Sharing the Faith



CHARIS aims to serve and create communion between all the realities existing in Catholic Charismatic Renewal for the good of the entire Church and the proclamation of the Gospel in the world. The work of the Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion (CDSC) in Hexham and Newcastle Diocese is centred on the following shared objectives based on 3 key priorities given to CHARIS by Pope Francis:

  • To deepen and promote the grace of baptism in the Holy Spirit and the exercise of charisms throughout the whole Church.
  • To promote the ecumenical dimension of Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) and foster the commitment to serving the unity of all Christians.
  • To promote service of the poor and social action.


CDSC Courses and Events


The term ‘CHARIS’ stands for ‘Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service’. At the request of Pope Francis, the CHARIS statutes were erected on 8 December 2018 and the first International CHARIS General Assembly was held in Rome on the feast of Pentecost in 2019.

Up until this point, Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) had been served by two bodies at international level – one serving covenanted communities and the other serving prayer groups and other organisations in CCR. Both bodies were recognised at Pontifical level as ‘private associations of the faithful’ (i.e. undertaken by the faithful on their own initiative).

Pope Francis desired to see CCR reach a new level of unity and commissioned work in order to bring about one single service rather than two service bodies. As a result, CHARIS was established as the new and only international service for the entire Catholic Charismatic Renewal, with a ‘public juridical personality’ (i.e. carried out on the initiative of the ecclesiastical authority of the Church).

CHARIS aims to serve and create communion between all the realities existing in Catholic Charismatic Renewal for the good of the entire Church and the proclamation of the Gospel in the world. In order to do this effectively, CHARIS invites each country to develop a CHARIS National Service of Communion (CNSC) and the CNSC invites each diocese to establish a Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion (CDSC).

CHARIS in the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle

In the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle, the CDSC is integrated within the Vicariate for Faith & Mission (VFM) which provides support and ensures sustainability. Both the CDSC and the VFM will work towards the following shared objectives based on 3 key priorities given to CHARIS by Pope Francis:

  • To deepen and promote the grace of baptism in the Holy Spirit and the exercise of charisms throughout the whole Church.
  • To promote the ecumenical dimension of CCR and foster the commitment to serving the unity of all Christians.
  • To promote service of the poor and social action.

The CDSC is subject to the authority of the bishop and will operate in keeping with the guidance of the CHARIS National Service of Communion assuring coherence with the spirit of the CHARIS statutes. Fr Shaun O’Neill has helped to establish the CDSC in our Diocese.

“Today, one thing ends, and another begins. A new stage of this journey is beginning. A stage marked by communion between all the members of the charismatic family, in which the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested for the good of the entire Church. A presence that makes each one equal, since each has been born of the same Spirit: great and small, old and young, engaged on the worldwide or local levels, all form a whole that is always greater than the part.”

Pope Francis, 8 June 2019


Prayer Groups

About us:

We start with a sharing on how we have got on during the past week and continue with prayers of intercession for all the groups needs. After which we have a time of Praise and worship followed by a time of silent prayer. We then share any “words or pictures” we may have recieved during this time. These “words and pictures” are collated and sent to all members of the group so that we can ponder on that word.

When we meet:

Meets every Tuesday evening at 7.30 pm in St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Darlington and on-line.

Contact details and further information:

Gerry Connor (Leader)

About us:

We usually start with music and prayer and praise. We share scripture together and often find that a theme develops as the Holy Spirit deepens our faith, hope and love. A period of silence often occurs before we move into the final part of prayer, interceding for ourselves and those we love and for our needy world. We are aware of the charismatic gifts and fruits of the spirit which we seek to use and are very aware of being a part of one body, in-dwelt by the same spirit and aware of the bond that unites us all. This was particularly evident when we shared The Gift tapes to the parish.

Over the years our commitment to one another has deepened and we often text one another for prayer in between our meetings.

When we meet:

Meets every fortnight on Tuesdays at 2.00pm in Durham and on-line.

Contact details and further information:

Nikki Dickinson

About us:

Our Anawim prayer group was started by Fr Sean Conarty, R.I.P, at Pentecost 1975, and has continued ever since. As we are a charismatic group, we use the gifts mentioned by St Paul in 1 Corinthians 12; gifts of faith, tongues, prophecy, praying for healing and interpretation of tongues.

The format of our group is to bring ourselves, our hearts, into the presence of Jesus, and make Him the centre of our group. Then we start to praise and worship. Our songs are lively. We use our whole bodies for this by raising our hands or clapping, as we feel called to do. We then have a time of praising in tongues before going into a time of silence and wait for God to speak to us. It can be through a picture someone gets and explains its meaning; a prophesy, in English or in tongues, which is interpreted; a passage of scripture someone feels inspired to read. We have someone who takes down everything in writing, which is reviewed every so often, which gives us direction for the group. Usually, we have a talk or a sharing by some member of the group, time for discussion, and we finish with a time of intercession for those in need of prayer. As our group is dedicated to our Blessed Mother, we always finish with a hymn to her.

Also, we may have services where we pray for healing, times of repentance, we have been led out onto the city streets to sing carols at Christmas time and all-night vigils at Pentecost.

Since lockdown we only pray with people from a distance.

When we meet:

Monday at 12.00 noon in St Andrew’s Church, Worswick Street, Newcastle.

You are very welcome to join us if you are just curious or want to experience a deeper walk with the Holy Spirit.

Contact details and further information:

Ann Holmes

About us:

“NEW WINE” Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group: East Newcastle upon Tyne

We are a small and slowly expanding group of people who come together weekly to praise, worship and share the love of Christ. Some in the group have had experience in Catholic Charismatic Renewal and others little or no experience of praying in the Holy Spirit but we all answered a call from the Lord to come together in 2022 as we felt a need to intercede and to discover God’s will for our parishes. We have grown together in trust and friendship, encouraging one another to discover and use our gifts within the group. We recently held a day of ‘Praise and Teaching’ for Pentecost 2023 where members spoke and gave witness to their faith it was very joyful and everyone who came along gave very positive feedback to us. We hope to hold further days in 2024.

New wine. Is a prophetic theme of the Holy Spirit, ‘A new era is here! This is the season of new wine. You are about to encounter Me as you never have before.

When we meet:

Every Wednesday from 6.30 – 7.30pm in the Presbytery of St Anthony of Padua Church, Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 3BT. We welcome anyone who would like to join us.

Contact details and further information:

For further information you can call Susan Taylor on 07749 998867.

About us:

On 23 January 1990 three Charismatic Prayer Groups from the Teesside area, along with other interested people, began Life in the Spirit seminars together. At the end of the seminars the groups discerned that the Lord was calling them to stay together as one group. The name Theotokos was taken by this new group. Like Mary the Mother of God we try to stay open to the Holy Spirit and the Word.

Over the last few years we seem to have been called to deepen our intercessory prayer and to pray particularly for the lost, those in darkness and those in need of mercy. We are happy to receive any prayer intercession requests. Prayers for healing can be offered at our meetings.

When we meet:

Tuesdays at St Mary’s Presbytery, Major Street, Stockton on Tees. 7.30pm until 9pm. All are welcome.

Contact details and further information:

Stephen Allison
Tel: 01642 644929

Theotokos Prayer Group Facebook Page
Prayer Group Blog

About us:

Agape Prayer Group is an ecumenical group with a broad age range. Members come from many parishes in Sunderland, Durham and from the university whilst others have joined us from Alpha or are just curious.

The group has its roots in the charismatic renewal at Holy Rosary, Sunderland with Fr Cieran McDonald. When Holy Rosary Prayer group ended, Sr Regina started a charismatic prayer group at Oaklea Convent where it remained until moving to St Cecilias. Many of the group were baptised in the Spirit at Holy Rosary and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still active with tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy and sharing The Word of God. A core group of about 8 form a Christian Life Community Group that has given strong spiritual support and formation after the Ignatian tradition since 1999.

Around 15 – 20 people regularly attend but there can be many more as all are welcome at any time. We share praise and worship, scripture, spiritual gifts, intercession and periods of silence to listen to The Holy Spirit and to each other. Before the pandemic, we organised ecumenical speakers who shared their testimony, experiences or scripture and we hope that we will soon be able to resume this source of encouragement. Some members attend Sr Michael’s bible studies and share with the group which is a rich source of knowledge for us all.

The group has been very active in the community with The Millenium Celebration at The Stadium of Light, The Tour of the Team from the Divine Retreat Centre in Potta, Kerala, India and in hosting Life In The Spirit Seminars and other opportunities to explore and share our faith. Members of the group are active in parishes and support RCIA and Alpha. One of our members organises a daily prayer/scripture text to all who wish to receive it and co-ordinates a prayer support network that has wide links throughout the Diocese and far beyond.

Members of the prayer group have been part of a prayer ministry team in the Diocese and have taken part in Celebrate weekends and other services of healing with Fr Kevin, Fr Sean and more recently with Fr Phillip and Fr Emmanuel in keeping with current Diocesan guidelines. The group has also supported young people who are exploring their vocations to religious life or the deaconate and we love to keep in touch.

During the pandemic, we met on Zoom and the word from the Holy Spirit was not to look to the past but to the new works of The Holy Spirit. The group warmly embraces Charis and hopes to contribute to the vision of Pope Francis in the Diocese.

When we meet:

Mondays at 8.00pm in St Cecilia and St Patrick’s church hall, Sunderland.

Contact details and further information:

Valerie Barlow
Tel. 07495 578716

About us:

The Group prays for intentions it receives, as well as praying in praise and thanksgiving for the parish, the church and the world. Parishioners can leave intentions on the prayer board at the back of St Edward’s Church.

When we meet:

The parish prayer group meets every Wednesday at 2.00pm for a hour in the parish rooms at St Edward’s Pressbytery (Whitley Bay).

Contact details and further information:

Liz Hickey

About us

We started an online charismatic prayer group in 2022. Our gatherings start with opening prayers and include praise and worship, testimonies, word of encouragements/ bible sharing and intercessory prayers/crossing prayers. Most of the members are from the African and Caribbean community.

When we meet

We meet online every Wednesday at 10.00pm.

Contact details and further information:

Kufre Okoji

Realities and Communities

About us:

The African-Caribbean community draws together people from countries including Nigeria, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Trinidad and Dominican Republic. On the last Sunday of each month the community comes together at 2:00 pm for Mass at St Joseph’s, Gateshead. The Mass is mainly in English with some singing from the choir in both English and native African languages. The community has enjoyed significant growth, with people travelling from many parts of the diocese to share lively, joyful and faith-filled worship. All are welcome regardless of ethnicity.

Music for the monthly Mass is provided by the African choir and musicians who meet regularly to practice. Musicians from this group provided music for the first CDSC launch event and the first Mass for Pentecost hosted by the CDSC at St Mary’s Cathedral. The African choir has also provided music for other Diocesan masses and is happy to work with parish musicians to bring music to their parishes.

Members of the community also meet in a number of prayer groups for prayer. During the pandemic an on-line prayer group called “God’s army in prayer” was formed by a group of women. This continues to be offered as an opportunity to share the Word and for intercessory prayer. In due course, there is a plan to set up a more inclusive Charismatic prayer group with the growing interest from members of the community.

Contact details and further information:

Kelechi Dibie

About us:

The Emmanuel Community was formed in 2017 to support individuals and prayer groups that identify with the charismatic renewal movement, both in the Catholic Church and in other Churches. Building up and renewing the unity of the Church is its mission. At its heart is a listening and responding to God’s call to renewal as a priestly, prophetic and kingly people. The Charismatic Renewal believes in the power of the Holy Spirit to build up the People of God. To this end, the Emmanuel Community connects groups and individuals by providing opportunities to come together and share one another’s faith journey in prayer and praise. Anyone is welcome to come along.

Contact details and further information:

Mrs. Pat Kennedy (Coordinator)

About us:

Members of the Filipino community meet for a Filipino Mass at 6:00 pm on the last Saturday of the month, celebrated by a Filipino priest at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle. This brings together members of Couples for Christ, El Shaddai and other prayer groups.

Couples for Christ is strongly supported by members of the Filipino community, though is also open to couples from any background. Since being formed in Manilla in the Philippines in 1981, CFC has blossomed into a worldwide ministry committed to the renewal and strengthening of Christian family life, and by 2000 was recognised by the Holy See. The vision of CFC is “Families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth”. The mission of CFC is “Building the Church of the home, building the church of the poor”.

In our Diocese CFC is particularly active in Ashington, Newcastle, Gateshead, North Shields, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Durham and Stockton. Members offer an 8-week Christian life program, regular cell groups, marriage enrichment retreats, and come together on the first Saturday of the month for a general assembly.

More details on CFC can be found on and including further information on Kids for Christ, Youth for Christ, Singles for Christ, Handmaids of the Lord and Servants of the Lord.

Members of the Filipino community are also actively involved in El Shaddai, a Catholic Charismatic movement which started in the Philippines and now has worldwide support and a number of prayer groups in our Diocese.

Musicians from the Filipino community provided music for the second CDSC launch event and the first Praise and Worship event hosted by the CDSC at St Mary’s, Sunderland.

Intercessory Prayer

The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle offers a group who will pray Prayers of Intercession for the Diocese.

You may submit your prayer requests using the online form using the button opposite.

Prayer Intentions:

CDSC Members


The CDSC is made up of representatives from various realities or expressions of CCR within our Diocese. For practical reasons, it is not possible for each individual prayer group or reality to have a representative on the CDSC. Nevertheless, the aim is to include a broad range of expressions of CCR.

There is a new emphasis on building ‘communion’ (koinonia) by seeking fellowship and unity among the various expressions of CCR while celebrating the diversity which each brings. There is also a recognition of the important role which young people have in the Church and a commitment to nurture their spiritual growth and develop their leadership. The CDSC will aim to hold a gathering open to everyone at least once a year.

Service, rather than governance, is at the heart of the CDSC’s role. All members, including those with leadership roles, have limited terms of office to ensure that the CDSC remains truly representative of CCR in the Diocese and relevant to changing needs as they arise.

Fr Shaun O’Neill

My first encounter with charismatic prayer was, when in sixth form, myself and a friend went along to a week’s retreat during the summer holidays run somewhere near Longbenton as far as I remember. Here we experienced great welcome, teaching, praising in tongues, providence and true fellowship. Ever since the Holy Spirit seems to have been following me around and judging me in various directions and into various experiences, CHARIS being the latest. God has always been part of my life, always there blessing, helping and protecting and sorting things out – may this continue. I went to Bradford University to study chemistry, then did a PGCE at St Martin’s College, Lancaster before entering Ushaw College in1990 and being ordained priest in 1996.

Frank O’Neill

Frank was baptised in the Holy Spirit aged 17 at St Mungo’s prayer group, Glasgow. With degrees in Theology and Religious Studies and a passion to teach Religious Education, he has taught mainly in Hexham and Newcastle Diocese, where he became a headteacher. Frank is married to Christine and they have four grown up children and four grandchildren. Ordained a permanent deacon in 2005, Frank ministers in St John XXIII parish in Washington. Now retired, he serves as a member of the CNSC and is a trustee of the CREW Trust and The Peru Mission charities.

Kelechi Dibie

Kelechi came in contact with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 1983 whilst living in the capital city of Akure, Ondo State of Western Nigeria. She was just a normal teenager anxious and anticipating the future like most of her peers. As she grew in the Lord, she recognised that everyone didn’t have to speak in tongues, heal the sick or perform outstanding miracles to be seen as having received the spirit. This understanding enabled her to identify the special gifts that God blessed her with. On arrival in Newcastle in 1994, She discovered the Anawim Charismatic Group. In some ways, it has been a roller coaster journey, but she admits to recognising the difference in her life whenever she gives room to the Holy Spirit to take control, lead, fill, guide her life and decisions. She is married, has three adult children and works as an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion practitioner with one of Tyne & Wear universities.

Jason and Cherryl Lucero

Jason and Cherryl were both brought up as Catholics and with 23 years of marriage, they are blessed with 3 wonderful children. They thought that married life was just about bringing up the family, until they had a deeper encounter with the Holy Spirit when they attended the Christian Life Programme. They have been members of Couples for Christ for over 12 years. Since then, the Holy Spirit has been prompting them to have a deeper relationship with God, serving and attending various activities, the most recent of which is being part of this CHARIS group.

Alison Rebello

Alison did his bachelor’s degree in Commerce and post-graduation in Business Administration and Public Administration. Family wise, he has been married to Joby for 26 years with two children. He has worked in marketing, sales, journalism, call centres and not for profit organisations. Currently he is Chair of the Catholic Writers Guild of the North East and regularly contributes in the Northern Cross. Alison has been an Indian community leader since 2006, as well as being a retreat organiser, parish council member, school foundation governor and is currently training to become a permanent deacon.

Rebecca Leighton

Rebecca is currently the Assistant Lay Chaplain to the Catholic Chaplaincy at Sunderland University. After finishing sixth form, Rebecca went on to work for a year with the Youth Ministry Team, helping to run retreats and deliver missions to young people in our Diocese. She studied Catholic Theology at Leeds Trinity University where she graduated in 2018. Whilst at University, Rebecca became very involved with the Catholic Society which organised events and talks for students and members of the community. She values the rich faith experiences she had at university and hopes she can create a similar student Catholic community in Sunderland.

Hannah Bartlett

Hannah is currently an intern on the Diocesan Youth Ministry Team, and has been serving the young people of our diocese for the last 3 years. Passionate about youth ministry and missionary discipleship, she is excited to see what God will do in this diocese and beyond in the hearts of young people post-pandemic. Over the years, Hannah has been involved in the ASCENT and Youth 2000, as well as Diocesan initiatives like the Transcend Missionary Discipleship group and the Diocesan Youth Council, and is currently studying towards a foundation degree in Theology, Ministry and Mission. Hannah believes young people have so much to offer our Church, and believes the Holy Spirit will do great things as we enter this new season.

Andy Drozdziak

Andy is a qualified journalist with a passion for spreading the Gospel through the media. He is Web Editor for, the website for Catholic Charismatic Renewal in England, establishing the platform as a credible and vibrant resource hub. Andy is also News Editor for weekly online publication Universe Catholic Weekly, and believes in using media to share the light of Christ. He longs to see individuals and communities, filled with the power of the Spirit, transformed by Christ’s love, and ready to serve and evangelise in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle and beyond. He lives in Barnard Castle with his lovely wife, Marie, and their three beautiful children.

John Wheeler

John was baptised in the Holy Spirit in 1972 during the early days of the Charismatic Renewal in the UK. John is married to Marie with six children and six grandchildren and worked as a Social Worker/Family Therapist in a Child Mental Health service. John and Marie came back to the Charismatic Renewal through being invited to be trained in the Inner Healing Ministry by Alan and Betty Guile in 1999 and have provided healing ministry at various events in the Diocese since then. John has been a parishioner at Saints Mary & Thomas Aquinas, Stella since 1977 where he runs the music group and, with Marie, delivers Marriage Preparation course with Marriage Care.

CDSC Contacts

Co–ordinator: John Wheeler

Secretary: Alison Rebello

How to contact the CDSC:


Tel: 07375 934713.


Useful Links

This is the official CHARIS website.

This is the official website for CHARIS England and Wales.

To receive a regular newsletter from CHARIS England and Wales, visit their website and subscribe to the email list (located at the base of the landing page).