Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Fr. Michael Hickey RIP

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of Fr. Michael Hickey on Wednesday 1 July 2020.

Please remember Fr. Michael and his family in your prayers and pray for the repose of his soul.

May he rest in peace.

COVID–19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic – Church Response

Bishop Robert Byrne CO has announced the reopening of our first churches for Mass and individual prayer

The following churches are open for Mass. Please visit the links below to access more information.

Cathedral Church of St. Mary, Newcastle upon Tyne – Link

Gosforth, St. Charles’ Church – Link

Alnwick, St Paul's Church – Link

Please note: live streaming may be in effect during Mass. If you do not wish to be at risk of being filmed, please inform your parish priest or designated person on visiting the church.

The following churches are open for individual prayer. Please visit the links below to access more information.

Cathedral Church of St. Mary, Newcastle upon Tyne – Link

Ashington, St. Aidan – Link

Billingham, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary – Link

Consett, St. Patrick – Link

Gosforth, St. Charles – Link

Hartlepool, St. Joseph – Link

Hexham, St. Mary – Link

Newcastle, St. Teresa (from 6 July) – Link

Sunderland, St. Mary – Link

Winlaton, St. Anne – Link

Due to social distancing measures, there will be a limited capacity in each church. Should the maximum capacity of a church be met, a queueing system will be implemented outside of the Church.

Important Notice:

Please click here to view a statement about the next twenty churches that are planned to reopen.

Please click here to download our handbook for the reopening of churches.

Please click here to read our frequently asked questions (FAQs) guide.

Please click here for a Prayer Resources for those visiting our churches or those that remain at home.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols statement on Resumption of Collective Acts of Worship

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has issued a statement in response to the Prime Minister's statement allowing places of worship to resume collective acts of worship from 4 July.

Read the full statement on the Bishops' Conference website.

A Message from the Metropolitan Archbishops of the Catholic Church in England

The Metropolitan Archbishops of the Catholic Church in England have released a joint statement on the Resumption of Public Worship. Read the full statement here (pdf).

CAFOD Virtual Pilgrimage starts 1 July

With the help of parishioners from across the Diocese, CAFOD is organising a Holy Island ‘virtual pilgrimage’ from 1 to 11 July 2020. The virtual pilgrimage will feature daily reflection and prayer, stories from past pilgrims and will end with a special Mass at 3.00pm on Saturday 11 July 2020.

For more information visit CAFOD Hexham & Newcastle’s blog.

A diocesan Day of Scripture

On Friday 19 June we held a diocesan Day of Scripture, as part of our 2020 Year of the Word celebrations.

Programme of Events:

All the sessions are still available to watch through our YouTube Playlist, alternatively, click on the individual links below. Each video hassubtitles available that can be turned on in the settings.

10.00am - Welcome and Introduction:

With Canon Chris Jackson


10.10am - Office of Readings:

Led by Sophie Taylor and Margaret Taylor

LinkPrayer resource

11.00am - Lectio Divina:

Led by Bishop Robert Byrne CO.

LinkPrayer resource

11.30am - Scripture for Children:

Led by Dr. Medi Volpe–Ayres.

LinkPrayer resource

1.30pm - Visio Divina:

Led by Sr. M. Michael, RSM.


2.30pm - Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible:

Led by Mr. Nick McTernan.

LinkPrayer resource

3.30pm - The Scriptural Rosary:

Led by young people of our Diocese.


4.30pm - The Lindisfarne Gospels:

Led by Mr. Emmet O'Leary


5.30pm - Promoting a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land:

With Canon Chris Jackson


6.00pm - Bible, Belief and Belonging:

Led by Professor Karen Kilby.


7.00pm - Closing Prayer: Imaginative Contemplation:

Led by Fr. Mark Millward


A letter from the Pauline Books & Media

Sr. Angela Grant of Pauline Books & Media based at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle has issued a letter, outlining the steps being taken during lockdown and their progress towards a phased re-opening of the shop. In the meantime, you can visit their website: where you can order your supplies online or telephone 01753 577629.

‘Where the Hell is God?’

In these trying times, many people are led to ask the big questions of life. Where is God in the midst of Covid-19? Seeking God, questioning God are very natural responses to times of trial and grief and they are not new questions to the Catholic Church. In this Irish Jesuit's podcast, Fr. Richard Leonard shares his journey in asking ‘Where the Hell is God’ in the face of tragedy and he provides some solid advice on how to support others facing distress.

Watch this introduction by Fr. Sean Hall:

Do you need to speak to someone for support?

For those who are seeking a Priest with whom they can speak at this time, could you please contact the Parish Priest at your local Church. You can find your local Church telephone number by visiting our Church directory and selecting the link for your church. This link will display the Church contact details.

Dedicated counsellors and listeners are also available at the Cathedral Listening Service on 0191 232 6953 and on the Northumberland Listening Service on 07732 980740.

Vicariate for Caritas, Diocesan Pastoral Support and Outreach:

Fr. Adrian Tuckwell, Episcopal Vicar for Caritas provides a helpful summary of Pastoral Support available around the Diocese here (pdfword).

Vinnie's Cafe – St. Vincent de Paul Society:

Vinnie's Cafe offer help and support to people in need in Newcastle for St. Vincent De Paul Society. Their food bank supplies are currently running low. If anyone could help them with donations it would be very much appreciated. You can donate through their justgiving fundraiser or call them to arrange a suitable drop off for supplies by tel: 0191 261 6027 (option 1, Monday – Thursday).

Alternatively, you can send a bank payment to Nat West Bank, sort code: 60–60–04, account no. 46073051 and ref: SVP Newcastle. Thank you.

Destitute Asylum Seekers in dire need:

The Covid-19 Pandemic is having a profound effect on destitute asylum seekers locally who receive no financial support or accommodation from Government. Please click here to see how you can help.

Little Sisters of the Poor Home, Newcastle:

The Little Sisters of the Poor have launched a vital fundraising appeal, in response to the increasing pressures faced by St. Joseph’s Care Home during the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Please follow this link to see how you can help.

Fr. Adrian Tuckwell (email:

Vicariate for Faith & Mission:

Fr. Adrian Dixon's Reflection for Liturgical Readers:

Fr. Adrian Dixon has produced a short reflection for Ministers of the Word. Watch below or via our YouTube Channel.

Fr. Adrian Dixon's Reflection for Extraordinary Ministers:

Fr. Adrian Dixon has produced a short reflection for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion ahead of Corpus Christi; the usual time when ministers renew their commitment.

Fr. Sean Hall's Reflections on the Readings for Week 14 Ordinary Time can be read here.

Pat Kennedy MPS has shared a Reflection (‘Why are you standing here looking up into the sky?’), which you can read here.

Healthy Couple Relationships and support when they are not

All relationships have their ups and downs and sometimes a positive solution is hard to find. In these extraordinary days in which we experience lives of enforced isolation such difficulties may become enhanced and overriding. MarriageCare, a charity with which this Diocese collaborates on preparing engaged couples for marriage, provides a counselling service for couples or individuals experiencing difficulties in their relationship which one or both find challenging and problematic. You can access support through the MarriageCare website in the ‘How we help’ section, ‘Relationship counselling’. Full contact details are provided for further enquiries and venues, and include FAQ’s.

Domestic Abuse, Family Support and Support for Children in Domestic Abuse

MarriageCare also provides many useful links under the ‘How we help’ section; Relationship support organisations; Debt and Finance; Family support organisations; Domestic abuse – here there are many links under the ‘domestic violence help resources’ including support for women, men and children.

Life After the Pandemic - Pope Francis

The Vatican Publishing House has released a free eBook, “Life After the Pandemic”, a collection of interventions by Pope Francis, with a preface by Cardinal Michael Czerny, to reflect on the vision of the world that is emerging after the pandemic and to which we are called to accompany. It is now available to read or download.

Strong in the Face of Tribulation, The Church in Communion: A Sure Support in Time of Trial

The Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See have produced a book intended to be a little help offered to all, so as to know how to discern and experience God’s closeness and tenderness in pain, in suffering, in solitude and in fear. Of course, faith does not eliminate pain; ecclesial communion does not eliminate anguish. Rather, it does illuminate reality and reveal that it is pervaded by the love and hope based not on our abilities, but on the One Who is faithful and never abandons us.

It is divided into three sections; prayers, rituals and supplications for difficult moments.

It is available now to read or download.

Diocesan Spiritual Support

These resources have been created to support you and your loved ones in this unprecedented time of the COVID–19 pandemic. We offer these prayers in solidarity and we want you know know that the Church community is praying with you and you are not alone.

'Resources for times of grieving and death' includes; Prayers for loved ones we cannot visit in hospital, Prayers for someone who has recently died and Prayers for a loved one whose funeral you cannot attend.

'Prayers for the sick and dying' contains a collection of Catholic prayers to comfort you and your loved ones during difficult times of sickness and death.

Mgr. Andrew Faley, Vicariate for Faith & Mission (email:

Pope Francis – Prayer to Mary for Protection during the COVID–19 Pandemic.

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain,
with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that,
as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test –
and deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

The Vicariate for Caritas and The Road Centre

Caritas, in partnership with The Road Centre, is offering a number of resources to help adults, young people, and children cope with stress and anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Resource for adults (pdf).
Resource for young people (pdf).
Resource for children (pdf).

Vicariate for Faith & Mission

The Vicariate for Faith & Mission are able to provide copies of our lockdown prayer resources to those without internet access and contact for those who are thinking about becoming a Catholic. Please contact the Vicariate by ringing 07375 934713, or click on the posters for alternative contact details. Please pass this information onto those without internet access.

Mass by Phone Service

During these times when our churches are closed and masses are being streamed online, the Diocese of Middlesbrough have set up a system to allow people who do not have internet access to listen to Mass over the telephone.

If you would like to access, the telephone number to call is 01642 130120.

If you know anyone who may benefit from this service, you can download and print a poster with details.

Statements from Pope Francis, Bishop Robert Byrne and the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales condemn the death of George Floyd

In times of an international crisis such as this, the Bishop and the Diocese maintain communion with Pope Francis and the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to condemn the death of George Floyd. Read our statement in full (pdfword).

Live Streaming of Masses

A number of parishes have set up a live stream of their Masses.

For more details of frequency and timings please click here.

Government Coronavirus Guidelines

Where do I get more information? Here are some helpful links:

NHS website

Government website

Stay Alert | Control the Virus | Save Lives

Coronavirus (COVID–19) Guidelines

The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales have issued some guidelines to enable Catholic churches and organisations to find the relevant information in one place. Visit their website for the latest guidance and advice.

The Liturgy Office of the Bishops' Conference has compiled a prayer resource for people affected by the Covid–19 virus. Read it here.

Coronavirus (COVID–19)

For further information and how we are responding to the Coronavirus pandemic please click here.

Click here to find out more about The God Who Speaks – The Year of the Word.

Diocesan Events:

See also full screen calendar

Diocesan Vision

Read the new Diocesan Vision.

Pastoral Letter

Pastoral Letter - Holy Week 2020.

Diocesan E-Newsletter

Read latest newsletter and subscribe


Posters for events in the Diocese.

Local events.

Posters for non-Diocesan events.

St Hilda's Diocesan Resource Centre

Northern Cross

DUE to the COVID–19 pandemic, April's edition of Northern Cross is only available online this month.

You can read it, free of charge, by visiting the Northern Cross website.

The May edition of Northern Cross is out. Read Page 1.

Last updated on 3/07/20

Patrons of the Diocese: St Cuthbert, Bishop and Confessor and Our Blessed Lady Immaculate