Vicariate for Faith & Mission Update (February 2022)

February 1 2022

Update from the Vicariate

At the end of January we celebrated the graduation of students from our Diocese who have successfully completed the Pastoral Ministry Certificate with Chicago Loyola University. Joining with the other Diocese from across the North of the England these students have completed two years of online study in all things ministry. We had a wonderful celebration at Ushaw College with the students, their friends, family and tutors. Bishop Robert Byrne CO celebrated Mass and congratulated the students on their learning journey.

A key aim for this Vicariate is to recognise and empower the gifts we have all been given for building God’s kingdom, particularly the gifts of the Laity. There are many examples of amazing things happening across the diocese when people have the confidence to step up and realise their calling and their gifts. If you are unsure of what your gifts are, we do have a short formation programme you could follow. Just email us to get more details. As we look to the coming months, we are reviewing the courses that are available in the Diocese and we are keen to hear from you. If there are certain areas you wished were available, again drop us a line and let us know.


There are many gatherings taking place across the diocese to engage with the Synod process. The Synod team have been facilitating meetings from Alnwick to Stockton and many places in between. There is still time to get involved and join in the conversation and walk with one another. Over the coming month, events will be advertised on the website including the opportunity to come online and pray, and discern the way forward as Church. You would be very welcome.

There are many resources available on the website including the original documents from Rome, the Bishops Conference of England & wales documents and our own diocesan leaflets. Alongside these you will find a number of videos that we hope you will find helpful. To find out more about the Synod, and how to participate, visit our website.

Lenten Reflections

As we begin to journey towards the season of Lent, the Vicariate for Faith & Mission has once again worked with members of the Clergy and Laity in our Diocese to produce a series of beautiful reflections on the daily readings throughout Lent. The series of reflections will be available to download from the Diocesan website from mid-February.

Fr Sean Hall continues to offer his weekly reflections on the Sunday Readings – available to read online or download here.

Year of the Eucharist

This Diocesan Year aims to celebrate the Eucharist at the heart of the life and mission of the Church and to gather people back to the Mass and the Sacraments. We are to grow as a Diocese in our love and appreciation of the Eucharist. We are to deepen our appreciation of its celebration through the liturgy. We are to revitalise and renew our faith through a deepening prayer and devotion of the Eucharist. And we are to go out and serve the world through the nourishment we receive.

Bishop Robert offers his Reflection on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Wednesday 2 February) in this Diocesan Year of the Eucharist.

CHARIS (Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service)

Themes from the group discussions at our two launch events have now been discerned. These will be shared shortly in our CHARIS section on the Diocesan Website. The team will now discuss and discern how to support and facilitate what we heard people are hoping to see happening through 2022 and beyond.

Information on a number of the charismatic prayer groups, communities and realities in the Diocese will shortly be made available on the Diocesan website.

We are also close to publishing our first newsletter, which will be sent to people who gave us their contact details at the launch events.

The National Service of Communion for CHARIS has set dates in February 2022 for Diocesan Service of Communion teams in the north of England to meet for fellowship, and mutual support and encouragement. Please pray that ways will be found for this to happen.

John Wheeler, Coordinator Hexham & Newcastle Diocesan Service of Communion


Interreligious Relations

Save the date: The annual Christian Muslim Prayer Gathering for women and young children is provisionally booked for Saturday 25 June. The gathering will take place at the historic Lady Chapel in Jesmond Dene. More details to follow soon.

Bereavement Support

Whilst bereavement is extremely hard at any time, these last months of lockdown have been particularly difficult, whilst funerals that have had to take place in very restricted circumstances have taken their toll on so many. Whilst family and friends can be immensely supportive, sometimes a bereaved person wants to talk to someone outside of their immediate circle. The Emmaus Bereavement Support Team, trained in the Ministry of Consolation, is available to support those who wish to talk about their loss.  Due to current restrictions, such conversations will most likely take place on the phone, but we hope as restrictions ease, it may be possible for people to meet face-to-face again.

Since the launch of this service earlier this year, there have been a number of requests for support, and several of our listeners have been able to accompany others on their journey of loss and bereavement.

The Emmaus Bereavement Support Service number is 07732 980740 a member of the team will contact you promptly.

Contact Us

Contact the Vicariate of Faith & Mission by email: or by telephone 0191 243 3316 / 07375 934713 during office hours.

Visit our vicariate homepage here.