Saint Cuthbert

Dear friends in Jesus Christ,

Welcome to this week’s Bishop’s Blog!

Today we mark the Feast of Saint Cuthbert, a saint of Lindisfarne, of Durham and chosen to be the second patron of our Diocese.His story is worth knowing. We must thank St.Bede for much detail of his life and ministry. I recommend that you make time not simply to know about St.Cuthbert, but to try and actually know him. His companionship will bring you strength and encouragement.I must confess, he has come into my own life mostly unlooked for, but no less welcome for that. He was chosen to be the patron of the seminary I attended from 1976 – 1982. I also had the good fortune to be appointed to St.Cuthbert’s parish in Blackpool, sharing my time there (1984 – 1990) with Father Larrie Wells, Father Pat Doyle, and latterly Father Tom Ward, all now gone to God.St.Cuthbert never saw himself as a saint. That is one of the frustrating things about many saints; they saw themselves as great sinners, but that can make them more attractive to us, once we realise they were sincere.One fascinating part of his story is the way his body was carried by monks on a long journey around the north of England not so much for local people to venerate but rather to protect it from the Vikings. There are several sites across the Diocese associated with this journey, notably Lytham and Workington.I visited Ushaw and Durham last year with some old friends. In the Cathedral bookshop -after compulsory coffee and cake in the undercroft – I found a small booklet entitled ‘St.Cuthbert’s corpse: a life after death’ by David Willem (Sacristy Press 2013). It is well worth a read, not just as historic detective work, but as something to provoke devotion.
Saint Cuthbert, pray for us.
With my blessing,+Paul

Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster