Liturgy & Prayer


In this section you will find details of courses that are offered for the training of lay people who help and serve in the celebration of the Liturgy. There are also some resources for prayers that might be used for various needs and occasions.


Find out more about ministries for the lay faithful below:

“Make preparations for us there” Luke 22:12


When Jesus was about to celebrate the Last Supper He sent his disciples Peter and John ahead telling to prepare the place. This special duty is carried out by Jesus’ disciples in our time. Sacristans are especially called to fulfil this ministry.

Taking care of the sacred vessels and cloths, setting up for Mass and the Sacraments, and ensuring that the liturgical books are properly marked, all from part of the ministry of the Sacristan.

At least one experienced Sacristan in a parish is wonderful and a team of Sacristans working together can provide for all eventualities.


We offer training programmes that look at the daily duties of a Sacristan and provide particular guidance in preparing for the great seasons of the Church’s Year and special events. There is an initial training day and other opportunities to look at certain times of the year in more detail are provided.

Days of Reflection

The days provide an opportunity for Sacristans to come together to reflect on their ministry and deepen their spirituality.

Please note:

Those involved in this ministry must adhere to the Diocesan Safeguarding requirements and go through the Disclosure and Barring procedures.

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” Matthew 10:40


Jesus welcomed all who came looking for help and mercy. As disciples we are invited to copy his example; to welcome others and so welcome him and his Father.

In this great work we are all called to work together so that this welcome is found in every parish. From those who greet us at the door as we enter for Mass or a Service to those who prepare with others to receive the Sacraments the idea of welcome is a priority.

We provide opportunities through training and reflection to develop a Ministry of Welcome in every parish community.


Training programmes consist of a day and a follow-up evening or three evenings altogether. Time is given to reflect on how the Ministry of Welcome touches every aspect of parish life.

Days of Reflection

Days of Reflection for those who share in the Ministry of Welcome are also made available across the Diocese.

“The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” Hebrews 4:12


Every time the word of God is read aloud in Church is a moment when Jesus Christ speaks to his people. To proclaim the Scriptures at Mass or another service is a privilege and a serious responsibility.

The ministry of proclaiming God’s word is shared by ordained ministers who read the Gospels and by lay people who read from the Old Testament and the New Testament letters, Acts and Revelation. It is vital that Readers understand what they are reading and accept its message themselves. They are to be faithful in handing on the word of God so that it may grow in hearts of his people.


An initial training programme is offered lasting an evening and a day to help Readers start in this ministry. They are encouraged to deepen their love and understanding of the Scriptures and to develop their skills.

Days of Reflection

Training is a life-long task and to help with this Days of Reflection and opportunities for refreshing commitment are provided.

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.” Mark 10:45


The most precious gift on earth that Jesus has given us is himself in Holy Communion.  We honour the Blessed Sacrament as the sign of his love and abiding presence among us.

The ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. They make it possible for us to share in this great gift. Our need is great and we pray for more vocations to the Priesthood and Permanent Diaconate. Sadly, in many of our parishes there are insufficient Ministers of Holy Communion to enable the sick to receive the Lord frequently, and often at Mass the distribution of Holy Communion can be lengthy.

By special provision of the Church we are allowed to train and commission lay people to serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. They cannot replace the Priest or Deacon, but they can assist in distribution, making it possible for parishioners to receive Our Lord more easily. Participation in this ministry is at the invitation of your Parish Priest.


Initial training and formation consists of two Evenings and a Day help new Extraordinary Ministers to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the Eucharist and their role in the life of their parish. They are encouraged to grow in love of the Blessed Sacrament and to be humble in service.

Those who will visit the sick and housebound adhere to the Diocesan Safeguarding requirements and go through the Disclosure and Barring procedures.

Days of Reflection

Extraordinary Ministers continue their development by attending Days of Reflection and Renewal either locally or at opportunities provided by the Diocese.

A renewal of Commitment takes place during each year of service.

Please note:

Those involved in this ministry must adhere to the Diocesan Safeguarding requirements and go through the Disclosure and Barring procedures.

“Whoever welcomes a child in my name, welcomes me” Matthew 18:5


How do we help children fell welcome at Mass and able to take part? The Church looks at this question seriously. To help us in this work ‘The Directory on Children’s Masses’ was published after the Second Vatican Council.

In Masses where there are a number of children present, the Directory suggests a special Liturgy of the Word (CLOW) in a separate place near to the main church.

Not a creche and not a Sunday School, it is aimed at proclaiming the Scriptures to young people in a way suited to their age and ability. It is a way to help them understand by using language and symbols relating to their childhood experience.

Leaders of Children’s Liturgy of the Word have a great privilege and responsibility. They help break open the words of the Gospel for the children, enabling them to hear God’s Word.


Workshops, for training new leaders to the Ministry and as a refresher for those already leading CLOW, are offered at a local level in a parish or Partnership when requested. If you would like to take advantage of a workshop please contact

Days of Reflection

A Diocesan Study Day takes place most years to allow Children Liturgy Leaders to learn more and to spend time in prayer and reflection on their ministry.

There are Guidelines on how to lead such celebrations of Children’s Liturgy of the Word, and suggested resources. These are available on the website.

Please note:

Those involved in this ministry must adhere to the Diocesan Safeguarding requirements and go through the Disclosure and Barring procedures.

“Speak to one another with the words of psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts.” Ephesians 5:19


Music makes the world of difference to our lives especially in our worship. In Mass our hearts and voices blend with the music of heaven.

The Diocesan Church Music Association (DCMA) exists to encourage and promote the place of music in our worship. It aims to develop the skills of parish musicians and foster the best practice and highest standards of music in the liturgy of the churches and schools of the Diocese.


The DCMA help with the following:

  • Signpost and provide suitable resources to enhance the quality of liturgical music.
  • Upskill parish musicians by leading cantor workshops.
  • Organise singing days and workshops focusing on particular aspects of music, or seasons of the church’s year.
  • Help support partnerships if they wish to learn some core repertoire, e.g. Mass settings.
  • Offer leadership support to musicians at deanery days of reflection.
  • Support schools by holding music workshops for pupils and music leaders.
  • Organise composers’ days to give a voice to the composers of our diocese who wish to share new material.
  • Offer advice on copyright issues.

If you have any special requests for workshops and/or locations, or if you know of any budding keyboard players out there who would like to develop their skills, or for any other musical enquiry, please contact:

Alison McLean (Chair) 0191 371 9184 or Frances Simmons (Secretary) 01325 308045.

You may be interested in

Events and Courses

Prayer Resources

Seasonal Reflections

Easter 2022

Welcome to these Easter reflections, where we rejoice in the risen Lord’s triumph over death. Through the reflections, we are invited to join with Jesus’ disciples on their journey from Easter Sunday to Pentecost as the Scripture is broken open and we hear the stirrings of the Holy Spirit in this Easter season.

Easter Reflections

Association of the Eucharist

The aims of the Association of the Eucharist are; the sanctification of the members, to promote silent prayer before the Lord in the Eucharist, to promote growth and knowledge in the Eucharist, to offer our love, adoration and prayers in a spirit of reparation, to lead others to devotion in the Eucharist and especially introducing young people to Adoration, to facilitate a better understanding on the gift of the Eucharist and to pray for vocations in the Church, especially to the priesthood and religious life.

As a full member, one is required to spend one Holy Hour a month in front of the Blessed Sacrament. We meet on the first Sunday of the month at St Andrew’s Church, Worswick Street, Newcastle for a Holy Hour from 2.30pm to 3.30pm followed by refreshments. Everyone is welcome.

Please come to ME
I am Jesus in the Eucharist
Sit with ME
Talk with ME
Listen to ME
I Love you, you are mine
I am there for you always.

"There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone."

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Guild of St. Stephen

The Guild of St. Stephen is an International Organisation of Altar Servers founded in England in 1904 by Father Hamilton McDonald when he formed a Society of Altar Servers at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in London.

In 1905, Pope Pius X gave his approbation to the Canonical establishment of the Guild at Westminster Cathedral and in 1906, the Sacred Congregation of Rites made the Guild an Archconfraternity prima primaria enabling all the parish branches to be linked with it.

The Guild spread, and in 1934, Pope Pius XI enabled all Guilds of Altar Servers throughout the British Commonwealth to be affiliated with the Archconfraternity at Westminster.

The objectives of the Guild

  • To encourage, positively and practically, the highest standards of serving at the Church’s liturgy and so contribute to the whole community’s participation in a more fruitful worship of God.
  • To provide altar servers with a greater understanding of what they are doing so that they may serve with increasing reverence and prayerfulness and thereby be led to a deepening response to their vocation in life.
  • To unite servers of different parishes and dioceses for their mutual support and encouragement.

Symbolism of the Guild

At the top of the medal is the Crown of Victory, given by God to everyone who overcomes evil, especially those who die for him.

Rey symbolises the blood shed by Christ and by His martyrs. St Stephen, served Christ, witnessing to Him as the first Martyr.

Around the edge are the Latin words of the Guild motto: “Cvi Servire Regnare Est”, translated as, “To Serve is to Reign”.

In the centre is the Chi Rho symbols made of the letters XP, the first two letters of the name “Christ” in Greek.

At the bottom are the palm branches, traditional signs of martyrs who died for Christ.

Different coloured medals are awarded for years of Altar Serving:

Bronze: after 1 year of serving after enrolment

Silver: after 10 years of service after enrolment

Gold: after 50 years of service after enrolment

Silver Medal of Merit: awarded after 20 years

Gold Medal of Merit: awarded after 50 years

Guild promise

I offer myself to God almighty, to blessed Mary, our mother and to our holy patron, Saint Stephen. And I promise to do my best to serve regularly with reverence and understanding, for the glory of God, the service of his Church, and my own eternal salvation. Amen.

Contact Us

For more information about the guild please contact Marc Besford at

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.