Category Archives: First Communications

Forward Together in Hope

Please follow this link to find out more about Forward Together in Hope.

If you would like to help our Parish in this process please contact Marian Bell (518406)

About Forward Together in Hope

Forward Together in Hope is a three-year journey of renewal across the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. It is about all of us working together to explore and discern God’s will for our diocese.  Using information held centrally by the diocese and carrying out a thorough self-assessment, each worshipping community will look in detail at how best it can flourish into the future.
A key strength of the approach is that it will take place in the same way across the whole of the diocese.  The entire process will be firmly rooted in prayer and a real openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Resources will be provided to help worshipping communities to reflect prayerfully on the future challenges and opportunities.

A Development Group, consisting both of ordained and lay members has been meeting since January 2014 shaping the framework for Forward Together in Hope.  Chaired by Vicar General, Fr Martin Stempczyk, other members include Kathleen Smith (Chief Operating Officer), Bill Dryden (Board Member), Kathryn Turner (Head of Spirituality) and Fr Jim O’Keefe.

Fr Jim is now heading up the work of the project and is supported by Tony Sacco, Diocesan Development Officer.

The success of Forward Together in Hope depends on all of us playing our part and thinking beyond existing boundaries. Please respond to this invitation to join the journey of renewal for our diocese by praying and offering of your skills and talents.


Fr Lawrence Jones, May he rest in peace

Yesterday, Tuesday 5 May, Bishop Seamus Cunningham celebrated a Requiem Mass for Fr Lawrence at St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle. Many priests from the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle and beyond, ministers from other Christian denominations and several-hundred lay people attended the service to pay their respects. During Mass, the preacher, Fr Michael McCoy, drew attention to Fr Lawrence’s devotion to Our Lady, which was clearly expressed by the hymns he had chosen before he died; the Mass began with ‘Immaculate Mary’ and concluded with two Marian antiphons from the Church’s ancient tradition, ‘Regina Cæli’ and ‘Salve Regina’. It was fitting, therefore, that Fr Lawrence was returned to St Robert’s after his Requiem Mass to be buried in the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes which, as parish priest, he had restored. Please continue to remember Fr Lawrence, his family and his former parishioners in your prayers.  Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

These photographs show the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes when it was opened in 1982 and the statue after it was restored in 2014.

Our Lady's Grotto  Lourdes 2014 005

Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us. And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.

Fr Lawrence Jones, Funeral Arrangements

Fr Lawrence’s body will be received here at St Robert’s on Monday 4 May 2015 at 7pm, followed by Mass.  Bishop Seamus will celebrate his Requiem Mass on Tuesday 5 May 2015 at 12 noon at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle, followed by burial at St Robert’s.


Fr L Jones, May he rest in peace

With great sadness we announce that our greatly loved and respected Parish Priest, Fr Lawrence Jones (1962-2015), has died, aged 53.  Please pray for the repose of his soul and for his family at this difficult time.  May he rest in peace.

Fr Lawrence was ordained to the priesthood at Ushaw College on 21 June 1986 and he served the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle in the following parishes: as curate at St Peter’s, Low Fell (August 1986 to September 1992) and St Aidan’s, Ashington (September 1992 to August 1994), and as parish priest at English Martyrs, Stockton (August 1994 to August 2004), St Cuthbert’s, Kenton (September 2005 to September 2009) and St Robert’s, Morpeth (September 2009 to April 2015).

Fr Lawrence was a kind and generous priest whose life gave glory to God; here he is talking about his vocation:

May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs come to welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.  May choirs of angels welcome you and lead you to the bosom of Abraham; and where Lazarus is poor no longer may you find eternal rest.

3rd Sunday of Easter 2015

Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded.


19-4-15 St Robert’s Newsletter

2nd Sunday of Easter

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:
‘You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
Think of how blessed we are that Jesus should have said “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe”, because that includes us!

2015-4-12 St Robert of Newminster


Holy Saturday

“At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden was a tomb, in which no-one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and since the tomb was near by, they laid Jesus there” (John 19:41-42)