Vicariate for Faith & Mission Update (June 2024)

June 1 2024

Update from the Vicariate

What is the Lord calling us to Be and Do?

The new Diocesan vision is an opportunity for us to reflect on the part we are called to play in building God’s Kingdom.

The vision has been created following much prayerful discernment that sought to see where the Holy Spirit has been speaking through the experiences of people across the diocese. It cannot fully capture all that people have expressed over the years of listening given that we are a community of communities of tens of thousands of people. It does, however, faithfully seek to create a picture of what repeatedly resonated as a call from God at this time as we move into the future.

The vision calls for us to be in communion with one another, to rebuild relationships and to look for unity. It invites people to spend time in prayer together, seeking the call of the Holy Spirit for their community at this time. It is not intended to be a consultation exercise but to be a prompt for discernment in our communities. What is our individual call by God? What is our communities’ call? What is our community of communities’ call? It is my hope that people adopt a truly synodal approach to exploring this, spending time face-to-face in their community praying and listening to one another.

Resources have been prepared to assist in synodal conversations that facilitate unpacking the content of this vision. Find out more at

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.

CAFOD’s Pilgrimage to Holy Island

In this special year of prayer, on 13 July 2024 join CAFOD in partnership with the Archbishop Romero Trust on a pilgrimage to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

Come together as a parish, school or local community as we follow in the footsteps of saints and pilgrims going back 1,400 years to some of the earliest days of the Christian faith in the England.

Meeting at 10.00am with Mass at 3.00pm in the ancient St Mary’s Church celebrated by Rt Rev Stephen Wright, Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle.

Visit our Holy Island Pilgrimage event listing for more information.

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.

CAFOD Prayers, Liturgies and Reflections

CAFOD’s prayer as a global community is more important than ever. Let’s reach out in solidarity to our brothers and sisters around the world with our prayers, liturgies and reflections.

Browse CAFOD’s collection of prayers on poverty, bidding prayers, and short Catholic prayers on a wide range of themes and throughout the liturgical year.

Visit CAFOD’s website here.


The Joy of the Gospel

Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on a street, in a city square, during work, on a journey.” [EG 127]

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.


Workshop on Synodality

On Saturday 8 June, Ushaw will be holding a day workshop on what the Synod on Synodality means for us. There will be sessions on the current stage of the worldwide Synod, including an opportunity to look at some of the outputs of last October’s General Assembly in Rome. The workshop will also look at some practical examples of synodality in our local parishes and church groups.

The workshop costs £10. The day starts with welcome and refreshments at 10.30am, and will finish by 4.00pm. Bring a packed lunch, or you will be able to buy lunch in Ushaw’s café. You can book for the workshop on Ushaw’s website at:

For those who are new to synodality and would like to find out more about what the Synod is, and why it is important for our local church, there will be an optional introductory session starting at 9.30am. View the event listing here.

Faith Events

Corpus Christi: Eucharistic Procession with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

On Sunday 2 June, Ushaw will be hosting a Eucharistic Procession with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, led by Bishop Stephen Wright, and starting at 3.00pm in St Cuthbert’s Chapel. Weather permitting, the procession will go through Ushaw’s gardens, returning to the Chapel for Benediction.

Teas and coffees will be available after the service.

You do not need a ticket for this event, but please sign up at: to help Ushaw to estimate numbers. If you are signing up on behalf of a parish group, please indicate how many cars are likely to be coming to Ushaw, or if the group will be arriving by coach; this will help Ushaw to manage car parking requirements. You can also view the event listing 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:


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

Please note that the Association of the Eucharist will not be holding their usual Holy Hour at St Andrew’s Church, Newcastle, this month as they will be attending the Eucharistic Procession with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at Ushaw on Sunday 2 June.

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.

New Lectionary

A new edition of the Lectionary, the book which contains the readings which are proclaimed at Mass, will come into use in England and Wales on the First Sunday of Advent 2024. Visit the CBCEW website to find out more.

Dialogue & Unity

Christian & Muslim Prayer Event

This annual event takes place on Saturday 8 June at 2.30pm. The venue is the historic Lady Chapel which is situated in Jesmond Dene. Refreshments will be held afterwards in The Holy Name Church Hall, which is situated on North Jesmond Road, Jesmond, NE2 3JX. For the second year running we are extending an invitation to men who wish to accompany their families.

Faith and Fellowship’ Evening

This is a further event to support the Year of Prayer, in preparation for the Holy Year of 2025, which the Interreligious Team are preparing for 25 September 2024 at 7.00pm. The venue for this evening will be English Martyrs Parish Hall, Stamfordham Road, Newcastle. This event will bring together speakers from different faiths who will all give an outline as to how prayer and faith affect their daily lives.

Prayer is desperately needed to heal our troubled world, and also opportunities to discuss and unite people of faith, in an effort to appreciate our similarities and differences in a positive way.

Quick Link: Dialogue & Unity

Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion (CDSC)

Changes in membership of the CDSC

Rebecca Leighton has stepped down from the team. We thank Rebecca for all she has contributed to the team and pray for God’s blessings on her continuing service.

We are pleased to announce that Christine Dixon and Joseph Philip have now joined the team. Christine is a life-long member of St Anthony’s parish in Walker and Joseph is a member of English Martyrs parish, Newcastle. More details on Christine and Joseph can be found on the CHARIS page of the Diocesan website.

Life in the Spirit Seminars

We thank Bishop Stephen for drawing our delivery of Life in the Spirit seminars, in Sunderland, to an inspiring close. Please pray for all those who participated, that they may grow into the transformation in Christ that Bishop Stephen so richly described.

Please pray for the next delivery of Life in the Spirit Seminars by St Mary’s Parish, Hexham, running from 14 May to 16 July 2024.

We are in the early stages of planning a further delivery of the Life in the Spirit seminars in the south of the Diocese in the Autumn.

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.

Book your place by email: or by tel: 0191 284 1690.

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


Quick Link: CHARIS

Diocesan Church Music Association

Music makes the world of difference to our lives especially in our worship. In Mass our hearts and voices blend with the music of heaven. Vatican II recognised and re-emphasised this, encouraging us to realise that music is an integral part of the Mass.

Quick Link: DCMA

Marriage & Family Life

Marriage Preparation Days


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 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

Distance Learning Programmes in Catholic Theology

New single module option for October 2024

The Distance Learning programmes in Catholic Theology, led by Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS), are designed so that participants 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.

NEW for 2024-25: In addition to the Postgraduate Certificate, the Postgraduate Diploma, and the MA, students can now enrol for a single module. Students with a BA or BSc who have not studied Theology or a related discipline before, are now free to apply to enrol for the core module, ‘Catholic Theology: A Preliminary Tour’ and proceed to the MA following its successful completion. The single module is also a standalone option for Continual Professional Development and general interest.

Further details are found in this leaflet, and are available at Distance Learning – Durham University

The CCS are offering a Bursary Fund specifically to support students on these distance learning programmes – CCS Bursary for Distance Learning 2024-25 – Durham University The deadline for applications has been extended to 7 July 2024.

If you have any questions about the Distance Learning programmes, please do not hesitate to email:

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.