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With One Voice

The Catholic Parishes of St Agnes’ Crawcrook, St Joseph’s Highfield and Our Lady of Lourdes Chopwell

Part of the Ovingham Parish Partnership in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle


Father John James (Parish Priest)

Born in Jarrow, the eldest of 7 children (3 brothers, 3 sisters), Fr. James entered Junior Seminary at Ushaw College, Durham at the age of eleven in 1960.  Ordained to the priesthood in St. Mary's, Jarrow on 6th October 1973, his first appointment was as curate to Fr. John Loftus in St. Cuthbert's, North Shields. He subsequently moved as curate to St. Cuthbert's, Durham and as Chaplain to HM Prisons, Durham and St. Leonard's Comprehensive School. After 3 and a half years he succeeded his predecessor as Parish Priest and RC Chaplain to Durham University, also serving on the National Conference of Priests and University Chaplains' Standing Committees.  Upon leaving Durham, he was granted a 6 month sabbatical at Tantur Ecumenical Biblical Institute near Bethlehem.

On return to the diocese, he became Parish Priest of St. Peter's, Low Fell, later also of Annunciation Parish, Gateshead and RC Chaplain to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. While there, he was appointed Diocesan Director of Vocations, continuing in that role when appointed Parish Priest of SS. Peter & Paul, Tyne Dock, serving in the South Shields cluster of parishes.

Fr James was appointed to be Parish Priest of St. Agnes Crawcrook, St. Joseph's Highfield, and Our Lady of Lourdes Chopwell in February 2012,  having relinquished his responsibility as Director of Vocations. Ad multos annos.


Rev. Derek Gallagher (Parish Deacon)


Fr James and Deacon Derek at the Easter Vigil 2019
Fr James and Deacon Derek at the Easter Vigil 2019