Vicariate for Faith & Mission Update (May 2023)

May 1 2023

Update from the Vicariate

The continental stage of the Synod documents have now been published and you can find the documents via this link. There are some clear similarities across these documents with evidence of people faithfully discerning where the Holy Spirit is calling the Church. Among many things that are striking is the growing understanding that taking a synodal approach can be transformative. It celebrates the diversity within the Church and opens the door for wounds to be healed and people to grow in unity with one another’s difference. It is a learning curve for many within the Church and with this learning there holds the potential of renewal and the development of communion, participation and mission. If you have a synod group in your parish/Partnership and/or wish to develop synodality further, I would like to hear from you.

Over the past couple of years, the Diocese has been forming, training and recruiting people to be part of a Diocesan Healing Team. The team which is overseen by Fr Kevin Dixon will offer services for healing and days of reflection for healing across the Diocese. I am very pleased to announce that we have now trained three cohorts of trainees and we are now moving into the formation of this team. The team will be discerning the first steps in bringing this foundational ministry to the Diocese. It will be a formal part of the Diocesan structure, working in collaboration with our other accompaniment ministries that function under the Vicariate for Faith & Mission. We ask for your prayers for this new team as they begin this next phase of their journey.

Throughout the Synod process in the diocese a frequent request was that there were more opportunities for formation. A big part of our response to this is through the invitation for all Catechists in the Diocese to come together for the first time this July. This is to be the first gathering if its kind where all those in ministry in different catechetical roles are formed together and refreshed on key principles. We really want to meet everyone in the Diocese who serves in this ministry and see this as a fundamental building block for moving us into a renewed future. Please spread the word and personally invite those who you know are ministering in this way.

Over the coming month we will also be exploring the nature and content of formation that we offer as a Diocese. It would be helpful to get your views on this if you could complete the following survey which should only take 1 minute to complete. Click here to complete our survey.

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

The pain and the shame we feel at the sins of some members of the Church, and at our own, must never make us forget how many Christians are giving their lives in love.” [EG 76]

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.

Accompaniment in Difficult Times

On Thursday 20 April, the team was joined by Kathryn Mannix, author of ‘With the End in Mind and Listen: How to find words for tender conversations. Kathryn gave an inspiring talk to the team about her work.

Day of Consolation

A Day of Consolation is being held at Minsteracres on Wednesday 24 May run by the Emmaus Support Team.

Another opportunity to join us on this very poignant retreat day, for people who have experienced bereavement, grief, loss or significant change. giving them an opportunity to find solace, share a safe place in which to be heard and to share with others who have had similar experiences. An opportunity to find courage, hope and consolation. Lunch and refreshments included. Wednesday 24 May from 10.00am – 4.00pm. Recommended Donation £30. Book here or visit:

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:


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.

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Holy Hour

The Association of the Eucharist invite you to join them at their monthly Holy Hour with Benediction on Sunday 7 May 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.

Are you interested in joining our Diocesan Reflection Writing Team?

We are blessed in the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle to have many gifted writers who regularly contribute to the Advent and Lenten Reflection booklets as well as other themed publications.

Contact for further information about how to join our team, providing the name of your parish and parish priest/deacon to provide a reference.

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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 tranquil 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. 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 are hosting a Mass for Pentecost at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle on Saturday 13 May 2023 at 1.00pm. The theme this year is ‘Come Holy Spirit: hope for the present and the future‘. We will start with praise and worship at 1.00pm with Mass starting at 1.20pm. Before the end of Mass there will be a short period of Exposition and a blessing on the theme.

Changes in the membership of the team

We are pleased to share that Fr Anthony Ebuke has now joined our team. We look forward to all that Fr Anthony will bring to the work of the team.

Further opportunities

From Friday 26 to Sunday 28 May at Minsteracres, ‘Come Holy Spirit’ Pentecost Retreat with Fr Chris Thomas. An opportunity to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit this Pentecost, encountering the silence and stillness that draws us to God. The retreat will include talks, discussions, shared prayer and praise and an opportunity to explore the writings of the Acts of the Apostles and discover their meaning and direction for participants’ lives. Details available from the Minsteracres website.


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.

The CDSC for the Southwark Diocese has been invited by the Cathedral Dean to run the Life in the Spirit seminars live in the Cathedral parish. This will take place starting 2 May on Tuesday evenings at 8.00pm and will be streamed live to about nine hubs round the Diocese, where prayer groups and parishes will invite people to watch the presentations together and run their own small groups, while benefiting from the talks and music ministry provided at the Cathedral. The seminars will conclude with a retreat day at the Cathedral led by Michelle Moran, where there will be prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Whilst it may not be possible for people from our Diocese to attend the final day in person, there could be scope for people to join the online provision. If you would like us to check this out please let us know.

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 27 May 2023: St Robert of Newminster, Morpeth, NE61 1QF.
  • 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


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.


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.