesus’ enemies try to set a trap for him. If he tells the people that they should pay taxes to Caesar, they will write him off as a collaborator. But if he tells the people not to pay, he risks being arrested by the Romans as a rebel. What can he say?

Jesus asks to see the coin that is used to pay the tax. The coin bears the image and title of Caesar; so, Jesus says, give it back to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God. His disciples would hear his unspoken message. The coin bears Caesar’s image, but the human person bears the image and likeness of God, as the Book of Genesis tells us. The wealth of the world is controlled by worldly powers, but men and women belong only to God. All of the Caesars of this world will one day answer to a higher power; and they will be judged on the way they treated the people they ruled – people who are precious in God’s eyes.

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