Parish newsletter

14th Sunday of the Year

Dear Parishioners

In our earthly lives most of us value our home, that place where we live with those whom we love; that place where we love and are loved in return. Our lives and what we do in our lives are often centered around our home.

“Are we at home with Jesus” I wonder?

How aware are we of the presence of God living within us and how aware are we that we are living in the presence of God?”

A life of faith is, after all, living in peace with God, feeling at home with God which  involves more than simply doing our duty, following the rules or being nice to other people.

Remember these words found in the Book of Revelation: (3:21) “Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share a meal at your side.”

Might Jesus be knocking on your door and would you invite him in?

Fr Patterson


Cases of Covid-19 rising

Covid cases in our country and in our region continue to rise rapidly due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant. We still have a number of our parishioners who are poorly and self isolating. As a result, wearing a face covering in church at the moment would be greatly appreciated out of consideration for our more vulnerable parishioners. It helps to keep everyone in church safe, by restricting the spread of aerosol particles.

We do still ask everyone to use the hand gel on entering the church and to be sensitive to sitting too close to someone who is already in the bench you enter. They may not be comfortable if you “snuggle up to them.”


All are welcome

Everyone is welcome to join us for the celebration of Mass in St. Patrick’s and St. Alban’s churches. In recent times, it has been a joy to welcome those people of other faiths or none who have come to join us in worship.

Currently, only baptised Catholic people are able to receive Holy Communion and we ask that when you approach the altar you extend your hands towards the minister who will place the sacred host in your hand which you should then consume immediately before returning to your place.

If you are not a Catholic or are indisposed to receive Holy Communion, you are invited to come forward at the appropriate time and receive a blessing, indicating your desire by folding an arm across your chest.


Mass Intentions

Fr. Patterson will celebrate Mass for the following Intentions during the coming week. You may wish to wear a face covering when attending Church.

  • Monday – No Mass
  • Tuesday: 10.00 in St. Patrick’s Church – Funeral Mass for Connie Hullock
  • Wednesday – (Private Mass) Brian Quigley
  • Thursday10.00 in St. Patrick’s Church – Allan Lavin
  • Friday: (Private Mass) – Fr. Michael Keoghan
  • Saturday: 18.00 in St. Alban’s Church – For the intentions of all our parishioners
  • Sunday: 10.00 in St. Patrick’s Church – Pat Donald

Mass to view on line

Mass is live streamed from our Cathedral on a Sunday. Visit the Cathedral website.

Alternatively, you may like to follow Mass from the Holy Name, Jesmond. Visit the website for Mass times this week.


When you are unable to celebrate Mass in Church, you may wish to make this act of spiritual communion:-

Lord Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.


Please keep in your prayers:

  • all our parishioners who are sick, housebound or in hospital.
  • all those near and dear to us whose memories we cherish at this time and
  • Connie Hullock, Kevin O’Sullivan and Ronnie Brown who have died. May they rest in peace.

A Prayer for those who have died from Covid

Gracious God, as we remember before you all those people who have died from the coronavirus, surround us and all who mourn with your compassion. Be gentle with us in our grief, protect us from despair and give us grace to persevere and face the future with hope. We make this prayer in Jesus Christ our risen Lord. Amen.


A Prayer for Carers, Nurses and Doctors

Lord Jesus, who healed the sick and gave them new life, be with doctors, nurses and carers, as they act as agents of your healing touch. In desperate times, keep them strong yet loving; and when their work is done, be with them in their weariness and in their tears. Amen.


A Prayer for Ukraine

Father, hold the people of Ukraine deep in your heart. Protect them from violence, political gamesmanship and from being used and abused. Give the nations of the world the courage and wisdom to stand up for justice and the courage to care generously. Take from us those traits that see us pursuing our own needs and wants before those of others. Teach us to live in love, dignity and respect, following your ways. We ask this in your name and for your sake. Amen


Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermons

Each week Bishop Barron offers a Sunday sermon.


Refreshments after Mass

Refreshments will next be served  in St. Patrick’s parish centre after Mass this Sunday, 3rd July.

Could you join the rota to help make tea and coffee?


Are you on a rota?  –  please read on……..

If you have joined one of our rotas in either St. Alban’s or St. Patrick’s churches and find you are unable to fulfil your role on a particular occasion, would you please arrange a substitute. Telephone numbers of other volunteers are printed on each rota.

This is particularly important to ensure that our liturgy and parish activities flow smoothly. With reduced numbers attending our churches, it cannot be presumed that someone can just be “plucked out of the congregation” to take your place. Many thanks.


A sincere thanks

Fr. Patterson wishes to express his gratitude to Joan Owens for choosing to request that donations made in memory of her late husband George, might be given to St. Patrick’s Church funds. A most thoughtful gesture which realised a generous £89.00 donated at the Funeral Mass for George which took place in St. Patrick’s last Thursday.


St Joseph’s Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Newcastle

The Little Sisters are looking for volunteers to help throughout the Home with residents’ activities, administration duties, fundraising and other various duties. If you are interested and would like to know more, please contact Sister Evelyn or Mother Deirdre at St Joseph’s Home on  0191 273 1279 for further details.


An important message for those parishioners who are in the Gift Aid Scheme

If you are a tax payer and are already in the parish gift aid scheme for either St. Alban’s or St. Patrick’s, please ensure that you are making your offering either by standing order, bank transfer or using your offertory envelopes which you would have collected in March this year.

Please do not simply place a loose cash offering in the boxes at the church doors. This prevents us being able to record your offering for the Gift Aid scheme with the result that we will be unable to reclaim the tax on your offering. If you did not collect your envelopes for the current year and do not contribute by standing order please contact John the parish Gift Aid Organiser for both St. Alban’s and St. Patrick’s by emailing him at stpatrick.giftaid@outlook.com

Please note this information only applies to those parishioners who are tax payers and already members of the parish gift aid schemes.


Paper £20.00 notes

The paper £20.00 note will cease to be legal tender after 30th September, 2022. It would be greatly appreciated if you would not use them for your offerings after that date.


Please consider making your weekly offering by Standing Order or Bank Transfer

With fewer volunteers prepared to join a “Counting Team” which has had the knock on effect of us having fewer counting teams in both St. Alban’s and St. Patrick’s, it would be greatly appreciated if parishioners who have bank accounts would consider making their offering to either St. Alban’s or St. Patrick’s by Standing Order or Bank Transfer. The details you require to set up a standing order or bank transfer for both parishes can be found below.

If you would like to help by join a counting team, please contact Terry or Christine Harbron for St. Alban’s or Maureen Hodgson for St. Patrick’s.


Taking the collection during Mass

Although no collection is taken during Mass, by way of passing baskets along the benches, we do hope you will support our church financially by placing your offering in the boxes at the entrances to the church. Alternatively you may consider contributing by standing order the details for which are found below.


Your Offertory contributions

To reduce the demands on parish administration, we invite those of you who feel able, to consider making your weekly offering by Standing Order.  The bank details you require for this are printed below. 

St Alban’s HSBC bank account name: DHN Pelaw St Alban, Sort code: 40-34-18, Account No: 92010984

St Patrick’s HSBC bank account name: DHN Felling St Patrick, Sort code: 40-34-18, Account No: 52010453

If you are a tax payer and are not a member of the parish gift aid scheme please consider joining the scheme, it costs you nothing and the parish benefits by being able to reclaim the tax you have already paid on your offering. The parish receives 25p of every £1.00 you give from HMRC. All that is required, is for you to complete a simple form which does not involve you disclosing any personal financial information and is held securely by the Diocesan Finance Office. To obtain a form, or for more information, please email St. Patrick’s Gift Aid organiser at stpatrick.giftaid@outlook.com

For the time being, enquiries concerning the Gift Aid scheme for St. Albans Church should be directed to Fr. Patterson at felling.stpatrick@rcdhn.org.uk.


Mrs Bridon is to leave St. Alban’s School

The following letter was sent to the parents and carers of our school children last week by Mr. Nick Hearn, the CEO of the Bishop Wilkinson Academy Trust of which our school is now a part.

Dear Parents/Carers,

I am writing (to) inform you of a change to the leadership team, at St Alban’s from 1st September 2022 to 31st August 2023.

Mrs Bridon has been invited to become the headteacher at St Godric’s Catholic Primary School, Durham for (the) next academic year. This post is initially a secondment for one academic year.

Mrs Stokoe, a highly experienced headteacher from St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Low Fell will become the executive headteacher of St Alban’s with effect from 1st September 2022. She will be supported by Mrs Robinson, deputy headteacher. This arrangement will ensure that there is a smooth transition for pupils and staff in school as well as ensuring that life at St. Alban’s continues to flourish.

I am sure you will welcome Mrs Stokoe into your school and parish community. I know this will be a great opportunity to share expertise across both school communities.

Yours sincerely

Nick Hurn

Chief Executive Officer

Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust

Addendum

Fr Patterson wishes to make it clear, for our parishioners who are unfamiliar with the workings of the Bishop Wilkinson Academy Trust, that these appointments were made by the Trust. The Local Governing Committee of our school (formerly known as Governors) were not consulted nor involved in any decision making process.


An opportunity to celebrate what makes us one

As we gradually begin to “Learn to live with Covid,” and can continue to ease restrictions, Fr. Patterson, after discussion with Mrs. Bridon and Mrs Robinson, has offered to celebrate a Mass to mark the end of the current school year with an eye to the future for our shared parish family.

As such, Fr Patterson wishes to extend an invitation to all the parishioners from St Alban’s and St Patrick’s to this Mass marking not only the end of another school year but the beginning of what we hope will be a brighter future drawing our shared parishes closer together in what are going to be challenging times ahead.

As many of our parishioners will be aware, when St. John’s School in Felling closed eleven years ago, St Alban’s was designated by the Diocese to be our “new” shared parish school for the children of both St Alban’s parish and St Patrick’s parish. Part of the agreement made at the time of the closure of St. John’s was that the children would be given the opportunity to celebrate school liturgies and Masses in both of our churches  (St. Alban’s and St. Patrick’s) and our end of year Mass is one of those opportunities.

In order to accommodate all the pupils (YR-Y6) safely, which is an important consideration at present with the rapid rise in the transmission of Omicron in our area, and to be able to offer an open invitation to all parents/carers and parishioners, the Mass will be celebrated in St. Patrick’s Church, which has the larger capacity of our two churches and is well ventilated, which is still a requirement of our Diocesan Covid controls. Father Patterson asks that adults attending the Mass might consider wearing a face covering for the well-being of everyone present, especially those who are vulnerable – but this is a decision for each individual to make.

The children will travel to St. Patrick’s by metro and coach. Father Patterson has offered to cover the cost of the transport from the “Friends of St. Patrick’s Fund.”

This celebration provides an opportunity to show our unity and solidarity as a shared parish and school community, resolving to work ever more closely together in the months and years ahead.

So please do make a special effort to come and celebrate this Mass together on Thursday, 21st July, 2022 at 10am. You do not need to have family members in the school to attend, as we are all part of a much larger family which our shared churches and school represents – the Catholic Church, the Family of God!


Vigil Mass on Saturdays in St. Alban’s Church.

St. Alban’s Church is now open for a Vigil Mass on Saturdays at 6pm.

Following Bishop Robert’s advice with the current level of help we have available to us, we are only able to open the church on a Saturday evening. For the time being, it will remain closed during the week for all services. Bishop Robert has asked Fr. Patterson to review the situation after the summer to assess the level of need and support.

If you are attending Mass in St. Alban’s Church, please note the following:-

  • Parishioners are asked to enter and leave the church by the main doors only.
  • Following advice from the Diocesan Health and Safety Officer, the side door should only be used as an emergency exit.
  • You are invited to sanitise your hands as you enter the church
  • You may wear a face covering during Mass
  • Due to the low ceilings over the congregation, we must ensure adequate ventilation to help dilute and disperse viral particles.  Both inner doors at the rear of the church will remain open throughout Mass (the outer doors will normally be closed) and the side windows will be open. Please dress accordingly as there may be a draught in some areas of the church.
  • No collection will be taken during Mass, by way of passing baskets along the benches, but we do hope you will support our parish financially by placing your offering in the offering box as you enter the church.  Alternatively you may consider contributing by standing order, the details for which are:  Account name: DHN Pelaw St Alban, Sort code: 40-34-18, Account No: 92010984.

St. Patrick’s Church needs more support from you

Fr. Patterson wishes to thank those parishioners who have already offered their support in various aspects of parish life, but it is insufficient to be able to rebuild our future.

We need more volunteers for the following:-

  • preparing light refreshments in the parish centre after Sunday Mass
  • joining the music ministry, whether as an instrumentalist or singer
  • assisting with the children’s liturgy when we are in a position to restart it
  • offering to help with the opening of the church for Mass and tidying up afterwards on weekdays
  • reading at Mass on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays

The more support you give will make it less demanding on any individual or group/team. It is important that we should all play our part in helping to rebuild our shared parish family.

Please indicate your offer of support by emailing the parish office at felling.stpatrick@rcdhn.org.uk.


Current Diocesan COVID Controls

Both St. Alban’s and St. Patrick’s churches continue to follow the National Guidelines for Churches issued by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales which are as follows:

  • If you are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 you should stay at home.
  • Hand sanitiser will continue to be offered as you enter and leave church.
  • You may wear a face covering during the celebration of Mass.
  • Indoor congregational singing can take place with a general encouragement that face coverings are worn.
  • Although there is no formal social distancing by way of seating, we ask that when you take your seat, you are sensitive to the needs of other people who are already in a bench and may not be comfortable if you “snuggle up” to them. We have plenty of seating space.
  • We will, for the time being, continue to invite you to come forward for Holy Communion, row by row from the front. Holy Communion will continue to be distributed under one kind only. At the end of Mass, you may leave at your leisure.
  • It is still important to ventilate our buildings. This has the effect of diluting and dispersing viral particles
  • Our “welcomers” will be on hand to greet you and care for you

 John Ingram Walk

The annual John Ingram Walk will take place this year on the afternoon of Sunday, 24 July, organised by the Newcastle St. Vincent de Paul society – more details to follow soon


A Special Report from the ZOE Health Study  – Cases reach record high!

This week, Professor Tim Spector talks about the soaring increase in the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the growing number of reinfections, a 26% increase in hospitalisations in the last week, and the fact that the Omicron variant is finding a way round our natural immunity and the vaccine with the possibility of people catching Covid every three months! This is evidenced in our own parish community where several of our parishioners have tested positive having had their “Spring Booster!”.

Data from the Office of National statistics may also be of interest to you with 1 in 30 people having Covid in England.


….so it hasn’t gone away

I know! So many people around and about are behaving as if Covid-19 has gone away until it bites them, or a member of their family or a friend. Thankfully the symptoms, although often unpleasant, are not life threatening for most of us – but not for everyone, as the current rise in hospitalisations testifies.

And believe it or not, the government still offers guidance.

To put it simply the government suggests wearing a mask in “crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet,” and while, if you test positive for Covid you are no longer legally required to self-isolate, you are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with others for at least five full days.

The good thing is the choices we make are ours to make.

The question we should ask, despite “Partygate,” is how thoughtful are we of others in making our choices?


Thanksgiving Mass

A Mass of Thanksgiving for NHS Staff, chaplains and Carers will be celebrated by Bishop Robert on Thursday, 14th July, 2022 at 7pm in St. Mary’s Cathedral. This Celebration will be the opportunity to express the gratitude of the Diocese to medical, nursing and healthcare staff and chaplains as we continue to emerge from the COVID Pandemic.


Please get vaccinated

The Catholic Church continues to promote the participation of everyone in the Covid vaccination programme as part of its mitigation of virus transmission in church and ancillary buildings.

Pope Francis also urges us to do so.