Saturday, June 06, 2009

Diocesan News

From the website of the Hexham and Newcastle Education Service:

The latest meeting of the Diocesan Education Forum took place on June 4th 2009. Following an opening prayer Fr Sean Hall, Chairman of the Board of Education in the Diocese, welcomed everybody and invited Bishop Seamus to address the group.

The Bishop spoke about the need for formation and exploring what we mean by formation. He also spoke about the importance of, and need to be, “a praying people” and “a praying priesthood”. Commenting on the recent Priests’ Retreat he said the priest is to be both servant and leader, and pointed towards the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, who washed people’s feet and reached out to the people on the margins. There is a need for us all to be working together and moving out of our “comfort zone” and into service. A prophet is not someone who tells the future but someone who challenges and energises. We are all called to be prophets – it must however begin with prayer.

UPDATE 17.06.09 I have been informed that copyright rules prohibit the use of more than a short section of this item. Please click on the link above to read the rest of this report. The rest of it concerns the appointment of Fr Michael McCoy to various responsibilities including developing lay leadership of parishes in the diocese. In the subsequent discussion the useful question was raised ”Do we want to be a lamp or a mirror?”


Anonymous said...

What a yawn. Just managing decline and no vision. Same old failed clap-trap of the last thirty years.

Augustine said...

"Development of lay parish leadership"

Well that doesn't sound right...

Pat said...

Well said anonymous! Since the bishop is concerned about challenges I hope the forum will explore why Catholic Schools in the diocese have been turning out non-believers en masse.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm... I was going to say what Augustine said.

Canny Lad said...

I was going to say what Augustine, Pat and Anonymous said!
If Our Lord had spoken in the manner of this document from H & N there would never have been a church come into existence. The "importance of how to equip teachers to talk effectively about faith related subjects" is a sentence in point. There are more.

Fr Michael Brown said...

I agree that if we are going to work together as a diocese people will need to move out of their `comfort zones`. I think that includes many priests and people moving out of the comfort zone that involves excluding the Extraordinary Form from their spiritual lives.

madame evangelista said...

Regarding adult religious education: apart from any thoughts I might have about RCIA, it does strike me that there aren't many group opportunities for adults to deepen their understanding of their faith. I can't tell what happens on a parish-by-parish level, but outreach to existing adult catholics on a Diocesan level seems to consist of academic modules, either as stand-alone or as degrees. I personally have a dislike of the tendency to turn everything into academic qualifications (this is a wider gripe about adult education in general). I don't think religious understanding should be perceived as being a university subject. I suspect many adult catholics would like to find something between RCIA and a degree in theology!

Anonymous said...

I taught in Catholic schools in H&N diocese for 6 years and that coincided with the lowest point in my Catholic faith. I am very thankful that I was not sent to a Catholic school as a child. I was constantly bullied and harrassed by other teachers who were always at Mass and heavily involved in various lay ministries.
The Here I Am scheme is a poor quality PHSCE scheme rather than a Religious Education scheme. It leaves out or washes over core Catholic believes in favour of "Let's all be nice to other people".
I attempted the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies by distance learning. By the time I had completed 4 units I had no idea what I believed anymore. The religion it was teaching about was definitely not the Catholic faith I had been brought up in. I nearly failed one of the units because I couldn't answer the following question:
Is God a) Male? b) Female? c) Something else. If God is something else please explain what.
I don't know what answer I was supposed to put. I was told to read the study materials more carefully the next time. I think they were implying that God is the divine union of a man and a woman but I really have no idea and still don't.
Until the 3 issues above are addressed (teacher behaviour, Here I Am, CCRS) nothing will improve in Catholic schools.

Augustinus said...

"I suspect many adult catholics would like to find something between RCIA and a degree in theology!"

Madame Evangelista - they might find that in the various Courses provided by the Maryvale Institute ( in Birmingham.

Maryvale is well-known for its adherance to the orthodox teachings of the magisterium. I understand that it will be providing a new RCIA Course (solidly orthodox, unlike many other schemes used in some parishes) this Autumn. It might be worthwhile checking it out.

Anonymous said...

I whole heartedly agree with the first comment and Pat and Augustine.However,it's is not just a question of 'no vision' but the lethal injection for the Church.Old Mother Church put to bed and euthanatised by her own - an enemy from without could not have done better. Also, if we are to be brothers and sisters will the english bishops be brothers to the traditional mass folk and the priests who celebrate it - or is this much much too far out of the comfort zone?

Anonymous said...


with regard to the Diocesan Website, I find the whole thing something of a scandle, in that the 'powers that be' aren't able to publish photo's or a short video of the EF Mass you celebrated in the Cathederal, but are quick off the mark to let us all see the recent CAFOD Pilgramage to Holy Island with 'guest speaker Davi Kopenawa Yanomami from the Yanomami community in Brazil, a spokesman on indigenous issues and Amazon Rainforest conservation.' I'm sure he was described as a 'Holy Man' somewhere else...
The Mass celebrated there is truly 'inspiring'...I especially enjoyed watching the woman standing by the side of the 'altar', hands in her pockets, as the celebrants said the words of consecration.

Then there's the video footage of the Pilgramage to Morpeth...I'm suprised you weren't in attendance ;). Again, the homolist bangs on about 'your rights as lay people'. The Bishop looks a little uneasy towards the end of the mass with all the clapping, I think. Rightly so. I can only summise the veiled ciborium on the 'altar' is containing the Blessed Sacrament?

I'm not going to mention the 'J&P Mass' video...

THEN in this months Northern Cross (which just about managed to squeeze in a black and white photo of your historic mass at The Cathederal) I'm most suprised that you havn't picked up on the 'Illicit(?)' mass celebrated by the H&N priests in the Holy Land. Fr Jackson tells us that they used pita bread on a plastic plate and a glass of wine ('no silver vessels')

So, comfort zones...I think we know where they are at in H&N

Sorry if this is a rant, Father, but I just find the whole thing so unfair. All of this goes on, yet the EF and the reform of the reform are (mainly) frowned upon.

Thanks for your time,