Update from the Vicariate

November sees a number of key events for us as a Diocese as we come to the close of our Year of the Eucharist. This includes the launch of a resource of ‘Saints and the Eucharist’ prepared by our Diocesan seminarians with artwork created by Fr John Bagnall. On Saturday 5 November 2022 we have Bishop Oakley visiting us at St Mary’s Catholic School, Benton. We also have the launch of the second course of the Accompanying those seeking healing course.

As we journey on the synodal path we continue to meet as the Lay Pastoral Forum, and we have on offer a fantastic opportunity for women’s voices to be heard as a synodal Church with a National Conference being held at Ushaw. On 25 – 27 November 2022, the National Board of Catholic women are hosting a conference entitled ‘Women on the periphery taking centre stage’. The weekend will host Sr Maria Kolbe appointed to the General Secretariat of Synod of Bishops of Rome who is here to listen directly to the views of women in the UK. I really encourage you to come and be heard and to represent what it means to be a Catholic woman in our context. Alongside this synodal opportunity there is a whole variety of female speakers sharing the work they are involved in including Dr Pat Jones, speaking up about violence against women. Elizabeth Palmer the CEO of the SVP, Dr Clare Campbell speaking about Education and being the change, Nalini Nathan speaking on being a voice from the margins and many more. The conference is donation only and we are really lucky to have this on our doorsteps and within the Diocese. It would be great to have local support, come for some of the weekend if you can’t make the whole thing. Please book here.

Amy Cameron, Coordinator for the Vicariate for Faith & Mission.


The Joy of the Gospel

Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved” (#6).

Evangelii Gaudium, the Joy of the Gospel, looks at the new evangelisation for the transmission of the faith and has chapters on the following subjects:

  • The Church’s Missionary Transformation
  • The Crisis of Communal Commitment
  • The Proclamation of the Gospel
  • The Social Dimension of Evangelization
  • Spirit-Filled Evangelizers

The full text of Evangelii Gaudium can be downloaded here.

Quick Link: Sharing the Faith.

November - The Month of Remembrance

The month of November is traditionally a time in which the Catholic community remembers those who have died. The Church uses this end of the year period, leading up to the beginning of Advent, as a time to think about the end of earthly life and all things, and the transition into a new heavenly life.

Requests for support following a close bereavement continue to come in via our dedicated Bereavement Listening Service, but also from people who have heard about our work from other people such as friends or parishioners. A person living in Bristol who had seen the information on our Diocesan website contacted us and we were able to put them in touch with someone in their Diocese.

On Wednesday 9 November, two members of our team are leading a Day of Consolation at Minsteracres for those who are bereaved. A further date next year is to be announced.

Please visit Accompaniment in Difficult Times for more information, prayers and resources.

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. The Diocesan vision for this time is that we grow in our love and appreciation of the Eucharist, that we deepen our appreciation of its celebration through the liturgy. We hope to revitalise and renew our faith through a deepening of prayer and Eucharistic devotion inspiring us to go out and to serve the world through the nourishment we receive.

Bishop Robert will officially close the Year of the Eucharist at the 11.30am Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle on Sunday 20 November, the feast of Christ the King. Further resources will be available on the Diocesan website shortly that will allow all to celebrate the Eucharist.

Reflections on Saints associated with the Eucharist

Written by the Seminarians of the Diocese and with artwork from Fr John Bagnall, Reflections on Saints associated with the Eucharist is a wonderful resource which explores the lives of seven saints and their personal relationships with the Eucharist. The reflections and artwork are available to read and download on the Year of the Eucharist page.

Quick Link: Year of the Eucharist.


Liturgical Formation and Days of Reflection

The Diocesan Liturgy team’s Autumn Calendar of Liturgy courses for formation and Days of Reflection is well under way. There is still opportunity to register for:

  • A study day for leaders of Children’s Liturgy of the Word.
  • A Day of Reflection for Readers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

Liturgy Courses / Days of Reflection confirmed:

Saturday 12 November 2022 – Study Day for Children’s Liturgy of the Word. View here.

Saturday 26 November 2022 – Day of Reflection for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. View here.

Further information about each of the courses/events, along with booking information, is available on Liturgy and Prayer webpage.

The Diocesan Church Music Association (DCMA)

The DCMA has a new webpage. Please click here to find out about the team behind our Diocesan Church Music Association and the services and resources available to support many aspects of church music across the Diocese.

Calling all parish musicians

The DCMA are currently planning their programme for 2023 – 2024 and would find it helpful to have an overview of music ministries across the Diocese, their capabilities and how they may have been impacted by the pandemic. If you are involved in the music ministry within your parish, it would be appreciated if you could take a few minutes to complete this questionnaire by 31 January 2023.

Seasonal Reflections Coming soon

As we journey towards the season of Advent in preparation for the birth of Christ, the Vicariate for Faith & Mission has produced a booked of Advent reflections. Written by members of the Diocesan Clergy, Religious and Laity, we hope that the reflections will be provide a moment of daily quiet in a busy world.

Visit the Seasonal Reflections webpage from the beginning of Advent.

Quick Link: Liturgy & Prayer.

Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion (CDSC)

We look back on our first Vicariate event, ‘You are my beloved child‘ on 22 October 2022, with great appreciation for all those in the Cleveland and South Durham Vicariate for helping to make this such a special opportunity to come closer to our Blessed Lord and be more open to His Holy Spirit. Drawing on our experience of working in partnership with the Bethany prayer group, we look forward to working with new partners as we plan our next event in the Northumberland Vicariate. If you are in the Northumberland Vicariate, involved with Charismatic Renewal, and would like to contribute to the planning please let us know by email. Please pray for the success of this next event.

Emmanuel Catholic Charismatic Community are hosting Bishop David Oakley, Bishop of Northampton, on Saturday 5 November 2022 at St Mary’s Catholic School, Benton Park Road, Newcastle NE7 7PE.

The title of Bishop Oakley’s talk will be ‘Charis – A Compass for Renewal in the Church‘.

The day will run from 10.00am to 4.30pm, provide an opportunity to reflect on renewal in the Church and what we can all contribute, concluding with Mass for the Sunday Vigil. More details can be found on the Diocesan website here. To book, please email Pat Kennedy: pat.kennedy42@icloud.com or tel: 0191 284 1690.

A Mass for Pentecost 2023 – Save the date

Following this year’s experience of hosting a Mass for Pentecost at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle, we are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Pentecostal Mass next year at the Cathedral again on Saturday 13 May 2023 at 1.00pm. More details nearer the time.

We are gathering content again for our next newsletter. Please let us know about any opportunities for people to be more open to the Holy Spirit that you would like us to include under ‘News from the Diocese‘.

Frank O’Neill and I will shortly have the privilege of attending a CDSC Team Conference gathering on 19 and 20 November in Northampton. Bishop David Oakley and the CHARIS Coordinating Team for England & Wales will be sharing an update and discussing with Coordinators from across England & Wales about how we are to take the mission of CHARIS to the next level in each Diocese. Please pray for the success of this gathering.

John Wheeler, Co-ordinator Hexham and Newcastle Diocesan Service of Communion.

Email: charis@diocesehn.org.uk

Quick Link: CHARIS

Dialogue & Unity

Interfaith Week 13 to 20 November

Interfaith Week begins on Remembrance Sunday and runs until the following Sunday. This provides the opportunity for other weekend events to take place as well as those linked to Remembrance Sunday.

Remembrance Sunday was chosen to encourage people to remember together the contributions of all faiths and none, and to consider how best to create a just peaceful and harmonious world.

Interfaith Week ends on Mitzvah Day, which is Jewish led and aims to bring together people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds to volunteer side by side to build understanding and friendship.

Please check our Diocesan webpage, the local press, parish newsletters for information regarding Interfaith Week activities taking place near you.

Visit the website for a Calendar of non-Christian Festivals.

Quick Link: Dialogue & Unity.

Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies launches FCJ Bicentenary Scholarship Fund

The Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS) at Durham University has launched a £400,000 postgraduate scholarship fund in partnership with The Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) to mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of the FCJ Society.

Funded over the next four years, the Sisters want to enhance their apostolic outreach and to support ministries which are aligned with the FCJ charism, ethos and the calls of their 2019 General Chapter.

The partnership with the CCS continues the Sisters’ dedication to education and chimes with one of the CCS’s stated aims, to form outstanding theologians and scholars of Catholicism who will shape the future from the richness of Catholic tradition in the church, academy, and public life.

Sr Bríd Liston fcJ, Area Leader, commented: “It is good to be able to support the development of students in the CCS, Durham University, given the commitment of the FCJ Society to education in the North East of England, particularly in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, for over one hundred and fifty years.”

Scholarship applications are open to all (subject to usual Durham University eligibility criteria), and encouraged among those hoping to pursue postgraduate research across broad themes aligned to the FCJ Chapter calls: ‘Compassionate Action’, and ‘Care for Our Common Home’. Applications are particularly encouraged from among women in the North East of England.

Founded in 2007, the CCS at Durham University represents a creative partnership between academy and church: a centre within the pluralist, public academy for critically constructive Catholic studies of the highest academic standing. The CCS offers a wide-range of scholarships and bursaries funded by a number of partner congregations, organisations and individuals.

For more information and contact details please visit the website for the Centre for Catholic Studies.

For more information, please contact:
Prof Paul Murray, CCS Director: 07834 567792
Tim Guinan, CCS Development Executive: 07771 500808
Theresa Phillips, CCS Administrator: 07840 854865
Sr Bríd Liston fcJ, Area Leader: +353 (0) 1 492 4093. Office: +353 (0) 1 492 4044

Bereavement Support

Whilst bereavement is extremely hard at any time, the time spent in lockdown when funerals 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, 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.

Quick Link: Accompaniment in Difficult Times.


Father Sean Hall continues to offer his weekly reflections on the Sunday Readings and Pat Kennedy her monthly reflections, both available to read online or download in the Prayer Resources section.

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 for Faith & Mission News page here.