Portsmouth Diocese e-News

The Great Story of Jesus Retreat day



11th June 2019


Clare Simpson, Leader of the Diocesan Pre-discipleship Team, reports on the recent retreat day for catechists...


Last Saturday, 8th June, the diocese’s Pre-Discipleship Team facilitated a Retreat day for over 40 Catechists and local parishioners at St Bede’s in Basingstoke. This day is part of the Ananais Training which the team are beginning to roll out over the diocese. We were delighted to welcome to the team Fr Liam and Fr Kelvin from the Carmelite Friars at Boars Hill. Their wise words of wisdom and prayers were much appreciated by all.


The day focused on the proclamation of the Kerygma (The Gospel Message) in its entirety. We pondered on the question Jesus posed to his disciples “Who do people say I am?” The day was designed to help the catechists hear the whole message proclaimed and to make a personal response to the invitation of the message to “Follow me”.  There was much time for silent reflection upon the Word of God after each segment of the story was presented. This silence was much appreciated by those who participated as well as the opportunities for small group discussion. Some participants described this as the most helpful part of the Retreat.


• All aspects of the Retreat were powerful. I liked the times for personal reflection.  It complemented the spoken messages which were deep and really required internalisation. 

•  Small groups encouraged me knowing that I was not alone on this journey

In the afternoon, having reflected upon the proclamation of the Story of Christ, participants were invited to find a way to respond to the call of Jesus to become his disciple. The catechists were invited to leave their personal fishing net on a specially designed beach imitating the actions of the first disciples. During the day there were opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and frequent times of personal prayer in the Church, reflecting and responding to the Call of Jesus to “Follow him”.


Some of the comments we received from participants


• The day took me on a journey back to my initial attraction – the place where love was expressed in words unspeakable. I have gained deeper insight on forgiveness and reconciliation

• Reinforced my faith in Jesus and commitment as a disciple of Christ. Ready for mission!

• It was very good to slow down. As a Catechist, it was good to be a listener to God.  Taking a day of reflection was excellent to give me a sense of direction.  The visuals were beautiful.

• Brought me to a desire for a greater, more constant intimacy with Jesus. It has given me a greater awareness of the Holy Spirit

If you feel that your parish might be interested in experiencing this Retreat Day please contact Clare Simpson. The team would be happy to organise a day in your parish perhaps for all parishioners or for parents of children going through First Holy Communion and Confirmation.




Do you have an event to advertise or news item to share?

Subscribe to Portsmouth Diocese E-news
Keep up to date with what’s happening in the diocese. The diocesan e-news comes out on Tuesday most weeks – latest events, photos, videos.

(Under the terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the information provided on this form will be held in confidence and used for the purpose of diocesan communications and no other purpose).