Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Department for Interreligious Relations

Head of Department: Rev. Arockia Mariadass Pagyasamy OCD,
St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus,
Heaton Road,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5HN.

Tel: 0191 265 5290

Mobile: 07740 030900


Courses, Events and News:


There are currently no courses planned. They will be displayed here as announced.


Events will be detailed here as they become available.


Interfaith Newsletter December 2019

There are some interesting items in the December issue of the Westminster Interfaith Newsletter. Available to read or download now.

Photos from the Interfaith Evening with Bishop Robert on Tuesday 3 December.

Pontifical Council’s message for the celebrations of Guru Nanak’s birth and life

This falls on 12th November this year. They are especially important this year, as 2019 is the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak – he is one of the founding teachers of Sikhism. He was born in present day Pakistan in the 15th century (as you might already have worked out!), and is first in a line of ten human teachers (the holy scripture of Sikhism, the Guru Grant Sahib, is revered as the 11th guru). Equality and justice were central to his message, which he travelled extensively to spread – as a reminder to be courageous, and dignified, as well as as a marker of equality within the faith, practising Sikhs still use the same (now usually middle) name – Kaur (princess) for women, and Singh (lion) for men.

As you know, Sikh places of worship – gurdwaras – offer free food (langar) to all comers, and honest work is one of the core values of Sikhism – there is therefore an interesting link, particularly this year, to the World Day of the Poor, which falls on 17th November this year. This particular care for the “poor and the vulnerable” is also referenced in the message from the Pontifical Council. Here are some suggested bidding prayers for our Sikh neighbours around this time, and a little more information on the faith and the festival.

The festival is referred to in a number of different ways, but perhaps the easiest wish is “Happy Gurpurab”, which is a general term for a festival celebrating the birth and the life of Sikh gurus

Pontificial Council's message for the Feast of Deepavali 2019

The Pontificial Council have published this message for the Feast of Deepavali.

Pontificial Council's message for the Feast of Vesakh 2019

The Pontificial Council have published this message for the Feast of Vesakh.

Pontificial Council's message for Ramadan 2019

The Pontificial Council have published this message for the month of Ramadan.

Pontifical Council’s message for Mahavir Jayanti 2019

Please find attached the Pontifical Council’s message for Mahavir Jayanti which, this year, falls on 17th April. It is a festival marked by the Jain community, which is quite small in numbers in England and Wales, so might not have come to your attention.

You might remember Cardinal Tauran’s visit to the Oshwal community, one of the largest branches of Jainism in the UK, here are some images from that visit.

Jainism is a Dharmic religion – the cycle of death and re-birth is at the centre of its beliefs, and non-violence is a central value, to the extent that some Jains monks and nuns will sweep the ground before their feet, and wear a face mask, to avoid disturbing or hurting even the smallest forms of life.

Mahavir Jayanti (the feast day dedicated to Mahavir), or, more formally, Mahavir Janma Kalyanak Diwas, commemorates the birth and the life of the 24th thirtankara (teacher, literally: ford maker – someone who creates a path to salvation) of the Jain religion, and final one for the present era.

Suggested bidding prayers for around the time of the festival and now available also containing more details on the festival itself, and the Jain faith.


Holocaust Memorial Evening 2019 ‘Torn from Home’

In the presence of Rt. Rev. Séamus Cunningham, Gabriele Keenaghan told the story of her flight from the Nazis on the Kindertransport. Photographs from the evening are available on our Holocaust Memorial page.

The annual Diocesan Christian / Muslim Women`s event to pray for peace took place at the ruined chapel to Our Lady, Jesmond on Saturday 30 June 2018. Read more about it here.