Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

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.

Diocesan Day of Prayer for the sick and their families, NHS front-line, social care workers and other key workers

On Thursday 14 May 2020 we hosted a Diocesan Day of Prayer for the sick and their families, NHS front-line, social care workers and other key workers.

The day was streamed online and began with Divine Office from St. Mary’s Cathedral, and ended with Bishop Byrne celebrating Mass for the sick and their families, and for NHS front–line, social care and key workers.

…as prayer is a universal value, …next May 14 believers of all religions unite spiritually in a Day of Prayer and Fasting and Works of Charity, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Remember: May 14, all believers together, believers of different traditions, to pray, fast, and do works of charity.

Pope Francis, 3 May, 2020.


Videos (available for playback from the day):

Day of Prayer playlist (various)


St. Mary's Cathedral – morning prayer


St. Mary's Cathedral – Holy Mass


St. Mary's Cathedral – Mass for the sick and their families, NHS and all care workers


Other resources:

Prayer in a time of a pandemic (pdf)

Visio Divina (pdf)

The Angelus (video)

‘I Confess’ (video)

‘Our Father’ (video)

Year of the Word (view)

Petition for a National Day of Prayer is seeking signatories to a petition to the Prime Minster for a National Day of Prayer in the face of the Covid–19 crisis. For further information and to sign the petition please click here.

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).

Destitute Asylum Seekers in dire need:

The Covid-19 Pandemic is having a profound effect on destitute asylum seekers locally who receive no financial support or accommodation from Government. Please click here to see how you can help.

Little Sisters of the Poor Home, Newcastle:

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. Please follow this link to see how you can help.

Fr. Adrian Tuckwell (email:

Vicariate for Faith & Mission:

Novena to the Holy Spirit:

The Novena to the Holy Spirit begins nine days of prayer from the Feast of the Ascension to the Feast of Pentecost. We invite you to join us, using the link below, as we pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Adrian Dixon's Reflection on St. Bede:

Fr. Sean Hall's Reflections on the Readings for Pentecost and the 9th week of Easter can be read here. There is also a Reflection on re-opening our doors that can be read here.

Pat Kennedy MPS has shared a Reflection of Hope, which you can read here.

Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom Come’ is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray from Ascension to Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus. In 2019 Christians from 172 countries took part in praying ‘Come Holy Spirit’, so that friends and family, neighbours and colleagues might come to faith in Jesus Christ. There are many different ways to get involved and supporting resources are available. Check out their website for further information and drop us a line to let us know how you are taking part.

In praying 'Thy Kingdom Come' we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities."

Archbishop Justin Welby

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.

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.

Diocesan Spiritual Support

These resources have been created to support you and your loved ones in this unprecedented time of the COVID–19 pandemic. We offer these prayers in solidarity and we want you know know that the Church community is praying with you and you are not alone.

'Resources for times of grieving and death' includes; Prayers for loved ones we cannot visit in hospital, Prayers for someone who has recently died and Prayers for a loved one whose funeral you cannot attend.

'Prayers for the sick and dying' contains a collection of Catholic prayers to comfort you and your loved ones during difficult times of sickness and death.

Mgr. Andrew Faley, Vicariate for Faith & Mission (email:

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.

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.

To whom shall we go?

A seven session Discernment Programme for men considering Priesthood in Hexham & Newcastle Diocese.

An online course of reflection and discussion taking place from Monday 11 May. To express your interest in joining, or to find out more, please email Fr. Christopher Warren.

See poster for full details.

Vocations Sunday

Praying the Rosary for an increase of Priestly Vocations in our Diocese

On the 4th Sunday of Easter, the Church celebrates Good Shepherd Sunday and the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. This is a day for us to pray for good and holy priestly vocations for service in the parishes of our Diocesan family. The vocations team have produced a Rosary for Vocations.

In this the seminarians for the Diocese have written the reflections on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. It is hoped that people will pray the Rosary for an increase of Priestly Vocations for the Diocese throughout the month of May.

Please read or download the Rosary reflections.

New Names for Catholic Education Trusts

In December 2019 the Diocesan Board agreed a revised academy policy in which they identified four Multi Academy Trusts in the Diocese that would grow. These were Sacred Heart Partnership of Schools, Northern Saints Catholic Education Trust, The Trinity Catholic Multi Academy Trust, and Carmel Education Trust.

On 1 April 2020 the four Trusts were re–named as follows:

Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust (formerly Sacred Heart Partnership of Schools)

Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust (formerly Northern Saints Catholic Education Trust)

Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust (formerly The Trinity Catholic Multi Academy Trust)

Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust (formerly Carmel Education Trust)

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 Alert | Control the Virus | 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.

Diocesan Events:

See also full screen calendar

Diocesan Vision

Read the new Diocesan Vision.

Pastoral Letter

Pastoral Letter - Holy Week 2020.

Diocesan E-Newsletter

Read latest newsletter and subscribe


Posters for events in the Diocese.

Local events.

Posters for non-Diocesan events.

St Hilda's Diocesan Resource Centre

Northern Cross

DUE to the COVID–19 pandemic, April's edition of Northern Cross is only available online this month.

You can read it, free of charge, by visiting the Northern Cross website.

The May edition of Northern Cross is out. Read Page 1.


There are no Diocesan vacancies at this time.

Last updated on 29/05/20

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