Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Permanent Diaconate - News and Events


Upcoming Events:

Diaconate Information Evenings

If you think that the Holy Spirit might be prompting you to respond to God’s call to consider your vocation to the permanent diaconate, then why not come along to one of the information evenings that are being held across the diocese this autumn? Details of these sessions, which all start at 7.00pm and last for about 90 minutes, are as follows:

  • Thursday 19 September – English Martyrs and SS Peter and Paul, Redhill Road, Stockton on Tees, TS19 9BY.

  • Thursday 3 October – St. Bede’s, Catholic Row, Bedlington, Northumberland, NE22 6HS.

  • Thursday 17 October – St. Mary’s, Bridge Street, Sunderland, SR1 1TQ

  • Thursday 7 November – St. Hilda’s Resource Centre, West Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE15 7PY.

At each of these sessions, there will be the opportunity to listen to a deacon share his own experience, to hear from the wife of a man who is a deacon what it means for them and family life, a chance to know a more about the formation programme and the application process and, most importantly of all, the opportunity to ask questions. Wives of men who are considering the permanent diaconate are equally welcome to attend these sessions. The prayerful discernment of husband and wife as a married couple is an essential aspect to consider during formation and beyond ordination. We look forward to welcoming you at one of these sessions.

Past Events:

Ministries Mass – Tuesday 16 July 2019

On Tuesday 16 July at St. Joseph's Church, Hartlepool, Bishop Robert celebrated Mass to mark the movement of Jeremy Cain (Holy Family, Hartlepool), Sibby Thomas (St. Joseph's, Sunderland) and Neil Haggerstone (Our Lady of the Rosary, Peterlee) from Candidate to Lector in their training for the Permanent Diaconate. They were accompanied by family, friends, Parish priests, members of the Diaconate Community, parishioners and the Formation Team.

Pat Kennedy MPS Coordinator of Studies.

Ministry Mass 2019

A Treasure In Clay – Walking With God’ – 22 to 24 February 2019

Over the weekend of 22 – 24 February 2019, the Diocesan Deacons in Training attended their annual retreat along with their wives. This year's Retreat was entitled, ‘A Treasure in Clay. Walking with God’ and was led by Fr. Paul Jenkins OCARM.

For some it was said to be their favourite retreat to date. It was felt to be a very rewarding time together, an amazing weekend of learning, fellowship, memories and inspiration, It was provoking, but also confirming of faith and it challenged us to go beyond where we are and dream where we could be.

“Fr. Paul gave me the courage to go below the surface and look at what prevents me believing in who I am, the person that God knows me to be. The person God dreams that I will discover and come to love as much as God does. Hopefully I have begun that journey this weekend.”

Pat Kennedy MPS, member of Formation Team

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