Sea Sunday is celebrated this Sunday 11 July. On that day, you are asked to kindly remember seafarers and fishers in your prayers and to support the Catholic charity Stella Maris (formerly called Apostleship of the Sea). For more information, see www.stellamaris.org.uk/seasunday
We’re not always ready to celebrate the success of others. Instead, we may be tempted to knock them down, with a comment like, ‘He’s got too big for his boots.’
In today’s Gospel, Jesus returns to his home town of Nazareth, and begins to teach in the synagogue. The reaction of the townspeople – Jesus’ neighbours – is striking. They don’t deny that Jesus is teaching with wisdom. They can’t deny the miracles that he has worked. And yet, they refuse to believe in him. He is just a working man, a carpenter, and his relatives still live in the town. Where do his power and wisdom come from? Who does he think he is?
Jesus is amazed at the people’s lack of faith, but he reminds them that the prophets were often rejected, as we see in today’s First Reading from the book of Ezekiel. If the prophet brings a message that challenges us, it’s easier to reject the messenger than to accept the challenge.
Jesus can work no miracles in his home town, because of his neighbours’ lack of faith. He is bringing Good News to his own people, but they don’t want to hear it. The story challenges us to look at our own prejudices. What might be preventing us from hearing the Good News and welcoming Christ into our lives?
Congratulations to Fr Luke Wilkinson, who was ordained to serve as a priest of our diocese on 29th June. Please pray for Fr Luke as he begins his priestly ministry.
The Leprosy Mission is seeking to appoint a Community Partnerships Manager for the North-East. Closing date: Wednesday 7th July. Details at https://www.leprosymission.org.uk/jobs/community-partnerships-managers-three-roles/#/
Saturday 3rd July. Mass at 12.15pm will be followed by a BBQ in the presbytery garden (weather and Covid restrictions permitting). Everyone is welcome, including chaplaincy alumni, 2021 graduates, parishioners and current students. Please let us know if you’re planning to come, and any dietary requirements, by emailing email@example.com
An exhibition of icons of well-loved Northern saints from Anglo-Saxon to Elizabethan times.
The icons reflect people of faith from every walk of life – from housewives to kings, from hermits to bishops. They were “written” by a group of keen amateur iconographers at the Oaklea Centre in Sunderland. Icon workshops are held there every year and have attracted a number of enthusiastic followers.
The exhibition ends this Sunday 4th July in St Joseph’s Chapel, Ushaw. Free with entry pass.
John of the Cross and the Experience of Transforming Love. Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th July, offered by the Carmelite Friars UK. Details at www.carmelite.uk.net
In today’s Gospel, we hear two stories of healing. A girl only twelve years old – she’s about to become an adult, but she’s at the point of death – and an adult woman who has suffered for twelve years from a painful and debilitating condition. In each case, it is faith that opens the way for Jesus to heal them. The little girl’s father, Jairus, is an official of the synagogue; a man who holds an important position in society. But he sets aside his status and his dignity, and begs Jesus to come to his daughter, believing that he has power to make her well. The woman reaches out to touch Jesus’ cloak as he passes, believing that this will be enough to cure her – and she is proved right.
Their faith prompts Jesus’ care and compassion for them. The woman is told, ‘Your faith has healed you – go in peace.’ The young girl is brought back from death and returned to her parents. God’s will is for every one of us to be alive and healthy, as we hear in today’s First Reading from the book of Wisdom.
Under the ritual rules of the Law, to touch a sick person, or a dead body, was to make yourself unclean. Jesus ignores such rules. The woman is healed by touching him, and he takes the young girl by the hand and restores her to life. We are all in need of Jesus’ healing touch, and all we have to do is reach out to him in faith.
Please pray for Rev Luke Wilkinson, who will be ordained a priest for our diocese this Tuesday, 29th June, at 6pm at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle. Due to Covid restrictions, attendance at the Ordination Mass is by invitation only, but you can watch a live stream on the Cathedral’s YouTube channel.
The June edition of our diocesan newspaper is now available to view at www.northerncross.org.uk Please consider taking out a postal or online subscription to support the Northern Cross.
Tuesday 29th June is the Solemnity of Ss Peter & Paul, one of the great feasts of the Church’s year. Mass will be celebrated at St Cuthbert’s at 12.15pm. The obligation to attend Mass on Holydays is still suspended, but in order to make sure that we comply with Covid safety procedures, please book a place at Mass by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 0191 384 3442.
Jesus’ disciples were experienced fishermen, used to sailing on the Sea of Galilee with its changeable weather. But even they were frightened when a sudden gale and storm blew up. They feared for their lives, and they woke up Jesus, who was asleep in the boat. How could he sleep through such a frightening storm? Did he not care? When Jesus calmed the wind and the sea with a word, his disciples were amazed. ‘Who can this be?’ they asked. They knew that only God has power over the forces of nature, and now they saw that Jesus was exercising that power.
Our own lives can seem as stormy and uncertain as the Sea of Galilee. Like the disciples, struggling to stay afloat in a tiny boat, we may feel afraid as we look into the future. Like them, we might want to ask Jesus, ‘Master, do you not care?’ Jesus asks us to believe and to trust in him. He does care, and he is never far from us; in fact, he is closest to us at the most stormy times. Jesus has power to calm the storms that threaten us. We only have to have faith in him
Sunday 20 June marks the Day for Life, an annual celebration of the intrinsic value and dignity of every human person from conception to natural death. There will be a retiring collection to support the Church’s work of protecting life at its most vulnerable stages. For a message from Bishop Sherrington, see https://www.cbcew.org.uk/life-bishops-message-for-the-2021-day-for-life/
Universe Catholic Media has ceased trading with immediate effect. Sadly, there will be no more editions of the Universe and Catholic Times. For a statement from Cardinal Vincent Nichols, see https://www.cbcew.org.uk/cardinal-expresses-sadness-as-universe-catholic-media-ltd-stops-trading/
Seeing in the Dark – Meeting God within struggle and uncertainty. Offered by the Sisters of the Christian Retreat. Saturday 26 June, 10am-4pm. For details, see https://www.christian-retreat.org/our-programme/seeing-in-the-dark-meeting-god-within-struggle-and-uncertainty
We all love a good story. A story makes us think, and stimulates our imagination. Jesus often used stories – parables – as a way to get the attention of the people. He wanted his teaching not only to enter their heads, but their hearts, too.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells two little parables about seeds. Many of those listening were farmers. They knew what it was to plant seed and to wait anxiously, watching for the rain and the sunshine, hoping that the crops would grow. It would seem like a miracle when the precious crops grew and ripened and the harvest was ready at last. Jesus’ disciples knew, too, how a tiny mustard seed could grow into a tough and straggly plant.
What does the seed in the parables represent? It could stand for Jesus’ own teaching. Starting with a few disciples, he had now gathered a crowd of followers. The kingdom of God was growing, and it would go on growing. The tiny seed that Jesus planted has sprouted until, today, his disciples are all over the world. Or, the seed could stand for our own response to Jesus’ teaching; our words and actions of love. Whenever we show our care for one another and witness to our faith, we are planting seeds of the kingdom of God, and the Lord will make them grow.
St Cuthbert’s Parish Pastoral Council will meet online on Thursday 17th June. If there are any matters that you would like the PPC to discuss, please contact Fr Andrew or the Secretary, Susan Penswick
The Real Sister Act – Confronting the Uneasy History of Racial Segregation and Exclusion in Female Religious Life in the United States. Dr Shannen Dee Williams (Villanova University, USA.) Tuesday 15 June at 6.00pm, online. Register at https://centreforcatholicstudies.eventbrite.com
Educating in Virtue – Appealing to the Young Mind by Corinna Turner. Thursday 24th June at 7.30pm, online. For details, see www.christianheritagecentre.com/events
A talk by Br. Guy Consolmagno SJ, the Director of the Vatican Observatory. This is a joint Chaplaincy / Parish event and everyone is welcome.
The talk will be on Friday 18 June at 4.00pm, on Zoom. The dial in details are available in the parish Facebook Group or by email from email@example.com.
If you are not able to join us for the talk, a recording will be available afterwards on our YouTube channel.