Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Great Adventure – A Journey through the Bible – begins at St Robert’s on Tuesday 5th October 2010 at 10.00am

Please note that this course now begins on Tuesday 5th October (not 28th September) at 10.00am in the parish hall.

A Quick Journey Through the Bible is part of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study system. This parish-based study provides an excellent introduction and overview of the Bible from a Catholic perspective.

Presented by Jeff Cavins, the Quick Journey study briefly covers salvation history in a series of eight talks that are complemented by group discussion questions, useful maps and charts. This study makes the complexity of the Bible simple through an easy-to-follow narrative approach and an ingenious color-coded Bible timeline. This is a great way to “get your feet wet” and learn how to begin authentic Catholic Bible study.

Summer Visitors at St Robert’s

On Tuesday, August 17th, St Robert’s welcomed the Refugee and Asylum Seekers Group from my former parish of St Cuthbert’s, Kenton, Newcastle. This was their annual outing. The support group was established some years ago when a number of Refugee’s and Asylum Seekers were been given council housing in Kenton. These individuals and families needed a lot of support and so St Cuthbert’s parish began a Drop-in Service on Monday afternoons where people could meet and socialise as well as receive help from various support agencies. The group had a wonderful day here at St Robert’s and they thoroughly enjoyed visiting our beautiful town. They had a great time in Carlisle Park. The children especially enjoyed the paddling pool.


St Robert’s had unexpected visitors on the night of Saturday 21st August. It was after 8.00pm when the door bell went and as I looked through the net curtain I could make out some scrawly looking character whom I thought was the vagabond who had been begging at the door earlier in the day. I was just going to tell him to get lost when I realised that it was in fact Fr Peter Kravos. What a surprise! Fr Peter is the Catholic Chaplain at Leeds University and he was passing through Morpeth with a group of students. The group of students from various nations had not gone home for the summer and so Fr Peter decided to take them away for a few days to explore Holy Island and Northumberland. They called into Morpeth to visit their fellow student, John David Laux, who is also studying at Leeds University. They had arranged to meet him at the Riverside Lodge. It was then that Fr Peter knocked on the door and invited me to join them for a drink. It didn’t take much persuasion! Fr Peter and myself trained together at Ushaw College many moons ago. I then invited them back for a night cap and to meet Fr Jim. Here is the photo I took of the group with Fr Jim. Fr Peter is first on the left with John David in the middle at the back. I can’t remember the names of the students but I know they were from the Cezch Republic, India, Uganda and Malaysia.

Fr Lawrence Jones

Rosary at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

On the evening of Thursday19th August 2010 a group of parishioners met together to pray the rosary at the grotto in the church grounds. As parishioners will know a statue of Our Lady is going through the homes of the parish for one week at a time. On one evening of that week the parishioner with the statue will open their home up for fellow parishioners to come and pray the rosary with them. This week it was was the turn of St Robert’s Presbytery and because it was such a nice evening we had rosary at the grotto. About 16 parishioners took part. Afterwards we had tea in the presbytery and Fr Lawrence brought out the following picture (click on it to enlarge it):

Jacob Conroy now tells the story of the origins of the statue and grotto:

” A number of parishioners in the early 1980’s desired to have a grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes in the church grounds. Various parishioners donated, especially Barbara Jackson, former teacher at  St Robert’s and a member of the ‘Hospitality’ of Our Lady of Lourdes. Various fundraising activities took place to raise the total needed – £500. It was ordered one year during the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes and collected the following year. At the end of the pilgrimage the manufacturer delivered it to Lourdes railway station to be transported home on the diocesan pilgrimage train. The statue was solid concrete and very heavy, encased in a timber box, 7ft long by 3ft square. The travel agent, and myself could not lift it onto the train. As there were some Italian brancardiers working on the station, the dioescan travel agent asked them in Italian to give assistance in lifting it on to the train. Six strong men, three on each side, reverently and  in unison, lifted the box into the goods carriage. Asking the travel agent why these men were so reverent he said that he told them that  it was a dead body that he had asked them to assist with. When we got back home, anticipating the likelihood that we would have to pay tax we put the statue amongst the tea urns on a railway baggage trolley and no questions were asked by customs. The statue was picked up from Newcastle Central Station and Fr Tom Cunningham allowed it to stand on the altar until a grotto was built. Several men from the parish got to work to build the grotto and the dedication service took place on 16th July 1982. The picture above was taken on that occasion. In the meantime Barbara Jackson, who had brought home a conker from the grotto in Lourdes, nurtured it at home until it was big enough to be planted next to our grotto. She did not want a plaque to recognise all her hard work but she desired that parishioners would remember her in prayer at the grotto. The grotto is still very much a focus of prayer today for parishioners and school children”


Our warmest congratulations to two very happy couples who were married today here at St Robert’s. We wish them all the best for the future.

Helen Jennings and Neil Snowdon:

Amy Healey and Ian Thompson:

Hiroshima Memorial Day

St Robert’s Parish was well represented at the special memorial service this morning in the Amnesty Peace Garden behind the old Chantry Chapel. The Service was organised by Morpeth Town Council, in association with Morpeth Churches Together. The Service was led by Rev Ron Forster of St George’s United Reformed Church.

The Service began at 8.00am. A minute’s silence was kept at 8.15am because at that time on 6th August 1945 an atomic bomb was dropped from a USA B-29 bomber on Hiroshima, Japan. More than seventy thousand people died instantly or within hours. Few were soldiers. As the order of service told us “we meet for a simple and sincere acknowledgement of what happened on this day 65 years ago. In light of which and continuing atrocities around the world, we commit ourselves to actively work and pray for the peace, which God intends.” At the end of the service we offered each other a sign of peace and each person then took an origami crane (the bird that is!) and but in among the bushes.  This idea goes back to a 12-year-old Japanese girl Sadako, who was dying from radiation from the bomb in 1955. Japanese Legend says that your greatest wish will come true if you fold 1,000 origami cranes, so she set about the task in order that others would not have to suffer as she was. Sadako died before she could complete her work, but her classmates folded the remaining number so she was buried with 1,000 cranes. Ever since, the origami crane has been recognised as an international symbol of peace and nuclear disarmament.