Vicariate for Faith & Mission Update (January 2023)

January 1 2023

Update from the Vicariate

Happy 2023! I pray this year will be a time of deepening your faith, widening your community and finding deep peace.

The priorities for this year in the Vicariate for Faith & Mission include broadening the offer of formation, focusing on family faith development and continuing to develop synodality in the Diocese.

As we continue on our journey as a synodal Church, we invite and welcome your response to the Continental Stage of the Synod synthesis, you can access it here. The Diocese will be feeding back to the Bishops of England and Wales with our response and we would very much like this to represent the views of yourselves in our parishes. The synod email address is the best avenue to do this:

A key event for your diaries that I would like to highlight is that we are gathering all catechists in the diocese in March. Whether you are new or old, thinking about it or just have an interest, we would like you to join us for the day. Here we aim to build a network of support, share the learning to date and look to the future together. Spread the word!

We continue to pray for a deeper sense of discernment as Church and to respond where we can in bringing Christ’s message to those we meet.

Amy Cameron, Coordinator for the Vicariate for Faith & Mission.


The Joy of the Gospel

Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart.” (cf Luke 2: 19 [EG 288])

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.


The Diocesan Liturgy team’s courses for formation and Days of Reflection is available for the beginning of 2023. There is the opportunity to register for:

  • A course for New Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
  • A course for New Sacristans.
  • Formation for New Liturgical Leaders of Celebrations of the Word and Holy Communion.

Liturgy Courses confirmed:

  • Tuesday 31 January 2023 – Formation for New Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (Day 2 on 7 February and Day 3 on 11 February).
  • Monday 13 February 2023 – Formation for New Sacristans.
  • Tuesday 28 February 2023 – Formation for New Liturgical Leaders of Celebrations of the Word and Holy Communion (Day 2 on 7 March and Day 3 on 14 March).

Further information and booking details will be available early this month on the Liturgy and Prayer webpage.

The Diocesan Church Music Association (DCMA)

Calling all parish musicians

The DCMA are currently planning their programme for 2023 – 2024 and would find it helpful to have an overview of music ministries across the Diocese, their capabilities and how they may have been impacted by the pandemic. If you are involved in the music ministry within your parish, it would be appreciated if you could take a few minutes to complete this questionnaire by 31 January 2023.

Seasonal Reflections

Advance notice:

Whilst we are still in the period of celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Vicariate for Faith & Mission are already preparing to celebrate the fulfilment of his Incarnation. Lent begins on Wednesday 22 February, and once again we are producing a series of reflections to accompany you during the Lenten period. The reflections will be available in February on the Diocesan website.

Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion (CDSC)

Our third newsletter is in the process of publication, sharing to our contact group and posting to the Diocesan website. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please contact us on

Find Joy in the Journey

As baptised and confirmed Catholics, we journey with our Blessed Lord through life, empowered by the Holy Spirit, gifted at our Baptism and increased in our Confirmation. In scripture we find many promises that with our Blessed Lord as our brother, and being open to the Holy Spirit, joy will happen. Plans are well underway, between the CDSC and parishioners from several parishes across the Northumberland Vicariate, to host the next CDSC event at St Aidan’s, Ashington on Saturday 11 February 2023. The event will start at 11.00am in the church hall and move to the church for Mass at 2.00pm. Our time in the hall will include opportunities to experience joy in praise and worship, be open to God’s gift of joy at times of quiet reflection and hear speakers share how our Blessed Lord has brought them life changing experiences of joy. Our time in the church will include Mass, time before the Blessed Sacrament and a final blessing of joy from members of the CDSC. Please check events on the Diocesan newsletter for more details and how to book a place.

CDSC information and resources on the Diocesan website

The Diocesan website provides details of prayer groups and other opportunities to come together in worship with communities of faith in our Diocese. This link takes you to our place on the website where you will find details of 6 prayer groups and more information on the Filipino community and African and Caribbean community.

Further dates for the diary

On Saturday 4 March 2023, Emmanuel will be hosting Michelle Moran. Michelle has played a key role in the creation of CHARIS and will share the original dream, hopes for the future and our call to bring it to fruition. Michelle plans to present on the theme of ‘Fruitfulness for the Kingdom.‘ Details on how to book will be available on the Diocesan website and shared with our mailing list.

Following this year’s experience of hosting a Mass for Pentecost at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle, we are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Pentecostal Mass next year at the Cathedral again on Saturday 13 May 2023 at 1.00pm. More details nearer the time.

On Saturday 1 July 2023 the National CHARIS team are hosting a Catholic Charismatic Renewal event at the Bethel Centre, West Bromwich. This promises to be the biggest CCR gathering in England for some time. Details available from the CNSC website.

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


Quick Link: CHARIS

Dialogue & Unity

Holocaust Memorial Commemorations

The Interreligious Relations Team are delighted to be able to provide further details of their annual Holocaust commemorations which will take place in January 2023.

Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated on 27 January, which is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

We are pleased that three of our Diocesan schools will be hosting the commemorations on the following dates:

  • St Mary’s Catholic School, Benton, Newcastle on Tuesday 24 January at 7.00pm.
  • St Leonard’s Catholic School, Durham on Wednesday 25 January at 7.00pm.
  • St Michael’s Catholic Academy, Billingham on Thursday 26 January at 7.00pm.

Our guest speaker for all three commemoration events will be Mrs Noreen Plen. Noreen was born in the North East, and is delighted to be invited back to recall the moving stories of the Kurz and Waksman families, whose lives were changed following the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939.

Booking for the Holocaust commemorations is essential, so please book your place here, email or ring 0191 243 3316.

A Report on the Food & Faith Event – English Martyrs, Fenham

What is the relationship between faith and food?

Food is important for our physical wellbeing, and we all share in the joy of eating a particularly good meal, but what about spiritual food; is there a relationship between the physical and the spiritual?

As part of the celebrations for the Year of the Eucharist, the Interreligious Relations Team organised an event to explore this area of faith. Four guest speakers representing different faith communities were invited to speak on the link between physical and spiritual nourishment within their respective faiths. Click here to read more about this event and listen to podcasts of the guest speakers revealing varying ways that food is important to spiritual life, and also to identify some similarities between the role of food within different faiths.

Please check our Diocesan webpage, the local press, parish newsletters for information regarding Interfaith Week activities taking place near you.

Quick Link: Dialogue & Unity.

Bereavement Support

Whilst bereavement is extremely hard at any time, the time spent in lockdown when funerals had to take place in very restricted circumstances have taken their toll on so many. Whilst family and friends can be immensely supportive, sometimes a bereaved person wants to talk to someone outside of their immediate circle. The Emmaus Bereavement Support Team, trained in the Ministry of Consolation, is available to support those who wish to talk about their loss. Due to current restrictions, such conversations will most likely take place on the phone, but we hope as restrictions ease, it may be possible for people to meet face-to-face again.

Since the launch of this service, there have been a number of requests for support, and several of our listeners have been able to accompany others on their journey of loss and bereavement.

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

Quick Link: Accompaniment in Difficult Times.


Father 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.