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.



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. Bishop Robert Byrne has asked Fr. Shaun O’Neill 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:

At present we meet on a Tuesday evening at 8.00pm – 9.30pm via Zoom.

This has been the case for two years now. We have people from all over the North joining us from Preston, Guisborough, Sunderland and North Tyneside.

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:

Our New Life Prayer Group meets every fortnight for an hour on Tuesdays at 2.00pm. Since the pandemic we have met on Zoom and we have several members who are waiting to return when we meet face to face.

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:

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:

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 8.00pm (7.30pm Rosary) in St Mary’s Presbytery, Major Street, Stockton-on-Tees. All are welcome.

Please note that due to Covid we are not currently meeting, but hope to commence meetings early 2022, though we are keeping in touch with a weekly update bulletin via email, Facebook and our blog.

Contact details and further information:

Stephen Allison
Tel: 01642 644929

Theotokos Prayer Group Facebook Page
Prayer Group Blog

Realities and Communities

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)

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.

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

I came in contact with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 1983 whilst living in the capital city of Akure, Ondo State of Western Nigeria. I was just a normal teenager anxious and anticipating the future like most of my peers. As I grew in the Lord, I recognised that we all 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 me to identify the special gifts that God blessed me with. On arrival in Newcastle in 1994, I discovered the Anawim Charismatic Group. In some ways it has been a roller coaster journey, but I do recognise the difference in my life whenever I give room to the Holy Spirit to take control, lead, fill, guide my life and decisions.

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 also serves as Social Media Coordinator for Celebrate, enabling Catholics to experience the power of the Gospel online. Throughout the lockdowns, Andy coordinated a weekly community praise event on Facebook, reaching over 100,000 people around the world. He believes in using social media to share the light of Christ, increasing the numbers visiting both the CCR and Celebrate Facebook pages. Andy has a strong personal faith. He lives in Barnard Castle with his 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 Catholic Charismatic Renewal, England.

To receive a regular newsletter from CCR England, visit their website and subscribe to the email list.