Welcome to your Diocesan eNewsletter

Around the Diocese:

Appointment of the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle:

Monday 4 February 2019 saw the announcement that Pope Francis has appointed Rt. Rev. Robert Byrne, currently Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, to become the fourteenth Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle as successor to Bishop Séamus Cunningham who is retiring. Bishop Séamus has been appointed as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese by Pope Francis until Bishop Robert's Episcopal Installation, which will be celebrated on Monday 25 March 2019, Feast of the Annunciation at 12noon in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle.

Speaking of his appointment, Bishop Robert said, “I look forward to making my home in the North East, with its rich Christian heritage, and also getting to know and serve the people, deacons, religious and priests of the Diocese. I ask all of you to keep me in your prayers as I pray for you.”

Bishop Séamus said, “I am delighted to welcome Bishop Robert as my successor at a time of great challenge and hope in this Diocese. The Lord Jesus is leading us along a road of rich discernment for the future of the Church and its mission. I know that the priests, deacons, religious and people of the Diocese will warmly welcome him and assure him of our prayers. May the Lord bless his ministry among us. We commend him to Mary the Mother of God, St. Cuthbert and all the saints of our Diocese.”

You can read the press release now.

New Diocesan Vision, Mission and Values:

The weekend of Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 February saw the launch of the new Vision and Mission statement for the Diocese to help us focus our talents, energies and prayers on the things that are most important.

You can watch and listen to Bishop Séamus as he introduces the new Vision, Mission and Values in a video produced for this launch, read his Pastoral Letter or download copies of the two-sided ‘Vision/Partnership Prayer Card’ through our website.

News from the Departments:

Department for Finance and Operations:

Guidance for parishes relating to data protection and GDPR is now available on the Diocesan Data Protection webpage.

The guidance document is intended to:

  • support parishes with the basics of data protection and the GDPR;

  • explain the main principles and requirements of data protection and the GDPR;

  • provide practical advice on data security;

  • clarify how to deal with data breaches and subject access requests;

  • provide standard wording and template forms for use in parishes.

We encourage all clergy, parish employees and volunteers to access this document.

Department for Liturgy:

An In Service Training day for existing Sacristans and Liturgical Lay Leaders, ‘Marking the Books’.

This is a refresher training day for Sacristans and Liturgical Lay Leaders wishing to practice the skills required to undertake these roles and will be held held on Thursday 21 March at St. Hilda’s Resource Centre, Newcastle.

A course for New Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion is to be held in St. Charles, Gosforth starting on Tuesday 26 March.

For further information and booking, please view our webpage.

Department for Spirituality:

Lent Resources are still available to download from the Diocesan website, or alternatively contact the department and receive a CD of the resources.

Bookings are still being taken for ‘Spirituality in Times of Trauma’ with Bishop John Wilson being held on Saturday 23 March 2019. Bishop John Wilson is an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster who has considerable experience in supporting people through times of trauma. He comes with a deep awareness of the part prayer and spirituality can play in times of pain and trauma and will share some of his wisdom and insights with us.

As well as the talk from Bishop John, there will be:

  • Workshops

  • Spaces for reflection

  • A market place offering resources

For more information and to book, please contact the Department by email or tel: 0191 243 3302.

A new date for your diary, Bill Huebsch will lead a day, ‘The Mission to Accompany’, on Saturday 18 May 2019 at Ushaw College, Durham. Further information will be distributed to parishes in the near future.

St. Hilda's Diocesan Resource Centre:

We are looking for:

  • Volunteers Monday to Saturday, morning and/or afternoon to join our Welcoming Group; to meet visitors, assist them in borrowing and returning resources, where to find topics they are looking for; to assist groups who use the facilities and also to sort and ticket new additions to the library.  
  • Mobile storage units with plastic trays if any school has any to donate.   


Are there any house-bound in your community or Partnership who would like a trip out? Why not bring along someone with no transport or company to:

  • Form an Adult Colouring Club - Chat / Create / Tea / Coffee always available
  • A reading club; borrow read, share?
  • Fancy having a partnership/parish away day, why not come and visit and sample St. Hilda's facilities?

Did you know that in St. Hilda’s there is a private room, 'The Milburn Room' which holds old reference books, not for borrowing, but viewed by private appointment. If anyone is doing any research, ring the number below to arrange. See website for details of opening times.

If anyone interested in churches, architecture, history, etc,. we have some donated books in St. Hilda’s to be given away. Contact Pat by email.

Partnership News:

Partnership Sharing Area:

Partnerships are encouraged to continue to share ideas, best practice for processes and implementation of partnership planning, events, good news, success stories, etc. Ideally, contributions will consist of up to one side of A4 of text and where both suitable and relevant, imagery.

Contributions can be sent to us by email or, if your prefer they can be sent to the Vicariate contacts that supports your partnership as follows:

Each month a snapshot of any new items received will include an introductory passage her with a link to the full article in the Partnership ‘Sharing Area’ of the Diocesan website, so that the full articles can be accessed and read by our subscribers.

As a brief reminder, the objective of ‘sharing area’ is to give partnerships an opportunity to support, inform and guide other partnerships of things that have worked well, or not as the case may be, during their journey of formation, the challenges they have faced and how they have adapted to them.

Partnership Upcoming Events:

The following is a summary of future partnership events from around the Diocese:

  • Blackfriars Partnership – ‘Being The Prodigal Child’. A reflection on Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son experienced by women serving custodial sentences in Low Newton prison. It takes place on Thursday 7 March between 6.30pm and 9.00pm at St. Robert's Church, Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne. This event is being led by Open Gate, a charity working with female offenders during and after release from prison.

  • Benedict Partnership – ‘Oscar Romero’. A talk and film with Julian Filochowski (former director of CAFOD, Chair of the Archbishop Romero Trust and friend of St. Oscar Romero). It takes place on Tuesday 12 March 2019 at 7.00pm in St. Robert of Newminster School, Washington.

  • Blackfriars Partnership – ‘Our Call to Holiness’. This day is an opportunity, which is open to everyone and for those in parish ministries, to spend time, as a Partnership, in prayer and reflection on their ‘call to holiness’ as we journey through Lent together. It takes place on Saturday 16 March between 10.30am and 3.30pm at St. Cuthbert's Primary School, Balmain Rd, Kenton, Newcastle NE3 3QQ.

  • Hogarth Partnership - ‘Partnership Tour of Holland’. A partnership tour to The Lady of all Nations Shrine, Amsterdam and Keukenhof Gardens, Holland. The tour will take place between Monday 29 April through to Friday 2 May 2019. The Spiritual Leader is Fr. David Russell.

Full details of these events can also be found listed on our ‘local events’ page of our website. If you would like your future event displayed, please send details to us by email, including a poster where available. Please ensure your partnership name is clearly detailed and confirm if the event is limited to members of your partnership, specific groups or open to everyone.

Other News:

Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS):

Outreach by the Centre for Catholic Studies:

  • Immigration and Religion: A Sunday Programme Special – BBC Radio 4 programme exploring how religious groups have engaged with refugees and migrants. Featuring CCS member Anna Rowlands among others. Listen here.

  • Hearing Voices, Demonic and Divine: Scientific and Theological Perspectives – Open-access book by CCS member Chris Cook. Read here.

  • The Origins of Atheism – Online lecture series by CCS member Alec Ryrie, organised by Gresham College. Watch/listen/read here.

  • The Venerable Bede, Oscar Romero, and the Nature of Christian Vocation – Public lecture by Karen Kilby. Listen here.

If you would like to keep up-to-date with CCS members’ outreach, you might like to register for the Centre for Catholic Studies mailing list.


Coming up at Minsteracres:

  • Friday 1 (7.00pm) - Sunday 3 March (2.00pm); Friends Retreat: Volunteers and friends all welcome at the start of a new season

  • Saturday 9 March and Wednesday 10 April, 10.00am – 5.00pm; Walking Retreat: Enjoy a walk of seven to ten miles through beautiful countryside.

  • Wednesday 13, 20 and 27 March, 10.00am – 4.00pm with lunch; Quiet Days, Listen to God in scripture enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the countryside. The quiet days will be led by Kathryn Turner, Sr. Sheila McNamara RSCJ and Sr. Anne McCarthy RSCJ.

  • Wednesday 3 April 10.00am – 4.00pm; God is Ripening, Patrick Woodhouse will lead a day on the spirituality of 'The Book of Hours' by Rainer Maria Rilke.

    The spiritual life of the Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke is explored in 'The Book of Hours', influential in the writings of Jewish diarist Etty Hillesum in her understanding of God in the face of the horrors of the Holocaust.

  • Thursday 18 (6.30pm) – Sunday 21 April (2.00pm); Holy Week Retreat: Time for reflection and the opportunity to take part in the ceremonies of Holy Week.

  • Monday 6 May; Open House, a warm welcome awaits you at Minsteracres with exhibitions, tours, reflection, tea/coffee and home cooking.

For more information about Minsteracres and our full programme visit our website or call us on 01434 673248.

Ushaw College:

Edwin Bonney Organ Recital Series:

We are pleased to announce the first organ recital of the season.

Roger Muttitt, Director of Music, Durham School on Saturday 23 March at 2.00pm in St. Cuthbert's Chapel. Retiring Collection. Refectory Café open from 11.00am – 5.00pm.

Programme to include:

Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor BWV 582 - J.S. Bach,
Chorale No. 2 in B minor – César Franck,
Variations on ‘America’ – Charles Ives.

Quiet Day at Ushaw:

An opportunity to step aside, to listen to God in scripture and to enjoy the peace. Led by Sister Rosarie Spence.

£10 per person, including coffee, tea and biscuits served both on arrival and to conclude the day. Lunch, with a delicious choice of great value home-made food, is available to purchase in the refectory. Bookings to be made via the Ushaw website or tel: 0191 334 5119.

On Wednesday 27 March 10.30am to 4.00pm.

Youth Ministry Team:

Pope John Paul II Award Ceremony:

130 young people from our Diocese will be receiving awards at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House on Thursday 14 March.

All are welcome to come along and support our young people. Please email us if you would like a ticket for the ceremony.

A training session for award leaders and potential award leaders will take place on Friday 17 May from 1.30pm – 3.00pm. Venue to be confirmed, but please save the date.

The Source at St. Mary’s Cathedral:

Just a reminder to everyone that the next Source will be held on Wednesday 3 April. This will be a chance to have input and to come together for prayer, adoration and social time. More information about April’s Source will be provided after Flame.

Faith in Action Award for School Years 6-10:

Two more diary dates: Training sessions will take place for Faith in Action award leaders and moderators on Friday 5 April between 10.00am – 11.30am (south of Diocese) and 1.30pm – 3.00pm (north of Diocese). Venues tbc. Training sessions for those interested in starting the Award in their parishes and schools will take place on Friday 7 June.

General News:

Pope's Worldwide Prayer network:

Each month the Holy Father will have a main prayer intention for people to use as part of their daily prayer, and he will also announce an "urgent intention" for people’s prayer. A short video based on the main intention published each month and known as 'The Pope Video'. These videos can be accessed through our YouTube channel.

Visit and bookmark our webpage to see this month's intentions now.

Latest and upcoming events:

Diocesan Church Music Association: Keyboard-free music workshop.

On Saturday 9 March from 10.00am until 3.30pm at Ushaw College, Durham.

£10, booking required, to book your place email: Alison or call
on 0191 371 9184.

Please see poster for full details.

See Posters Noticeboard to download posters. See Local Events page for details of upcoming event around the parishes. See Non-Diocesan Events page to download posters for events organised by Non-Diocesan organisations.

Social Media:

Contact us:

Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle, Department for Communication:
Tel: 0191 243 3310 or email: news@rcdhn.org.uk.

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