Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) – Events Archive

Advent Retreat – Minsteracres

Saturday 29 November – Sunday 1 December

"Will you Come? Will you be the manger, The Birthing Place of Christ?", led by Pat Kennedy.

Over this weekend in Minsteracres we grew into a community, a sharing group journeying together. We followed Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, Kings and John the Baptist. "Mary taught me about herself and her life's journey and I understand her in a way now that I never had before."

We travelled from the wilderness, to Bethlehem the City of Bread where we fed, leading us to greater understanding as we approached the Manger.

We came to the place where the bread of life was born, born to feed me in Word and Eucharist. He came into this life in order to lay down his life for me.

We remembered the first coming and in thanks giving, we await the second coming, but we were also alerted to be present to the many comings of God to me throughout my lifetime.

We were invited to bring the gift of ourselves, the gifting God has given each one of us, to enable His creation to continue and flourish; and as with Mary and Jesus we too were called to ponder in the time to come on our individual gifting, roles and our place in God's kingdom and plan for each one of us as part of the whole body.

We were invited and to offer Jesus a birthing place within ourselves, to follow our star and to go where it leads me, and to take him with me wherever I am led.

click on image above to see it full size.

We renewed our Baptismal Promises and were then commissioned and sent out to hold Jesus within, taking Him back to where we each came from and to offer him as gift and new life to others.

"I came to this weekend seeking Discernment and I found it. It was a wonderful experience for me"

"It was a fabulous weekend, great leadership, great music and great camaraderie, our group felt really blessed to be here"

"I would like to thank Pat for her gifting, her personal sharing, the meditations she led us into and the opportunities to find and hold encounters with the Lord, not only this Advent but to take with us to grow within us and become part of us."

"This weekend was the best way I could ever have spent together with the Lord, my soul has been fed. I'm definitely coming back."

"Thank you for this precious space and for the reflective weekend, allowing me to bring my failings to Christ and finding my strengths within."

"This has changed my life. Died and risen! Thank you."

"Just the right venue, hospitality, welcome and speaker. Very well balanced. Thank you very much."


Charismatic Renewal – You Will Be Called By A New Name

On 26 October over 50 people from Diocesan Charismatic Renewal gathered in St. Joseph's Gateshead for a day entitled, ‘You will be Called by a New Name’. This is the 4th time we have come together, reflecting on the Pope's Call to Renewal to witness what Renewal has to offer the Church. The Pope has called Renewal into Centre Church, setting up an organisation called Charis, which brings all Movements together for a united purpose.

Pat Kennedy reminded us about the journey we have been on to date and the call we have received by the Holy Spirit and Pope Francis confirming this to us. God has called us all in the Church to respond to His call; He calls us by the gifts he has given us; He calls us by this name before all time as Isaiah repeatedly tells us. We have been planned by God for this time, gifted and graced to respond. God invites us to come, and as he says to Jeremiah (40;1-6), "You are free to respond or not."

Fr. Chris Thomas of the Irenaeus Project in Liverpool took us through the personal journey of following, trusting and struggling, seeking the grace to respond to God's call and not just to our own will and desires.

Fr. Michael Whalen shared his own journey, the call, the struggles and the support he has had to live out what he felt called to be and do. He encouraged all in Renewal to follow, to believe that God is with us, Emmanuel seeking the promised land.

We are called to remember the story, God's story, and to travel with faith and hope, 'remembering' ourselves again and again into the story. This is our life's journey. Our story is important; family, life, faith. When we lose it we lose where we belong. We lose who we are called and gifted to be and to accomplish by God's grace.

We remember Karl Rahner's description, "Grace is simply God enabling us to become more than we ever imagined possible."


Charismatic Renewal – Pope Francis.

On Sunday 9 June 2019 several thousand Catholics belonging to Charismatic Renewal gathered in Rome for Pentecost Weekend. The Vatican was launching its new International Service to aid the ministry of Renewal in its commitment to Communion and Service.

The Pope sees Renewal as a much broader thing; Charis is an abbreviation for Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service and fulfils the Pope’s request that there be one charismatic service for all expressions of Catholic Charismatic Renewal. It comes under the Dicastery for Laity and Family Life. Auxiliary Bishop, Peter Smith of Portland, Oregon who has been a member of Renewal since late 1970's said that the heart of CCR is a profound encounter with Christ and the Holy Spirit which transforms us and sends us out. There are an estimated 100 to 112 million active members world-wide. Pope Francis met with around 3000 on Saturday 8 June and told them that this is a new beginning on the journey for the good of the whole Church. He wants all to share with everyone "…the grace received, serve the Body of Christ! Evangelise, serve the poor, be one. Use the gift you have been given, Charismatic Renewal," he said, "leads to a living faith." We need to share this with those we meet.

The grace of Charismatic Renewal has affected many lives through a personal experience of the Holy Spirit changing their lives over the past 50 years. There are many in the Church who are not comfortable with it and yet it witnesses to nothing we cannot find in Scripture, Vatican II and the Church Teaching.

Some examples of CCR in action in our Diocese:

On Saturday 24 March 2018 around 80 members of 'Emmanuel' the Diocesan Charismatic Renewal Community and some from other Diocese in the North, gathered at St. Mary’s School, Longbenton in the presence of Bishop Séamus, Frs. Dodds and Whalen and Amy Cameron to address the question, 'Is Renewal a fringe group or a central part of the Church?' The day was facilitated by David Wells.

On Saturday 10 November in St. Joseph’s Hall, 2018 Gateshead we met for the second time that year.

On Saturday 2 March 2019 the Diocesan Charismatic Renewal gathered again with the Bishop following on from their previous two meetings looking at where Renewal was in the Church, on the fringe or integrated and how Renewal can become more integrated through its gifting into the Church.

On Saturday 26 October 26 we will gather at St. Joseph’s Gateshead at 10.00am to take a further prayerful and discerning reflection on what we are being asked to do by Pope Francis and the Church.

Feel free to join us on this exciting journey.

Pat Kennedy MPS, Chair of CCR Hexham and Newcastle


Emmanuel Gathering March 2019

On Saturday 2 March the Diocesan Charismatic Renewal gathered again following on from their previous two meetings looking at where Renewal was in the Church, on the fringe or integrated and how Renewal can become more integrated through its gifting into the Church. We set up a Diocesan Intercessory Group through those who were discerned as having this gift. This group pray for Diocesan events, projects, etc. and also for those with personal need. There are 28 people on the list and we have been kept busy with many needs sent into me, since it began, with some very positive results.

The grace of Charismatic Renewal has affected many lives through a personal experience of the Holy Spirit changing their lives over the past 50 years. There are many in the Church suspicious of it who speak of 'happy clappies', etc. and yet it witnesses to nothing we cannot find in Scripture, Vatican II and the Church teaching. It uses praise and worship and praise in tongues which is a gift of Prayer, Rom 8; 26. “When we cannot choose words to pray the Holy Spirit expresses our plea in ways not of words.

In 2017 Pope Francis thanked the Gathering for Pentecost in Rome for bringing CCR to the heart of the Church, “It is a Pentecostal Grace for the whole Church. We thank God for this current of grace which has changed to lives of millions.” Last Summer the Pope asked all priests to run 'Life in the Spirit' Seminars in their Parishes as he said all need to experience the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The format of Renewal may change, it may become smaller as we grow into the Church Community more and more, but as Pope Francis says, we have something to bring, we are building blocks of experience, we are not the only ones, but we are called to share what we have been given. Renewal is in a New Season and we need to be watering the seeds.

At this, our third meeting we gathered to say thanks for all we have received as a group and individually. The Bishop was unable to attend this time as he was at the Flame Youth Conference, but he was represented by Fr. Jeff Dodds a member of the Service Team for Renewal and also Episcopal Vicar for Cleveland and South Durham.

Speakers: (l – r) Fr. Jeff Dodds, Ann Holmes and Deacon John Hawthorne

Fr. Jeff, Deacon John Hawthorne and Ann Holmes a member of the 'Anawim' Prayer Group at St. Andrews, Newcastle, previously at Longbenton, all gave testimonies as to how Renewal had changed their lives and affected their calling into Ministry and their Mission in the world since. The Gathering added their own experiences after each input.

The day ended with Mass celebrated by Fr. Michael Whalen where we all came together to give thanks in the Eucharist for all we have received and are called, 'Gifted and Sent', to share with our parishes, partnerships, communities, etc.

The feedback from the day was excellent and the call for us to keep gathering in this way was expressed by all.

Pat Kennedy, Chair of Diocesan Charismatic Renewal


Emmanuel; God is with Us as We Listen

On Saturday 10 November in St. Joseph’s Hall, Gateshead over 50 people from 'Emmanuel' the Diocesan Charismatic Renewal Community (CCC) met for the second time this year. This was a follow-up to the Day held On Saturday 24 March at St. Mary’s School, Longbenton, that was facilitated by David Wells.

We gathered once again with Bishop Séamus, we came to listen and to discern further where the Lord is leading us. We looked at where Renewal stands in the Church, Diocese, Partnerships and Parishes? Is it a collection of closed groups who do not gather, or are we a community of believers, 'Emmanuel, God is with us', bringing life to the Church to ourselves, along with others?

Pat Kennedy reminded us of the importance of story. My story; who I am and who I am to God. Who I am in my family friendships, community, work and Church, local and worldwide. We all have history and beginnings and when we lose the story we lose who we are in the midst of it all. I remember the story and in doing so I remember myself into it, own it, move with it and commit myself to add to the story. My life, one drop of water, moves an entire ocean.

That’s the effect of my/our life on the world, if I/we contribute.

This was followed by one of our main speakers, Fr. Sean Hall who spoke on Pope Francis document 'Gaudete et Exsultate', the call of all to Holiness in today’s world. This enlightening, challenging and very clear presentation highlighted the call to all to discover their Mission and accept the fact that they are Holy by pure Gift of God; a gift, which as Francis continually reminds us, “World and the Devil, will want to dissuade us from believing". He emphasised the need of the Gifts of the Spirit; prayer, wisdom and the essential discernment of our individual task and journey.

Each Saint is a Mission, planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel." (Chapter 1 Section 19)

(l – r) Amy Cameron, Fr. Sean Hall and Fr. Chris Thomas.

Our second speaker was Fr. Chris Thomas who took us on a personal journey and reflection; asking where is God in my life, how personal is God to me? How far do I risk finding who I am and how precious I am in God’s plan, rather than playing safe and sticking to rules and regulations?

Amy Cameron then spoke to us about what is happening in our Parishes, Partnerships, and the Diocese as a whole. She gathered up all that had been said into how we could own this, own who I am, called gifted and sent to be part of the whole and to bring the gifts we have as Catholics, Christians, and members of Renewal to contribute to the family of the Church, communities and partnerships to which we belong.

Renewal is part of the Church, and part of our Spirituality is praise worship, relationship with God, prayer and Love of the Word of God in the Scriptures and all of this contributes to the power of intercessory prayer; that is praying into the mind of God, to bring about his plans, his dreams, moving forward from the beginning of time into the future as the plan unfolds. We pray for it to bear fruit and to be free of obstacles.

Throughout the day after each input we went into buzz-groups and again finally at the end of the day we submitted our dream of ways forward. Pat Kennedy invited everyone to join together as one family journeying together.

We have the choice to come or not in our God-given freedom. One way of being involved is through the powerful gift of intercessory prayer, praying into God’s mind that His will be done and his plans and dream for us come about unhindered. Twenty-six people signed up to form a group which could be informed and contacted for prayer for Renewal as well as Diocesan initiatives.

The Service Team will be looking at the dream and suggestions over the coming weeks and planning a path forward in response for the new year.

Pat Kennedy, Chair of Diocesan Charismatic Renewal


Is Renewal a fringe group or a central part of the Church?

On Saturday 24 March around 80 members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) and some from other dioceses in the north, gathered at St. Mary’s School, Longbenton in the presence of Bishop Séamus, Frs. Dodds and Whalen and Amy Cameron, to address this question. The day was facilitated by David Wells.

We looked at where Renewal stands in church, diocese, partnerships and parishes? Is it a group of closed groups who do not gather, or is it a community of believers, 'Emmanuel, God is with us', bringing life to the church along with others?

In the opening introduction Pat Kennedy, chair of CCR, reminded us of the story of how CCR began. Story is important, it helps us to remember and to remind ourselves to belong; whether through the bible journey, to groups, family or church. Who am I in all of this and what do I bring to the story?

The last four Popes since Vatican II have affirmed the contribution of Renewal; Paul VI said we are a ‘chance’ for the church, St. John Paul II said we were an example and witness of the life and fruits of the Spirit coming alive in the church. Benedict called all movements to meet with him in Rome and Pope Francis repeated this in 2017; he says it is a current of grace for the church. He says that the gifts/charisms are not an option and we are to work together with the church/pastors to be 'in harmony and mission, we are accountable.’

Francis asks us if we are still moving after our first grace, baptism in the Spirit, or are we static? Are we taking risks, coming together to witness, or remaining isolated? Am I moving and allowing the miracles God is doing in me to allow me to fly?

Renewal brings a distinctive type of prayer and worship and some in the church view us with suspicion, but all are called to maturity to witness what we have received. St. Irenaeus tells us that the Glory of God is people fully alive in Christ.

We are all on a mission, as Walking Together in Hope in our Diocese has reminded us.

The time of prayer in the leadership team of Diocesan Service Team, prior to this meeting, called us to be ‘Emmanuel’, a sign that God is with us. We were told in Kings 18 we are rebuilding the altar with new stones. God calls us through Jeremiah 40:4-5 to allow our hands to be unchained, to follow Him, it is our choice.

David Wells asked us how the tension between charisms (breath of the Spirit) we are gifted with and our unity with the wider body of the church is experienced? He reminded us that St. Paul, in Acts 17:23, tells us God has made everything and is in everything and calls us to find Him in all that is around us. He does not live in what we make, He is the creator and it is in Him that we all move and exist and have our being. We all different all gifted in different ways and we are called to love all cooperate with all and be one as christians and church.

His challenge to us was, are we doing this? Are we a fringe group of an active part of the church, how are we contributing, are we willing to contribute, in groups, Renewal gatherings, parishes and partnerships and if not what is preventing me? Is it about you for me and me for you or me and my group alone?

Amy Cameron shared that she felt that Renewal was like the bulbs planted in preparation for their time to blossom. They wait patiently, through all kinds of weather, for Spring-time. She felt that before this time Renewal had done its groundwork often not easy, but we have tilled the soil, the ground is ready, now it is time to blossom. We need to work together as a Diocese, using our gifts of wisdom and discernment, taking the courage to step forward and to intercede into the mind of God for His will not ours.

The day consisted of song, prayer, group chat, sharing, listening to God’s Word for us and reflecting on the dream of where we could go together. How could we work alongside youth?

All of this was expertly facilitated by David and the day ended with great enthusiasm for more meetings like this, a willingness to make more effort to take the opportunities offered to meet together, to support each other and to come out of the shadow into the light.