The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle is looking into how it can safely welcome and support any Ukrainian Refugees who may find their way to the North East.

Working with CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) diocesan departments and project volunteers are looking at properties which we may be able to use; safeguarding and support for the individual families who will come and how we can support our own parishioners who are generously offering their property and homes as places of refuge.

We will keep you informed on the developments we make.

I also take this opportunity to thank you for the many donations which the Polish Community have received and for the church collections you are taking in parishes across the diocese. Once again, the people of our diocese are showing their faith in action.

Please also continue to pray for the people of Ukraine and, of course, refugees from so many places of war, violence and persecution. Perhaps you may like to join me and so many others in using this prayer from Pope Francis for all who have left their homelands:

Merciful God, we pray to you for all the men, women and children who have died after leaving their homelands in search of a better life.

Though many of their graves bear no name, to you each one is known, loved and cherished.

May we never forget them but honour their sacrifice with deeds more than words. We entrust to you all those who have made this journey, enduring fear, uncertainty and humiliation, in order to reach a place of safety and hope.

Just as you never abandoned your Son as he was brought to a safe place by Mary and Joseph, so now be close to these, your sons and daughters, through our tenderness and protection.

In caring for them may we seek a world where none are forced to leave their home and where all can live in freedom, dignity and peace.

Merciful God and Father of all, wake us from the slumber of indifference, open our eyes to their suffering, and free us from the insensitivity born of worldly comfort and self-centredness.

Inspire us, as nations, communities and individuals, to see that those who come to our shores are our brothers and sisters.

May we share with them the blessings we have received from your hand, and recognize that together, as one human family, we are all migrants, journeying in hope to you, our true home, where every tear will be wiped away, where we will be at peace and safe in your embrace.