Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Séamus Cunningham

Vocations: Deacons in Training


Diaconate currently going through Formation in our Diocese:

The Diocese is giving each of our current diaconate going through formation an opportunity to share with you a personal summary of their journey to permanent diaconate and this information will be updated periodically.

Peter Smith

My name is Peter Smith and I’m in the final year of my formation to the Permanent Diaconate. I have been married to Paula, my wife, for 27 years and we live in Lanchester. We have one daughter, Louise, and a 2 year old grandson, Luke. I have spent my career in the Construction industry, starting out as an engineer then progressing into management and now work in technical customer support.

Following ordination in June I hope to be able to use my spare time within pastoral support, whilst continuing in ministry within my parish and the Pontop partnership.

Paul Nichol

My name is Paul Nichol and I have just begun my final year of formation for the permanent diaconate. I am married with 3 sons and live in Leadgate near Consett. I am a Nurse Specialist for Elderly Persons based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead. Whilst challenging, juggling full time work with study and family life the journey so far has been extremely rewarding. The academic study at Hinsley Hall in Leeds has provided the opportunity to journey with other candidates from the Northern Dioceses. Through the grace of God, I hope to be ordained this June.

Paddy Jackson

My name is Paddy Jackson and I am in my third year of formation for the permanent Diaconate. I am a parishioner at St. Augustine, Leam Lane and have been actively involved in many parish ministries since the age of 16. I am totally devoted to the Catholic Church, my Diocese and partnership of parishes. For many years I've also been involved with the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes, a place that is very special for me. I'm a single man and have devote my time to active church ministry in all its aspects. I hope to be able to serve the church in a different but special way if it is God's will that I should be ordained.

Tony Joy

My name is Tony Joy and I have been married to Liz for 43 years and have three children and two grandchildren. I am half way through Year 2 of my Diaconate formation. My formation includes study with candidates from the other Northern Diocese in Hinsley Hall, Leeds. We also study pastoral and practical topics with others from Hexham and Newcastle in St. Hilda’s Resource Centre in Newcastle. The other important aspect of Formation is work in my local parish of St. John XXIII in Washington. I retired from my work as an IT Project Manager in 2014. The Formation process is personally challenging, but a tremendous privilege. I look forward to being a servant of the people of my local parishes and of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle once I am ordained in 2019, if that is God’s will.

Neil Haggerstone

My name is Neil Haggerstone and I am currently in my discernment year of a 4 year Diaconate formation program. I live in Peterlee, Co Durham, with my wife and daughter, but originally come from the west of Durham. I am very humbled to be part of my ongoing formation towards the Diaconate ministry of service, providing love and support within our community. It is with God's love I hope to fulfil a life of dedicated service to our faith.

Jeremy Cain

My name is Jeremy Cain and I’m half-way through my propaedeutic year of diaconal formation. I’m married to Emma and we have three children; Josh, 16, Elena, 13 and Sarah, 10. Together, we belong to Holy Family parish in Hartlepool. I see this time very much as discernment, as well as formation, and trust that the Lord will guide me in the right direction.

Sibby Thomas

My name is Sibby Thomas and I am in my preliminary year for the permanent Diaconate. I am a Parishioner at St. Joseph, Sunderland. I married with three children. Originally I am from India, the south part called Kerala. Currently I work as a Social Worker in adult care for a local authority. Since 2003 my whole family became actively involved in the activities of the St. Joseph parish. I am praying for my call as a deacon to serve the Diocese of Newcastle and Hexham, if it is God’s will that I should be ordained.

Profiles last updated on 20/02/18