Vicariate for Faith & Mission Update (June 2023)

June 1 2023

Update from the Vicariate

In June, as Catholics, we dedicate the month to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A powerful image that God’s love is for us, he wants us to have life and life in all its fullness. It serves as a reminder to us that as disciples love is costly, but it is what we are about. As we move through this month we want to celebrate and remember all those who love as disciples and offer their gifts for the good of another. On the 6 July 2023 we are inviting all of our Vicariate for Faith & Mission volunteers to come together for a Mass of Thanksgiving. This is to celebrate their loving service and ministry. We do hope you can join us.

The other key thing to remind you of this month is the Day for Catechists taking place on the 15 July 2023. This is for anyone who feels called to share their faith and who might be involved in some form of Catechesis. Please see below for further details.

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

A Day for Catechists

Are you involved with Baptismal Preparation, First Holy Communions, Confirmations, Marriage Preparation, RCIA, Children’s Liturgy or other faith sharing initiatives?

To be a catechist is to echo the love God has for each one of us to those in our parishes, our communities, our society. It is to pass this love on in sharing our faith to others. This can be daunting. We are not alone. Through our baptism, we are united in our calling to support one another, to come together and nurture the calling of being able to better witness to the joy of the Gospel.

  • Has the global pandemic accelerated the need for a new approach in your parish?
  • Are you passionate about your Catholic faith and committed to sharing it with others?
  • Would you like to be involved in sharing the faith, but lack confidence or don’t think you have the skills?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then come and join us for our upcoming Day for Catechists, where you can deepen your knowledge and connect with other Catechists in our Diocese.

Date: Saturday 15 July 2023 10.00am – 3.00pm.
Venue: St Robert of Newminster Catholic school, Washington NE38 8AF.
Cost: Free

Refreshments provided, but please bring your own packed lunch.

Individuals and parish groups welcome.

Register your place using the link opposite.


The Joy of the Gospel

Often it is better simply to slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others, to stop rushing from one thing to another and to remain with someone who has faltered along the way.” [EG 46]

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.

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 on-line) 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:


The Diocesan Liturgical Formation Team will be offering a three-session course for New Extraordinary Ministers of Extraordinary Ministers at St Joseph’s, Durham.

  • Session 1: 11 July (Evening session)
  • Session 2: 18 July (Evening session)
  • Session 3: 22 July (Day session)

Further information and booking details are available on the Liturgy and Prayer webpage.

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.

Holy Hour

The Association of the Eucharist invite you to join them at their monthly Holy Hour with Benediction on Sunday 4 June from 2.30pm to 3.30pm at St Andrew’s, Worswick Street, Newcastle. Refreshments follow the Holy Hour and everyone is welcome to join us.

A Resource for individuals and groups

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.

Dialogue & Unity

Christian & Muslim Prayer Event

The Interreligious Relations Team welcomes all women and young children to their annual prayers for peace event, which takes place on Saturday 24 June at 2.30pm. The venue is the historic Lady Chapel, which is situated in Jesmond Dene and this beautiful service provides the opportunity for women and young children from all faiths and none to pray for peace. For the first time, men are invited when accompanying their family members. Catholics and Muslims have a shared devotion to Our Blessed Lady and this is reflected in the choice of prayers and readings from the Quran and the Bible.

Refreshments are served afterwards in The Holy Name Church Hall, which is situated on North Jesmond Road, NE2 3JX.

Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion (CDSC)

Mailing List

We continue to add to our mailing list. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please email us:

Come Holy Spirit: Hope for the present and the future

We thank all who joined us for ‘Come Holy Spirit: Hope for the Present and the Future’ on Saturday 13 May. We give particular thanks to Couples for Christ and the African community for the music, and to St Mary’s Cathedral for supporting our second Mass for Pentecost. We heard on the day that this was experienced as a lovely opportunity to come together in the name of Our Lord and to receive hope from the Holy Spirit for our present and future. This year, we all gathered together for a large group photo which bore beautiful testimony to the new communion that the Holy Spirit is forming for renewal in our Diocese.

Further opportunities


On Saturday 1 July 2023, CNSC, the National CHARIS team are hosting a major Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) event at the Bethel Centre, West Bromwich. This promises to be the biggest CCR gathering in England for some time. Details of the event and tickets are available from the CNSC website here. The CNSC have also produced a video to promote the day which can be seen via this link.

On Saturday 4 November 2023, the Emmanuel community will be hosting Fr Chris Thomas from Liverpool at St Mary’s School, Newcastle. More details available nearer the time.

Prayer groups

We now know of 7 charismatic prayer groups in our Diocese. Details can be found here. If you are in a prayer group which is not listed please let us know.

We are pleased to share that, following our event at St Aidan’s in Ashington, a new prayer group has started in the Morpeth area. There is also interest in forming new prayer groups in Hartlepool and Hexham. If you are interested in being in a prayer group in either of these places just let us know.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Following the launch of CHARIS, an increasing number of opportunities are arising for people to experience Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Minsteracres are hosting Michelle and Peter Moran from the Sion Community for “Life in the Spirit – Discovering How to Live Life to the Full” from 16 to 18 June 2023. Details available from the Minsteracres website.

In the Autumn, we also hope to be offering Life in the Spirit Seminars for our Diocese and plan to share details of the arrangements before the summer.

Please continue to pray for the work of our team.

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


Quick Link: CHARIS

Marriage & Family Life

Marriage Preparation

The following face-to-face Marriage Preparation Sessions to be held in our Diocesan parishes are available to book:

  • Saturday 3 June 2023: St Thomas Aquinas, Darlington, DL1 2PU.
  • Saturday 23 September 2023: St Robert of Newminster, Morpeth, NE61 1QF.

Bookings can be made on the MarriageCare website where venues, course content and costs are detailed: Please contact Deacon Rob Wareing for further information:

Deacon Rob Wareing, Diocesan Lead for Marriage and Family Life

Mobile: 07841 530991

Quick Links: Family & Sacraments Marriage Care

Deepening Our Faith

MA in Catholic Theology by Distance Learning

Starting in September 2023, the new MA in Catholic Theology by Distance Learning led by the Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS) and the Department of Theology & Religion at Durham University. The programme is distinctive because it is both academically rigorous, but highly flexible; students can work through material at their own pace, studying equally well in any time zone and in many different life situations, alongside work, ministry, family or caring obligations.

Visit here for further information and contact details for this programme.


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.