Ushaw: 450th Anniversary Conference For Douai Foundation

Ushaw: 450th Anniversary Conference For Douai Foundation

Ushaw College with the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University are celebrating the 450th anniversary of the founding of the English College at Douai with a special anniversary conference: ‘450 Years Pioneering Catholic Education: Past, Present, Future’ at Ushaw, a successor of the English College at Douai, from Monday April 30 to Tuesday May 1 2018.

The programme will include:

  •   Professor Eamon Duffy: “To Doe Our Countrie Good”: Douai, Rome, and the Tridentine Seminary’
  •   Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and Bishop Paul Tighe: ‘Universities as Places of Encounter between Faith and Culture’ (The Bishop Dunn Memorial Lecture 2018)
  •   Professor Michael Questier: ‘The Foundation of the English College at Douai and the English Mission’
  •   Professor Thomas O’Connor and Dr Caroline Bowden: ‘The Exile Enterprise’
  •   Professor Gerard Kilroy and Claire Marsland: ‘Martyrdom’
  •   Rev Nicholas Schofield: ‘The Replanting of the English College at Douai in England’
  •   Rev David Milburn and Rev Dr Michael Sharratt: ‘Life at Ushaw’
  •   Professor Stephen Regan and Dr Stefano Cracolici: ‘Cultural Ushaw’
  •   Dr Jonathan Bush: ‘The Catholic Revival’
  •   Dr Clare Watkins: ‘Forming the Church Today’

A full conference package is £167.50 (reduced rate £131.50 for students and those on a low wage).  This includes a conference fee, refreshments, two lunches and the conference dinner. Limited accommodation is available at Ushaw College bookable on a first come first served basis. Otherwise delegates can book local hotels with transport provided between Durham City and Ushaw College if required.

Full details of the conference, including a link to the online booking site, can be found at


Three Decades Of Service

Three Decades Of Service

A much-loved priest who spent 32 years at St Paulinus in York from its foundation as a parish has died in Ireland at the age of 94.

Father Pat Grant was born in Thurles, Co Tipperary, on November 14 1923 and attended St Patrick’s Seminary in his hometown. He was ordained in June 1950 in the nearby Cathedral of the Assumption, in which he made his first confession, Holy Communion and confirmation, and where his funeral service also took place.

He served as curate at St Mary’s in Hull and in 1951 moved to the Sacred Heart Church in the city, serving until becoming curate at Corpus Christi, Middlesbrough, in 1960.

He was appointed parish priest of St Paulinus in 1968 and remained there until he retired in 2000. After remaining in the diocese for a short time, he moved along with his long-serving housekeeper Mary Costello to her hometown, Kilkee, County Clare.

In recent years he was cared for at Kilrush Nursing Home, Co Clare, where he passed away peacefully on Friday February 23.

The principal celebrant at Father Pat’s funeral on Monday February 26 was cathedral administrator Father James Purcell, with Archbishop Kieron O’Reilly of Cashel among the concelebrants. Also concelebrating was Father John McGrath, who was formerly on loan to our diocese, working in St Wilfrid’s, York.

Canon Dan Spaight represented Bishop Terry, proclaiming the gospel and expressing words on behalf of the diocese at the end of Mass, in which he thanked Father Pat’s family for his long years of service.

Canon Spaight, who visited Father Pat just a couple of weeks before he died, also conducted the burial, in St Patrick’s Cemetery, Thurles.

“Pat’s family said he was always very attached to the cathedral and was determined to pursue his vocation to the priesthood,” he said.

“He was very well liked by the people and committed to his ministry and was known as a kind man with his own special sense of humour, which people appreciated.

“He had a reputation for being very good with the first holy communion preparation children. He was also an excellent fundraiser and one on occasion the committee asked him to find a celebrity to open the garden fete and he managed to persuade the Leeds United and Ireland footballer, Johnny Giles, to come and do it!

“He was a big Leeds’ fan and once tried unsuccessfully to get a ticket for a big match, so he wrote to the manager, Don Revie and received a letter back with a complimentary ticket inside it!

“He was also a keen golfer and before his retirement would play in Spain or the Algarve with a group of clergy during the winter.”

Father Pat was predeceased by his sister Kathleen and brothers John and Jimmy. He leaves sisters Mary and Josephine, sisters-in-law Claire and Babs and brother-in-law Arthur as well as nieces and nephews.

Canon Spaight and Father Pat Bluett are now the only retired priests of our diocese in Ireland after the deaths during the last year of Canon Bill Madden, Father Tom Ryan and Father Grant.

New Catholics Given Warm Welcome At Rite Of Election

New Catholics Given Warm Welcome At Rite Of Election

Candidates and catechumens were given a warm welcome as they began the final part of their journey towards being received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Canon Pat Hartnett led the traditional Rite of Election and Call To Continuing Conversion, which takes place in every cathedral in the world on the first Sunday of Lent.

The service marks the formal acceptance of people who have been on a journey of faith through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programme.

This year there were 29 candidates, who have already been baptised into other Christian traditions and who will be confirmed and receive Holy Communion for the first time at the Easter Vigil in their parishes.

There also 19 catechumens, who have not previously been baptised and will receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and holy communion during their Easter Vigil celebrations.

During the service, the catechumens were called one by one to the sanctuary, where their catechists were asked if they had prayerfully reflected on this next step and to affirm them in their faith journey. The godparents also came up to the altar and Canon Pat formally accepted the catechumens before they each signed the Book of the Elect.

The candidates were asked to stand in their places with their sponsors, who affirmed they had been prayerfully preparing, but they do not sign the book as they are already Christians.

“In our diocese, we also ask them all to come up to be given them a Tau cross as a gift and a sign that they are now entering that period of Lent, the period of purification and enlightenment,” says RCIA coordinator Deacon Vince Purcell.

“I would always encourage parishes to get involved in the RCIA. As well as us welcoming the candidates and catechumens, it’s important to remember that they are also leading us to a new understanding of our faith.

“Setting up an RCIA group can be demanding but is extremely rewarding and is part of what we’re called to do as missionary parishes.”

Bishop Terry was present at the service as he continues his recovery after knee surgery and was able to give the final blessing.

For all enquiries and support with RCIA please contact Deacon Vince by emailing

The Tau Cross

The Franciscan or “Tau” cross (“tau” rhymes with “how”) takes its name from the Greek letter “T” that it resembles. It is an ancient form of the cross and was from earliest times the sign marked on the foreheads of “the saved ones”. It looks like the outstretched arms of Christ, open to receive us, and is given to catechumens and candidates in our diocese as a sign of being welcomed by Christ into the joy of life through him and with him and in him, in the life of his body, the Church.

New Bus Will Provide Vital Lifeline In Ghana

New Bus Will Provide Vital Lifeline In Ghana

An appeal has been launched to help buy a new bus so that sisters including Middlesbrough-born Sister Pat Pearson can continue providing vital services to vulnerable communities in Ghana.

In January, Monsignor Gerard Robinson visited the Padre Pio Rehabilitation Centre at Ahotokurom, which means “place of serenity”, and was deeply impressed by the work being carried out there.

Now he is asking St Mary’s Cathedral parishioners and others in the diocese to raise the £50,000 the community of the Daughters of Mary and Joseph need to replace their ageing vehicle.

The centre, located near Cape Coast, was established in the early 1980s as a partnership between the DMJ sisters, the Franciscan order and local people, to rehabilitate and reintegrate former leprosy and Buruli ulcer sufferers into their communities and its list of services have expanded ever since.

Their present bus is old and unreliable and often breaks down and is so small and uncomfortable that children and leprosy patients often have to stand or sit on each other’s knees.

“Sister Pat and her colleagues have been in desperate need of a new bus for some time,” said Monsignor Robinson. “The bus is essential as it the only provision of transport for children and adults who attend the day centre, as well as many staff. It’s a lifeline for those in need and provides so many benefits to families living in poverty in the surrounding villages.”

Sister Pat taught at St Alphonsus School in Middlesbrough and managed a children’s home in Marton before beginning her work in Ghana.

The centre has three units, St Elizabeth’s, St Joseph’s and St Clare’s. St Elizabeth’s day unit supports 45 children and young adults with disabilities, who begin being collected from their villages at 5.30am each day and arrive at 7.30am.

St Joseph’s is a residential and part-time respite care home for up to 22 children and young adults. It began when teenagers were discharged from the leprosy hospital and could not return home because of the fear of stigmatisation and rejection by family and community.

St Clare’s is a residential home for up to 20 elderly and physical disabled leprosy patients who have lost limbs, ulcers and blindness. There is also outreach and day-care programmes.

“The centre carries out excellent work in a happy, loving, caring and supportive atmosphere,” said Monsignor Robinson. “It offers a peaceful and serene environment for those who have suffered much through their lives, treating them with love, care, dignity and respect. Mass at Ahotokurom is an especially joyous and colourful experience, with beautiful singing and drums.”

There is extreme poverty in the surrounding villages, with at times inadequate nutrition and many people living together in mud huts or one-roomed concrete buildings. This brings additional challenges where a family member has a disability.

Despite this, some Ahotokurom students have done extremely well and are taking university courses. Monsignor Robinson donated three laptop computers, giving students access to electronic learning for their degrees.

“They have already sent emails thanking me and it’s great to keep in touch with their progress,” Monsignor Robinson added.

The new bus will cost £70,000 but they already have £20,000 towards the purchase from other benefactors. Other needs include further development of the water supply and more help with education.

Some of the money will come from the Justice & Peace Group’s “Ten Pence Bowl” at the back of the cathedral, where parishioners are encouraged to donate their loose change. This initiative has supported a number of good causes in recent years.

One parishioner has suggested collecting money in a small wooden bus painted in Ghanaian colours as a visual reminder of the appeal. Events are being organised and additional donations or ideas would be welcomed.

It is also hoped that the parish’s two schools, St Gerard’s and St Augustine’s, will get involved with the project.

Monsignor Gerard is hoping the centre’s chief executive, who is making a trip to the UK in September, will have the time to visit the cathedral to talk a little bit more about the work and be updated on there fundraising progress.

He is also hoping to return to Ghana to spend more time with the people at the centre later in the year.

If you would like to help, please call 01642 597750 or email

Day of Prayer And Pilgrimage To Holy Island

Day of Prayer And Pilgrimage To Holy Island

Parishioners from Middlesbrough are invited to join those from other dioceses on a Day of Pilgrimage and Prayer to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne on Saturday June 2.

Now in its fifteenth year, the day will be a special one to pray for seafarers and for the work of Apostleship of the Sea (AoS). It will be led by Bishop Paul Mason, AoS’ bishop promoter for England and Wales.

The day will start at 11am with the now traditional “Celtic Prayers on the Beach” in a tranquil setting, opposite St Cuthbert’s Island.

This mix of music, readings and prayer is extremely popular and sets the tone for a peaceful and reflective day.

Following this, pilgrims are free to spend time exploring the island, having lunch, visiting the churches and continuing the reflective mood established earlier.

At 2pm, Mass will be celebrated at St Mary the Virgin Church. After communion, the congregation will be treated to a Scottish piper.

AoS invites families, parish groups and individuals to join them in this peaceful day of prayer and reflection to pray for seafarers and for the work of AoS.

Please note safe crossing times for Saturday June 2 is between 8.55am and 4.14pm.

For further information please contact AoS port chaplain Deacon Peter Barrigan who covers the Diocese of Middlesbrough, on 07713 924 504

Study The Joy Of Scripture This May

Study The Joy Of Scripture This May

There will be workshops, prayer, art and more at an upcoming Scripture festival in York this May.

“Joy: the Surprise of the Gospel” will take place on Saturday May 12 at All Saints School to raise the profile of the Scriptures in creative ways.

The theme of Joy has been chosen to reflect the time of Pentecost when the festival will take place but also the appealing message of Pope Francis in The Joy of the Gospel.

The event is aiming to develop ways of applying Scripture to our whole life and enable them to be a catalyst for further engagement with the Bible.

Festival organiser Fleur Dorrell said: “We want to do it in a fun and accessible way, so that people don’t think reading the Bible is a burden, time-consuming or not interesting.

“We’re trying to break barriers down. We want people to think the Bible is interesting beyond going to Mass. It’s for every day, not just for Sunday.

“This event can be for the whole family if they want to come.”

The keynote speaker will be Father Eamonn Mulcahy, who has served as a priest since 1980.

Father Eamonn, who has led spiritual retreats to priests, religious and lay-people all around the world, will offer insight into how the Scripture brings joy and hope.

There will not only be opportunities for Bible study but also to respond to the text in words, art and prayer, as well as celebrating through liturgy and music.

There will be a series of hands-on workshops throughout the day, including art and scripture, scripture and song, scripture and Mary, Lectio Divina and a drama workshop with Blazing Grannies.

There will also be workshops on gifts of the spirit, post-resurrection narratives, scripture and iconography, and scripture and families.

As well as the workshops, static prayer stations for reflection and inspiration, a small art exhibition from local schools and a scripture wall for prayer and meditation.

There will be an opportunity to attend evensong at York Minster later in the day.

The festival is being organised collaboratively by diocesan advisers, members of religious orders and the Scripture Working Group of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

The day will begin with coffee and a welcome from Bishop Terry between 10am and 10.30am and people can come and go as they please throughout the day.

A small contribution of £5 per person is requested to help fund the festival.

Northern Scripture Festival York Poster

Opportunities For Young People With CAFOD

Opportunities For Young People With CAFOD

Calling young people aged 18 to 30!

CAFOD is looking for volunteer climate champions to take part in an international workshop in summer 2018 on sustainability with other Catholic young people from across Europe.

The Catholic charity is also offering a free one-day course in London on Tuesday March 27 for young adults who want to develop print or digital communications, campaigning or fundraising skills.

Click here to download a flyer containing details of how to apply.



Hardworking Father Tom Was A Sporting All-Rounder

Hardworking Father Tom Was A Sporting All-Rounder

Father Tom Ryan, who served for 40 years in parishes in the north and south of our diocese, died at 6am on the morning of Saturday February 3 at the age of 86.

Father Tom was born in Caherconlish, County Limerick, on August 29 1931. He attended St Patrick’s Seminary in Thurles and was ordained priest on September 29 1956.

He served as a curate at St Peter’s, South Bank, from 1956 to 1961. He continued as a curate in Corpus Christi Church, Hull, from 1961 to 1965, and St Patrick’s Church in Middlesbrough from 1965 to 1971.

In 1971 he became parish priest at St Patrick’s Church, Hull, where he remained until 1990, becoming parish priest of St Joseph’s and St Cuthbert’s in Loftus until his retirement in 1996. He then returned to Caherconlish and in his later years he moved into St Paul’s Nursing Home in Dooradoyle, Limerick.

Father Tom leaves behind sisters, Anna, who is a Presentation Sister, and Catarina, a Sister of Mercy. He was predeceased by his brothers Michael, Father Dick, Denis and Sister Mary Colette.

Canon Dan Spaight first met Father Tom in 1953 when they were student priests together at Thurles and they remained lifelong friends

“He was ordained and went ahead of me to Middlesbrough and although we were never placed together in the same parish, we spent leisure time together and played golf regularly,” he said.

“He had a great sense of humour and was a big, strong man and a sporting all-rounder, playing hurling and handball and taking part in All Ireland colleges’ sports at weight-throwing.

“When he was younger he cycled ten miles to school in Limerick and back every day, milking the cows before and afterwards.

“He and Father Jimmy Quinn won the three-legged race in the Easter sports at Thurles every year. They were only beaten once, when the spancel attaching their legs together fell off!

“As a priest he was a very hard worker who spent time on hospital and school visits. I visited him regularly at the nursing home but in recent times he suffered badly from Alzheimer’s disease.”

Father Tom’s death means that Canon Spaight, who lives in County Clare, is one of only three retired priests who served in Middlesbrough now living in Ireland, along with Father Pat Grant and Father Pat Bluett.

“We in the Middlesbrough Diocese have been so blessed to have received the ministry of Father Tom and so many priests from Ireland,” said Vicar General Monsignor Gerard Robinson.

“We thank all Father Tom’s family and friends for the support they have given him throughout his priestly life and especially in these latter years.”

Father Tom’s funeral took place on Tuesday February 6 at Our Lady, Mother of the Church in Caherconlish, before burial in St Lawrence Cemetery. Canon Dan was the main celebrant, assisted by a large number of Father Tom’s brother priests.

Mass for the Repose of Father Tom’s soul will be celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral in Middlesbrough on Tuesday February 20 at noon, when the intentions of his family and friends will also be remembered.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.



Families Invited To World Meeting

Families Invited To World Meeting

Catholics from England and Wales are invited to visit Dublin for the ninth World Meeting of Families, which takes place from August 21 to 26.

Pope Francis is expected to attend the meeting, which has the theme of “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said: “The 2018 World Meeting will be held in Dublin, but it is an event of the entire Church. The meeting will hopefully be a festival of witness to the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.”

“The vocation of Christian couples, supported by the Sacrament of Marriage, is a call to witness to that love and to experience the joy of bringing the love of Jesus to those who are troubled and challenged.”

Pope Saint John Paul II asked the Pontifical Council for the Family to establish the WMOF as an international event of prayer, catechesis and celebration that would draw participants from around the globe. It takes place every three years and seeks to strengthen the bonds between families and to witness to the crucial importance of marriage and the family to society.

The principal gatherings will be held in Dublin with smaller events taking place in other centres around Ireland. The meeting itself will begin with a major three-day conference at which international speakers will address the challenges of the family.

Each day will open with a major talk followed by break-out groups on a wide range of theological, spiritual, social and scientific questions on the place of the family in today’s word and will conclude with Mass. A larger function of testimonies will be held on Saturday August 25 to celebrate the place of the family in the Church and a final Mass will conclude the meeting on the afternoon of Sunday August 26.

Tickets or registration is required for all events and while some are free, others will be subject to a fee. A wide range of accommodation is available and can be arranged at the same time as booking tickets. Please visit for more details.

Could You Volunteer For CAFOD?

Could You Volunteer For CAFOD?

Could you help CAFOD’s mission in the Diocese of Middlesbrough by becoming an administrative volunteer?

These people play a vital role in helping CAFOD work with thousands of communities across England and Wales.

They are often based in a centre in their area and work closely with other volunteers and staff, getting a first-hand view of how people across their local area are helping to make a difference for communities overseas.

Responsibilities may include data entry, handling correspondence via email and telephone and collaborating with volunteer coordinators to support other volunteers.

In helping everything to run smoothly, administrative volunteers are often the unsung heroes behind the scenes.

For more please telephone 01642 822301 or


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