St. Michael's Catholic Church, Houghton-le-Spring
Our latest news and this week's devotions


We try to update this page each weekend with information from the church bulletin but it's always best to call ahead for additional details if you are unsure.

2nd August 2020

18th Sunday of the year

In ordinary time

First Reading

Isaiah 55:1-3

Thus says the Lord:
Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come!
Buy corn without money, and eat,
and, at no cost, wine and milk.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
your wages on what fails to satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy.
Pay attention, come to me; listen, and your soul will live.
With you I will make an everlasting covenant out of the favours promised to David.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 144(145):8-9,15-18

You open wide your hand, O Lord; you grant our desires.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.

The eyes of all creatures look to you
and you give them their food in due time.
You open wide your hand,
grant the desires of all who live.

The Lord is just in all his ways
and loving in all his deeds.
He is close to all who call him,
who call on him from their hearts.

Second Reading

Romans 8:35,37-39

Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us.
For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Matthew 14:13-21

When Jesus received the news of John the Baptist’s death he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick.
When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they answered ‘All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.’ ‘Bring them here to me’ he said. He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves handed them to his disciples who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps remaining; twelve baskets full. Those who ate numbered about five thousand men, to say nothing of women and children.


The Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

Thursday 16th August 2020

The Transfiguration of the Lord can sound embarrassingly magical. Jesus goes up onto a mountain and his clothes become dazzlingly white. Prophets appear and talk to him. And then it is all over and Jesus tells his disciples to say nothing. We should hold on to the absurdity of the incident. There is simply no reason for all this to have happened. In particular, there is no reason to put it into a gospel – the evangelist makes no capital out of it, it is simply there.
  And this is the strength of the Transfiguration as an historical incident. There is no reason for anyone to have invented it. It is not central to the Christian case. It is not used to win arguments. There is only one reason to put it into the Gospel, and that is because it happened. It is one of those cases of the evangelists writing things down without knowing why they were important, and their very puzzlement is what makes the story so convincing.
  Why, then, did it happen? Surely so that we could see and understand that Jesus is at once one of the prophets and the one that was prophesied by them; and that he is God, and lives for all eternity in a blaze of dazzling and unapproachable light.
  The true miracle of the Transfiguration is not the shining face or the white garments, but the fact that for the rest of the time Jesus hid his glory so well.

Weekly prayer intentions

Prayer is a time to reflect on one's own life, but also to think of others.

Please pray for those who are sick or housebound in our Parishes:

Fr Tony Duffy, Fr Pat McKenna, Fr David Tanner, Brian Copeman, Nita Lax, Mary Brightwell, Tracey Rankin, Winnie Bilton, Alan Rhys-Evans, Kyna Richardson, Irene Bowater, Kaya Isli, Eugene Bell, Thomas Russell, Joe Porter, Kathleen Hartis, Nathan Pearce, Margaret Leightley, Margaret Smith, Terri Cessford, Kathleen Robinson, Paul Tweddle, Steve Glazebrook, Elizabeth Johnson, a special little boy and Maureen Jones.  

Please also pray for our recently deceased members fo the Parish:

We pray for the repose of the soul David William Gibbins who died recently.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later date when congregations are allowed to gather.

Please pray for diocesan priests whose anniversaries occur this week:

Fr Edward Scallon, Canon Patrick Lacey, Fr Patrick O’Connor, Fr William Malone, Fr Matthew Digby, Fr Edmund Kane, Fr Sean Conaty and Fr James Saunders.

This weeks

Mass times , Ministries and intentions 


July 2020


Morning Mass, not to be attended  publicly 





Vigil Mass, not to be attended  publicly 





July 2020


Morning Mass, not to be attended  publicly 





Morning Mass, not to be attended  publicly 





see the notices below for more information

This weeks News and Notices

Please let us know if you would like anything adding to the notices for the coming week.

Please see our main page for this weeks special notice.

Feast Days this week:

Monday 3rd August: St Oswald. King and Martyr
Tuesday 4th August: St John Mary Vianney
Wednesday 5th August: Dedication of the Basilica of St Mary Major
Thursday 6th August: The Transfiguration of the Lord
Friday 7th August: St Sixtus II and his Companions, Martyrs
Saturday 8th August: St Dominic, Priest

The gradual reopening of Churches for prayer and Mass, and an update on Churches across the Benedict Partnership.

While things will seem a little different for a while it is wonderful that we are able to gather again in the church of St John Boste as a family of faith to celebrate the Sacraments in a safe and measured way. Following the opening of St John Boste Church for Mass, and now St Michaels, Houghton for personal prayer, we will gradually be opening other churches in our Partnership, probably in the following order; St Bede’s Sacriston; St Josephs, Birtley; St Bede’s Washington, Our Blessed Lady Immaculate Washington, St Cuthbert’s Chester Le Street, and Our Lady Queen of Peace Penshaw. This of course, relies the on goodwill of you, our parishioners, to continue to volunteer to clean and steward our churches, and please accept our grateful thanks for your help. We will publish times and dates for opening as soon as we are able.


It is now possible to confirm that St Michael’s Church will open for private prayer and reflection only this week.

Tuesdays 10.30am-12.30pm starting Tuesday 4th August
Fridays 1pm-3.00pm starting Friday 7th August

These times will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and may be altered depending on demand.

The church can only be opened at all due to the hard work of our team of volunteers who gave up their time to carry out a deep clean on Thursday 30th July to make the church ‘COVID safe’ and for those who have volunteered to act as stewards in the coming weeks. I would like to thank them on behalf of all the parish.
The capacity for all churches will initially be very low in order to allow for the required social distancing and our capacity will be 34. Should the maximum capacity of the church be met, a queueing system will be implemented outside of the Church.
Please co-operate with the directions given by the stewards, who are volunteers, and are seeking to make everyone’s visit to the church as safe as possible. Upon arrival at the church you will be welcomed by one of the volunteer stewards who will invite you to sanitise your hands. We will ask for your name and contact details which will be needed for tracking and tracing should this become necessary. This information will be destroyed after two weeks.
Another steward will guide you to one of the clearly marked seats at which you can spend some time in personal prayer. Please observe the current social distancing requirements while you are in the church. When you are ready to leave, please do so through the door at the front of the church, sanitise your hands near the exit door, and avoid congregating with others when you have left the church to ensure social distancing is observed by all and for the safety of all.
It is not possible yet to give a date for the public celebration of Mass in St Michael’s.
Full compliance with Diocesan health and safety regulations and procedures will be required by clergy, employees and volunteers before a church is opened
Please note: "Some people, including those aged 70 and over, those with specific chronic pre-existing conditions and pregnant women, are clinically vulnerable, meaning they are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. As we begin to ease restrictions, this group who are clinically vulnerable should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.
There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. They are advised to continue shielding to keep themselves safe by staying at home and avoiding gatherings or, if individuals wish to spend time outdoors, to take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping two meters apart at all times.

Celebration of Mass at St John Boste

The public celebration of Mass continues to take place at St John Boste Church, Washington . At present this is the only church in our partnership where public Masses are celebrated and all are welcome to attend. This means that in a more limited way we can gather again as a Partnership Community for the celebration of Holy Mass. At present the obligation to attend Mass will continue to be relaxed. Thereafter Mass will be celebrated at 10am on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at St John Boste Church.
The numbers of people able to enter the Church for Mass will be strictly limited according to the two metre rule. Seating arrangements are clearly marked; however, we can only accommodate 40 people in St John Boste Church. Once this number is reached then no one else will be able to enter. You are encouraged to book weekday Masses as it is expected that Sunday Mass will be over-subscribed. 

To comply with the government Track and Trace instructions we require all people attending Mass at St John Boste to register their name and contact details.

There are two ways to register:

  1. Click on the link below for the date you would like to attend Mass and complete the online registration.

  2. For those without internet access there is a dedicated mobile phone where reservations can be made: 07562 653778 (please do not use the parish office telephone number).

Registration for each Mass will open at midnight one week before the Mass and will close at midnight two days before the date of the Mass. For example the Mass on Sunday 9th August will open for registration at 00:01 on Sunday 2nd and will close at 23:59 on Friday 7th.
This allows us to produce a register for use by the stewards to record all those who attend the Mass. This register will enable us to provide the government Track and Trace team a list of contacts should someone in the congregation be diagnosed with Covid-19 subsequently.
Here are the links for the next few scheduled Masses.

What can you expect when you attend?
Mass will be shorter than usual with no singing. There will also be no Offertory procession, sign of peace, or children’s Liturgy You will receive Holy Communion in the hand, which can only be distributed by the Celebrant. Hand sanitisers are provided for you to use as you enter and leave the Church and stewards will be on hand to guide people to their places. The Offertory collection will not take place, containers will be available next to the doors for your offering. Live streaming may be in effect during Mass. If you do not wish to be at risk of being filmed, please inform your parish priest or designated person prior to visiting the church.
Please do not come to church if you are displaying any symptoms of the virus.


Join us For Prayer on Friday

This morning I read" I called on the Lord in distress and the Lord answered me" Psalm 118. We've put our faith in politicians, scientists, doctors etc. Maybe it's time to call on the Lord altogether and put our faith in Him. Will you join us on FRIDAYS at 3pm in praying for an end to this pandemic. I'm spending this to all my phone contacts, believers and unbelievers, young and old. If you feel you can do the same, please do.
God bless, Pat Crowe

We need to rely on the power of prayer, and especially the power of community prayer so if you can please join us in prayer each Friday at 3pm

Prayer for the End of the Virus:

Almighty and merciful Father, who show your love to all your children.

We come before you asking for a quick control of the Coronavirus currently ravaging our world. 

Hear graciously the prayers we make for those affected by the virus in various parts of the world.

Grant healing to the sick, eternal life to the dead and consolation to the bereaved families. 

We pray that an effective medicine to combat the sickness be speedily found.

We pray for the relevant governments and health authorities that they take appropriate steps for the good of the people.Look upon us in your mercy and forgive us our failings.    Amen.


Keeping in Touch

We would like to be able to keep in touch with as many people as possible and in the current climate the easiest option to do so is on-line. However, we also know there are some in our community who do not have access to the internet and so we would ask that if you know of someone who may not be on-line but would like to be kept informed please pass the message on. If you have e-mail and would like to receive any further updates please let us have your e-mail address (send to and we will ensure you receive any updates directly. Your e-mail address will only be used to forward any updates during the time of the Covid-19 crisis

Hearing Mass over the Phone

During these times when our churches are closed and Masses are being streamed online, the Diocese of Middlesbrough have set up a system to allow people who do not have internet access to listen to Mass over the telephone. If you know of someone who would like to access Mass in this way, please let them know the telephone number to call is 01642 130120. Whenever you dial this number you will hear a Mass from the beginning. Calls are charged at local rate and free if in your included minutes.

Thanks for checking our bulletin this week

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