Inspiring Event Marks World Day Of The Poor

World Day of the Poor 2019

Words, dance and song will all be used to help to tell the story of the Church’s social outreach in our diocese in a major celebration at St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday November 16.

The event, which will culminate in a liturgy led by Bishop Terry, is taking place to mark the third World Day of the Poor, when Pope Francis asks us to reflect on how poverty is at the very heart of the Gospel.

It’s hoped that as many people as possible will attend, with every parish in the diocese sending at least one representative.

“We really want people to see all the good work that goes on to help those living in all kinds of poverty or oppression, whether it be material, physical, spiritual or social,” said Canon John Lumley, Episcopal Vicar for Christian Discipleship.

“Everyone is welcome to come and join us for all or part of the day and will hopefully return to their parishes inspired and with a renewed sense of optimism and purpose, knowing there is so much we can do that really does make a difference to people’s lives.”

The day will begin with a keynote speech from Sister Lynda Dearlove MBE, who is returning to her hometown to talk about her pioneering work.

Sister Lynda, a nationally and internationally renowned champion of women whose lives are caught up in the world of prostitution, will also preach at the closing liturgy, presided over by Bishop Terry, which will be a combination of reflection, dance, story and music.

Sister Lynda founded the Women at the Well service at Kings Cross, London, and has spent her life speaking up for vulnerable women.

In recent months the Voice has been highlighting some of fantastic work carried out by the wide variety of organisations that make up Caritas Middlesbrough, which is chaired by Canon John.

“This event is a unique opportunity to celebrate the ways in which the Gospel is being put into practice in service of those whose lives are blighted by poverty or exclusion,” he said.

“You will be able to hear the stories of those who have been helped to overcome the challenges of poverty in its many forms. There will be stalls with information about various groups involved in all kinds of social outreach. Come and celebrate how the good news of our Catholic faith is being put into action!”

Organisations taking part include CAFOD, the SVP, those working with dementia and with migrants and refugees and Justice and Peace groups.

The theme for this year’s World Day of the Poor, set by the Holy Father, is: “The hope of the poor shall not perish forever.” (Ps 9:19)

He asks all Christian communities, and all those who feel impelled to offer hope, love and consolation to the poor, “To help ensure that this World Day of the Poor will encourage more and more people to cooperate effectively so that no one will feel deprived of closeness and solidarity.”

The event begins at 11am and ends with a liturgy starting at 2pm. All are welcome. Bring a packed lunch. Tea and coffee provided.

*Visit to download a resource pack that includes materials and ideas to help you and your parish or group prepare for World Day of the Poor.

Major Changes To Catholic Education In The Diocese

Diocesan Director of Schools Kevin Duffy

The Bishop currently provides 54 Catholic schools across the diocese to help him as first educator spread the good news to children and young people.

With more than 18,000 children and young people attending a diocesan school each day, the work they do is central to the wider mission of the Catholic Church in forming and educating future generations to make the world a safer, more loving, tolerant and respectful place to live in.

Due to major changes and a retraction in local government services available to our schools, in 2017 the Bishop commissioned the Diocesan Schools Service to look to create new structures and arrangements that will ensure all diocesan schools can still be supported and challenged in these difficult times for schools nationally.

Any new arrangements had to ensure we still provided the best Catholic education possible while remaining steadfast in our mission as Catholic schools and being at service to our parishes and wider communities.

The arrangement the Bishop has chosen is to seek to place all 54 schools into one of three large Catholic Academy Trusts to serve the northern, central and southern areas of the diocese.

All three Catholic Academy Trusts have been formed with Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust being home to diocesan schools in Redcar & Cleveland, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees, St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust serving our schools in North Yorkshire, the East Riding and York (see the article on this page) and St Cuthbert’s Catholic Academy Trust overseeing Catholic education in Hull.

The three trusts will provide services to their schools to support the development and vision for Catholic life, Religious Education and collective worship alongside wider school improvement, governance, finance, human resources and estates management responsibilities. This will ensure the resources, skills and experience available are directed and deployed effectively so that the standards and quality of all our schools rise to meet those of the best.

These are challenging times for education but the Bishop has provided the structures and arrangements that best place our schools to positively meet these challenges and seize the opportunities available, securing the future of Catholic education not just for today, but for those that will follow us in the years ahead.

Our new Diocesan Catholic Academy Trusts represent the future of Catholic education in the Diocese of Middlesbrough and I ask that you keep them and the work they do in your prayers.

Kevin Duffy, Diocesan Director of Schools  

Diocese Prepares For Mission Month Celebration

Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019

All are invited to our diocesan celebration to mark Extraordinary Month of Mission (EMM2019) at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday October 17 at 7pm…

This year’s World Mission Sunday (October 20) – the one Sunday in the year when the entire global Church comes together in support of mission – is running alongside another exciting global event.

His Holiness, Pope Francis, declared this month to be a special one of prayer and action, to strengthen and grow God’s mission through the Church.

The Extraordinary Month of Mission (EMM2019) marks the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, which Pope Francis describes as “a milestone in the evolution of the Church’s missionary work.”

A century later, the call is as urgent as ever. This is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on and pray for the Church’s mission and for the whole Church to fully realise that in our rapidly changing world, the Gospel is needed now more than ever.

Here in our diocese we are celebrating with a Mass to which all are invited. As the Pope’s official charity for world mission, Missio enables Catholics in England and Wales to live out the call received at Baptism: to share in the Church’s universal mission.

Missio’s national director Father Anthony Chantry says: “All of us who believe in Jesus Christ as Son of God and Saviour received our faith from God through those missionaries, who long ago left their homes and families to share their faith with those in foreign lands.

“Their sharing usually took place in the context of serving those in need, especially the poor and oppressed, thus demonstrating the character and power of God’s love in our world.

“I’ve seen the fruit of that work in many countries in Africa and Asia, where there is a host of young and dynamic Catholic communities committed to following Jesus Christ. Yet we must not make the mistake of assuming that mission abroad has no place in our modern world.”

“The Holy Father challenges us to be in a permanent state of mission, for ‘each of us is a mission to the world, for each of us is the fruit of God’s love’ (Message for World Mission Sunday, 2019).

“I hope this month will help us all the look back in thanksgiving for all that has been achieved by the missionary work of the Church and look forward with hope to a future when all peoples will know the saving and liberating love of Jesus Christ.”

Missio invites everyone to get involved in EMM2019, joining our sisters and brothers around the world in faith and renewal. Find out more about EMM2019 at and see how you can get involved – personally and as a community – in this special celebration of mission. Our diocesan EMM2019 celebration is at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday October 17 at 7pm.

Applications Invited For Financial Accountant Role

St Mary's Cathedral, Middlesbrough – Photo by Chris Booth

Due to an impending retirement and a restructuring of the Finance Department, the Bishop of Middlesbrough wishes to appoint a Financial Accountant to assist the Financial Secretary in the financial management of the diocese.

The primary responsibilities of the role include: develop improvements in month-end procedures and processes, assist in the preparation of the annual budget, assist in the preparation of monthly management accounts and variance reports and support budget-holders and assist in the preparation of the annual report, lead schedules and financial statements in line with the SORP.

Applicants, ideally qualified accountants, must have a full driving licence as the role will involve occasional travel to parishes in the diocese.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough covers a geographical area from Teesside to Humberside, consisting of Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees (South of the River Tees), the cities of Kingston upon Hull and York, East Yorkshire and most of North Yorkshire.

How to apply

 Application is by way of application form, CV and a supporting statement.

Please telephone the Bishop’s Secretary, Sarah Holmes, on 01642 850505 extension 257 for an application pack, job description and person specification. The closing date for applications is Thursday October 10 2019.

For an informal conversation about the role please contact: John Walton, Financial Secretary, on

01642 850505 or via email at

Full-time – 35 hours per week
Salary in the region of £32,000 per annum

No agencies, please.

Pope Reveals World Day Of The Poor Message

The theme for this year’s World Day of the Poor, on Sunday November 17, has been revealed as: “The hope of the poor shall not perish forever” (Ps 9:19)


In his letter announcing the theme, Pope Francis writes that these words, “express a profound truth that faith impresses above all on the hearts of the poor, restoring lost hope in the face of injustice, sufferings and the uncertainties of life.

“How can we fail to note that the Beatitudes with which Jesus began his preaching of the kingdom of God open with the words: ‘Blessed are you who are poor’ (Lk 6:20)? The meaning of this paradoxical message is that the kingdom of God belongs to the poor because they are in a position to receive it.

“How many poor people do we encounter each day! It seems that the passage of time and the advances of civilisation increase their numbers rather than diminishing them.

“Centuries go by and the Beatitude appears even more paradoxical: the poor are always poorer, and today they are poorer than ever.

“The situation of the poor obliges us not to keep our distance from the body of the Lord, who suffers in them. Instead, we are called to touch his flesh and to be personally committed in offering a service that is an authentic form of evangelisation.

“Commitment to the promotion of the poor, including their social promotion, is not foreign to the proclamation of the Gospel. On the contrary, it manifests the realism of Christian faith and its historical validity.

“God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. The poor save us because they enable us to encounter the face of Jesus Christ.”

He concludes by saying: “If the disciples of the Lord Jesus wish to be genuine evangelisers, they must sow tangible seeds of hope.”

He then asks all Christian communities, and all those who feel impelled to offer hope, love and consolation to the poor, “To help ensure that this World Day of the Poor will encourage more and more people to cooperate effectively, so that no one will feel deprived of closeness and solidarity.”

You can read the full text here:

We will be holding a major event for the whole of our diocese in St Mary’s Cathedral, Middlesbrough, on Saturday November 16 to celebrate all the good work being carried out by the Church and by individual Catholics throughout our diocese, as well as hearing stories and experiences of those affected by poverty in all its various forms. All are welcome and it’s hoped that every parish in the diocese will be represent at this celebration.



Deacon David Looks Forward To New Formation Role

Deacon David Cross

Deacon David Cross has been appointed to the role of coordinator of adult formation after the recent departure of Deacon Vince Purcell.

The job will involve coordinating the delivery of formation opportunities to equip the lay faithful to accept greater responsibility for evangelisation, pastoral care and administration in their parishes.

David, who is married to Carol with five grown-up children, has a wealth of experience of working within the Church and is currently with CAFOD in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

His new tasks will include helping the diocese adapt to its future in the light of a renewed emphasis on adult formation within the wider Church.

“It’s about trying to equip laypeople to take on a more proactive role in helping keep our parishes functioning and providing sacramental services in the longer term,” said Deacon David.

“That’s an important challenge both for laypeople and for our priests and deacons and there’s a lot to think about in terms of how we can equip parishioners in what is a challenging time for our Catholic community with the skills they will need.

“For many of us, the starting point may be to ask ourselves the question of why we are here as a parish? Is it just about existing inside the church walls or are we here for the wider community?

“If everyone on our parish registers came to our Masses we couldn’t fit them all in. Where are all these people? There’s a job to be done in not necessarily going out to convert new Catholics but in bringing back the ones we have already. How can we reach and open our church doors once again to those people who no longer feel part of the parish community?

“Our vocation is to take the love of God to those in our community. Through our lives, nourished by the Eucharist, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit and each other, to become images of the God who loves us unconditionally and constantly invites us into a deeper relationship. This is the Good News for every person.”

David said we will face many challenges as together we get to grip with the task of shaping the Church of the future, but they are challenges that we should look forward to with great hope.

“The diocese is coming to the point where when a priest retires, the Bishop isn’t able to replace them because we haven’t got any more,” he said.

“But he’s clear that he doesn’t want to close parishes, he wants to help parishioners find ways of keeping the parish going when there isn’t a permanent priest.

“My role is to prepare both clergy and laypeople in our parishes before that starts to kick in and happen on a big scale.”

“Hopefully, over time, I’ll be going and meeting with parishes, listening to peoples’ ideas, their hopes and fears for the future and working closely with them to find solutions to the challenges we will be facing and exploring what it’s going to be like to be Church.

“I will also be organising training and seminars and encouraging parishioners to participate in them as much as possible.”

David will begin his new role on October 1.

Monsignor Bickerstaffe Passes Away In Hull

It is with sadness that we announce that Monsignor Tony Bickerstaffe, who served in churches throughout the diocese for many years, sadly died in his sleep in Hull during the night. 

He would have celebrated his 95th birthday on September 10. We will have more details, including funeral arrangements, next week.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen

Stella Maris Mass In Hull

Apostleship of the Sea

Bishop Terry will preside at a Mass in St Charles Borromeo Church in Hull on Tuesday October 8.

Mass will be in honour of Our of Lady Star of the Sea, patron of seafarers’ charity Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea).

All are invited to come along to pray for seafarers who bring us much-needed goods and often work for long periods of time away from home.

Contact Anne McLaren for further information by emailing or calling 07906 661 633.

Date: Tuesday October 8 2019 at 7pm
Venue: St Charles Borromeo Church, 12 Jarratt Street, Hull, HU1 3HB


Executive Director Opening At Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Cardinal Vincent Nichols

An opportunity has arisen to work with the General Secretary to further develop the Bishops’ Conference Secretariat as a centre of knowledge and capability in support of the bishops of England and Wales.

This post would suit someone with broad and deep knowledge and experience of working with the Catholic Church and able to demonstrate a sustained track record of representing the Church across a diverse range of people and organisations, including legislators and influencers in England and Wales.  

Reporting to the General Secretary, the role will be based in the office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, a short walk from Victoria Station in Central London.

Key accountabilities will include…  

• To work with colleagues to develop professional excellence across all disciplines in support of the bishops and their mission

• To develop individual, team and organisational knowledge and capability and translate into compelling policy and practice consistent with proclaiming the Kingdom of God across England and Wales 

• To support the work of the Secretariat in continuously improving knowledge of Church teaching across England and Wales, including for sacramental preparation

• To develop understanding of the Catholic heritage and culture of England and Wales as core to evangelisation

• To provide bishops with knowledge and insight, enabling them to respond to emerging issues of national and international importance to the Church

•To communicate the Gospel message in the context of the lived experience of the people of England and Wales and develop and implement mechanisms for translating Church teaching into pastoral practice.

Salary: Subject to experience

Closing date for applications: August 23 2019

Interviews: Interviews will be held on September 18 2019 at 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX. Second interviews will be arranged on a mutually convenient date.

For a job description and for further information please contact: or visit  

Applicants must confirm their right to work in the UK and forward a full CV and covering letter demonstrating the skills, motivation and experience that equips them for this role to or by post to Head of HR, 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX.

Friendships Forged On Knock Pilgrimage

Pilgrims who visited Knock for the 140th anniversary of the Apparition of the Virgin Mary

Many new friendships were made as pilgrims from Scarborough, Middlesbrough, Whitby and Redcar travelled to Knock for the 140th anniversary of the Apparition of the Virgin Mary.

We arrived very tired at our hotel in Kiltimagh, ten minutes from Knock, on Monday evening, having set off by coach at 1am. Four more pilgrims joined us by air. The next two days were spent exploring the shrine and the many beautiful areas that make up this large site.

The new Basilica that can hold 10,000 people is the central feature of the shrine and contains a 1.5m-piece mosaic of the apparition scene, which is a truly awesome sight to behold.

Stations of the Cross in a special outside garden area were led by our spiritual director Canon Eddie, who later concelebrated Mass in the parish church with priests from the shrine.

The original parish church gable wall, where the apparition took place in 1879, is now a separate chapel that is open for Mass and private devotion and where Canon Eddie was also able to celebrate Mass during our pilgrimage.

The group enjoyed a trip to Westport and Galway to see this very scenic part of Co Mayo before we travelled home via Belfast to Stranraer ferry. Our thanks go to Canon Eddie and organiser Rory Connelly for enabling this pilgrimage to be so successful and rewarding in many ways.

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