Bishop Terry celebrating Mass in Lourdes – Photo by Les Clark
Apr, 2024
Bishop Terry’s April Voice column

As we move into April, we bathe in the light of the Risen Lord as we celebrate Easter not just for a day, or a week, but for a whole season.

Not only is the light increasing as the days lengthen, but everything is very much springing back into life all around us. At times our world can seem dark, but there are lots of signs of hope all around. I was reflecting on this the other day and these thoughts went through my mind. Let me share them with you. 

I visit our schools on a regular basis. I never cease to be amazed at the wonderful vibrant atmosphere which greets you as soon as you walk through the door. Going round the classes and speaking to different groups – pupil chaplains, Mini-Vinnies, Eco Champions, prayer leaders – the enthusiasm and aspiration is so evident. Parts of the Diocese of Middlesbrough are among the most deprived in the country and the child poverty level is the highest, especially in Middlesbrough itself, Hull and parts of the coastal area. Despite that, or maybe because of it, our schools in these areas are true beacons of hope and a source of joy for others beyond the school community.

Every year we have our Pilgrimage to Lourdes. For a small diocese our numbers are pretty good. On my first Ad Limina (report) visit as bishop, Pope Benedict commented on this and especially on the number of young people who form part of the caring team. It is wonderful to see the young people literally blossom during the course of the pilgrimage – from standing around on the sidelines to eventually entering fully into the joy of the pilgrimage at every level, spiritually, physically, emotionally. It is a privilege to witness, and they fill my heart with genuine hope. 

The same could be said about the World Youth Day events over the years. There I have had the great experience of accompanying many of our young people and young adults on the wonderful journey that we call World Youth Day. To see the depth of prayerful engagement with the Gospel, to be involved in the honesty of discovering the importance of their faith, to walk alongside them as they discern the hope that God’s call holds for them is a wonder and a true gift of encouragement. 

There are many groups and individuals within the diocese who have taken the “Social Gospel” to heart and who live out Catholic Social Teaching day by day. I could mention many by name, but will refrain from doing so lest I miss out some and embarrass others. However, a few years ago we did a “census” of all the different organisations and groups within the diocese who base their action on Catholic Social Teaching either knowingly or intuitively, and I was amazed and uplifted at the number and the quality. How could one not be filled with Gospel hope and joy. 

In blessed hope,


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This