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Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Vocations: Seminarians Training for the Priesthood

Seminarians Summer Gathering:

In July the seminarians met with Bishop Robert for their summer gathering at St. Mary’s in Hexham.

The seminarians, Bishop Robert, Fr. Christopher Warren and Fr. Shaun Purdy went to Hexham Abbey to celebrate Mass together in the Crypt, a place St. Wilfrid would have been familiar with. Following the Mass the group gathered for a photograph in the main Abbey building with Bishop Robert sitting in the chair of St. Wilfrid.

Bishop Robert (seated),
L – R Luke, Fr. Christopher, Ben, Deacon Jonathon, Joseph, Fr. Shaun and Paul.

The group then went back to St. Mary’s, Hexham for Evening Prayer and a lovely meal with time for socialising together.

Please pray for Deacon Jonathan and Luke who have returned to St. Mary’s College, Oscott. Ben and Paul are starting this month, Ben at the Royal English College, Valladolid and Paul to St. Mary’s College, Oscott and for Joseph currently on his Pastoral placement from Venerable English College, Rome.

If you are interested in finding out more about serving the Diocese as a priest the vocations team is there to help you. Contact them by email.


Current Seminarians in our Diocese:

The Diocese is giving each of our current seminarians an opportunity to share with you a personal summary of their journey to priesthood and this information will be updated periodically.

Rev. Mr. Jonathon Bowes – Year 7
St. Mary's College, Oscott

My name is Jonathon Bowes and I am a seminarian for the Diocese and will on Saturday 3 October 2020 be ordained to the priesthood. In June 2019, in my sixth and final year at Oscott College I was ordained by the Archbishop of Birmingham to the Diaconate.

My time in formation has been a truly blessed time, filled with many graces which have allowed me to reflect on what God has called me to. As I prepare for Ordination to the Priesthood, I ask for your continued prayers and support, not only for me but for all those who are following God’s call to them to be his priests.

Jonathon Bowes - Ordination to the Diaconate

Last update September 2020.


Luke Wilkinson – Year 6
St. Mary's College, Oscott

My name is Luke Wilkinson and I'm a seminarian for the Diocese in my sixth and final year. On Monday 14 September, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, I was ordained a transitional Deacon at St. Mary's College, Oscott for our Diocese.

It was truly a wonderful day and an incredible feast on which to be ordained. The Feast of the Holy Cross was the first Mass I attended as a Seminarian in Valladolid in 2014, so the date has always had a special significance for me.

The Diaconate is a participation in the Ministry of Christ the Servant; and it is with great joy (and not insignifcant trepidation) that I take up this office in service of Christ's most holy Church.

Diaconate Ordination of Luke Wilkinson

Prior to offering myself to the Church I trained as a secondary school religious education teacher and after having been accepted by the Diocese I spent a year in Valladolid, Spain at St. Alban's Royal English College. My years in formation have been happy and I’m very glad for the opportunities I’ve had to spend time in parishes throughout the Diocese. I was born in Gateshead and converted to Catholicism when I was in my early teens. It is my ardent desire to serve the people of Hexham and Newcastle; to grow with them in love and service of the Lord. Please keep me in your prayers as I continue my studies toward Priesthood.

Last update - September 2020.


Joseph O'Brien

My name is Joseph O'Brien. I am 20 and I hail from Whitley Bay. I have just started my studies at the Venerable English College, England and Wales' seminary in Rome. In 2016 I completed my A-Levels at St. Thomas More Academy in North Shields and decided to take some time to discern my potential vocation to the Priesthood. I spent ten months in India working in an orphanage with the Salesians of Don Bosco, returning in February this year. I am thankful to God for all of the opportunities He has given me and I am ever grateful to the people of the Diocese; it is only through their help, support and prayers that I am able to be embarking on this wonderful journey with God. Please keep me in your prayers as I begin my studies and training.

Last update October 2018.


Ben Sinclair - Propaedeutic Year
Royal English College, Valladolid

Hello, my name is Ben and I come from Billingham, a town in the very south of the Diocese. I'm 22 years old and this summer I graduated from Newcastle University where I studied a Combined Honours degree in French, Italian and Geography. During my time at university I started to discern a possible vocation to the Diocesan priesthood, and this journey has now led me to the Royal English College in Valladolid where I will began my seminary formation. It has been a challenging journey so far and I'm sure the next stage of my discernment in seminary will be more so; therefore I ask you all to keep me, as well as the other seminarians, in your prayers as we further aim to discover God's calling for us. I am extremely grateful for the support that many of you in the Diocese have given me and you will all remain in my prayers.

Last update September 2019.