Dialogue & Unity

Welcome

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

Ecumenism

"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

‘One Day’

The theme of the 2022 Holocaust Memorial Evenings is ‘One Day’. This year, we heard from our special guest speaker Mrs Hanneke Dye.

The video memorial can be viewed below.

‘One Day’

Holocaust Memorial Day is held annually on the 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex of camps in 1945. Over 1 million Jewish men, women and children lost their lives in these camps. In total, over 6 million were murdered during the Nazi persecution.

We acknowledge the other ‘genocides’ that have taken place during the 20th century: Armenia (1915), Cambodia (1975 – 79), Rwanda (1994), Bosnia (1992 – 95), Darfur (2003 – present) and those who are still facing terror and persecution.

We welcome Mrs Hanneke Dye, who is our special guest speaker.

Mrs Hanneke Dye

Hanneke was born into a Jewish family, in Nazi occupied Holland, in 1943. A sympathetic doctor, realising the peril the family were in, hid her in a vacuum cleaner box for her safety. She went on to spend the first two years of her life in hiding.

The family were living with her Uncle Jeep when the Nazi’s raided the house. Fortunately for Hanneke, she was fast asleep in the vacuum cleaner box and was not discovered.

For her safety, Uncle Jeep managed to move her to a nearby Catholic Children’s home where she was looked after by a lady named Aunt Pop. This move saved her life. Whilst she was reunited with her parents after the war, tragically her grandparents were murdered in the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex.

Joint Christian and Muslim Pray for Peace Event

The Interreligious Relations Team were pleased to announce the return of its annual Pray for Peace held in St. Mary’s Chapel, Jesmond. It is a Joint Christian / Muslim event that brings together women and young children from these communities to pray for peace. Here is a report about this year’s event.

Christians and Muslims meet in St. Mary’s Chapel. The Interreligious Team adds:

“We were very glad to be able to meet in person for our Christian and Muslim women’s prayer event in St. Mary’s chapel in Jesmond on Saturday 25 June. We were blessed with a lovely sunny day and those who were there commented on a very pleasant, friendly and prayerful atmosphere. It was wonderful that Christine Wickens, one of the founders of the event, was able to join us from her care home.

“It was good to be able to chat over refreshments in the Holy Name Hall afterwards. We exchanged information about the rosary and the Muslim tasbih and also shared our gratitude for the beauty of God’s creation and the opportunity to meet again after the difficult experience of the pandemic.

“It was quite special to honour Mary and to pray for peace in the tranquil setting of St. Mary’s Chapel-once an important medieval shrine to Our Lady.”

For photos of the event, please click here.

Calendar of Non-Christian Festivals

Here are details of some non-Christian Festivals that occur during the remainder of this calendar year (source: Catholic Bishops’ Conference website).

10 July: Martyrdom of the Bab – The day of the execution of the co-founder of the Baha’i faith.

26 October: Birthday of the Bab – A day honouring the birthday of God’s messenger in the Baha’i faith.

27 October: Birthday of Baha’u’llah – A day honouring the birthday of the prophet-founding of the Baha’i faith.

10 – 25 September: Pitru Paksha – A time when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors.

26 September – 4 Ocotber: Navaratri – A Hindu festival that celebrates the Goddess Durga.

5 October: Dussehra – The tenth and final day of the Hindu festival honouring Asuj Navratras.

24 October: Diwali – A 5-day festival of light that combines several different festivals in honour of gods, goddesses, harvests, new year’s, etc. It is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains.

23 September: Paryushana – A Jain festival about forgiveness that is the faith’s most important religious observance.

24 October: Diwali – A 5-day festival of light that combines several different festivals in honour of gods, goddesses, harvests, new year’s, etc. It is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains.

24 November: Jain New Year – A holiday always following Diwali; Jains celebrate their new year on the first day after the month of Kartika.

6 July: Tisha B’Av – A Jewish holiday that remembers the destruction of the Jewish temple, once in 586 BCE and once in 70 CE in Jerusalem.

25 – 27 September: Rosh Hashanah – The Jewish New Year beginning at sundown that encourages reflection.

5 October: Yom Kippur – A Jewish day of atonement to reflect on sins and seek forgiveness from God.

9 – 16 October: Sukkot – A day in the Jewish faith that remembers when the Jews journeyed to the desert on the way to the promised land.

18 – 26 December: Hanukkah – The 8-day celebration of the “Festival of Lights” that honors the victory of Jews over Syrian Greeks.

7 – 12 July: The Hajj – The name for the annual pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca required for all Muslims at least once.

9 – 10 July: Eid al-Adha – A Muslim holiday that marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage.

22 July: Islamic New Year 1444 – This day commemorates the migration of the Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Medina in 622 CE, this led to the formation of the Muslim community in this region.

29 August: Hijiri – Also known as Islamic New Year, this is the start of the Islamic lunar calendar, which begins when the crescent moon is sighted.

17 September: Arbaeen – A day of observance for Muslims that concludes the 40-day mourning period after the Day of Ashura.

8 October: Mawlid – An Islamic holiday celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.

1 August: Lugmasadh – A festival in the Pagan and Wiccan religions that marks the beginning of harvest season.

23 September: Mabon – This day marks the autumnal equinox in the Pagan and Wiccan religions.

1 November: Samhain – A festival in the Pagan and Wiccan religions that marks the end of the harvest season.

21 December: Yule – A Pagan and Wiccan holiday that begins at sundown at the winter solstice.

23 July: Birthday of Haile Selassie – A holiday in Rastafarianism that celebrates Emperor Haile Selassie, an individual believed to be the incarnation of God.

2 November: Anniversary of the Crowning of Haile Selassie.

24 October: Diwali – A 5-day festival of light that combines several different festivals in honour of gods, goddesses, harvests, new year’s, etc. It is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains.

8 November: Birthday of Guru Nanak Ji – A day honouring the birth of the founder of Sikhism.

Contact Us

How to contact the Vicariate for Faith & Mission:

Email: adminfaith.mission@diocesehn.org.uk

Tel: 0191 243 3316 (office*) or 07375 934713 (mobile)

*Your call may be automatically diverted to the mobile number.

Admin office hours:
Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm, excluding Bank Holidays.

To see a full list of Vicariate contacts and leads, please visit our Faith & Mission page.