Monthly Archives: June 2011

Pope Benedict’s 60th Annivesary of Ordination as a Priest

It is not only the two priest’s of St Robert’s Morpeth who have an important anniversary this year! We all send our warmest congratulations to Pope Benedict on his 6oth Anniversary as priest, on today’s feast, St’s Peter and Paul. Don’t forget, Fr Jim Doherty’s 6oth is on Saturday 23rd July beginning with Mass at 2.00pm followed by a magnificent feast. All parishioners are invited. Pictures of Fr Lawrence’s Silver Jubilee will be published soon. If you took any good photo’s of the event please send them to

Corpus Christi at St Robert’s

Today, the mystery of the Lord’s Body and Blood, is proposed to the adoration and meditation of God’s people, and the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession through the streets of towns and villages, to show that the risen Christ walks among us and guides us towards the Kingdom of heaven. (Pope Benedict’s Homily for Corpus Christi 2011)

A Day of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Saturday 25th June:

The Blessed Sacrament procession after the 11.00am Mass on the Feast of Corpus Christi:

Happy Pentecost!

Come, Creator Spirit,
visit the minds of those who are yours;
fill with heavely grace
the hearts that you have made.

You who are named the Paraclete,
gift of God most high,
living fountain, fire, love
and anointing for the soul.

You are sevenfold in your gifts,
you are the finger of God’s right hand,
you, the Father’s solemn promise
putting words upon our lips.

Kindle a light in our senses,
pour love into our hearts,
infirmities of this body of ours
overcoming with strength secure.

The enemy drive from us away,
peace then give without delay;
with you as guide to lead the way
we avoid all cause of harm.

Grant we may know the Father through you,
and come to know the Son as well,
and may we always cling in faith
to you, the Spirit of them both.

St Robert’s Day Procession and Service in the Grounds of Newminster Abbey on 5th June 2011

A great afternoon was had by all who took part in the St Robert’s Day Procession and Service of Evening Prayer in what remains of Newminster Abbey. About 80 pilgrims took part – just about every Church in Morpeth was represented as well as pilgrims from our sister parish – St Robert’s in Fenham, Newcastle. I was absolutely delighted to see clergy and members from the various Christian Churches in Morpeth. Surely, this is recognition that St Robert of Newminster is the patron saint of all Christians in Morpeth, indeed “the patron saint of Morpeth”. Isn’t it about time that he was officially recognised under this title by the secular authorities as well? Just a few years ago Sunderland City Council declared St Benet Biscop as their patron saint!

St Robert was know for his miracles in life as well as in death. I don’t know if it was a miracle but it certainly was remarkable that at the moment we left St Robert’s church at 3.30pm the rain stopped.

Back to St Robert’s church hall for Afternoon Tea:

Some images of the ruins:

The Cistercian Calendar for the 7th June reads:

Born in Yorkshire. After studying in Paris, he returned to England, became a parish priest and then a Benedictine at the abbey of Whitby. In 1132 he joined the monks of St Mary’s, York, and participated with them in the founding of Fountains. Seven years later he founded Newminster near Morpeth, Northumberland and became its first abbot. Under his administration, the house prospered so much that it was able to establish three daughterhouses: Pipewell, Roche and Sawley. Robert wrote a commentary on the Psalms and a book of meditations no longer extant. He “was strict with himself, kind and merciful to others, learned and yet simple.”

In the Night Office Reading for St Robert’s Feast Day in the Cistertian Calendar we read:

Robert was a contemporary of St Bernard and was born near Skipton in the diocese of York. He went to school with the Benedictines, and after ordination as a diocesan priest completed his studies in Paris. Soon after his return to England he became rector of his native village of Gargrave, and sometime afterwards joined the Cluniac community at Whitby.

In the winter of 1132 the monastery of Fountains was founded by monks from the Benedictine Abbey of St Mary in York, and Robert was allowed by his Abbot to join them. When the winter was over, the Community decided to send messengers to Clairvaux asking to be received into the Cistercian Order. St Bernard welcomed them with great kindness and sympathy, and sent them a monk to teach them the Cistercian way of life.

Their poverty was extreme, and as there was also a famine in the country they were reduced to eating wild roots and the leaves of trees mixed with a little meal. Nevertheless, the monks of Fountains were always known for their generosity to the poor.

Conditions gradually improved, and after a year buildings were erected and they were asked to make a foundation at Morpeth in Northumberland. Five years after the foundation of Fountains, 12 brethren with Robert as their leader settled at Newminster. It was a beautiful spot, well provided with water and sheltered by woods. There they built their first monastery only to have it destroyed by the King of Scotland a year after its completion.

Robert ; at this time was strong and active, a man of great simplicity, possessing the gifts of wisdom and discernment. The fact that he was chosen from among so many capable men to make the first foundation is a sign of his character and of the esteem in which he was held. The chronicler notes in particular his spirit of compunction, his austerity, his humility, and his care and concern for the welfare of his monks. During the next 10 years Robert founded Pipewell, Sawley and Roche Abbeys.

About 1142 Robert was the object of malicious accusations, but when the complaints came to the ears of St Bernard he gave Robert his full support. On his return from Clairvaux, Robert had no words of reproof for his detractors. He died in 1159. and along with his countrymen Stephen Harding, Aelred and William of Rievaux, is venerated as a saint.


Fr Lawrence Jones

St Robert of Newminster Feast Day Celebrations



“The Patron Saint of Morpeth”

Join us to Celebrate the Life and Work of

St Robert on Sunday 5th June 2011

3:15pm, St Robert’s Church, Oldgate:

TALK by historian, G.B. Thornton

3.30pm, from St Robert’s Church, Oldgate:

WALK to Newminster Abbey

(Including a talk about the abbey ruins and a short service of prayer)

Approx. 5pm, St Robert’s Church, Oldgate:



Please direct queries to Fr Lawrence Jones at St Robert’s:

(01670) 513410 or

Mass for the actual Feast Day is on Tuesday 7th June at 7.00pm

followed by refreshments in the church hall.

Novena to the Holy Spirit

The Novena to the Holy Spirit officially began on Friday. Novena simply means Nine. It is a period of intercessory pray that lasts nine days. There are all sorts of Novena prayers available today but this novena is the most important novena of all because it is the first and original novena, the novena that gave birth to the Church. We are told in the Acts of the Apostles that immediately after Our Lord ascended to heaven the Apostles went back to the “upper room” and “with one heart all these joined constantly in prayer, together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” (Acts 1:14).

For nine days they prayed and waited for the “promise of the Father”. Jesus had told them at His Ascension “not many days from now you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit” (Acts1:5). Furthermore, Our Lord promised them that “you will recieve power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you: and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:6).

In the Novena to the Holy Spirit, the whole Church goes back to the upper room (the Cenacle) and “with one heart” we once again join Our Lady and the first Christian community in praying for the outpouring of the Spirit. We pray for “a new Pentecost” (Blessed Pope John XXIII) for the entire Church, for our parish, for our families and for our individual lives. Indeed, we pray for the Holy Spirit to “renew the face of the earth”.

The Novena to the Holy Spirit is supposed to begin on the day after Ascension Thursday and end on the eve of Pentecost Sunday. The Bishop’s of England and Wales messed everything up, when a few years ago, they decided to move Ascension Thursday to the following Sunday. I will say nothing more about it! This means that there are only 6 days to the Novena. However, it is still possible to begin the Novena on the Friday before Ascension Sunday. By the time you read this however, it may be Ascension Sunday. So, if you have not already done so I encourage you to prepare for Pentecost by entering into this Novena at what ever stage you wish and on whatever day it happens to be. The amount of days aren’t so important. It is the sincerely of our prayer that matters.

Here are some prayers to help you make the Novena:

Prayer for St Robert’s Parish

Come Holy Spirit, renew your wonders

in this our day as by a new Pentecost.

(Blessed Pope John XXIII)

Father, pour out your Spirit

upon our parish

and grant us

a new vision of your glory

a new experience of your power,

a new faithfulness to your Word, and

a new consecration to your service,

that your love may grow among us

and your Kingdom come:

through Christ Our Lord


St Robert of Newminster. Pray for us.

Come, Holy Ghost

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come
From thy bright heavenly throne,
Come, take possession of our souls,
And make them all thine own.

Thou who art called the Paraclete,
Best gift of God above,
The living spring, the living fire,
Sweet unction and true love.

Thou who art sev’nfold in thy grace,
Finger of God’s right hand;
His promise, teaching little ones
To speak and understand.

O guide our minds with thy blest light,
With love our hearts inflame;
And with thy strength, which ne’er decays,
Confirm our mortal frame.

Far from us drive our deadly foe;
True peace unto us bring;
And through all perils lead us safe
Beneath thy sacred wing.

Through thee may we the Father know,
Through thee th’eternal Son,
And thee the Spirit of them both,
Thrice-blessed Three in One.

All glory to the Father be,
With his co-equal Son:
The same to thee, great Paraclete,
While endless ages run.

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light

Holy Spirit, Lord of light,
From Thy clear celestial height
Thy pure beaming radiance give.

Come, Thou Father of the poor,
Come with treasures which endure,
Come, Thou Light of all that live.

Thou, of all consolers best,
Thou, the soul’s delightsome Guest,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

Thou in toil art comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.

Light immortal, Light divine,
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill.

If Thou take Thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.

Heal our wounds; our strength renew;
On our dryness pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold gifts descend:

Give them comfort when they die,
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joys that never end.

Come, Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.


Here is some wonderful teaching from Pope Benedict XVI:

“We pray that Pentecost may not only be an event of the past, at the very beginning of the Church, but that it may be today, indeed now… Let us pray that the Lord may bring about the outpouring of his Spirit now, and recreate his Church and the world…Let us remember that after the Ascension the Apostles did not begin – as might perhaps have been expected – to organise, to create the Church of the future. They waited for God to act. They waited for the Holy Spirit. They understood that the Church cannot be made, that she is not the product of our organization: the Church must be born of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Lord himself was conceived and born of the Holy Spirit so the Church must be conceived and born of the Holy Spirit. Only through this creative act of God can we enter into God’s activity, into the divine action, and cooperate with him…” (African Synod 2009)

“Jesus’ entire mission aimed at giving the Spirit of God to men and women and baptising them in his regenerative ‘bath’. This was brought about with his glorification (cf. Jn 7:39), that is, through his death and Resurrection: then the Spirit of God was poured out in superabundance, like a cascade capable of purifying every heart, extinguishing the fire of evil and kindling the flame of divine love in the world… Pentecost [is] …the culmination of Jesus’ entire mission…  Today I would like to extend the invitation to all:  let us rediscover, dear brothers and sisters, the beauty of being baptised in the Holy Spirit; let us recover awareness of our Baptism and our Confirmation, ever timely sources of grace.” (Pentecost 2008)

And, finally from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost” (1302)

“It must be explained to the faithful that reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace” (1285).

Have a spirit filled Pentecost!

Fr Lawrence Jones.