Vicariate for Faith & Mission Update (November 2023)

November 1 2023

Update from the Vicariate

As we move through this month of remembrance, we hold in prayer all those affected by loss. The Emmaus Bereavement support team are always ready to accompany people who are suffering and would like to talk. The contact number for their service is: 07732 980740.

It has been a busy autumn within the Vicariate with Liturgical Formation Courses and Days of Reflection, Partnership Ministry Reflection Days, the Carlo Acutis Exhibition, the ‘First Steps’ meetings for those thinking of joining an RCIA course, the Workshop on Synodality and the Marriage Preparation Days to name, but a few. As we look ahead to this month, we are preparing to move into the Churches Year of Prayer beginning in Advent with our Advent prayer reflections. The Daily Reflections for Advent bring together voices and gifts from across the Diocese to encourage the Advent season to be a time of holy waiting. The Daily Reflections for Advent will be available to view on the Diocesan website from the 3 December.

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


The Joy of the Gospel

The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.” [EG 114]

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 Liturgical Formation Team will be offering the following Days of Reflection and Courses this coming Autumn:


  • New Eucharistic Ministers of Holy Communion: Commencing Tuesday 7 November 2023 (3 sessions), The sacred Heart and St Cuthbert, Amble. View here.

Click the ‘view here’ links for further information and booking details for each event.

‘A Light in the Darkness’, a Diocesan Service of Remembrance for those who mourn the loss of a child.

The service will take place on Sunday 19 November 2023 from 3.00pm at St Joseph’s Church, Gateshead.

You can view or download a poster by clicking here.

Holy Hour

The Association of the Eucharist will be holding their monthly Holy Hour on Sunday 5 November at St Andrew’s, 9 Worswick Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6UW, from 2.30pm to 3.30pm followed by refreshments. Everyone welcome. No booking required.

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.

Quick Link: Liturgy & Prayer

Dialogue & Unity

Holocaust Commemoration 2024: ‘Fragility of Freedom’

The Interreligious Relations Team will be holding their annual Holocaust Commemoration on Tuesday 23 January 2024 at 7.00pm. The venue is St Mary’s Catholic School, Benton Park Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE7 7PE. The guest speaker is Mrs Deanna Van Der Velde from the United Hebrew Congregation.

Visit the What’s On page for events and talks from various groups and communities.

Quick Link: Dialogue & Unity

Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion (CDSC)

Life in the Spirit Seminars

We are continuing to plan for a delivery of Life in the Spirit seminars in 2024 and are now drawing on more members of the team to help us discern dates and speakers. Please pray for the success of this work of the team.

Fr Chris Thomas

The Emmanuel community is taking bookings for their day with Fr Chris Thomas from Liverpool, on Saturday 4 November 2023 at St Mary’s School, Newcastle on the theme, “Without a dream the people die”. To book a place email Pat Kennedy at:

Further dates for the diary

We will be hosting a Mass for Pentecost at St Mary’s Cathedral Church again on Saturday 11 May 2024.

The Emmanuel Community will be hosting David Wells at St Mary’s Catholic School, Newcastle on Saturday 20 January 2024 and Michelle Moran on Saturday 12 October 2024.

Mailing List

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

Please continue to pray for the work of our team.

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


Quick Link: CHARIS

Diocesan Church Music Association

Calling all musicians and singers! On Sunday 12 November at, 2.30 – 4.40pm, there will be a workshop with the renowned composer Will Todd to learn his new Mass setting, Gaudete. This Mass setting has been commissioned by the Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust and made available for all churches and schools in our Diocese. Gaudete is upbeat and accessible and has been written to work in all sorts of settings, including parishes with limited musical resources. The workshop will take place at St Joseph’s Catholic Academy, Hebburn. This workshop is free, but registration is essential. For further information and to register your place click here.

Quick Link: DCMA

Marriage & Family Life

Marriage Preparation Days


Saturday 4 November: St Mary’s, Bishop Auckland DL14 6PQ.
Saturday 18 November: Sacred Heart, Gosforth NE3 5EB.


Saturday 9 March: St Joseph, Blaydon NE21 5AE.
Saturday 16 March: St Mary’s, Bishop Auckland DL14 6PQ.
Saturday 13 April: St Hilda’s, Sunderland SR5 2JD.
Saturday 18 May: St Robert of Newminster, Morpeth NE61 1QF.
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.

Marriage and Family Life Mass 2024

Saturday 17 February 2024 at St Mary’s Cathedral Church, Newcastle at 12.00 noon.

I am very pleased to announce that Bishop Stephen has agreed to preside at a Mass to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage and the graces received in Family Life. This is taking place during National Marriage Week. All married couples will be invited with particular focus on those celebrating a significant anniversary together with bereaved spouses, separated individuals and families experiencing or have experienced domestic difficulties. I shall be very pleased if you will note the date and look out for further details, which will be given in future editions and widely circulated throughout the Diocese to all parishes and via media outlets.

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


Please join the Hogarth Partnership for their next Alpha course from 20 September 2023 to November 2023.

Please email: for enquiries or to register.

Are you thinking about running an Alpha group?

Visit: or email:

Engaging the Disengaged: How to accompany ‘Non-Religious’ persons

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, along with the Diocese of Portsmouth, will be hosting an Online Seminar featuring the eminent evangelist, speaker and author Sherry Weddell. This seminar will provide an opportunity for people who work within the fields of evangelisation to explore how Catholics can fulfil their mission to bring all to Christ.

The seminar will take place on Tuesday 21 November 2023 at 6.00pm. Tickets are priced at £10 (non-refundable). For further information and booking details for this event can be found here.


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.