This year on Wednesday 21st August, St Mary's will be commemorating 175 years of service as a place of Christian worship and sanctuary in our busy city.
Designed by Augustus Welby Pugin, opened in 1844 and paid for with 'the pennies of the poor', this church was built to address the needs of the rapidly increasing Catholic population of Newcastle which had been swollen by Irish immigrants in the first half of the 19th century.
In 1850 following the Restoration of the Hierarchy in England and Wales however, St Mary's was raised to Cathedral status becoming the Mother Church of the newly designated Diocese of Hexham ( later to be renamed the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle). Interestingly until the 1880s and despite being Roman Catholic, it was the first and only Cathedral in Newcastle.
We are delighted to announce that Catherine Pepinster, former editor of the Tablet will deliver the sixth Cardinal Hume Memorial Lecture here in the Cathedral on Thursday 11th July at 7.00pm. The Lecture is entitled ‘A migrant, pilgrimage people - how the Catholic revival shaped the Church today’ and will focus on examining the kind of the church the Catholic Church became after emancipation. It was very much a Church of migrants, especially Irish, in the early days, and it was as much focused on education as worship. Catherine will also look at how churches and schools served the mostly migrant church and how that has given Catholicism a particular character in the UK. Cardinal Hume will come into because of his impact on the church at the national level and how important he thought education was, but also how his interest in serving the homeless is typical of the Catholic Church in this country - a very strong feeling for those struggling in society.
An Organ recital by Jonathan Scott will take place in the Cathedral on Saturday 24th August at 7.00pm. Jonathan’s recent performances have included numerous solo recitals as well as concertos with the BBC Philharmonic, Orchestra of Opera North and Royal Scottish National Orchestra and solo appearances at the BBC proms. Further information will be available in a future newsletter.
On Saturday 18 May we were open for the Late Shows where visitors spent time experiencing the beauty and history of the Cathedral. The evening was led by the extremely well informed Newcastle City Guides in the roles of Bishop Riddell, Fr Worswick, members of the Dunn Family and a soldier from the Tyneside Irish Brigade along with many others. It was a very memorable evening when visitors were also shown around the organ gallery and watched a ‘timeline’ slideshow of the Cathedral. The evening was very well attended and very much enjoyed by all those who came to visit. We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the city guides and to our own committed volunteers who worked hard to make the evening a success.
1844- 2019 Some Key Events in our history:
We are delighted to report that the evening of praise, worship and adoration, featuring a concert with Matt Maher followed by benediction, last Thursday evening was a resounding success. We were very honoured that we were chosen as only one of two venues in the whole of the UK to host a performance.