Bishop Robert has written a Pastoral Letter for Holy Week. You can read it online here.
This year’s Good Friday Walk of Witness is cancelled. However, the words of the service are available at www.durhamchurches.uk for you to pray them at home.
The Holy Places collection, which supports the Christian community in the Holy Land and would normally be taken on Palm Sunday, has been postponed.
The Little Sisters of the Poor have launched an emergency appeal to cover the cost of Personal Protection Equipment for staff at their care home in Newcastle, and the extra costs of caring for their residents during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can donate online at www.littlesistersofthepoor.co.uk/donate-here/
Who is this?
‘Who is this?’ the people ask, as the Lord enters Jerusalem. And the reply comes back: ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth.’ Jesus is given many different titles in the course of Matthew’s account of the Passion. Some are proclaimed in joy and faith, others in cruel mockery. When he enters the city, the crowd acclaim him as a prophet and as ‘Son of David,’ recognising a king who comes to his people humbly, riding on a donkey. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is in stark contrast to the power of Rome, or the pomp of Herod’s court. He is modelling a different kind of leadership and authority.
When Judas greets Jesus as ‘Rabbi’ – Teacher – it is a traitor’s signal. When the High Priest asks Jesus if he is the Christ and the Son of God, he describes himself instead as Son of Man – the Messiah who has come to fulfil the Scriptures, and who will be seated at God’s right hand. The claim is blasphemous to the Jews; it is enough to seal Jesus’ fate.
Jesus’ last title – King of the Jews – is nailed above the Cross, as a dire warning to any other king who might be tempted to rebel against Roman rule. And yet, the Roman centurion and his squad recognise Jesus as a ‘Son of God.’
The Passion story prompts us to ask, ‘Who is Jesus for me?’ In normal times, the liturgy invites us to enter into the story. We sing ‘Hosanna’ with the crowds as Jesus enters Jerusalem; we walk with him to Calvary; we wait quietly on Holy Saturday for the Lord to burst from the tomb on Easter Sunday. This year, we cannot celebrate the liturgies of Holy Week together. Instead, we are called to enter individually into the Lord’s Passion; to walk prayerfully with him in our own homes; to share his suffering in our own hearts, knowing ourselves to be in communion with one another and with the Church around the world. We witness to our faith in Christ by our care and compassion for one another, and we wait in hope for new life.
Readings for daily Mass, and the texts for the Prayer of the Church, can be found at www.universalis.com Texts for the next seven days are available free, or you can subscribe to the Universalis app for unlimited access.
Magnificat includes Morning, Evening and Night Prayer, the daily Mass Readings, a daily mediation and Saint of the Day. It is currently available free at: https://us.magnificat.net/free
Other resources, including links to live streamed Masses, can be found on the diocesan website, www.rcdhn.org.uk and the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference for England and Wales: www.cbcew.org.uk
Following the latest announcement from the Prime Minister on the measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, we are no longer able to open the church for people to call in and pray. This is a necessary measure to protect us all.
Please keep in touch as we find other ways to support each other and to pray together over the next weeks and months.
St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle is live streaming Mass via Youtube at 12 noon each day. You can find links to other live streams on the diocesan website, www.rcdhn.org.uk
Many of our parishioners are elderly, or at risk of infection because of an existing condition. Some are self-isolating, in accordance with NHS advice. If you would be able to help with shopping for food and medicine for a housebound person, or if you are in need of such help, please contact Fr Andrew on email@example.com,uk or 0191 384 3442.
We already have a number of volunteers, both parishioners and students (some of whom have been unable to travel home and are staying in Durham), who are ready and willing to help, so please do get in touch.
There are many ways to keep in touch over the coming weeks and months. The website will be regularly updated to give you the latest information.
Please sign up for our e-bulletin, and you’ll receive a weekly email.
Please follow us on Facebook.
We’ve also set up a new Facebook Group, St.Cuthbert’s Parish Community, where you can share your thoughts, prayers, reflections and news. You can join the group on our Facebook page.
If you know of anyone who isn’t able to keep in touch on the internet or the Facebook page, but would welcome contact, please ask them to get in touch with Fr. Andrew on 0191 3843442. We have a network of volunteers who are happy to phone people to chat and pass on any news, and have already been in touch with some people.
If you or someone else is sick and in need of prayer and support, please contact Fr Andrew.
If you’re wondering what you can do to help:
Last week’s picture was a detail of the marble panels in the main altar.
We will celebrate our patron saint with Sung Vespers at 6.30pm on Friday 20th March (no Stations this week.) The preacher will be the Revd Michael Everitt, Canon Pastor of Durham Cathedral. This event is going ahead, and will be our last act of shared worship for the time being.
The programme of events scheduled to take place at Durham Cathedral for St Cuthbert’s Day has been cancelled.
In accordance with the statement issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales, there will be no further public acts of worship at St Cuthbert’s after Sung Vespers on Friday 20th March, until further notice. This decision has been taken by the Bishops in line with official advice and in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS. The celebration of Sunday and weekday Mass will take place without a congregation.
An excerpt from the Bishops’ statement:
‘Knowing that the Mass is being celebrated; joining in spiritually in that celebration; watching the live-streaming of the Mass; following its prayers at home; making an act of spiritual communion: this is how we share in the Sacrifice of Christ in these days. These are the ways in which we will sanctify Sunday, and indeed every day. We want everyone to understand that in these emergency circumstances, and for as long as they last, the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is removed. This is, without doubt, the teaching of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2181). This pandemic is the ‘serious reason’ why this obligation does not apply at this time.’
St Cuthbert’s Church will not close, but will continue to open as a place for prayer and reflection. We will need stewards to watch the church during opening hours. If you are able to volunteer to steward for an hour or two, please contact Fr Andrew on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0191 384 3442.
Please watch the parish website and Facebook page, and our e-bulletin, for updates. You can read the statement from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference here.
This is the latest position on what is happening at St. Cuthbert’s:
Public Acts of Worship have been suspended from Friday 20th March in line with the statement issued by the Bishops’ Conference.
Events which have been cancelled or postponed:
19 March: Catholic Theology Research Seminar
Friday soup lunches for Lent
21 March at St. Cuthbert’s & 26 April at Langley Moor: Finchale Partnership Bible Basics
1 April: Parish Dinner
2 April: Finchale Partnership Prayer & Spirituality: the Stations of the Cross
5 May: Book Group
Events which are still scheduled to take place (but keep in touch for updates):
20 March: Sung Vespers for the Solemnity of St. Cuthbert at 6.30pm.
4 April: Spring Cleaning the church for Easter
Keeping in touch:
For the latest information, sign up for our e-bulletin here or follow us on Facebook.
The seminar scheduled to be held at St Cuthbert’s on Thursday 19th March has been cancelled.
Friday Soup Lunches are suspended until further notice.
Can you spare an hour or more to help get the Church and Parish Room ready for Holy Week and Easter? We will be having a spring clean on Saturday 4th April from about 10:30am and if you can help, please do come along.
If you can help with welcoming, reading or administering Holy Communion at our Easter services, please sign up on the rota on the noticeboard as soon as you can. We need lots of volunteers to ensure that our liturgies are celebrated with dignity and joy without overloading our ministers.
If you would be willing to take part in the foot-washing which is part of the Mass on Holy Thursday evening, then also sign up on the list on the noticeboard or let Fr Andrew or Andy Doyle know as soon as possible.