About the Jesuits


The Jesuits are members of a religious order of priests and brothers within the Roman Catholic Church.

St Ignatius Loyola

The Order was founded by the 16th century Basque soldier, Ignatius of Loyola, who had undergone a powerful spiritual experience following a failed military adventure in the service of the Spanish King. The experience provoked a deep conversion and led Ignatius to give up his life and ambitions at court and to devote himself to trying to lead people to the encounter with the living God that he had experienced.

In 1540 the Pope gave Ignatius and his first companions permission to found the Order for that purpose and they found themselves both ministering in a traumatised Europe (which was in the throes of the Reformation) and also being missioned as part of the waves of exploration to encounter the peoples of the newly-discovered lands of Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Although initially associated with education, the ministry of the Jesuits was a far wider brief to engage in any work which would seek “The Greater Glory of God”, (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam… occasionally seen as A.M.D.G. in Jesuit books or on buildings) whether that be a ministry to refugees or royalty, to atheists or Christians or people of no faith.

The term ‘Jesuit’ was initially an insult which transformed into a nickname. The formal name for the Order is “The Society of Jesus” which gives the initials ‘S.J.’ after the name of an individual.

About the Community


At the moment we have three Jesuits in the community, Fr Gero McLoughlin SJ. Fr Dermot Preston SJ and Fr Peter Randall SJ.

We work as part of the Newcastle City Centre Catholic Churches Partnership which includes the Cathedral, St Michael's, St Andrew's and the University Chaplaincy.

We hope to bring the particular Jesuit gift of Spirituality to our work in the city and the wider Diocese.

Fr Gero McLoughlin SJ

Fr Gero McLoughlin S.J. has come to Newcastle after being resident in Edinburgh for 21 years and in Scotland for 29 years. By birth South African and by descent Irish, he has mostly lived in Britain since he joined the Jesuits 60 years ago in April 1961.  Following studies in philosophy, theology and history, from 1981 his ministry has been principally in retreats & spiritual guidance rooted in a key text of St Ignatius called ‘The Spiritual Exercises’. He is familiar with Newcastle as his sister lives in the city, along with 4 of her children.

Fr Dermot Preston SJ

Fr Dermot Preston S.J. hails from Burnley in Lancashire. After a degree in Chemistry in Manchester University he joined the Jesuits in 1979, and followed the regular formation in prayer, philosophy & theology before being ordained in 1990. Since then he has been missioned to various jobs in spirituality, faith-formation and pastoral ministry. He spent six years as University Chaplain in Cape Town, South Africa and then five years in Guyana before being missioned back to the UK. He arrived in Newcastle after having spent the previous four years as Parish Priest in St Aloysius, the Jesuit Church in central Glasgow.

Fr Peter Randall SJ

Fr Peter Randall S.J. grew-up in the area of the New Forest in the south of England. He qualified as a mental health nurse in in Glasgow and also  worked with the Cyrenians in Edinburgh (founded by the Dominican, Fr Anthony Ross O.P.) before joining the Jesuits in 1988. As well as doing the regular priestly formation, Peter trained in Systemic Family Therapy helped to develop the intercultural aspects of psychological and spiritual healing. A background in mental health was useful when he  was sent to work in a refugee camp for Cambodians in Thailand, displaced and traumatised by the conflicts during Pol Pot’s regime. For most of his time as a priest and Jesuit, he has been engaged in parish ministry, in the locations of Edinburgh, London, and Preston. He has a deep interest in ecology, community engagement in issues of faith & justice – and is presently learning Arabic!

Newcastle Jesuit Community - Fr Peter, Fr Gero, Fr Dermot
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