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Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Protecting the Health of Our Clergy and Congregations. (Updated guidance September 2021)

As part of a review in September 2021, Bishop Robert Byrne CO, in consultation with the Episcopal Council, has taken both Clergy and Lay advice with regards to our Diocesan COVID Control Measures.

Please click here to read the statement in full.

Additional Resources:

Please click here to view a statement from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Please click here to view a list of churches that are live streaming their weekend services.

Please click here for a Prayer Resources for those visiting our churches or those that remain at home.

Afghan Resettlement

As you will be aware the UK Government has announced a resettlement program for Afghans. It will be up to Local Authorities to accept and co-ordinate this and they may well need help and support from community groups.

Fr. Adrian Tuckwell, Episcopal Vicar for Caritas, is trying to attain some clarity on what help may be required, but is aware that this may differ across the Diocese and that a local approach is necessary. Fr. Adrian will make known any requests for help that he becomes aware of, but please do look out for local appeals in your area.

Please do also remember that already in our region we have a large number of people seeking asylum and refugees, many of whom are destitute. If you are in a position to help those in the Newcastle area please click here and in Stockton there is RASPS (Refugee and Asylum Seekers Project, Stockton), address and contact details here.

Diocesan Year of the Eucharist

Bishop Robert has announced the Year of the Eucharist will be celebrated in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle and will be launched during Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday 17 October 2021, simultaneously with the launch of the Synod.

The aims of the Year of the Eucharist are:

To celebrate the Eucharist at the heart of the life and mission of the Church and to gather people back.

To grow as a Diocese in our love and appreciation of the Eucharist.

To deepen our appreciation of the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist through the rites.

To revitalise and renew our faith through a deepening prayer and devotion of the Eucharist.

To go out and serve the world through the nourishment of the Eucharist.

The Year of the Eucharist will be celebrated in Episcopal Areas, Partnerships, Parishes and Schools and will provide a framework of prayer for the Diocese’s participation in the first stage of the Synod.

CAFOD responding to multiple emergencies across the world

CAFOD is responding to significant crises across the world this week. We are working with local Church organisations in Haiti to deliver emergency aid to people affected by the catastrophic earthquake and tropical storm. In the tragic situation in Afghanistan, we are working to ensure the safety of our local partners and their communities. We are supporting local aid workers to deliver urgent food and water supplies to hundreds of thousands of people facing extreme hunger in Tigray in Ethiopia, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria. You can read more about how we can all express solidarity with our sisters and brothers affected by these emergencies on the CAFOD website. Your compassion, generosity and prayers have helped us to stand together and enable us to continue to support communities in these difficult times. Thank you.

Little Sisters of the Poor – Urgent Appeal

The Little Sisters of the Poor have launched a vital fundraising appeal, in response to the increasing pressures faced by St. Joseph’s Care Home during the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

The Little Sisters of the Poor at St. Joseph’s Home in Newcastle are finding the current economic climate increasingly more demanding. The emergency lockdown measures we implemented to aid efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and keep our residents safe has had a massive impact on our fundraising activities and the charitable donations we rely on to meet the daily running costs of the Home.

We are appealing for urgent donations to help us continue with our work of caring for the Elderly and to enable us to carry out essential fire prevention upgrades to our Home.

In these uncertain times, small acts of kindness can make a huge difference in helping our Home.

Make a Donation

Cheques made payable to ‘Little Sisters of the Poor’ can be sent to: St. Joseph’s Home, Westmoreland Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7QA. Alternatively, secure, online donations can be made here.

We ask God to bless and reward you and your families for your continued support.

Global Healing 2021

Global Healing is an initiative that highlights our need to care for our common home, the earth. It supports Laudato Si' the encyclical written by Pope Francis on how our faith calls us to urgent action to care for the earth.

A Global Healing course was organised by Laudato Si’ Animators in the UK to run during Lent in 2021. It was very well attended by over 900 individuals with the following feedback gathered (read here). Additionally, a useful Toolkit has also been created bringing together handouts and resources from the course that can be used (access here).

You can read more about Laudato Si' and Global Healing here.

George Floyd statement by the Diocesan Anti–Racism Working Group

The Anti–Racism Working Group of the Diocese welcomes that justice has been done as a result of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. It is a welcome step in highlighting that racism can lie under the surface in an organisation, often hidden. Our own Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) stated last year after the murder of George Floyd, “As Catholics we recognise that racism is an evil which must be opposed; we all have a responsibility for actively promoting racial justice. Whenever we ignore racism or dismiss BAME people’s experience of it, we are complicit in violations of human dignity. We pray for God’s help to overcome racism in all its forms and that we might protect everyone who suffers its consequences. We are all made in God’s image.” CBCEW June 3 2020.

In our Diocese we have taken the first steps to enable us to strive towards achieving those aims. Through the work of the Anti–Racism Working Group we are seeking a deeper understanding of racism and how it may lie beneath the surface in our own thoughts and actions, both as individuals and as parish and church communities and other structures. We will expand this work so that all people, whatever their ethnicity, find our Diocese to be a true home to them and their families. It is important that our Diocese, reflecting the values of Christ, shows a willingness to listen to the experiences and needs of those who may have experienced racism in our Church.

Fr. Adrian Tuckwell, Chair of the Anti–Racism Working Group
admin.caritas@diocesehn.org.uk.

Anti–Racism Working Group established in Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO has commissioned a working group to raise awareness of racism, from micro–racial aggression to the fatal consequences of major racism.

The group was established following the death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter protest, when a parishioner approached the Diocese with a request that some action be taken. At the request of Bishop Robert, the parishioner was put into contact with Fr. Adrian Tuckwell, the Episcopal Vicar for Caritas, who contacted members of the Pastoral Forum and, with the blessing of the Diocese, created the Anti–Racism Working Group.

On 26 January the Diocese held a launch anti-racism webinar titled “Racism: A Challenge for our Diocese” which aimed to raise awareness of racism and its consequences. More than 60 people attended the event.

If you would like to read more about the background, the webinar and how you can get involved, please click here.

A community inspired by the vision of Pope Francis in Fratelli tutti during the pandemic

A blog by Fr. Chris Hughes has been published in The Tablet reflecting on Pope Francis vision, ‘Fratelli Tutti’ and the ongoing relationship between Tyne & Wear Citizens and the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle.

To read the article in full click here.

New Vicariates

We continue to make adjustments to our website menus to incorporate the new Vicariates that have been established and to allow for new content to be added as they evolve. The Vicariate for Care of the Clergy and the Vicariate for Caritas are now complete.

Work is underway to migrate existing content to the new Vicariate for Faith & Mission area of the website. This Vicariate is an umbrella that brings together many different areas of Ministry. The following diagram has been put together as a quick guide to help you have oversight and navigate the key Vicariate areas within the website.

You can visit the new Vicariate for Faith & Mission by clicking here.

COVID–19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic – Church Response

‘Where the Hell is God?’

In these trying times, many people are led to ask the big questions of life. Where is God in the midst of Covid-19? Seeking God, questioning God are very natural responses to times of trial and grief and they are not new questions to the Catholic Church. In this Irish Jesuit's podcast, Fr. Richard Leonard shares his journey in asking ‘Where the Hell is God’ in the face of tragedy and he provides some solid advice on how to support others facing distress.

Watch this introduction by Fr. Sean Hall:

Do you need to speak to someone for support?

For those who are seeking a Priest with whom they can speak at this time, could you please contact the Parish Priest at your local Church. You can find your local Church telephone number by visiting our Church directory and selecting the link for your church. This link will display the Church contact details.

Dedicated counsellors and listeners are also available at the Cathedral Listening Service on 0191 232 6953 and on the Northumberland Listening Service on 07732 980740.

Vicariate for Caritas, Diocesan Pastoral Support and Outreach:

Fr. Adrian Tuckwell, Episcopal Vicar for Caritas provides a helpful summary of Pastoral Support available around the Diocese here (pdfword).

Fr. Adrian Tuckwell (email: evcaritas@diocesehn.org.uk).

Vicariate for Faith & Mission:

Marriage & Family Life:

Pope Francis has announced that on 19 March 2021 the Church will celebrate five years of his Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”, on the beauty and joy of love in the family. On the same day he will launch the Year “Amoris Laetitia Family” which will conclude on 26 June 2022, on the occasion of the X World Meeting of Families in Rome with the Holy Father (22 - 26 June 2022).

Pope Francis has decided to institute throughout the Church the celebration of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be held beginning this year on the fourth Sunday in July (25 July 2021), near the liturgical memory of Saints Joachim and Anne, grandparents of Jesus (26 July 2021).


A request from the Diocesan Church Music Association:

A call–out to all those who help in any way with liturgical music in their parish.

As the Coronavirus restrictions continue, particularly here in the North–East, the DCMA would love to know how parish musicians have been coping. Are you perhaps recording at home? Or maybe you are lucky enough to be back in church, and if so, what are you able to provide to enhance the Liturgy at this difficult time when there is still no congregational singing?

Please email us your comments.

We hope that this may lead to a potential Zoom meeting where we can share our ideas and support each other through this strangest of times.


Fr. Adrian Dixon's Reflection for Extraordinary Ministers:

Fr. Adrian Dixon has produced a short reflection for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion ahead of Corpus Christi; the usual time when ministers renew their commitment.


Fr. Sean Hall's Reflections on the Readings for week 25 of Ordinary Time can be read here.

Pat Kennedy MPS has shared a Reflection (The Rosary), which you can read here.


Healthy Couple Relationships and support when they are not

All relationships have their ups and downs and sometimes a positive solution is hard to find. In these extraordinary days in which we experience lives of enforced isolation such difficulties may become enhanced and overriding. MarriageCare, a charity with which this Diocese collaborates on preparing engaged couples for marriage, provides a counselling service for couples or individuals experiencing difficulties in their relationship which one or both find challenging and problematic. You can access support through the MarriageCare website in the ‘How we help’ section, ‘Relationship counselling’. Full contact details are provided for further enquiries and venues, and include FAQ’s.

Domestic Abuse, Family Support and Support for Children in Domestic Abuse

MarriageCare also provides many useful links under the ‘How we help’ section; Relationship support organisations; Debt and Finance; Family support organisations; Domestic abuse – here there are many links under the ‘domestic violence help resources’ including support for women, men and children.


Life After the Pandemic - Pope Francis

The Vatican Publishing House has released a free eBook, “Life After the Pandemic”, a collection of interventions by Pope Francis, with a preface by Cardinal Michael Czerny, to reflect on the vision of the world that is emerging after the pandemic and to which we are called to accompany. It is now available to read or download.


Strong in the Face of Tribulation, The Church in Communion: A Sure Support in Time of Trial

The Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See have produced a book intended to be a little help offered to all, so as to know how to discern and experience God’s closeness and tenderness in pain, in suffering, in solitude and in fear. Of course, faith does not eliminate pain; ecclesial communion does not eliminate anguish. Rather, it does illuminate reality and reveal that it is pervaded by the love and hope based not on our abilities, but on the One Who is faithful and never abandons us.

It is divided into three sections; prayers, rituals and supplications for difficult moments.

It is available now to read or download.

Mgr. Andrew Faley, Vicariate for Faith & Mission (email: evfaithandmission@diocesehn.org.uk).


Pope Francis – Prayer to Mary for Protection during the COVID–19 Pandemic.

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain,
with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that,
as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test –
and deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

FIRST STEPS – Exploring the Catholic Faith Online:

Are you wondering about your relationship with God and not sure where to start?

Join us on a journey and see if the Catholic Church can help your relationship grow. This may be the right path for you. It may even help you take the next steps towards coming into the Church. Gathering weekly via Zoom starting Wednesday 22 September at 7.00pm.

If you are interested to find out more, you can enquire/register using the Online Enquiry Form or email us. For full details, please see the poster.

Diocesan Bereavement Support

The Bereavement Support team has created resources to support you and your loved ones during times of bereavement and loss. We offer these prayers in solidarity, and we want you to know that the Church community is praying with you, and you are not alone.

Visit our new Bereavement page.

Safeguarding: Delivering Change and Building Trust

For the latest news on the implementation of recommendations from the IICSA and Ian Elliott Review please click here.

The Vicariate for Caritas and The Road Centre

Caritas, in partnership with The Road Centre, is offering a number of resources to help adults, young people, and children cope with stress and anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Resource for adults (pdf).
Resource for young people (pdf).
Resource for children (pdf).

Vicariate for Faith & Mission

The Vicariate for Faith & Mission are able to provide copies of our lockdown prayer resources to those without internet access. Please contact the Vicariate by ringing 07375 934713 or click on the poster for alternative contact details. Please pass this information onto those without internet access.

Mass by Phone Service

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 would like to access, the telephone number to call is 01642 130120.

If you know anyone who may benefit from this service, you can download and print a poster with details.

Live Streaming of Masses

A number of parishes have set up a live stream of their Masses.

For more details of frequency and timings please click here.

Government Coronavirus Guidelines

Where do I get more information? Here are some helpful links:

NHS website

Government website

Stay Home | Protect the NHS | Save Lives


Coronavirus (COVID–19) Guidelines

The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales have issued some guidelines to enable Catholic churches and organisations to find the relevant information in one place. Visit their website for the latest guidance and advice.

The Liturgy Office of the Bishops' Conference has compiled a prayer resource for people affected by the Covid–19 virus. Read it here.

Coronavirus (COVID–19)

For further information and how we are responding to the Coronavirus pandemic please click here.

Click here to find out more about The God Who Speaks – The Year of the Word.

Patrons of the Diocese: St Cuthbert, Bishop and Confessor and Our Blessed Lady Immaculate