Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Séamus Cunningham

Permanent Diaconate - News and Events

National Diaconal Community Conference - Tuesday 7 - Wednesday 8 November 2017

The National Conference of Diaconate Directors and Diocesan Representatives was held at Hinsley Hall on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 November 2017. Fr. Michael Campion, Director of Post Ordination Formation, was accompanied by Pat Kennedy from the Formation Team, and three of the Diocese’s Deacons; Malcolm Jackson (St. Peter’s, Low Fell), Peter Linsley (St. Cuthbert’s, New Seaham) and Martin Bell (St. Mary’s, Hexham). This two day conference brought together those responsible for the formation of deacons from across England and Wales, and the gathering was joined by Bishop McGough, the Episcopal liaison on behalf of the Bishop’s Conference.

The full notes from the conference, including the address by Bishop Marcus Stock (Diocese of Leeds), are now available and were prepared by Deacon Martin Bell, Vice-Chair of Council of Deacons, Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

Kick Off weekend - Friday 1 - Sunday 3 September 2017

13 Trainee Deacons of the Permanent Diaconate Community and their wives, together with the Formation team met over the weekend of 1-3 Sept. New additions to the group for the four year training journey together are Sibby and Lissy Thomas of Sunderland, Jeremy and Emma Cain of Hartlepool and Neil and Leigh Haggerstone of Peterlee. Time shared included business, training, and social time to get to know each other and form a support group for the journey. Everyone agreed that it had been a well worth-while experience; they all felt they belonged and it had been a very good beginning for their year.

Pat Kennedy MPS, member of Formation Team

Ministries Mass - Friday 14 July 2017

On 14th July at St. Patrick's Church, Dipton, Bishop Séamus celebrated Mass to mark the movement of Paul Nichol from St. Patrick’s Parish, Peter Smith from Lanchester and Paddy Jackson from Leam Lane, moving from Lector to their final year of Acolyte in their training for the Permanent Diaconate. They will be ordained next year. Tony Joy, from Washington, is moving from Candidate to Lector. They were accompanied by  family, friends, Parish priests, members of the Diaconate Community, parishioners and the Formation Team.

Pat Kennedy MPS Coordinator of Studies.

Candidacy Mass - Thursday 22 September 2016

On 22 September during a formal Candidacy Mass at St. John Boste Church in Washington, after completing the preliminary discernment year, Tony Joy was accepted by the Bishop, on the recommendation of the Formation Team, his Parish Priest, Fr. Mark Millward, and others who know him, into the three year training programme for the Permanent Diaconate. His family were present to support him and many members of his Parish, as he begins his Candidature Year. He was also supported by local Priests, several ordained Deacons, and other trainee Deacons and their families, in the congregation. The Mass was then followed by a Celebration in the Church Hall. The deadline for applications this year is February 2017. Information can be found on the Diocesan website.

Pat Kennedy MPS Coordinator of Studies.

Kick Off weekend - Saturday 2 - Sunday 3 September 2016

Over the weekend of the 2nd/3rd September the Diocesan Diaconate Formation Team and Students and wives in Formation met together to begin and discuss the coming year’s events. It was a time of sharing, and social time, which over the year, there is often no time to enjoy. The wives of the deacons are a great support to them, they do not attend formation sessions, but they come together for an annual Day of Recollection and hopefully, beginning this year, every term we will have a social gathering for the Ordained and Students, plus their wives. Together this forms the Diaconal Community.

Pat Kennedy MPS Coordinator of Studies.

Ministry Mass - Thursday 14 July 2016

On Thursday 14 July at All Saints, Lanchester, Paddy Jackson from Leam Lane, Paul Nichol from Leadgate and Peter Smith from Lanchester were accepted as Reader by Bishop Séamus in the presence of their families, members of their Parish, Deacons, Parish Priests and fellow student. The Ministry Mass brings them into the second stage of their training for the Permanent Diaconate, as Reader, and to signify this they are each presented with a Bible by the Bishop.

Pat Kennedy MPS Coordinator of Studies.

Diaconate Ordination Mass - Saturday 18 June 2016


The Homily read by Bishop Séamus can be listened to here:


On Saturday 18 June 2016 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Martin Bell from Minsteracres, Peter Linsley from Seaham and Terry McGann from Whitley Bay were ordained into the Ministry of the Permanent Diaconate by Bishop Séamus. They were accompanied by their families, friends and parishioners. Bishop Séamus congratulated them on completing their total of 4 years in discernment and training and he thanked their wives, families and Parishes for the support they have given them during this time. He also thanked all those involved in their training.

Pat Kennedy MPS Coordinator of Studies.

Mass Celebrating the Diaconate in the Jubilee 'Year of Mercy'

29 April at St. Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle - 7.00pm.

The Homily from the Mass preached by Rev. Dr. Sean Hall is available here.

On the evening of the 29 April, Bishop Séamus celebrated Mass in the Cathedral for the Permanent Diaconate. Many Deacons and their families attended along with those in training. The sermon on St Catherine of Sienna was given by Rev. Dr. Sean Hall, the Diaconate Director of Formation. Also concelebrating were Fr. Michael Campion, Director of Post Ordination Formation and Fr. John Butters, Bishop's liaison to the Diaconate.

Photos and text courtesy of Mrs Pat Kennedy MPS, Member of Diaconate Formation team.

Wives Day

30 April at St. Hilda’s Resource Centre, West Road, Newcastle - 10.00am.

On Saturday 30 April, wives of the Permanent Diaconate gathered for a Day of Reflection in St Hilda's Diocesan Pastoral Centre, led by Sr. Sheila McNamara, entitled "Are not our hearts burning within us."
As usual there was sharing, time to meditate and silent time for prayer.

"Just what I needed today; a safe space, peace, time to think and recharge our batteries. Time to thank God for the journey we are on and to recognise that he is walking it with us."
"Thanks for this opportunity to gather."

Photos and text courtesy of Mrs Pat Kennedy MPS, Member of Diaconate Formation team.