Vicariate for Faith & Mission

Deepening Our Faith

Deepening Our Faith

Welcome

In this section of our website you will discover the rich opportunities on offer in the diocese to go deeper in your faith.

Faith development is a life-long process where there is always something new or something deeper to learn in understanding who Christ is, who we are as children of God and how we are to relate to the world.

The many opportunities to go deeper in faith include suggested faith resources, local groups, diocesan courses and personalised accompaniment. Our prayer resources can be accessed here as a key way of going deeper.

“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”

COLOSSIANS 1:9-10

Catechesis

Catechesis – Greek meaning to echo the teaching of Christ. In our context Catechesis is accompaniment, education, and formation in the faith and for the faith.  It is enabling people to grow in the depth of their understanding of God, Jesus and the Church.

Catechesis is set upon the foundation of Evangelisation (see Sharing our faith section) and works to develop Christian maturity by entering into the reality of people’s lives and accompanying them to have a thorough and systematic understanding of Christ and Catholic teaching.

There are many ways that Catechesis can take place, through the Mass, through the witness of other Catholics, through informal faith sharing. To really go deeper and experience a more ‘systematic understanding’ there are diocesan courses designed for different stages of your faith journey. See the formation pathway for a guide to what might be right for you right now.

Formation Pathways

‘Formation’ involves helping people develop into the people God intended them to be. Helping them to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ in order that they can respond to God’s baptismal calling which is unique to them.

The Church has many pathways for this:

  • Through the Sacraments, especially through Mass and Reconciliation
  • Through our prayer lives
  • Through our understanding of scripture and reflecting on its relationship to our own experiences
  • Through the witness of others including the Saints

The diocese offers courses that can help people go deeper in faith. These are intended to support and strengthen the local parish offers of faith formation.

Our formation pathway is designed to give a menu of choices that indicate whether this is for someone ‘just starting’ on their journey who may opt for a ‘starter’ course or someone who is more experienced who want something more substantial. The intention with all of the courses on offer is that people don’t just take a nibble but feast and keep feasting on the wisdom and teaching available.

So have a look at what is on offer and come to the table, in fact bring a friend.

Lay Training Fund

The Lay Training Fund (LTF) is for all areas of adult formation and education which are not normally provided as part of parish life. The suitability of an application will be assessed by the Lay Training Fund Committee which is made of the Episcopal Vicar for Faith & Mission, lay coordinator for Faith & Mission, a clergy expert in formation, a member of the Finance team and a lay representative, normally the chair of the lay Pastoral council.

Whether we work in the Diocese or in the wider world, whether we are involved in parish life in catechesis, liturgy or other ministries, we need to understand our Faith and we need to know what the Church teaches, and be able to discern our calling, so that we can live out our vocation and mission and thus witness to the faith we have, in response to the changing needs of the Church within society. The Lay Training Fund is available to support this vision.

For further information, please email adminfaith.mission@diocesehn.org.uk.

Scripture

The bible continues to be the world’s best-selling book, with an estimated over 5 billion copies sold to date. For Catholics the bible is a source for daily reflection, an opportunity to learn the way in which God’s nature and will for his children is revealed.  In the words of Pope Francis, it offers Catholics the opportunity to ‘experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world.’ (Aperuit illis) Over the last few years there has been a renewed commitment to encouraging Catholics to connect more with their bibles. The Catholic Church in England and Wales, in partnership with Bible Society, invites the faithful to celebrate, live and share the Bible throughout 2020 and beyond through their initiative, ‘The God Who Speaks’.

Spiritual Direction & Accompaniment

Spiritual Accompaniment, or Spiritual Direction, has been a ministry in the Church and part of the Christian tradition since earliest times. These days the term Spiritual Accompaniment rather than ‘direction’ is used as it is about walking alongside another on their spiritual journey as a companion rather than being ‘directive’.

Spiritual Accompaniment provides a sacred, safe listening space where you can explore your spiritual life, your faith journey and where God is at work in all things. It is not a ‘fixing’ or problem solving space, rather a space to be heard. You may bring things related to your prayer life, your ‘interior’ life in general, or your family, work, leisure, relationships, Church, but it will always be in the context of where God is in it all.

Spiritual Accompaniment is for anyone who has a desire to talk with someone about their relationship with God and where God is working in all aspects of life. There are no special requirements, no expectations.

The Spiritual Companion listens deeply and carefully in this graced space to what you have been reflecting on in your life with God. It is important to remember that God is the real director in the session and the Companion acts as a ‘sounding board’ helping you notice where God is in your life. God is at work in both parties in the session.

The Companion won’t give you advice, or attempt to solve your problems, or tell you what to believe or feel or what to do. They will listen, echo things back to you and nudge you with questions, sometimes suggesting things to reflect upon or ways of praying. It is a non–judgemental space and everything shared is totally confidential.

Usually Spiritual Accompaniment happens about every six weeks. The sessions last up to an hour. The meeting place will be agreed with your Companion.

The Diocese has a team of trained Spiritual Directors/Companions. The person to contact is Sr. Sheila McNamara RSCJ by email. She will have an initial conversation with you about what you are looking for and a little bit about yourself. That helps the process of finding a suitable person to accompany you. After a short period of prayer and discernment, she will put you in touch with a Spiritual Companion and the journey continues from there. It is usually suggested that you meet three or four times and then have a review to see if you want to continue. Both are free to end the relationship at any time.

‘Everyone should carry a small Bible or pocket edition of the Gospels and should find at least a few minutes every day to read the word of God.’

Pope Francis, 2014