On Saturday 16 December, Bishop Stephen made his first visit to Minsteracres Retreat Centre. He began by celebrating Mass for the 1st Gateshead group of the Scouts of Europe in St Elizabeth’s. Minsteracres rector, Fr Emmanuel Kabinga CP, parish deacon, Rev. David Collins, and Fr Peter Hannah OP assisted. During his homily, Bishop Stephen explained to the cubs and scouts the meaning behind his crosier, mitre and scullcap, which kept them enthralled.

After Mass, Bishop Stephen joined the Passionist Community for lunch and a tour of Minsteracres.

He joined the scouts in the Peace Garden to witness seven of the scouts making their scout promise and to bless each of them on their onward journey.

Paul Hammond, leader of the scouts, commented: “We were blessed to have Bishop Stephen accompany us for this special day and to brave the arctic wind. He is now well and truly acclimatised to the North East!