Update from the Vicariate

It has been an absolute privilege to be involved in so many Synod conversations during this diocesan phase of the Universal Synod. There are a number of themes emerging and plenty to think and pray about. It seems that the message has been largely picked up that this isn’t simply about producing a report, but rather about looking at how we walk alongside one another as Church, this is key for us going forward.

We have had some fantastic gatherings of our Partnerships for Synod and our online Synod conversation with Bishop Robert proved to bring further light and discernment. At every meeting and time of prayer what has been clear is the commitment and passion that people have for their faith. People are stirred to speak and want to heard. Pope Francis invites all of us to speak with courage and the Holy Spirit and I feel in Hexham and Newcastle diocese this has really come to life.

As we move forward through this diocesan stage all reports are being collated. There is a commitment that every single submission will be read by a number of different people both clergy and laity. All of the submissions will be received in prayerful discernment and will inform the discernment that is taken forward by Bishop Robert for the growth and mission in our diocese.   If you have contributed so far we ask for your prayers for this crucial next step. If you have somehow missed the conversation don’t worry, being a Synodal Church involves us all, every day walking together and finding the guidance of the Holy Spirit on the way- so you can still be a part of this vision.


Please visit our Synod website page for all the latest news, information, events and resources about the Synod in our diocese.

Highlights from this month include:

  • A compilation of short interviews and a gallery of photographs from the Synod Partnerships’ gathering on 23 Feb.
  • Invitation to a webinar with Sr. Nathalie Becquart, Undersecretary to the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican and a member of the Dicastery for Communication, appointed by Pope Francis.
  • A short video reflection from Father Sean Hall on the story of Peter and Cornelius from the 10th Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles to guide us in our preparations for the Synod.
  • A short video from best-selling author Kathryn Mannix who shares about listening and having ‘tender conversations’.

What are people saying across the diocese about being a synodal Church?

  • Check out our Diocesan social media channels with quotes from people from across our diocese.

Lenten Reflections

As we step further into the diocesan Year of the Eucharist, we do so within the Participation element of the Synod journey Pope Francis has invited us to walk in pilgrimage. Lent is the holy season when our heavenly Father invites us to return to him with all our heart; an opportunity to seek healing and to know the transforming mercy of God.

We walk these forty Lent days with Jesus, the Son; a pilgrimage of grace in which we look to Him for new direction, for healing and for hope. Our participation in His way of the cross is one which is walked in weakness and need, and paced by the patient love he shows us on the road.

The Lenten Reflections are now available to download (in two parts) from the Diocesan website.

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

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’s Reflection for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (25th March) in this Diocesan Year of the Eucharist will be available shortly.

CHARIS (Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service)

The production of our first newsletter is nearing completion and will be shared via the CHARIS section on the Diocesan website and sent to people on the CHARIS mailing list.

The team will be hosting “Encounter God through Praise and Worship” at St Mary’s Church, Sunderland on Saturday 30th April 2022 from 11:00 to 3:00. We look forward to this being a unique opportunity for people to come closer to the Lord and be more open to the Holy Spirit through praise and worship provided by two charismatic music groups, other musicians bringing their instruments and everyone offering their voices to the Lord.  More details, and an opportunity to book a place, will be made available shortly on the events page of the Diocesan website and through a poster, which will be sent to people on our contact list.

We continue to plan for a Charismatic Mass at the Cathedral around the time of Pentecost. The date and time are yet to be finalised, with a Saturday afternoon being the most likely.

Please continue to pray for the work of the team.

John Wheeler, Coordinator Hexham & Newcastle Diocesan Service of Communion

Email: charis@diocesehn.org.uk

Interreligious Relations

The Holocaust event is still available to view via the Dialogue & Unity section on the website.

Save the date: The annual Christian Muslim Prayer Gathering for women and young children is provisionally booked for Saturday June 25th. 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.

Spiritual Accompaniment

Within the Vicariate for Faith & Mission, we can offer Spiritual Accompaniment to those who wish to talk with someone about where God is working in their lives. Spiritual Accompaniment provides a sacred, safe listening space where you can explore your spiritual life, your faith journey and where God is at work in all things. It is not a ‘fixing’ or problem solving space, rather a space to be heard. You may bring things related to your prayer life, your ‘interior’ life in general, or your family, work, leisure, relationships, Church, but it will always be in the context of where God is in it all. For more information on Spiritual Accompaniment, please visit https://diocesehn.org.uk/living-the-faith/deepening-faith/ where there is also a link to contact Sr Sheila McNamara, lead for Spiritual Accompaniment.

St Antony’s Priory will also be beginning the next ‘Exploring Spiritual Accompaniment’ programme in September 2022. ‘Exploring Spiritual Accompaniment’ is a two-year programme of formation that provides both an opportunity for personal spiritual development, as well as offering practical and experiential training in the skills applicable to accompanying others on their faith journey. Further information about the course is available at www.stantonyspriory.org/training

Association of the Eucharist

All are welcome to attend our monthly Holy Hour, held at St Andrew’s Church, Worswick Street, Newcastle between 2:00pm-3:00pm. Refreshments are served afterwards, so we invite you to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, as part of the Year of the Eucharist.


Contact Us

Contact the Vicariate of Faith & Mission by email: adminfaith.mission@diocesehn.org.uk or by telephone 0191 243 3316 / 07375 934713 during office hours.

Visit our vicariate homepage here.