Parish newsletter

25th Sunday of the Year

Dear Parishioners

Bishop Robert met with his Council on Friday, 10th September, to review the Covid restrictions in our churches and parish halls/centres.

He has decided that we must continue with Covid restrictions which involves the wearing of face coverings, sanitising your hands, social distancing, cleaning the church after each celebration and the maximum capacity of 70 for funerals and Mass within St. Patrick’s Church. This approach is in keeping with Government guidance of which we were reminded by Professor Chris Whitty in the Downing Street briefing last Tuesday. He will review the situation in November.

The Bishop’s principal concern continues to be for the well-being of everyone who attends our churches and for the clergy, given the age demographic of the Diocese and the local situation.

So we continue to rely on the generosity of our volunteers to enable Mass to be celebrated in St. Patrick’s Church on Tuesdays at 10 am and on Sundays at 10.30 am.

Following a meeting with our stewards last Friday, and in keeping with the Bishop’s instruction, we felt able to make the following easements in St. Patrick’s Church:-

Booking and Test and Trace details

As we have not breached our capacity for the celebration of Mass on Sundays, there will be no need for you to book a place in advance. However if we reach a situation when we may breach our maximum number, booking will have to be reintroduced. The Government no longer requires you to provide Test and Trace details.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank Maureen for committing her time to operating the booking system since its inception in December, 2020.

The distribution of Holy Communion

We will restore the distribution of Holy Communion to its usual place in the Mass from Tuesday, 21st September.

For this to operate in a safe and secure manner, parishioners will need to follow the guidance of our stewards. This will be fully explained before Mass begins during the next few weeks.

Due to my clinical vulnerability, I will continue to rely on our Eucharistic ministers to distribute Holy Communion for the foreseeable future.

As we must continue to clean the church after each celebration, the rear of the church will remain closed to reduce the demands on our stewards who, as you are aware, sanitise the church when you leave.

With this in mind, we require more volunteers to assist as stewards, on a rota basis, either during the week or over a weekend.  This will be necessary, when we are able to offer the Sacrament of Baptism for which stewarding will be required. Please get in touch if you are willing to help in this capacity.

When the restrictions are removed, I am afraid we are still unable to reopen St. Alban’s Church as we simply do not have the necessary number of volunteers to do so.

Please continue to pray for our parishioners who have recently contracted Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated. Some have had mild symptoms, whilst others have been very poorly and do what you can to encourage people you know to consider being vaccinated if they haven’t as yet done so. Please accept your invitation for a “Booster jab” when you receive it and do consider having a flu jab too. Covid-19 is still in our community and we should do all we can to be cautious in our everyday life choices which don’t only affect ourselves, but impact on others too.

Please look after each other and pray for one another and may God bless you and keep you safe.

Fr. Patterson

Mass to view on line

Mass is live streamed from our Cathedral on Sunday at 11.30 am.  

Alternatively, you may like to follow Mass from the Holy Name, Jesmond celebrated live at 10 am on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 4pm. These Masses may also be viewed later from the same website.

Mass Intentions for the coming week

With the exception of Sunday and Tuesday, Fr. Patterson will celebrate Mass privately during the week remembering the following Intentions. Bishop Robert asks that Face coverings should still be worn in our churches.

  • Monday – Funeral Mass for Brian McDonough – by invitation only – Covid restrictions still apply in the church
  • Tuesday: 10 am in St. Patrick’s Church – Nancy McErlane
  • Wednesday – Dorothy Diamond
  • Thursday – The sick, their families, NHS staff & Care Workers
  • Friday – Special Intention (MH)
  • Saturday – Fr. Patterson’s intentions
  • Sunday: 10.30am in St. Patrick’s Church – For the intentions of all our parishioners

When you are unable to celebrate Mass with us 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.

In case you are not aware, a parish priest is obliged to celebrate Mass for the “Intentions of the Parishioners” every Sunday or Holydaywhich prevents him from fulfilling personal intentions on those occasions .

Please keep in your prayers this week:

  • all our parishioners who are sick, housebound or in hospital and Fr. Kevin Daly who is ill and,
  • all those near and dear to us whose memories we cherish at this especially Dorothy Diamond and Nancy McErlane.

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 time to pray

Please join together in prayer for the 134,983 people who have died in our country from the coronavirus. (Friday’s figure):

Gracious God, as we remember before you the thousands 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 those who are afraid

God of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear:
Fear of Covid-19, fear for loved ones, fear of what the future holds.
May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace. Amen

A prayer for the people of Afghanistan

May those who are fleeing, find sanctuary,
may those who are staying, find safety,
may those who are fighting, find peace,
may those whose hearts are breaking, find comfort,
may those who see no future, find hope.

Parking your car

If you come to St. Patrick’s Church by car please park carefully, thoughtfully and safely.

If you park in the small Kwik Save car park opposite the church please do not block access to the properties that back on to that car park. Fr. Patterson also requests that you do not park in front of the presbytery garage during any Mass or service as access to the garage by others is often required.

Do remember that the main church car park is still open for use and, for the sake of our neighbours, should ideally be your first port of call.

Returning your call

If you telephone the presbytery and there is no-one available to take your call, you may choose to leave a message on the answer machine. We will do all we can to return your call. However we are only able to do so if you leave your telephone number!! For safeguarding reasons, we are unable to return anonymous calls. So please leave both your name and number for your call to be returned.

FIRST STEPS – Exploring the Catholic Faith Online

Are you wondering about your relationship with God and not sure where to start? Join us on a journey this Autumn and see if the Catholic Church can help your relationship grow. We gather weekly via Zoom and invite you to come along to find out more. Starts Wednesday 22nd September at 7pm. If you are interested to find out more, you can enquire/register using the Online Enquiry Form or email

Assisted Dying Bill

Bishop John Sherrington, the Bishop for Life Issues for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has written an open letter inviting Catholics to pray for the defeat of the Assisted Dying Bill to be debated in the House of Lords in October. If successful it will allow a terminally ill adult with less than 6 months to live, assistance to commit suicide. The Catholic Church teaches that this represents a crime against human life, for we cannot directly choose to take the life of another, even if they request it. Bishop Sherrington encourages Catholic people to write to peers at the House of Lords stating the reasons why they oppose this legislation and particularly explain from personal experience the reasons why this change in the law should be opposed.

The Sacrament of Baptism

Following Bishop Robert’s recent decision to extend the Covid restrictions until further notice, we are still unable to open St. Patrick’s Church for anything other than Mass on a Sunday and Tuesday and for funerals at present.

However, we are now in the process of arranging to have the parish centre Covid risk assessed so that we will be able to offer the necessary baptismal preparation for parents who are considering presenting their child for Baptism which the Church requires.

The Church asks that every effort is made to ensure that parents have a full understanding of the nature of the Sacrament of Baptism and also a living awareness of the commitment having their child baptised entails, namely promising to bring their child up in the practice of the Catholic faith.

To support parents in this regard, we offer a series of preparation sessions, led by volunteer catechists, in the parish centre after which parents will decide, along with the priest, whether they should proceed with having their child baptised. Until we are able to reopen our parish centre and to ensure the safety of everyone including our catechists we are currently unable to offer the preparation.

Fr. Patterson regrets that it will still not be possible to offer the Sacrament of Baptism in St. Patrick’s Church until the situation improves. Please keep an eye on the Newsletter for further information.

Things you need to know about having your child baptised.

For a child to be baptised in the Catholic Church, one parent must be a baptised Catholic who shows some sign of genuine commitment to the practice of their own faith by taking part regularly in Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s.

A child should be baptised in the parish in which their family lives and in the church they regularly attend. Parents who live outside our shared parish of St Patrick’s and St Alban’s and who wish to have their child baptised here, must regularly attend St Patrick’s Church.

Please note that no date for baptism can be considered until the preparation is completed and the parents feel able to make the commitment the Church asks of them.

Respect for one another – Be aware of personal space and personal choice.

We have lived through a lot since the pandemic started so let us be kind and respect one another. Be aware of personal space and personal choice. Some people might not be ready to hug, kiss, shake hands or reduce social distance. Don’t assume what people are comfortable with. Instead, ask them and respect their personal choices.

We are still in need of more volunteers

If we are going to be able to reopen St. Alban’s Church and fully reopen St. Patrick’s Church and parish centre once all the Covid restrictions have been removed, Fr. Patterson needs your help and support to fulfil the roles outlined in our shared parish Roadmap which was circulated at the beginning of May. If you do not have a copy, please email or telephone 0191 495 2277 and one will be sent to you.

Currently we do not have sufficient offers of help and support to be able to reopen St. Alban’s Church and will be struggling to fully reopen St. Patrick’s Church and parish centre when the Covid restrictions are lifted.

An Appeal from our Diocesan Justice and Peace Refugee Project

At present this project is supporting on average 300 clients each week, who all receive a bag of food. 102 of them are destitute and also receive a supermarket voucher. The project organisers have been notified that new sites in the local area will introduce 400/500 new asylum seekers to the area as well as some Afghan refugees so the demand on the project resources and services will increase.

If you are able to bring donations of rice, sugar, biscuits and toiletries as well as tinned fish in oil and tins of tomatoes and chick peas to St. Patrick’s Church before Mass on Tuesdays or Sundays, they may be left on the table to your right as you enter the Church. Please note: baked beans and tinned meat are not required. Thanks to those who have already generously responded to this request so quickly.

Financial donations can be made by bank transfer to HSBC Sort Code 40-34-18. Account number 52854058 Account name DHN Destitute Asylum.

Community Counselling Service

Bheith Ann is a brand-new Community Counselling Service available to all residents of Felling and the wider Gateshead area and is taking referrals for those individuals with issues such as Bereavement and Grief, Loneliness, Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Relationship Problems, Post-Trauma Experiences and Bullying.

This is a free confidential services delivered by a team of dedicated, trained counsellors strictly in line with national professional Codes of Ethical Practice. To make a referral, please ring the Bheith Ann Referral Helpline on 07425 768 957. If you simply want more information about the Service please ring Neil Campbell on 07903 239 983.

Your ongoing financial support is welcomed and needed

Fr. Patterson continues to be grateful for your offerings during these difficult times and is especially grateful to those parishioners who regularly contribute to parish funds by standing order helping us meet the regular financial  commitments of our churches.

You may bring your envelopes to Mass on Tuesdays or Sundays or drop them through the presbytery letterbox. For security reason, envelopes should not be put through the letterbox of St. Alban’s Presbytery.

The parish is still able to reclaim the tax from Gift Aided offertory contributions made by bank transfer. It would be helpful to enter your name and Gift Aid envelope number as the reference when making the transfer.

The details for bank transfers/standing orders and cheques are as follows:-

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

Zoe Covid weekly update  – The Government Winter Plan

This week Professor Tim Spector in his weekly update, looks at this week’s winter plan announcement from the government, and questions the wisdom of waiting for another NHS crisis before triggering ‘Plan B’, with more restrictions imposed on the public.

He reminds us that as well as the “classic symptoms” of Covid, (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell), there are more symptoms emerging, namely a headache accompanied by a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and a loss of smell. It may just be a summer cold, but check it out by taking a Lateral Flow Test. These kits are available from the local chemist, are free of charge and simple to use.

Parish News by Email

If you are aware of parishioners who would like to receive the Newsletter and other news from the parish by email, please ask them to email Fr. Patterson at and they will be added to our contact list.

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