Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Séamus Cunningham

Permanent Diaconate - News and Events


Upcoming Events:

Future events will be displayed here as they become available.


Past Events:

Candidature Mass - Tuesday 18 September 2018

Candidature Mass 2018

A Celebration Mass was held on Tuesday 18 September at Our Lady of the Rosary Church Peterlee. The Mass was to celebrate the entrance of three Candidates into the training programme for the Permanent Diaconate. The main celebrant was Bishop Séamus and co-celebrants were the Parish Priests of the Candidates and also other clergy who had come along to support them, along with Parishioners from their various Parishes. Neil Haggerstone, Sibby Thomas and Jeremy Cain were supported by their families and also fellow Deacons and those still in training.

Pat Kennedy MPS, member of Formation Team

Kick Off weekend - Friday 31 August to Sunday 2 September 2018

Four Trainee Deacons of the Permanent Diaconate Community together with their wives and members of the Formation team met over the weekend of 31 August – 2 September to begin a new year. New additions to the group for the four year training journey are Paul Young and his wife Tracy, Rhodie and Edna Nidea, Bernie Walsh and Gareth Rowe. Time shared included business, training and social time to get to know each other and form a support group for the journey.

Input was given by Deacon Paul Hargreaves and his wife Debra, and also Deacon Martin Bell, recently appointed Diocesan Director of Deacons, and his wife Lindsay. Paul and Debra shared their journeys since Paul entered training for the Diaconate, and the effect it has had on their lives. Martin talked about the role and work of the Diocesan Deacons’ Council, of which at the moment he is Vice-Chair, and also the National Diaconate Executive to which he was elected last year.

Everyone agreed that this once again had been a very good beginning for their year.

"This was a wonderful experience, a great opportunity to meet the others and bond together and make new friends"

"A great experience, thank you"

"Great to feel our Community growing"

"Amazing and a great blessing"

"The Spirit was flowing this weekend, and God’s guiding light has brought us here."

Pat Kennedy MPS, member of Formation Team

Ministries Mass - Thursday 12 July 2018

On Thursday 12 July at St. John Boste Church, Washington, Bishop Séamus celebrated Mass to mark the movement of Tony Joy from Lector to his final year of Acolyte in his training for the Permanent Diaconate. Tony will be ordained next year. He was accompanied by  family, friends, Parish priests, members of the Diaconate Community, parishioners and the Formation Team.

Pat Kennedy MPS Coordinator of Studies.

Ministries Mass 2018

Trainee Deacons Retreat 2018

Over the weekend of 23 - 25 February 2018, the Diocesan Deacons in Training attended their annual retreat along with their wives. This year's Retreat was entitled, "Who is Being Overlooked, and Do We Need to Respond?" and was led by Fr. Jim O'Keefe.

Jim gave a great deal of food for thought over an excellent and challenging weekend. He helped us to see how things could/should be in following and coming to know the

'person, of Jesus; and growing into the service, discipleship and the courage needed to make a difference in people's lives, but first of all in my own'.

A truly awe inspiring weekend was the summing up.

Pat Kennedy MPS. Member of Diaconate Formation Team.

Ordinations to the Permanent Diaconate

On 30 June 2018 Patrick Jackson, Paul Nichol and Peter Smith were ordained to the Permanent Diaconate at the Cathedral Church of St. Mary, Newcastle upon Tyne. Photographs from the day can be found on our Ordination 2018 page.

A Mission to Explain

For many people across our diocese the weekend of 21st January was a bit of an eye opener. In his pastoral letter about Permanent Deacons, Bishop Séamus spoke about the history and ministry of a group that many knew little, if anything, about. Within our diocese the Permanent Diaconate has been slowly growing both in numbers and experience over the last few decades. However, whilst in some of our partnerships there are quite a few deacons, in others that is not the case. So unless you live or worship in a parish where there is a deacon much of what Bishop Séamus spoke about in his letter may have been news to you.

Even where deacons are present we found that the letter gave people a much better insight into the role of the deacon and its possibilities. Perhaps that just indicates that our deacons have been busy getting on and 'doing' rather than forever explaining who they are. It does indicate, however, that in this time of change that maybe it is time to spend some time letting people know a bit about the permanent diaconate in the diocese.

Bishop Séamus' letter was the start of that communication process and in it he mentioned that over the coming months deacons would be visiting all the parishes in the diocese to give a personal insight into their vocation and ministry. Those visits have already begun and it is hoped that by Pentecost 2018 most parishes will have been visited by one of our deacons. Feedback from the visits so far has been positive, with comments such as,

It is really powerful to hear someone share the reality
of how their vocation unfolded

So, if you haven't seen one of our deacons yet keep your eyes open, we hope you soon will.

National Diaconal Community Conference - Tuesday 7 - Wednesday 8 November 2017

The National Conference of Diaconate Directors and Diocesan Representatives was held at Hinsley Hall on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 November 2017. Fr. Michael Campion, Director of Post Ordination Formation, was accompanied by Pat Kennedy from the Formation Team, and three of the Diocese’s Deacons; Malcolm Jackson (St. Peter’s, Low Fell), Peter Linsley (St. Cuthbert’s, New Seaham) and Martin Bell (St. Mary’s, Hexham). This two day conference brought together those responsible for the formation of deacons from across England and Wales, and the gathering was joined by Bishop McGough, the Episcopal liaison on behalf of the Bishop’s Conference.

The full notes from the conference, including the address by Bishop Marcus Stock (Diocese of Leeds), are now available and were prepared by Deacon Martin Bell, Vice-Chair of Council of Deacons, Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.