Geordies prepare welcome for Papal Nuncio

 A warm Geordie welcome awaits the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz this afternoon when he starts a four-day visit to Hexham and Newcastle diocese. Diocesan newspaper Northern Cross "extended an open hand of greeting." in an editorial. Editor John Bailey wrote: "You'll find us a generally happy, open and cheerful bunch. "You'll no doubt be shown all the spiritual and practical highs of the work of the Church in these parts. But we also hope you get the chance to enjoy some of our more temporal pleasures - take your pick from Stottie cake, pease pudding, a glass of Lindisfarne Mead, a saveloy dip, Newcastle Broon Ale, Craster kippers, Cotherstone cheese...and a Larn Yerself Geordie phrase book." The Nnucio starts by being welcomed to Newcastle by Bishop Kevin Dunn. He will visit Durham cathedral to see the tombs of St Cuthbert and St Bede before going to nearby Ushaw college, the northern seminary. He will celebrate Mass with diocesan priests. Tomorrow (Friday) he will meet brothers and sisters of religious orders and visit the Youth Ministry team when director Fr Dermott Donnelly will tell him of progress on the youth village project On Saturday Archbishop Munoz will visit the Alan Shearer mutli-purpose activity centre, near Bishop's house in Newcastle, and call at Lindisfarne where he will celebrate Mass in the new St Aidan's chapel on the island. A pontifical High Mass will be celebrated on Sunday at St Mary's cathedral, Newcastle, when civic leaders from the region will attend. The last visit to the diocese by the Nuncio, the archbishop's predecessor Archbishop Pablo Puente, was in March 2002 when he met the former Bishop Ambrose Griffiths - and said he looked too fit to retire the following year on reaching 75. Bishop Ambrose retired in May 2004, five months after his 75th birthday.

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