Our Church Our Lady & St.Cuthberts RC Church
Church Hill
Crook
County Durham DL15 9DN
Tel: 01388 762724
A YEAR IN THE LIFE (continued)

Recently a Parish Council was formed with 12 members of the parish being on the Council together with Ex officio Members who are the Parish Priest, Parish Deacon & Parish Sisters. The purpose of the Parish Council is as follows:

The Parish Council will work with our Parish Priest in encouraging and leading all parishioners in their journey of faith and in taking Christ’s message of love and hope to the wider community and to the world.

The Parish Council will:

  • Encourage all parishioners to take a full part in the life of the parish.
  • Strive to involve young people in the life of the parish by listening to them and helping and encouraging them to develop new liturgical, spiritual and social activities to suit their needs.
  • Through the promotion and support of the work of existing parish groups and the creation of new groups if needed, oversee, develop and co-ordinate
  •    A. the pastoral, liturgical, fundraising, social and administrative activities of the parish,
       B. our ties with other Christian communities in Crook and surrounding areas,
       C. our work in the local community and in promoting peace and justice in the world and,
       D. the maintenance of the buildings and other assets of the parish.
  • Build up our ties with the parish school and with the secondary schools which our young people attend.
  • Liaise with the Parish Finance Committee.
  • Ensure that robust structures exist to maintain and develop the life of the parish if the time comes when we have no resident parish priest.
  • Appoint two parishioners to represent it on the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
  • All too soon it seems our focus is on the season of Lent. We are invited to take part in inter-church talks and discussions and we take our turn to provide soup for a Friday prayer and lunch session in the Salvation Army Hall, with other denominations in the town. Groups in the parish lead the Stations of the cross each Friday evening, focusing on various aspects of Our Lord’s sorrowful journey. We have extra opportunities to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

    The Palm Sunday procession and the dramatic reading of the Passion begin our Holy Week services. On Holy Thursday twelve parishioners have their feet washed by the priest and we are reminded of our role as servants of all. As the Altar is stripped bare and the Blessed Sacrament placed on the Altar of Repose, a silence descends. We leave the church in unaccustomed quietness but many return later to watch with Our Lord. A beautiful watching service takes place for the final hour of this time led by the parishioners themselves. On Good Friday morning at midday, many again join with other church groups gathering around a cross in the Town Center to pray together and give witness of our Christianity. At three p.m. we have our Good Friday liturgy. Most moving is the kissing of the feet of the crucified Christ. A special effort is made to bring the disabled members of the parish to this service.

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    On Holy Saturday morning the church once more becomes a hive of activity and anticipation after the solemnity of Good Friday. Banners of rejoicing and resurrection are unfurled, flowers beautifully arranged, candlesticks polished, choir and servers practiced and ready, all in preparation for the great Easter Vigil. Coffee is provided for the many willing helpers.

    Lumen Christi is sung out loud as the Light of Christ appears in the dark church, the bells ring out at the Gloria and Christ is risen. We partake in a wonderful service of joy and thanksgiving. After Mass we continue to celebrate by enjoying a glass of wine together in our new Parish Centre.

    The S. V.P. distribute boxes of fruit or plants to those in need and the next morning the children receive Easter Eggs as they gather for their special Easter Mass. Among them are those preparing for their first Holy Communion, which will take place in June. They have been making their own spiritual journey with the help of catechists since last October. Any young people being confirmed are also following their prepared course ready for receiving the Sacrament in July.

    As the weeks of Easter pass by, each Sunday brings its own special intentions. We remember the sick, the elderly, and the house bound in our prayers and often with some flowers from the ever-thoughtful S. V.P. We remember those who have died. Their names are recorded in the Memorial Book in a quiet corner of the church where candles are lit on special occassions. We have a special Mass for them later in the year when each and every one of them who has died during the year is named and remembered by family and friends.

    Outreach

    In 1975, in his Evangelii Mountain. 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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    BishopOutreach
    Bishop Ambrose greets parishoners after a recent confirmation ceremony.