Vicariate for Faith & Mission Update (September 2023)

September 1 2023

Update from the Vicariate


As we approach the next phase of the universal synod, which intends to be the first meeting of its kind for the Catholic Church, we have been provided with some international resources that may be of local use. Through the link you will find the handbook that is being used for all those preparing to take part in the first session this October.

What is fantastic about this resource, is that we get to see the process, methodology and subject matter that is under discussion this Autumn in Rome. It is presented here as something that individual groups and parishes may wish to use for their own ongoing synodal conversations. The process is clearly laid out with the emphasis to continue to listen to the Holy Spirit at work through one another.

If you would like to take a lead in developing further the art of synodality, or if you are just a beginner in practicing a synodal approach you may be interested in the following event:

A workshop on running a synodal meeting.’ This will take place on the 1 November 2023 at Ushaw college 10.00am to 3.00pm. Please book here or contact for further information.

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


The Joy of the Gospel

The Church which ‘goes forth’ is a community … who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice.” [EG 24]

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:

Days of Reflection:

  • Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (Fr Gero McLoughlin SJ): Saturday 23 September 2023 (10.30am – 3.00pm), St Joseph’s, Gateshead. View here
  • Liturgical Leaders of the Celebration of the Word and Holy Communion (Lay Leaders) (Sr Sheila McNamara RSCJ): Saturday 7 October 2023 (10.30am – 3.00pm), St Joseph’s, Gateshead. View here


  • New Readers of the Liturgy of the Word: Commencing Monday 9 October 2023 (2 sessions), St Aidan’s, Benton. View here
  • Liturgical Leaders of the Celebration of the Word and Holy Communion (Lay Leaders): Commencing Thursday 26 October 2023 (6 sessions), St Hilda’s Diocesan Resource Centre, Newcastle. View here

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

Eucharistic Miracles of the World’ Exhibition: 14 – 28 October 2023

The Association of the Eucharist will be hosting an exhibition about Blessed Carlo Acutis and his documentation of Eucharistic Miracles from around the world.

The exhibition will be held at St Joseph’s, Gateshead, NE8 1LX from Saturday 14 October to Saturday 28 October.

On Saturday 14 October, Bishop Emeritus Séamus Cunningham will celebrate Mass to mark the opening of the exhibition; there will also be a guest speaker and a time of Adoration. For the remaining two-weeks, the exhibition will be available to visit, for a period of time, on a daily basis. More details about the launch day and timings to follow.

Event details can be found here.

Holy Hour

The Association of the Eucharist will be holding their monthly Holy Hour on Sunday 3 September 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

Pray for Peace Event

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

The sun shone and the birds sang on Saturday 24 June when about 50 Christian and Muslim women and a few men gathered in St Mary’s Chapel, Jesmond to honour Mary the mother of Jesus and to pray for peace. Read the full story here.

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)

CDSC Newsletter – Issue 4

Our fourth newsletter has been published and can be read here.

Dates for the Diary

On Saturday 4 November 2023, the Emmanuel community will be hosting Fr Chris Thomas from Liverpool at St Mary’s School Newcastle. The theme will be ‘Without a dream the people die‘. More details available nearer the time.

On Saturday 20 January 2024, the Emmanuel Community will be hosting David Wells at St Mary’s School, Newcastle. More details will be made available nearer the time.

On Saturday 11 May 2024, the CDSC will be hosting a Mass for Pentecost again at St Mary’s Cathedral.

Prayer Groups

We now know of 7 charismatic prayer groups in our Diocese. Details can be found on 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, Hexham and Gateshead. If you are interested in being in a prayer group in any of these places, let us know.

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

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.

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:

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.

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.