Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

The God Who Speaks – A Year of the Word


Materials for people to use are being developed by people around the Diocese.

Reflections on the Readings for Week

Fr. Sean Hall's Reflections on the readings of the Sixth Sunday of Easter can be read here.

Sunday of the Word

Pope Francis is encouraging us to devote Sunday 24 January 2021 to the word of God, so that we can ‘experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world.

‘Aperuit illis’

The year just past was designated the Year of the God Who Speaks to us in Scripture. Sadly, most of the activities planned for 2020 had to be postponed, but the Pope’s call to mine the rich depths of the Bible encourages us to continue to do what we can. You will find some online resources at the God Who Speaks website.

Introducing the Gospel of St. Mark:

You will find two links below to two short (12 - 13 minutes) presentations about St. Mark’s Gospel. This will be our Gospel for weekdays as of Monday 11 January until the beginning of Lent and on Sundays from 24 January until halfway through Lent, then again when we return to Ordinary Time later in the year.

This First Presentation offers an overview of the Gospel: how it came to be written, who wrote it, etc.

This Second Presentation offers some insights into some of the main features of St. Mark’s Gospel, which people will recognise in the coming weeks.

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.

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

Welcome and Introduction:


Office of Readings:

LinkPrayer resource

Lectio Divina:

LinkPrayer resource

Scripture for Children:

LinkPrayer resource

Visio Divina:


Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible:

LinkPrayer resource

The Scriptural Rosary:


The Lindisfarne Gospels:


Promoting a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land:


Bible, Belief and Belonging:


Closing Prayer: Imaginative Contemplation:


Diocesan Day of Prayer – Lectio Divina

As we celebrate the Year of the Word, a real gift for praying with Scripture is the approach known as Lectio Divina or Holy reading. This step by step guide walks you through the simplicity and beauty of this way of praying with the bible. As we find ourselves in the middle of the pandemic the scriptures have much to say and teach us, Lectio Divina enables everyone to sit down with their bible and to listen to God speak.

Bible Society Resource and Updates

Don’t forget to order your special edition Mark’s gospel you can order it from here.

You can read the Year of the Word updates and resources from the Bible Society here.

Blessing of Bibles

On 26 January 2020, we celebrate the first “Sunday of the Word of God”. Pope Francis has declared that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time be devoted to ‘the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God’. It is very timely that this first celebration of it falls in our national ‘Year of the Word: the God Who Speaks’. One way that it could be marked in parishes/partnerships is with a Blessing of Bibles. The text for one is available to view here (pdfword).

The God Who Speaks – Through Art

Sr. Michael has prepared a Praying with Biblical Paintings resource, which explores how the paintings in various galleries and museums across the North East can help us to pray with the Word of God. She takes us on a journey to show how the Bible, in fact, has always inspired artists and their interpretation of an event in Scripture can shed new light on a familiar event in Scripture and help us in our prayer.

Her Praying with Biblical Paintings booklet combines her thoughts for the galleries and museums she visited. Alternatively, you can select one of the following booklets, which represents each location to download or read befre visiting each location.

Finally, there is a booklet dedicated to Mary.

Sophie Taylor is developing resources on lectio divina for young people and we hope to have more ideas for praying with Scripture for all ages available during the course of the Year.

If your community or Partnership come up with a great idea worth sharing, please get in touch so that we can make it available to others!

Pauline Books and Media:

All ‘Bible society’ resources are available for parishes to order through Pauline Books and Media at St. Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle.

Email: or tel:0191 231 6040.

They are offering a 10% discount and free postage and packing.

Young Christian Workers:

YCW (Young Christian Workers) have produced a handbook, an excerpt of which can be read or downloaded. The Gospel Enquiry section looks at many aspects of the Gospel readings; Jesus as a young man, His followers and His mission. It explores some key passages from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, asking some key questions that encourages readers to reflect on what they mean to them and actions they can take as a result.

If you would like to find out more about the work undertaken by YCW, please visit their website.

National Resources:

The Bible in a Year podcast:

Ascension's Bible in a Year podcast guides Catholics though the Bible in 365 daily episodes.

With this podcast, you won’t just read the Bible in a year… you’ll finally understand how all the pieces of the Bible fit together to tell an amazing story that continues in your life today!

It's free and you can tune in using your favourite podcast app. See poster for full details of follow this link.

As we come to the end of our month long focus on St Jerome’s 1,600 anniversary, don’t forget to read Pope Francis’ wonderful new Apostolic Letter on the Bible and St Jerome.

Pope Francis announces a ‘Sunday of the Word of God

Read Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio, a personal decree of the Pope – titled ‘Aperuit illis’ now.

Bishops' Conference:

May Focus: The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

We have a number of exciting articles:

Dr. Maria Heath from Northampton Diocese encourages us to look at Pentecost and discipleship through three words: Wait, Go and Come. Spirit and Life: God’s Word and the Power of Pentecost.

Rosie McIntyre from Portsmouth Diocese shows how the Holy Spirit communicates well beyond words in our communities of people with learning disabilities. Pentecost and barriers to language: how the Holy Spirit communicates beyond words.

Canon Chris Thomas looks at how the Spirit was always part of Jesus’ life, and after Ascension and Pentecost, how the Spirit became the animator of the early Church. Hearts on Fire: dovetailing faith and prayer this Pentecost.

Fleur takes us on a flight path of the dove through the Old and New Testament, exploring the significance of the dove in our Theology and Faith.

New in Our Dioceses:

Our Lady of Fátima Church in White City, London shares their discussions around racial justice in both a video and parish resource to bring about change in the Church’s life and to celebrate our rich diversity.

Schools Proverbs Challenge:

Don’t forget to get your schools sharing their wisdom with this exciting Proverbs challenge.

Read and use this excellent Scripture-based Novena from the national Spirituality Committee which they’ve prepared to assist people praying for the dead during this month. On each day a different group is prayed for, including those who have lost their lives during this Pandemic.

Do look at the Liturgy Office website for everything you need to know about Scripture readings for every day of the year, as well as further resources and advice.

The Feast of St. Jerome

We celebrate St. Jerome’s Feast day 30 September and the 1,600 anniversary of his death. A major new artwork commissioned to celebrate St. Jerome's astonishing achievement commissioned by the Bible Society and the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Created by Portsmouth based artist Pete Codling, 'Little Bits of God' tells the story of the Bible using the smalti mosaic technique developed in ancient Byzantium. See the attached Press Release. We also have a new video of our artist Pete Codling, talking about his creation from St. John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth.

New in ‘Our Dioceses’:

Check out these online communities across our Dioceses.

Super Scripture Soundbites for Tutors to use with their Forms in the daily act of collective worship, from a High School in Liverpool Archdiocese. The Scripture Soundbites are 2 minute invitations to reflection on the Sunday gospels and starters for discussion.

Watch the Mission project series (Every People and Every Nation) from Westminster Diocese with readings in different languages all on Mission.

Scripture for Catholics (booklet)