Deepening Our Faith


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.”



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.

Adventurous Accompaniment

The call to accompany is timeless. With the Church seeking ways to respond to the increasing challenges of today, a focus on genuine accompaniment is especially timely. Pope Francis envisages everyone being initiated into this ‘art of accompaniment’.

Our communities can extend God’s love to all and walk shoulder-to-shoulder with each other. More than living in solidarity, this is about enabling the flourishing of each person’s human dignity, where they can be fully themselves, belong and be deeply listened to.

Adventurous Accompaniment is designed to inspire and equip people who can influence others to explore the ‘art of accompaniment’ based on the 5 Principles of Accompaniment.

Adventurous Accompaniment


Called & Gifted

God is calling you to a work of love that will fill your life with purpose and joy. Discerning your Charisms can help you discover that call. If you are wondering how you are to fulfil the mission God has for you, or navigate a life transition, you might find that gifts discernment helps you decide which turn to take next. Called & Gifted is delivered as a three-stage process of teaching, a one-to-one conversation with a trained guide, and experimenting with charisms (with small group discernment).

Called & Gifted


God has created me to do Him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another

St John Henry Newman

Certificate in Pastoral Ministry

Are you involved in ministry in your parish or Partnership? Maybe you’re a Minister of the Eucharist, a Baptism Catechist, Children’s Liturgy Leader or Bidding Prayer Writer, or one of the many other people who keep the Church and its mission moving forward; or perhaps you would like to be but don’t feel you have the skills. In any case, the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry could be just what you need.

It will inform and inspire your practice in pastoral ministry, make you more effective, bring about better results and boost your confidence.

For more information about the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry and the programme of study click here.

Lindisfarne College of Theology: MA in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Lindisfarne College of Theology offers the opportunity to study for an MA in Theology, Ministry and Mission, accredited by Durham University. Modules on the course will explore aspects of Christian belief, worship, mission, history and the Bible (for further information on the course, click here).

Further information can be found on the Lindisfarne College of Theology website

Please note that direct admission to the MA, requires either a degree in theology at 2:1 honours level or above, or a degree in another discipline at 2:1 honours or above, and experience of Theology or Religious Studies to at least undergraduate Certificate level. It is possible, however, to be admitted on a probationary basis and later be admitted to full candidacy.

Lindisfarne is part of the Common Awards system administered through Durham University (by whom the academic awards are validated). While Lindisfarne College is historically an Anglican training institution, it has had independent students from a variety of backgrounds over the years. The college is committed to building a close-knit student body, prioritise face-to-face teaching and are deeply committed to the sacramental tradition, a point of ecumenical connection with our Roman brothers and sisters.

This course can be supported through the Lay Training Fund, further details of the fund can be found below.

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


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’.


You may be interested in

Biblical Language Courses

The God Who Speaks

Every day we read a page of the Gospel, we pray with the Psalms, we read the Prophets! We will be moved by the Lord’s faithfulness. Scripture will also help us to understand what the Lord asks of our lives today.

Pope Francis, 25 July 2021

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Bible Society are working together to nurture deeper Catholic engagement with the Scriptures.

If you’re Catholic and curious about the Bible, you can view their dedicated website. Here you’ll find great resources; events and ideas to help you deepen your faith and love of the Scriptures.

Latest resources

Scripture for June: John 6:51
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

Our June focus is on Scripture and Churches
Where heaven meets earth by Josephine Warren –
On Holy Ground by Josephine Warren –
Video of the Living Stones Project by Riccardo Caravello in Sicily –
Key Catholic symbols and their meanings –
Poster of the Bible Alive inside our Churches –

Psalms for June from the CBCEW Spirituality Committee available by clicking here.

June Sunday Reflections

Scripture Brochure
– take a look at all our Bible products by clicking here. Discounts on bulk orders.

And for all other resources –

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

Contact Us

How to contact the Vicariate for Faith & Mission:


Tel: 0191 243 3316 (office*) or 07375 934713 (mobile)

*Your call may be automatically diverted to the mobile number.

Admin office hours:
Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm, excluding Bank Holidays.

To see a full list of Vicariate contacts and leads, please visit our Faith & Mission page.