Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Caritas – Laudato Si'

A message from Bishop Robert Byrne CO:

It is now five years since the promulgation of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’. It is a prophetic document that has given a theological and spiritual framework to the environmental crisis facing our world which already effects our daily lives and will continue to do so in the future. The Holy Father coined the now familiar phrase “our common home” which places the responsibility of the care of the environment on everyone. It is a responsibility we cannot avoid. He has been clear, in his ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing on Easter Day concerning the coronavirus, that we must wake up to the damage being done to the natural world which is God's creation and to the response of nature that we are now witnessing.

Damage to our common home has continued apace. In the last year alone we saw unprecedented flooding, drought, wildfires in Australia and California, continued deforestation and the burning of the Amazon unfolding before our eyes, cyclones devastating Mozambique, the outbreak of a global pandemic, a third mass bleaching of the great barrier reef, all causing suffering to our global family.

While we must certainly look to governments and industry to respond and help in the need to repair the damage of Climate Change, and we must rely on the advancement of technology to provide some of the means of such repair, it is evident that we all have an important and necessary part to play, as individuals and communities. The Pope has been clear in insisting that our care for our brothers and sisters and our common home depends upon our own personal daily actions and it is evident that, even by small and seemingly insignificant actions – when added together – we make an essential and tangible impact for the good. Technology can assist us but real progress must depend on our own actions.

The idea of our connectedness as human beings making up the human family is essential to understanding the plight we face. Of course, as Catholics we belong to a truly international family with direct connections throughout the globe. On a more local level we have our parish communities, bringing together families and individuals. We also have our schools, which bring together so many young people. Extending beyond our Catholic community, we have a considerable voice in civil society in matters spiritual, social and financial. We can make a difference if we work together.

I warmly welcome the initiatives being taken in our diocese to tackle these problems. I also want to thank all those clergy and lay faithful who are working hard in encouraging our Catholic family to be better “guardians of God’s creation”.

Laudato Si' revisited in a time of Covid–19

Fr. Sean Hall explores how the experience of the current Covid–19 Pandemic has forced people across the world to re-evaluate every aspect of their lives.

As Christians we are being challenged to reflect on how our faith might help us address what is being referred to increasingly as “the new normal”. At such a moment it is opportune to revisit Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si' – on 'Care for Our Common Home', issued in 2015, issued in fact exactly five years ago this week.

You can watch his video below or read his notes (pdfword).

Streamed Masses:

Saturday 16 May at 12.00 noon, Fr. Adrian Tuckwell, Episcopal Vicar for Caritas, view here. The Order of Service for this Mass can be viewed here (pdf or word).

Sunday 24 May at 11.00am, Fr. Chris Hughes, view here.

Streamed Rosary:

Sunday 24 May at 3.00pm, view here.


The Faith for the Climate Network is hosting a webinar about what people of faith can uniquely contribute to solve the crises of our time.

The speakers are Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg. The event is free but you need to sign up online through Eventbrite.

Useful and interesting links:

Laudato Si' Week 2020: website link.

The Encyclical: document link.

Context: video explaining the context to the Encyclical.

Diocesan Social and Environmental Justice Policy: Hearing the Cry of the Poor and the Earth.

CAFOD resources: website link and child friendly video animation.

Ecological Examen – Ignaitan Reflection on Care for Our Common Home:

This Ecological Examen is a tool for prayer, reflection and action as individuals in their home, parish, school, university or community deepen our call to care for creation and the most vulnerable. Please join the Ignatian Family in seeking a conversion of heart to embrace ecological justice and Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home. Read more here:

Guardian article: Flourishing wildlife.

Series of Reflections from Daniel P Horan OFM: link is to first video of series. Other videos in series can be found there also.

A scholarly document: Reflection on Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Si'.