Vicariate for Faith & Mission Update (April 2024)

April 1 2024

Update from the Vicariate

Happy Easter 2024! He is risen! Alleluia!

Synod 2024

The Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle has been on its own synodal path over the past two years within the universal synod on synodality. The Listening Exercises were intended to ‘walk together’, to listen to one another, and to see how the Holy Spirit might be speaking through the people of God. The results of this have been published here if you missed them last month.

This is a very real example of responding to Pope Francis’ call for us to check in with one another, learning through each other how the Holy Spirit is at work.

We want to encourage synodal conversations and there is a day on synod skills being held at Ushaw. To help people gain confidence. I encourage anyone interested in taking a lead in synodal working to come and explore. Visit: for details.

Mission Development

Divine Renovation: Sent or Stuck: Where are your people going?

Wednesday 17 April 2024, 7.00 – 8.15pm

Is your parish forming disciples activated for mission? Or is it stuck, serving only those already in the pews? Your parish matters now more than ever. There’s a world that counts on you to bring Jesus’ presence to them. How can your parish step up and send out missionary disciples?

Join Fr. George Elsbett, Stephen Foster, and Pippa Baker on Wednesday 17 April at 7.00pm in our free online event, ‘Sent or Stuck: Where are your people going?‘ Read more here.

Adoremus at Oscott – a national faith event.

A National Eucharistic Congress is planned for Saturday 14 September 2024 at Oscott, Birmingham. Oscott is significant as it was the place where the first Eucharistic procession took place after the restoration of the Church in Britain.

To register your interest in attending this event please email:

Amy Cameron, Co-ordinator for the Vicariate for Faith & Mission.

Year of Prayer 2024

In preparation for the 2025 Jubilee Year ‘Pilgrims of Hope‘, 2024 has been designated a Year of Prayer by Pope Francis.

Please visit our Diocesan Year of Prayer webpage for more information and regular updates.

We Dare to Say: A resource for faith-sharing groups on the Lord’s Prayer

We Dare To Say is a resource for small group faith-sharing and for individual meditation, featuring five sessions each based on a line from the Lord’s Prayer. Each session includes scripture, prayers and a reflection with questions. The connection of the Our Father with the sacraments and the devotional life is explored, and wisdom from the saints is offered for the spiritual growth of group participants and individuals alike.

‘­This single short prayer of Christ has everything that needs to be said about God, his kingdom, his life, about all of us’ – Fr Alexander Schmemann.

You can access the ‘We Dare to Say‘ resource by clicking here.

Deliver Us From Evil

A set of useful prayers and supplications, humble requests for the Lord’s help, that can be used by Catholics in times of fear, distress and temptation.

The Catholic Truth Society (CTS) has published a new booklet by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales offering a treasury of prayers drawn from Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition that can be used by Catholics to protect themselves from the powers of darkness.

Discover the new booklet here.

Walk With Me (Easter edition)

The Eastertide edition of Walk with Me, in which we continue our meditation on prayer in the Christian life, is now available.

Our focus during Lent was the perfect prayer, the Our Father. Our focus during Eastertide is our call to be prayerful Pilgrims of Hope. Eastertide invites us to renew our relationship with the Holy Spirit, our greatest gift, the Counsellor, the Lord and the giver of life.

Please order copies of Walk With Me from Alive Publishing here.

Read a sample of this publication here.


The Joy of the Gospel

What counts above all else is “faith working through love” (Gal 5: 6). Works of love directed to one’s neighbour are the most perfect external manifestation of the interior grace of the Spirit” [EG 37]

Evangelii Gaudium, the Joy of the Gospel, looks at the new evangelisation for the transmission of the faith and has chapters on the following subjects:

  • The Church’s Missionary Transformation
  • The Crisis of Communal Commitment
  • The Proclamation of the Gospel
  • The Social Dimension of Evangelization
  • Spirit-Filled Evangelizers

The full text of Evangelii Gaudium can be downloaded here.

Quick Link: Sharing the Faith.


Diocesan Lenten Reflection Booklets

Last year’s Lenten Reflection booklets were very well received. As we prepare to commemorate Jesus’ salvific death and resurrection at Easter, we hope that this year’s edition will once again foster prayerful reflection on the Scriptures and a renewed sense of purpose and hope amongst the people of the Diocese. The reflections have been produced by a great number of people to express the richness of our Diocesan community.

The daily reflections will be available for viewing, downloading and printing from the Diocesan website, using this weblink:

Liturgy Courses and Events

Liturgical formation courses will be advertised on the Diocesan website as soon as they are confirmed. Please visit our webpage for the latest information

Holy Hour

There will be no Holy Hour for the Association of the Eucharist in April.

The Eucharist: A Gift to be Nurtured

As part of our aim to promote growth and knowledge of the Eucharist, the Association of the Eucharist offer The Eucharist: A Gift to be Nurtured, which gives us words from Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis to guide time before the Blessed Sacrament. This resource can be used by both individuals and groups.

Weekend Liturgy Resources

Suggested Prayers of the Faithful (bidding prayers) and Reflections will be updated each week.

Other resources include suggested music, Children’s Liturgy of the Word and Cycle of Prayer.

Resources and signposts to the coming weekend’s liturgy resources, kindly provided by people within our Diocese, will be available to view and access on the Diocesan website every Thursday for the following weekend’s liturgy.

Click here to enlarge image.

Visit our Weekend Liturgy section here.

Dialogue & Unity

Faith and Fellowship’ Evening

The Interreligious Team will be holding an evening of ‘Faith and Fellowship‘ in support of the Year of Prayer in preparation for the Jubilee Year in 2025. This event will take place on Wednesday 25 September 2024, at 7.00pm. This event will take place at English Martyrs Hall, Stamfordham Road, Newcastle. More details to follow.

Quick Link: Dialogue & Unity

Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion (CDSC)

Life in the Spirit Seminars

Life in the Spirit seminars are now underway at St Mary’s Church Hall, Sunderland, and we are pleased to see so many taking advantage of this opportunity to re-affirm the fundamentals of our faith: that we are loved, saved and redeemed and to let go of any obstacles to receiving all that God, through the Holy Spirit, wishes to give.

Please pray for all who experienced Baptism in the Holy Spirit on 20 March and all who attend the concluding talks by Deacon Alison Rebello (24 April) on ‘Growth’ and Bishop Stephen Wright (8 May) on ‘Transformation in Christ’.

Mass for Pentecost

We will be hosting a Mass for Pentecost at St Mary’s Cathedral again at 1.00pm on Saturday 11 May 2024. Pope Francis, in a recent address, emphasized that CHARIS’ role is to point all communities of the Charismatic Renewal, which he called a “current of grace” to “communion on the path ahead.” The annual Mass for Pentecost is proving to be a blessed opportunity for sisters and brothers in Renewal to come together in communion on the path ahead for us in the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle. More details are to be shared shortly.

News from the Emmanuel community

On 8 June, from 10.00am at St Mary’s School, Newcastle, the Emmanuel community will be meeting to reflect on the input of their previous speakers, Fr Chris Thomas and David Wells.  All are welcome.

The Emmanuel community will be hosting Michelle Moran again from 10.00am at St Mary’s School, Newcastle on Saturday 12 October 2024.

John Wheeler, Co-ordinator Hexham and Newcastle Diocesan Service of Communion.


Quick Link: CHARIS

Diocesan Church Music Association

Quick Link: DCMA

Marriage & Family Life

Marriage Preparation Days


Saturday 13 April: St Hilda’s, Sunderland SR5 2JD.
Saturday 18 May: St Robert of Newminster, Morpeth NE61 1QF.
Saturday 21 September: St Robert of Newminster, Morpeth NE61 1QF.
Saturday 9 November: St Mary’s, Bishop Auckland DL14 6PQ.

(Other dates and venues will be notified to each Parish Priest and Deacon as arranged.)

Engaged couples can find more information at

To find and book on a course, please visit: or call the booking service: 0800 389 3801 (NB. In person and online courses are available).

Fees payable to MarriageCare are given on the website and will cover the costs of the resources and materials that will be provided on the day for each couple; they also include an element of cost towards the counselling arm of MarriageCare, an important facility very well called upon in present society. At the end of the day of attendance, couples will be provided with details to go online to MarriageCare to print their certificates, one of which should be handed to the Parish Priest and the other retained.

Priests, Deacons and lay people may email: for further information or Deacon Rob Wareing directly, if required.

World Day for Children

The Holy Father’s message to children, “Changing the world starts with ‘please’ and ‘thank you’

Pope Francis announced that the Catholic Church will celebrate its first World Day of Children in May 2024. The event will be held on the weekend of 25 – 26 May 2024.

World Day for Grandparents

‘Loneliness’ at heart of Pope’s theme for 4th Grandparents Day.

On Sunday 28 July, Catholics around the world will be invited to take time to reflect on the great heritage and wisdom passed on by their grandparents and the elderly.

The Pope has chosen the theme, “Do not cast me off in my old age” (cf. Psalm 71: 9).

According to a press release from the Dicastery, it is meant “to call attention to the fact that, sadly, loneliness is the bitter lot in life of many elderly persons, so often the victims of the throw-away culture.

Read more about this here.

If you require any further information, please contact:

Deacon Rob Wareing, Diocesan Lead for Marriage and Family Life

Mobile: 07841 530991

Quick Links: Family & Sacraments Marriage Care

Spiritual Accompaniment

Exploring Spiritual Accompaniment

Spiritual Accompaniment has been part of the Christian tradition and a ministry in the Church since the days of the early Church. It is often called Spiritual Direction, although we prefer the term ‘accompaniment’ because it suggests walking alongside someone in their spiritual/faith journey, rather than telling them what to do!

Spiritual Accompaniment is not about solving problems so much as exploring our relationship with God, through prayer and reflection on our experience of faith and life.

A Spiritual Director is not there to give advice or tell you what to believe in, but rather to listen attentively and act as a ‘sounding board’ for whatever you bring to the session.

Spiritual Accompaniment sessions usually take place every couple of months or so, depending on the circumstances of the individuals involved.

Maybe you feel called to this ministry or know someone who might be interested. St Antony’s Priory in Durham offers training. Sr Sheila McNamara RSCJ, the Diocesan Lead on Spiritual Accompaniment, is part of the training team for the two-year course.

Training in Spiritual Accompaniment

Exploring Spiritual Accompaniment’ is a two-year programme of formation that provides both an opportunity for personal spiritual development, as well as offering practical and experiential training in the skills applicable to accompanying others on their faith journey.

Our approach to Spiritual Accompaniment is ecumenical, drawing on a broad range of Christian wisdom and spirituality, as well as being informed by the Guidelines for Spiritual Directors, published by the Retreat Association.

A key principle undergirding the course is that it should be congruous with the process of spiritual accompaniment itself. Rather than simply being a programme of training in skills or knowledge, it should also be seen as a process of discernment and formation in the charism of this distinctive ministry.

The course will comprise eight modules taught over two academic years. Each module will include a significant element of self-directed learning. This will provide an opportunity to reflect on matters considered between sessions, as well as enabling a focus on the development of listening skills and the practice of accompaniment.

The course has vastly exceeded my expectations on every level. The depth and spread of topics covered, the reading and the materials (physical and online) and individual and group experiential aspects have all been extremely rich and stretching.

Please see St Antony’s website – Spiritual Direction section – for more information or email Sr Sheila:

Quick Link: Spiritual Accompaniment

Deepening Our Faith

Constitutions of Vatican II

In this section, you can find resources to help explore the four Constitutions of Vatican II: Sacrosanctum Concilium – the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Lumen Gentium – Light of the Nations, Dei Verbum – Word of God, Gaudium et spes – the Church in the Modern World.

Groups may wish to organise talks/prayers/reflections on these four constitutions, and we hope you find the resources useful and helpful.


Are you thinking about running an Alpha group?

Visit: or email:


The Catechism in a Year

Sign up for Ascension’s Catechism In A Year podcast with Fr Mike Schmitz, and you can:

  • Read the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church in 365 days
  • Understand the essentials of the Catholic Faith and why they matter
  • See how Church teaching is rooted in Sacred Scripture
  • Absorb over 2,000 years of Sacred Tradition
  • Encounter God’s plan of sheer goodness
  • Transform their relationship with the Church that Christ founded.

The Bible in a Year

Ascension’s Bible in a Year Podcast, hosted by Fr Mike Schmitz and featuring Jeff Cavins, guides Catholics through the Bible in 365 daily episodes. Each 20 – 25 minute episode includes:

  • Two to three scripture readings
  • A reflection from Fr Mike Schmitz
  • A guided prayer to help you hear God’s voice in his Word

Ascension’s Bible in a Year Podcast for Catholics follows a reading plan inspired by the Great Adventure Bible Timeline® learning system, a ground-breaking approach to understanding Salvation History developed by renowned Catholic Bible teacher Jeff Cavins. Tune in and live your daily life through the lens of God’s word!

Bereavement Support

People continue to request support following the death of a loved one. Most requests have come via the dedicated phone (07732 980740) and people are put in touch with a member of the Bereavement Support Team very quickly. Some people have been personally encouraged by a friend or relative to contact our service.

The Emmaus Bereavement Support Service number is 07732 980740 a member of the team will contact you promptly.

Quick Link: Accompaniment in Difficult Times.


Fr Sean Hall continues to offer his weekly reflections on the Sunday Readings and Pat Kennedy her monthly reflections, both available to read online or download in the Prayer Resources section.

Contact Us

Contact the Vicariate of Faith & Mission by email: or by telephone 0191 243 3316 / 07375 934713 during office hours.

Visit our Vicariate for Faith & Mission News page here.