Vicariate for Faith & Mission

Dialogue & Unity

Dialogue & Unity


Unity among all Christians is a key concern for the Catholic Church. Ecumenism, unity or cooperation with other Christian churches, is about healing and forgiving so we can all work together as a united witness to our shared faith in Christ.

Interreligious Relations promotes prayerful dialogue and peaceful harmony between our brothers and sisters of all faiths.

"Often we think that ecumenical work is only that of theologians. It is therefore important that theologians study, they agree, and they express their disagreement: this is very important. But in the meantime, ecumenism journeys on. It journeys with Jesus, not 'my Jesus against your Jesus', but with our Jesus. The journey is simple: it consists of prayer, with the help of others. Praying together: the ecumenism of prayer, for each other and all for unity. And then, the ecumenism of work for the many who are in need, for many men and women who today suffer as a result of injustice, wars, these terrible things. … All together, we must help. Love for our neighbour. This is ecumenism. This is already unity. Unity in journeying with Jesus.”

Pope Francis’ address to the Christian World Communions delegation, Oct. 12, 2016

News and Events


"This sacred Council calls upon all the Catholic faithful to recognise the signs of the times and to play an informed part in the work of ecumenism."

Vatican Council Decree On Ecumenism

Interreligious Relations

The Interreligious Relations team works closely with a number of religions across our diocese, supporting interfaith dialogue.  We encourage cooperative, constructive and positive interaction with people of all faiths.

We promote events organised by various interfaith organisations, particularly Newcastle and Durham Council of Faiths, Voices of Faith and Focolare an organisation which supports the unity of universal brotherhood, and members of the United Hebrew Congregation, who are based in Gosforth. We also work closely with Sunderland Interfaith Council.

Our role also includes offering and advice on Interfaith matters.

The team has worked closely with schools across our diocese, particularly regarding our annual Holocaust Memorial Commemorations, which take place in January each year.

The team also organises the annual Christian Muslim prayers for peace, which takes place in Jesmond Dene.  Christian and Muslim women and young children unite in prayer to Our Blessed Lady, as both faiths share devotion to her.

“Unity in journeying with Jesus.”

Pope Francis’ address to the Christian World Communions delegation, Oct. 12, 2016

Holocaust Memorial Event

‘Be a light in the darkness’

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2021 was ‘Be the light in the darkness’. This year, the Interreligious Department released a film of remembrance as a resource for schools and local parish communities.

In the film, students from St. Mary’s Catholic School, Benton and St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, Billingham asked us to consider what it means to be a light in the darkness, an affirmation and a call to action for everyone marking HMD. Bishop Robert Byrne CO offered further thought and reflection in remembering with sorrow the victims of the Holocaust, before leading the lighting of the candles as we remember the genocides and atrocities that have taking place in recent memory.

We also remembered the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, and heard the story of Immaculée, a survivor, a light in the darkness. Finally, we were joined by special guests from within Jewish community for prayer and reflection, including Anita Lasker–Wallfisch, a survivor of Auschwitz and Belson, and author of ‘Inherit the Truth 1939 – 1945‘. We also heard from Anita’s Grandson, Simon Wallfisch, playing the cello and singing the Kaddish.