Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Holocaust Memorial Day 2021: Be the light in the darkness

A film of remembrance, available from 8.00am on Monday 25 January 2021.

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2021 is ‘Be the light in the darkness’. This year, the Interreligious Department is releasing a film of remembrance, which will be available from 8.00am on Monday 25 January 2021 as a resource for schools and local parish communities.

In this film, students from St. Mary’s Catholic School, Benton and St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, Billingham ask us to consider what it means to be a light in the darkness, an affirmation and a call to action for everyone marking HMD. Bishop Robert Byrne CO, offers further thought and reflection in remembering with sorrow the victims of the Holocaust, before leading the lighting of the candles as we remember the genocides and atrocities that have taking place in recent memory.

This year we remember the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, and hear the story of Immaculée, a survivor, a light in the darkness. Finally, we are joined by special guests from within Jewish community for prayer and reflection, including Anita Lasker–Wallfisch, a survivor of Auschwitz and Belson, and author of 'Inherit the Truth 1939 – 1945'. We also hear from Anita’s Grandson, Simon Wallfisch, playing the cello and singing the Kaddish.

Bishop Robert Byrne CO statement – Bishops' Conference response to the IICSA report

Dear Friends,

Please click here to read a statement from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales following our plenary meeting this week. Our main topic of discussion was the recently published IICSA Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church which we embrace wholeheartedly. We are resolved not only to implement its findings but also to initiate a culture of safeguarding in all our Dioceses.

At our plenary meeting in the spring of last year we commissioned a root and branch review of our safeguarding procedures by Mr Ian Elliott who has a wide experience of safeguarding both in the United Kingdom and abroad. We formally accepted his Report and recommendations this week and his findings can be found on the Bishops’ Conference website from today. This report and the findings of IICSA will form the basis of our ongoing diocesan safeguarding training in future months and years.

As Bishop of this Diocese I would like to once more invite any survivor of abuse if they wish to see me or a member of our Safeguarding team.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the Parish Safeguarding Representatives, our dedicated staff in the Safeguarding Office, and our Safeguarding Commission which does such sterling work in keeping children and the vulnerable safe.

Above all I want to reiterate the Bishops’ Statement by acknowledging the failings and mistakes of the past and to express my personal sorrow at the incalculable damage done and ask the forgiveness of all victims and survivors. Let us turn to Christ the source of love and forgiveness and move forward as a Diocese with a renewed purpose and hope.

With every good wish and blessing,

+ Rt. Rev. Robert Byrne CO
Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle

Statement ends

If you have been affected by this report further support is also available:

  1. You can contact the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Safeguarding Team on 0191 243 3305 or find further contact details here.

  2. Safe Spaces’ is an independent service supporting survivors of church-related abuse. This independent service is run by the charity Victim Support and is free to access via telephone – 0300 303 1056 (answerphone available outside of opening times), email –, or web–chat via

  3. Other organisations offering support can also be found via the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service at

Bishops welcome a return to public worship

The government has confirmed that collective worship can resume in churches and other places of worship following the expiration of the national lockdown on 2 December. This decision applies across all three tiers of COVID-19 restrictions in England. Please check with your local parish priest to see whether your church is able to reopen at this time.

On behalf of the Bishops, the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Canon Christopher Thomas, commented:

The Catholic Community in England is delighted at the Government’s decision to allow the resumption of collective worship following the national lockdown in all three tiers.

This decision reflects the importance of the right of all people to express their faith in worship, but more importantly, it is an acknowledgement of the active collaboration the church has had with public officials in developing COVID-secure protocols in our churches.

As we move forward, it is incumbent on all who come to worship God in our churches to play their part in keeping themselves and others safe by following all of the guidance that has been prepared.

Through our encounter with Christ in the Eucharist and other sacraments celebrated in the Church, the works of charity which have been expressed through Catholic charities and communities over the last nine months finds its source and goal.

Statement ends

Bishop Robert Byrne CO has announced the phased reopening of churches for Mass and individual prayer

The following churches are open for Mass (M) and / or individual prayer (P). Please visit the links below to access more information.

Cathedral Church of St. Mary, Newcastle upon Tyne
(M & P) –

Alnwick, St. Paul's Church (M) – Link

Annitsford, St. John the Baptist (M) – 07963 515190

Barnard Castle, St. Mary (M)Link

Benton, St. Aidan (M)Link

Berwick, St. Cuthbert (P) – 07979 735022 or email

Billingham, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (M & P) – Link

Birtley, St. Joseph (M & P)Link

Bishop Auckland, St. Mary (M & P)Link

Bishop Auckland, St. Wilfrid (M)Link

Blackhall, St. Joseph (M) – 07483 318764

Blackhill, Our Blessed Lady Immaculate (M & P)Link

Blaydon, St. Joseph (M)Link

Blyth, Our Lady and St. Wilfrid (M)Link

Boldon, The Sacred Heart (M)Link

Brooms, Our Lady & St. Joseph (M & P)Link

Cheeseburn Grange, St. Francis Xavier (M)Link

Chester–le–Street, St. Cuthbert (M)Link

Chopwell, Our Lady of Lourdes (M & P)Link

Consett, St. Patrick (M & P) – Link

Consett, St. Pius X (M)Link

Coundon, St. Joseph (M)Link

Cowpen, St. Cuthbert (M)Link

Coxhoe, Ss. Joseph, Patrick and Cuthbert (M)Email

Crawcrook, St. Agnes (M & P)Link

Crook, Our Lady Immaculate & St. Cuthbert (M)Link

Cullercoats, St. Mary (M)Link

Darlington, St. Augustine (M)Link

Darlington, St. Teresa (M) – 07734 274559

Darlington, St. Thomas Aquinas (M & P)Link

Darlington, Ss. William and Frances de Sales (M)Link

Darlington, The Holy Family (M)Link

Durham, Our Lady of Mercy and St. Godric (M)Link

Durham, St. Cuthbert (M)Link

Durham, St. Joseph (M)Link

Esh Laude, St. Michael (M)Link

Ferryhill, All Saints (M)Link

Forest Hall, St. Mary (M)Link

Gainford, St. Osmund (M)Link

Gateshead, Immaculate Heart of Mary (M)Link

Gateshead, St. Joseph (M)Link

Gateshead, St. Wilfrid (M)Link

Haltwhistle, St. Wilfrid (M)Link

Hartlepool, St. Joseph (M) – Link

Hartlepool, St. Mary (M & P)Link

Hartlepool, St. Patrick (M)Link

Hebburn, St. Aloysius (M)Link

Hebburn, St. James (M)Link

Highfield, St. Joseph (M) – Link

Houghton–le–Spring, St. Michael (M & P)Link

Hutton Henry, Ss. Peter & Paul (M) – 07483 318764

Jarrow, St. Bede (M)Link

Jarrow, St. Joseph (M)Link

Jarrow, St. Mary (M)Link

Jarrow, St. Matthew (M)Link

Langley Park, St. Joseph (M)Link

Minsteracres, St. Elizabeth (M)Link

Murton, St. Joseph (M)Link

New Seaham, St. Cuthbert (M) – 0191 581 2221

Newcastle, English Martyrs (M & P) Link

Newcastle, St. Andrew (M)Link

Newcastle, St. Anthony of Padua (M) - Link

Newcastle, St. Charles’ Church (M) – Link

Newcastle, St. Cuthbert (M)Link

Newcastle, St. Dominic's Church (M) – 0191 232 6953

Newcastle, St. John Vianney (M)Link

Newcastle, St. Mark (M) – 07803 504923

Newcastle, St. Robert (M & P) Link

Newcastle, The Holy Name (M)Link

Newhouse, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs (M)Link

Newton Aycliffe, St. Mary (M)Link

North Gosforth, Sacred Heart (M)Link

North Shields, St. Cuthbert (M)Link

North Shields, St. Joseph (M)Link

Otterburn, St. Peter (M)Link

Penshaw, Our Lady Queen of Peace (M & P)Link

Peterlee, Our Lady of the Rosary (M) – 0191 586 2526

Ponteland, St. Matthew (M) – 07803 504923

Prudhoe, Our Lady & St. Cuthbert (M)Link

Ryhope, St. Patrick (M)Link

Sacriston, St. Bede (M)Link

Seahouses, St. Aidan (M & P)Link

Sedgefield, St. John Fisher (M)Email

Shildon, St. Thomas Apostle (M)Link

Shotton, Our Lady of Lourdes (M)Link

South Shields, St. Bede (M)Link

South Shields, St. Gregory (M)Link

Stella, Ss. Mary and Thomas Aquinas (M)Link

Stockton, English Martyrs, Ss. Peter & Paul (M)Link

Stockton, St. Bede (M)Link

Stockton, St. Joseph (M & P)Link

Stockton, St. Patrick (M)Link

Sunderland, St. Anne and Holy Family (M)Link

Sunderland, Ss. Cecilia and Patrick (M) - Link

Sunderland, St. Joseph (M)Link

Sunderland, St. Mary (M) – Link

Swinburne, St. Mary (M)Link

Thornley, Sacred Heart & English Martyrs (M) – 07483 318764

Throckley, St. Cuthbert (M)Link

Trimdon, St. William (M) – Email

Tynemouth, Our Lady and St. Oswin (M)Link

Tudhoe, St. Charles (M)Link

Ushaw Moor, St. Joseph (M)Link

Wallsend, Our Lady & St. Aidan (M)Link

Wallsend, St. Bernadette (M)Link

Washington, Our Blessed Lady Immaculate (M & P)Link

Washington, St. Bede (M & P)Link

Washington, St. John Boste (M & P)Link

Whittingham, St. Mary Immaculate (M) – 01665 574240

Windlestone, The Sacred Heart (M)Link

Winlaton, St. Anne (M & P) – Link

Wooler, St. Ninian (M) – 01665 574240

Due to social distancing measures, there will be a limited capacity in each church. Should the maximum capacity of a church be met, a queueing system will be implemented outside of the Church.

Please note: live streaming may be in effect during Mass. If you do not wish to be at risk of being filmed, please inform your parish priest or designated person on visiting the church.

Important Notice:

Please click here to download our handbook for the reopening of churches.

Please click here to read our frequently asked questions (FAQs) guide.

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

New Vicariates

Over the coming weeks 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 – Child Poverty Over Christmas

At this time of great need, the Vicariate for Caritas and the Justice & Peace Co-ordinating Council are offering partnerships/parishes/ecumenical groups the opportunity to promote appeals for struggling families over the Christmas period through our website. If you are organising these initiatives and would like us to promote, please send brief details by email.

In your email please include your church/organisation details, a brief description of what you intend to do, e.g. collect/distribute food hampers, etc. The type of help you need and how it can be offered, e.g. festive and non-festive food items (fresh/tinned or dried), supermarket vouchers, cash donations, volunteers, etc. Physical items can be left at... or cash donations can be made via sort code, account no. etc. Finally, please include the relevant contact details.

Please visit our Child Poverty Appeals page for further information and details of all current appeals.

Vicariate for Caritas, CSAN launches national ageing survey

Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) has published a national survey to research how the Catholic community can better support its members through the process of ageing. Responses are needed from lay, practising Catholics aged 18+, living in England and Wales. The survey closing date is 1 January 2021.

Complete the survey online by clicking 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).

Fr. Adrian Tuckwell (email:

Vicariate for Faith & Mission:

Fr. Adrian Dixon's Reflection for Remembrance Day:

Fr. Adrian Dixon has produced a short reflection for Remembrance Day. Watch below or via our YouTube Channel.

Please also see this prayer leaflet, entitled, ‘A Time for Remembering’.

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.

Pat Kennedy MPS has shared a Reflection (‘Magi – A Reflection for the Epiphany’), 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.

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.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from 18 – 25 January, the octave of St. Peter and St. Paul.

A Prayer for Christian Unity:

Northern Christian Church Leaders, including Bishop Robert have released this introduction to the week of Christian Unity and a prayer assuring us all of their prayers for all of the churches in our area, and of our commitment to our partnership in the Gospel as we all walk together during these times of anxiety and grief. Read it in full here.

This year, resources have been prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland. The theme that was chosen, "Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit", is based on John 15: 1 – 17 and expresses Grandchamp Community's vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the Church and the human family. Resources can be found online 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.

Statements from Pope Francis, Bishop Robert Byrne and the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales condemn the death of George Floyd

In times of an international crisis such as this, the Bishop and the Diocese maintain communion with Pope Francis and the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to condemn the death of George Floyd. Read our statement in full (pdfword).

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.

Diocesan Events:

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Diocesan Vision

Read the new Diocesan Vision.

Diocesan E-Newsletter

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Posters for events in the Diocese.

Local events.

Posters for non-Diocesan events.

Northern Cross

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


There are no Diocesan vacancies at this time.

Last updated on 22/01/21

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