Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Apostleship of the Sea


2019 - Sixteenth Annual Pilgrimage to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Apostleship of the Sea invites you to a day of prayer & pilgrimage to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne on Saturday 8 June 2019 led by the Rt. Rev. Paul Mason, AoS Bishop Promoter, England & Wales.

A peaceful day of prayer and reflection. Join us to pray for seafarers and for everyone involved in our ministry and charity. Parish groups, families & individuals all welcome.

See poster for further information or contact our Regional Port Chaplains; Paul Atkinson (07906 212426) or Peter Barrigan (07713 924504).

2018 - Fifteenth Annual Pilgrimage to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Parishioners, priests and supporters of Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) from the dioceses of Hexham & Newcastle and Middlesbrough congregated in Holy Island, Lindisfarne on June 2 to pray for seafarers and the work of AoS.

Numbering more than 200, the pilgrims gathered opposite St. Cuthbert’s Island, with the now traditional ‘Celtic Prayer on the Beach’, directed by former Navy chaplain and AoS former trustee Monsignor Ronnie Brown.

Now in its 15th year, the Day of Prayer was led by AoS Bishop Promoter Bishop Paul Mason, who was born in North Shields. The day ended with Mass of Corpus Christi in St. Mary’s Anglican Church.

In his homily, Bishop Paul talked about maintaining a sense of awe and wonder at Our Lord’s miracles and to avoid the temptation to explain them away or dumb them down to accommodate the sceptical modern mind. He spoke of the prophetic nature of the miracle which would have recalled for the crowd the manna they received in the desert when God previously fed them in their desperation.

In what has also now become something of a tradition, Scottish piper Andy played 'Amazing Grace' and 'Skye Boat Song', guiding the procession before and after Mass.

AoS Tyne ship visitor Terry Patchett who has retired after more than 13 years of serving seafarers was awarded a certificate of commendation by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board.

The day marked a special day of prayer and fellowship, a good build up to Sea Sunday which falls on the weekend of July 7 and 8, when parishes in the dioceses and around Great Britain pray for and remember seafarers for all they do.

Read or download the full Press Release.

The full album of pictures from the day is available to view on Flickr.

2016 - Thirteenth Annual Pilgrimage to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Apostleship of the Sea chaplains, ship visitors, parish contacts and supporters braved the damp and windy weather to come together on Saturday 11 June 2016 for the 13th annual AoS pilgrimage to Holy Island.

The gathering was led by the Rt. Rev. John Arnold, Bishop of Salford who joined around 200 pilgrims from all parts of the north east, and beyond.

Pilgrims gather at the beach opposite St. Cuthbert’s Island for the Celtic Prayer.

They assembled just opposite St. Cuthbert’s island at about 12.30pm, for the now traditional ‘Celtic Prayer on the Beach’. This has become a very popular feature and sets the tone for the remainder of the day.

Mgr. Ronnie Brown (former AoS trustee and former Navy chaplain) led the prayers, with other readers taking turns, to pray for our Bishops, seafarers, those who suffer, the dead, and for peace.

Bishop John Arnold celebrates Mass at the Anglican Church of St. Mary the Virgin.

At 3.00pm, Mass was held in the church of St. Mary the Virgin. The principal celebrant was Bishop John whilst Mgr. Ronnie Brown concelebrated, assisted by AoS Tees port chaplain Deacon Peter Barrigan, Fr. Nick Jennings from Hartlepool, Fr. David Phillips from Berwick upon Tweed, Fr. Tony Hogarth and Fr. Timothy Forbes-Turner.

In his homily Bishop John reminded all present that each was called to be an apostle for Christ and those involved in AoS’ ministry should always be aware of the value of being apostles of Christ to the seafarers they served.

After communion the congregation were treated to what has also now become something of a tradition with a Scottish piper who played 'Amazing Grace' and 'Skye Boat Song'.

AoS national director Martin Foley then gave a short address, thanking pilgrims for joining the celebration and for their support.

This was followed by a presentation by Mgr. Ronnie of a Papal blessing certificate to Terry and Anne Patchett on the occasion of their 50 years of marriage. Terry is also an AoS ship visitor for Tyne and Blyth.

Bishop John then blessed a beautiful painting of AoS’ icon, Our Lady Star of the Sea, which was painted by AoS Hartlepool supporter Susan Atkinson.

The final hymn Eternal Father, Strong to Save, marked what was a special day of prayer and fellowship, as a build up to Sea Sunday on July 10th, where parishes around Great Britain pray for and remember seafarers for all they do.

Please support your church’s Sea Sunday appeal.

2015 - Twelfth Annual Pilgrimage to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne

While the main elements of our pilgrimage, namely the wonderful venue, the time of year and our chosen format of reflection, prayer and music remain largely the same, each year for whatever reason, the day is always somewhat different.

This year we were constrained by the tide times. This meant that we had to have the ever popular 'Celtic Prayer on the Beach' at the much earlier time of 11.30am. Mass, as the culmination of our pilgrimage, was to be at 2.00pm, thus enabling us to leave the island before the causeway closed at 4.15pm.

Under a cloudy sky, but with a warm gentle breeze, in a very calm atmosphere, over two hundred pilgrims gathered at the beach, just opposite St. Cuthbert's island.  Here, Mgr. Ronnie Brown and a number of individuals took turns to read the various Celtic prayers and reflections, which were interspersed with well known hymns. Bishop Stephen Robson of Dunkeld who had travelled down from Scotland to lead the pilgrimage gave the blessing at the end of this period of prayer.

Pilgrims who had brought packed lunches were invited to make their way to St. Aidan's Catholic church where teas and coffees were being provided by Sister Tessa and her helpers. Many took the opportunity to do so.

The Mass was that of the feast day of St. Alban the martyr, and was held in the Anglican church of St. Mary the Virgin which was, as usual, packed with pilgrims. Bishop Stephen celebrated the Mass with concelebrants, Mgr. Ronnie Brown, and Fr. David Phillips from the nearby parish of Our Lady & St. Cuthbert in Berwick upon Tweed.

In his Homily, Bishop Stephen spoke of the founding of the monastery at Lindisfarne by St. Aidan, and how St. Cuthbert had subsequently become Abbot of the monastery and later Bishop of Lindisfarne. He referred to the large wooden carved statue in the church which records the movement of Cuthbert's remains after his death. He went on to say that there are important lessons to be learned about Celtic Catholic Christianity especially in light of Pope Francis' encyclical letter 'Laudato Si O Mi Signore', which had been promulgated just two days previously.

To highlight further, Bishop Stephen spoke of features of Catholic Christianity during the early middle ages, one of which the monks called 'peregrinatio'. This refers to a state of being, that is, putting oneself in God's hands on their journey through life. St. Augustine of Hippo wrote in relation to this "that Christians should live a life of peregrinatio in the present world while awaiting the kingdom of God". Such an insight from early Christianity, Bishop Stephen said, can provide all of us with a healthy spirituality.

At the end of Mass, Andrew Smith our Scottish piper friend, played a medley of tunes before leading the recessional procession from church after the congregation had sung 'Eternal Father Strong to Save'.

Our thanks for the very positive comments and thoughts expressed by pilgrims at the end of the day.

Tony McAvoy

Further information:

The Apostleship of the Sea, AoS, is a registered charity and agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England & Wales and Scotland. It is wholly reliant on voluntary donations and legacies to continue its work.

90% of world trade is transported by ship, and more than 100,000 ships visit British ports each year. However the life of a modern seafarer can be dangerous and lonely. They may spend up to a year at a time away from home, separated from their family and loved ones, often working in harsh conditions.

AoS chaplains and ship visitors welcome seafarers to our shores - regardless of their colour, race or creed and provide them with pastoral and practical assistance. They recognise them as brothers with an intrinsic human dignity which can be overlooked in the modern globalised maritime industry.

For more information contact John Green, Director of Development on 0207 901 1931 or 07505 653801 or email: johngreen@apostleshipofthesea.org.uk