Vicariate for Faith & Mission Update (March 2023)

March 1 2023

Update from the Vicariate

I often find that Lent is a time for reflecting and taking stock. As we prepare ourselves for the resurrection of Christ, it is a natural precursor to the new beginnings of Spring. It is a time when we journey through a period of abstinence, seeking to avoid the temptations of all that may take us away from God, as Christ did for forty days in the desert. We hold a mirror up to our faith and try to go deeper in our relationship with Christ. At this time in the Diocese, many may feel they are in a desert time. A time when, like the Israelites who walked through the desert, people may feel confused, or a sense of feeling lost, a time that really tests faith. The call of Lent is to dig deep into what we know of God and to try to hold onto the pain of the cross in order to find the resurrection. To know that suffering and loss are part of the human experience, but to know that this is not the end of the story. It is often in the desert accounts in the bible that transformation takes place. As a collective body, we need prayer and healing and we need to know Christ more as we journey this Lent.


The Synod has moved on in the Continental stage with England and Wales meeting the European Synod groups last month. The results of all of the documents shared at these meetings can be found here. The repeated message at each stage of the proceedings is that while we look to 2024 for the results of this synod, Pope Francis’ calling is that synodality becomes part of the life of every local Church. The Diocesan synod core group are looking at how to develop this sense of the Diocese as a listening Church and will be sharing ideas on this as we go forward.

Walking through Lent as a group

The Diocesan Lenten resources provide a variety of rich perspectives and styles of writing and make a great use of the gifts of our people. These are often used for personal reflection, but it may be that you want to reflect on these as a parish prayer group.

Alternatively you may wish to use something that is designed with group reflection in mind. Please visit our Lent 2023 page for some prayer and resource suggestions.

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


The Joy of the Gospel

We have a treasure of life and love which cannot deceive, and a message, which cannot mislead or disappoint… Our infinite sadness can only be cured by an infinite love.” [EG 265]

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.

Sycamore for Lent

As Lent approaches, I’m aware that people may be looking to ‘do something extra‘ rather than to ‘give something up‘.

Living the Christian Faith in the World could be just that ‘something extra‘ you’re looking for.
It addresses some of the common challenges we meet as Christians, including:

  • The need to look after God’s creation.
  • The social teaching of the Catholic Church.
  • What is God calling me to do with my life?
  • How can I share my faith?

Sign up today to join like-minded people and have the opportunity to explore these questions in a safe and supportive environment.

The sessions take place via Zoom every Sunday in Lent, from 26 February to 2 April at 4.00pm. Why not invite a friend to come along too?

Register Online or email: for further information. A confirmation email and Zoom link will be sent to you prior to the session.

Mike Weetman, Vicariate Coordinator for Sycamore.

Quick Link: Sharing the Faith.

Seasonal Reflections

Seasonal Reflections

As we walk with Jesus during the 40 days of Lent, the Vicariate for Faith & Mission has once again worked with members of the Diocesan family to produce a series of beautiful reflections on the daily readings used throughout Lent. The first set of Lenten reflections from Clergy, Religious and Laity are available to download and read from the Seasonal Reflections webpage.

In addition to the written reflections, this year we are providing audio versions of the reflections for key points within Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday. The Gospels and reflections will be available to listen to on the Seasonal Reflections and on the Diocesan Facebook page.


Coming Soon – A Day for Catechists

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.

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

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? Join us for our upcoming Day for Catechists, where you can deepen your knowledge and connect with other Catechists in our Diocese.

If you would like to receive an invitation to this event, please sign up to our Event Mailing List.

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!


Holy Hour

The Association of the Eucharist invite you to join them at their monthly Holy Hour on Sunday 5 March 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.

Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion (CDSC)

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

CDSC Newsletter

We are pleased to report that our third newsletter has now been published. Thanks go to our Editor, Alison Rebello, and all who have contributed. Click on the Resources section on our Diocesan website page to download or read a copy.

Find Joy in the Journey

We are pleased to have shared this event with around 60 from the Northumberland Vicariate and other parts of the Diocese. Thanks go to Couples for Christ for the Praise and Worship and sharings, to Fr Shaun O’Neill for sharing his thoughts on the theme for the day and guiding us into our personal reflections, and to Paul Berry and fellow musicians from the DCMA for providing the music for our Mass. Thanks also go to Fr Purdy for hosting and welcoming us on the day and to Margo for providing refreshments. A particular hope from this experience of taking CHARIS to a Vicariate, is the formation of a new Charismatic Prayer Group in the Northumberland Vicariate. We hope to share more details on this in the near future.

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.‘ To book a place, email Pat Kennedy at: or tel: 0191 284 1690.

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 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.

We are currently exploring a possibility of hiring a coach and will share details shortly if this proves to be a feasible possibility.

Please continue to pray for the work of our team.

John Wheeler, Coordinator Hexham and Newcastle Diocesan Service of Communion.


Quick Link: CHARIS

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.