The Parish Council, in partnership with the Finance Committee, advises and assists the parish priest in the management, development and pastoral care of the parish.

Members of the congregation are invited to nominate the members of the Council. Membership is open to people who already are or wish to be involved in any of the liturgical, pastoral, social or educational activities of the parish.

Once approved by members, the Minutes of Council meetings are published and copies are available to all parishioners. Meetings are held every three months. The Annual General Meeting – open to all parishioners – takes place in January.

The following serve on the Council:

Clare Robson (Acting Chair), Aaron Gamboa, Madeleine Hardy (Safeguarding), Michael Howard (Finance), Dominic Manfredi, Julie Mohon, Tony McPhillips, Avril O’Reilly, Tessa Burton-Roberts, Roy Stanley, Nicholas Stonor, John Waddell and Fr Campion (ex officio).

We are currently reviewing the Council to ensure it supports us in achieving the Mission of the Church. Please complete this Parish Council Questionnaire  and email it to or print it off and drop it into the box at the back of church or the presbytery.

Report of the Council Chair at the AGM on 8 March 2020:

2019 has been a landmark year in the history of Holy Name Church which opened in November 1929. There have been many celebrations which have brought us together and enhanced our feeling of belonging.

Father Michael continues to inspire us and we thank him for his dedication and commitment to us. The church is thriving, Mass attendance has steadily increased in the past year and we were pleased to welcome new parishioners from St Andrews who are a valued addition to our congregation.

The children’s liturgy continues every Sunday in term time. Last year there were 31 Baptisms and 13 children making their first communion. Preparation for Holy Communion has evolved and now involves both parents and catechists in a structured programme which has proved a great success. We have a dedicated team of catechists and we are grateful for their time and commitment. There have been social events organised for children also, including a party for children baptised in the past 3 years, an Easter egg hunt and a picnic in the park.

The church building has been enhanced by the new Piazza designed and overseen by John Curtis whose contribution and advice through the years is greatly appreciated. Our new bishop, Robert Byrne, celebrated Mass with us in September and dedicated the Piazza, on its completion, to founding members and past parishioners who for a century have been so generous in providing for the fabric of our wonderful church. This work is not only a visual enhancement but also makes the church more accessible to the less able in the community.

The celebration of Mass is graced with splendid music led by Tessa Burton-Roberts with organist Gavin Hardy and our choir. Their talent and commitment were evident in their performance of the Faure’s Requiem Mass for the deceased parishioners celebrated in Holy Name in November. The church was full with people from the parish, the local community, other parishes and other denominations. It was a memorable and beautiful event.

In September Father Eamon Mulcahy led a parish “Day of Reflection”. Over 50 parishioners took part in his thought – provoking presentation and, encouraged by this, many attended a further meeting to discuss how we might respond to Pope Francis’s “Joy of the Gospel” and reach out to people in need.

Over the course of the 2019 calendar year parishioners at Holy Name raised £12,500 for charities. At the beginning of our anniversary year we agreed to support the St Anthony’s Youth Education Service, a.k.a. The Bostey, and in all raised around £10,000. This helps to provide care for some of the poorest young people in Newcastle. Money was also raised for, among others, Asylum Seekers (£1,778) plus monthly donations of food and clothing and Chios refugees (£3,285). Wine Club raffles alone raised a further £4,000, thanks to the Knox’s stunning input. Other sources of charitable giving included the Jazz Night (donated to the Bostey), the Macmillan Coffee morning (£697), Language classes and the sale of the Holy Name Calendar. The very enjoyable Autumn Fayre, run by Julie Mohon, raised £500.

The Parish Hall is regularly used for our many and varied clubs. The most recent additions to these have been the Theology Group, the Bridge Club and the Dementia Singalong Film Club.  The travel club organised a wonderful trip to Aix-en-Provence- once again a welcoming and inclusive holiday.  The Hall is also the venue for our educational events. The Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham has delivered a number of excellent lectures and will continue to do so through the coming year. These are well attended, of high calibre and open to all. The course has been organised by Catherine Hearne and is much appreciated. John Waddell, Chair of the Justice and Peace group, has also organised talks in 2019 and Nick Stonor and Sarah Woolwich, both lawyers in family law, ran a seminar entitled “Grasping the Nettle” to address the child abuse scandal in the church.

The Jesmond St Mary Partnership of which we are members continued to meet quarterly during 2019 as a combined development and finance group under the Dean (Fr David Smith) and new Chair Rachael Blackburn.  Our representatives are Michael Howard and Catherine Hearne.  Holy Name continues to provide administrative support to the partnership. In 2019 the partnership lost St Dominic’s parish to the city centre partnership leaving just Holy Name, St Anthony, St Lawrence, St Vincent, St Aidan and St Mary parishes. The loss of Fr Bill Rooke means we now have only four priests in our partnership and many believe this is now too small to be viable. A meeting of partnership clergy called by the Bishop last month discussed the possible redrawing of partnership boundaries. Further discussion needs to take place and a decision is likely by the summer.

During the celebratory year the Hall has been used for training of volunteers to record the Oral History and for preparation of the exhibition in the church presented in November. This project was partly funded by the Heritage Lottery. We have had several social events related to the 90th anniversary including a “Reminiscence Party” for longstanding members of the parish and a “Pantomime Party” for those involved in past years. The Exhibition weekend involved many volunteers, many becoming involved for the first time. Almost all of us were engaged in the event which was a great success with attracting nearly 1,000 visits. The photographic images were so much enjoyed that they will remain-perhaps until the centenary!

The agenda for today’s meeting will focus on the future. How do we want to support the mission of the church? How do we maintain and develop this vibrant community in the spirit of friendship, caring and giving? How do we reach out to those in need? What do you require of your parish committee members?

Clare Robson
Acting Chair


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