Our Church Our Lady & St.Cuthberts RC Church
Church Hill
County Durham DL15 9DN
Tel: 01388 762724
A liturgical journey

The liturgical aim of our Parish is one of maximum involvement. It embraces the aspirations and wisdom of our four most recent Parish Priests.

Father William Lowrie who retired in 1983 guided the parish through Vatican II, with the inspired assistance of Revs. Frank Robinson and Alec Barras from Ushaw College and our Sisters of Mercy who ran the School until 1985 (Head Teacher- Sr. Mary Francis). Fr. Lowrie in 1980 also provided us with the hugely successful reordered church we see today. He was forward looking for a man in his late seventies and many of our liturgical practices are shaped upon his thinking and spirituality.

Old image of the church

He was followed in 1983 by Fr. Brian Murphy who built upon the inclusive approach, enhancing and recognising the importance of lay people taking a full part in the churches ministries. He encouraged the parish to look forward and outward - he established a liturgy committee, extended the number of special ministers, motivated the parish to take more responsibility e.g. composing the Bidding prayers, organising services and introducing the RCIA. His theme of spiritual renewal placed great emphasis on prayer and he took great interest in the choir recognising the role of music and the importance of symbolism in the church. His much loved tenure was cut short by serious illness - thankfully he came through it and is now serving at Ferryhill.

Fr. Michael Whalen took over in 1992. Again he built upon the good practice that existed in the parish liturgy however he continually called us to question what we were doing and examine different and alternative ways of worshipping. His informal style, always rooted in the traditions of the church, strove to bring the church closer to the people - particularly the young. Through his work with the other churches in Crook, he sought to make the church and its liturgy relevant to everyone. After a comparatively short time in Crook he was moved to the very large parish of Blackhill.

Parish Photo

Fr. Tony Owens follows in that great tradition of openness and involvement. His warmth and sense of humour coupled with a real sense of closeness to the people make his liturgies seem like family gatherings - the family of God.
Our liturgical year starts with Advent. We have a special Mass sheet with the psalms, readings, hymns and responses. We use these as a prayer aid and to supplement the Weekly bulletin reminding the people of any special services, talks or events taking place the following week.
We sing the Kyrie during Advent and always start the Season with O come Emmanuel and have it as our final hymn on the fourth Sunday. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Our Patronal Feast) falls during Advent, we have celebrated in many different ways - always with mass followed by a shared table - coffee and cake in the convent or whatever. There is a great devotion in the Parish particularly among older people, to Our Lady Immaculate.


In 1975, in his Evangelii Nuntiandii Pope Paul VI stated:

"The question of how to evangelise is permanently relevant because the methods of evangelising vary according to the different circumstances of time, place and culture and because thereby present a certain challenge to our capacity for discovery and adaptation. On us........rest the responsibility for reshaping with boldness and wisdom, but in complete fidelity to the content of evangelisation, the means that are most suitable and effective for communication the gospel message to the men and women of our times."

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Parish Photo
Bishop Ambrose greets parishioners after a recent confirmation ceremony.