Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Fr. Derek Peel RIP

It is with sadness we inform you of the death of Fr. Derek Peel who died this afternoon in hospital.

Further details will be published when they are available.

Please pray for the repose of his soul. May he rest in peace.

Fr. Stephen Johnson RIP

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Fr. Stephen Johnson on Friday 6 November 2020, he was aged 83 years.

Bishop Robert Byrne CO will celebrate Fr. Stephen’s Requiem Mass at 12 noon on Tuesday 24 November at St. Joseph’s Church, Hartlepool. The Mass will be live-streamed on the parish Facebook page.

Please remember Fr. Stephen in your prayers and pray for the repose of his soul. May he rest in peace.

A full death notice is now available.

Bishop Robert Byrne CO statement – Bishops' Conference response to the IICSA report

Dear Friends,

Please click here to read a statement from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales following our plenary meeting this week. Our main topic of discussion was the recently published IICSA Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church which we embrace wholeheartedly. We are resolved not only to implement its findings but also to initiate a culture of safeguarding in all our Dioceses.

At our plenary meeting in the spring of last year we commissioned a root and branch review of our safeguarding procedures by Mr Ian Elliott who has a wide experience of safeguarding both in the United Kingdom and abroad. We formally accepted his Report and recommendations this week and his findings can be found on the Bishops’ Conference website from today. This report and the findings of IICSA will form the basis of our ongoing diocesan safeguarding training in future months and years.

As Bishop of this Diocese I would like to once more invite any survivor of abuse if they wish to see me or a member of our Safeguarding team.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the Parish Safeguarding Representatives, our dedicated staff in the Safeguarding Office, and our Safeguarding Commission which does such sterling work in keeping children and the vulnerable safe.

Above all I want to reiterate the Bishops’ Statement by acknowledging the failings and mistakes of the past and to express my personal sorrow at the incalculable damage done and ask the forgiveness of all victims and survivors. Let us turn to Christ the source of love and forgiveness and move forward as a Diocese with a renewed purpose and hope.

With every good wish and blessing,

+ Rt. Rev. Robert Byrne CO
Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle

Statement ends

If you have been affected by this report further support is also available:

  1. You can contact the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Safeguarding Team on 0191 243 3305 or find further contact details here.

  2. Safe Spaces’ is an independent service supporting survivors of church-related abuse. This independent service is run by the charity Victim Support and is free to access via telephone – 0300 303 1056 (answerphone available outside of opening times), email –, or web–chat via

  3. Other organisations offering support can also be found via the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service at

Advent Resources from the Vicariate for Faith & Mission

Advent is when the Church re-sets the calendar of our remembering and celebrating the saving work of Christ. This Advent is more challenging due to the pandemic. A set of resources have been created by Clergy and Laity from across the Diocese and are offered as a life-buoy, remedy and prayer book for the days ahead.

The resources will include; daily video prayer reflections, weekly Advent packs, weekly Advent videos and signposts to the many rich resources that are available online.

Are you thinking about running a prayer group during Advent? Find out how we can support you with access to various resources, training and safeguarding for prayer group leaders.

Coming soon… an offering from the Diocesan Church Music Association.

Please visit our Advent Resources page to access these materials, more will be added as they are made available. Do feel free to share and print these resources out for those without internet access.

Important Covid-19 update

In accordance with Regulations from HM Government and guidance from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle has ceased all acts of communal worship in its churches, including the celebration of Mass, baptisms and most weddings.

Churches may remain open for activities other than communal worship eg for individual prayer, funeral Masses or funeral services, but not all churches will be available at this time. For more information on whether your local church is open, please visit your Parish website or contact your Parish Priest.

Thank you for your continued patience as we enter this second national lockdown. Further information and opportunities for prayer will be made available in due course, and in the meantime please see the following resources below:

Click here to read the ‘Statement on the Four-Week National Lockdown in England and a Call to Prayer’ from CBCEW.

Click here to read ‘Four-Week Lockdown in England: COVID-19 Guidance England’ from CBCEW.

Click here to view a list of ‘Live Streams’ from across the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

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

New Vicariates

Over the coming weeks we continue to make adjustments to our website menus to incorporate the new Vicariates that have been established and to allow for new content to be added as they evolve. The Vicariate for Care of the Clergy and the Vicariate for Caritas are now complete.

Work is underway to migrate existing content to the new Vicariate for Faith & Mission area of the website. This Vicariate is an umbrella that brings together many different areas of Ministry. The following diagram has been put together as a quick guide to help you have oversight and navigate the key Vicariate areas within the website.

You can visit the new Vicariate for Faith & Mission by clicking here.

COVID–19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic – Church Response

‘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 – Child Poverty Over Christmas

At this time of great need, the Vicariate for Caritas and the Justice & Peace Co-ordinating Council are offering partnerships/parishes/ecumenical groups the opportunity to promote appeals for struggling families over the Christmas period through our website. If you are organising these initiatives and would like us to promote, please send brief details by email.

In your email please include your church/organisation details, a brief description of what you intend to do, e.g. collect/distribute food hampers, etc. The type of help you need and how it can be offered, e.g. festive and non-festive food items (fresh/tinned or dried), supermarket vouchers, cash donations, volunteers, etc. Physical items can be left at... or cash donations can be made via sort code, account no. etc. Finally, please include the relevant contact details.

Please visit our Child Poverty Appeals page for further information and details of all current appeals.

Vicariate for Caritas, CSAN launches national ageing survey

Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) has published a national survey to research how the Catholic community can better support its members through the process of ageing. Responses are needed from lay, practising Catholics aged 18+, living in England and Wales. The survey closing date is 1 January 2021.

Complete the survey online by clicking here.

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.

Separately, David and Theresa O'Neill have asked us to share their fundraising efforts for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

David says, "Over the years, with the help of parishes & individuals, we have raised over £12,500 for the home. We collect used postage stamps (any country or period), currency (notes & coins from any country or period), broken gold & silver (even earring backs) & military medals (any conflict or period).

We can be contacted by email or by phone at 0191 264 5771. Our address is 34 Morston Drive, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 7RZ.

Thank you for your help."

Fr. Adrian Tuckwell (email:

Vicariate for Faith & Mission:

Fr. Adrian Dixon's Reflection for Remembrance Day:

Fr. Adrian Dixon has produced a short reflection for Remembrance Day. Watch below or via our YouTube Channel.

Please also see this prayer leaflet, entitled, ‘A Time for Remembering’.

A request from the Diocesan Church Music Association:

A call–out to all those who help in any way with liturgical music in their parish.

As the Coronavirus restrictions continue, particularly here in the North–East, the DCMA would love to know how parish musicians have been coping. Are you perhaps recording at home? Or maybe you are lucky enough to be back in church, and if so, what are you able to provide to enhance the Liturgy at this difficult time when there is still no congregational singing?

Please email us your comments.

We hope that this may lead to a potential Zoom meeting where we can share our ideas and support each other through this strangest of times.

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 34 Ordinary Time can be read here.

Pat Kennedy MPS has shared a Reflection (‘Advent – A New Life’), 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.

St. Cuthbert’s Care – Advent Alms Appeal

This Advent, as we reflect upon the humility of the Holy Family and of the role we can all play in supporting marginalised and vulnerable people, we ask you consider supporting the work of St. Cuthbert’s Care.

Please read our appeal. Thank you.

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).

Are you thinking about becoming a Catholic?

Registration remains open for new enquirers wishing to join the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programme 2020–21.

To register or for more information, please email us.

Please see the poster for further details.

Vicariate for Faith & Mission

The Vicariate for Faith & Mission are able to provide copies of our lockdown prayer resources to those without internet access. Please contact the Vicariate by ringing 07375 934713 or click on the poster 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

Wash Hands | Cover Face | Make Space

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.

Diocesan E-Newsletter

Read latest newsletter and subscribe


Posters for events in the Diocese.

Local events.

Posters for non-Diocesan events.

Northern Cross

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

Last updated on 24/11/20

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