Spiritual Formation

The Spiritual Formation Team seeks to promote the spiritual formation of Catholics across the diocese by opening for them the riches of the Catholic traditions of spirituality, prayer and devotions, especially as shown in the teachings and lives of the saints.


We aim to inspire and teach people to pray, and to provide Spiritual Direction and Retreats, in order to help people to develop and deepen a personal, passionate relationship with Jesus Christ. As this relationship with God grows, we help people to discern their own unique vocation and call to intentional discipleship.


We offer a large network of qualified Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders (lay, religious and ordained) to accompany people on their spiritual journeys.


We aim to encourage a deeper appreciation of the main schools of Catholic Spirituality, including Ignatian (Jesuit), Benedictine, Carmelite, Franciscan, Dominican and Montfortian.


And we seek to foster in individuals and communities a knowledge and love of Sacred Scripture and the practice of Lectio Divina, as well as Eucharistic Adoration.

We pray because we are full of an intense longing...
“for You have made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”

(St. Augustine)







Spiritual Direction

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual Direction has been an important part of Christianity (and other spiritual traditions) since the very early days of the Church and remains a key part of Christian living as many people seek guidance and accompaniment on their spiritual journey.


Spiritual Direction (or Spiritual Accompaniment) is a way of deepening your unique, personal relationship with God. It is an opportunity to reflect on this relationship carefully (in a safe environment), and to notice God’s love and work in your life.


A Spiritual Director will help you to reflect on your life and experience in a prayerful atmosphere and help you to discern God’s presence, and how you might become more open to this. There are times in our lives when we all feel the need for support or guidance, whether due to bereavement or some other kind of loss, difficulties in relationships, challenges in faith, or simply seeking a way of prayer that works for you, given how your life is at the present time. A Spiritual Director will “meet” you wherever you are on your spiritual journey, and help you to move forward with the Lord.


Spiritual Directors come from all walks of life. They are trained and qualified, and may be ordained, lay or from a religious order. Meetings with a Spiritual Director are always strictly confidential. The frequency of these meetings is determined by you and your director.


If you would like to find a Spiritual Director or wish to ask any questions about Spiritual Direction, please contact:  spirituality@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk  (07387 645699) or Fr Bruce Barnes: brucebarnes01@gmail.com ( 01635 40332) Any contact will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.”

( Acts 1:8)






Open Door Retreats

Open door RetreatsIt is not always possible to go away to one of the very beautiful retreat centres that there are up and down the country, to make a retreat. Yet all of us need to give ourselves space and time to re-think our attitude to God, to events, ourselves and others; to evaluate our response to God, to events, to the people in our lives; time to reflect on the experiences of life. Dag Hammerskjold wrote that an “unreflected life is a wasted life”.


An Open Door Retreat is one way of providing the ‘tools’ for this essential reflection and evaluation. A ‘retreat’ made both on one’s own and with others in an everyday context.


The OPEN DOOR RETREAT was drawn together, in response to the need seen in our country for an appropriate form of prayerful renewal, by two sisters of the Cenacle Community in 1980. The name is taken from the image portrayed in Revelation Ch 3 v20; “Behold, I am standing at the door knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal side by side with him”.


What is involved in making this retreat?

A two-hour session once a week for nine consecutive weeks, meeting together with others who wish to do the same. A commitment to fifteen minutes of personal reflective prayer each day and to sharing something of the experience of prayer with the group.


The weekly sessions are led by a team of two people who have made such a retreat and have been trained in the leading of Open Door Retreats. They too are committed to making the retreat with the group, endeavouring to be in touch with all that is happening so as not to lead insensitively. They share with the group from their own personal experience of prayer and the challenge of living according to the Gospel values of Christ. The team undertake to be available and on call to help, to listen and to encourage.


Is this type of retreat for me?

The session in the first week is very much an introductory one, and during the seven days which follow, reflection and thought can sometimes tell a person that this sort of commitment is not for them at this time – and that is all right. The very purpose of that first week is to give everyone time to reflect and the freedom not to continue if they feel it is not for them.

Where would an Open Door Retreat take place?

Open Door Retreat meetings usually take place in someone’s home, for a couple of hours once a week, with a group who live in the local area.


Is there a charge?

Yes. A contribution is asked to cover the cost of materials and travel expenses.


What are the benefits?

Open Door Retreats have been found to be of tremendous value, resulting in a deepening of prayer and a growth in awareness of God’s presence and love, in our ordinary world. The sharing of experiences of prayer with others has been a source of new insight and inspiration.


As well as the team being committed to sharing from their own experience, much of the material and prayerful reflection during the week is given also in written form. Those making the retreat go home armed with hand-outs – scripture texts and other writings to ponder.


Would you like to know more?

If you wish to know more about Open Door Retreats or how you can make contact with trained leaders, please get in touch with:

 - spirituality@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk or Tina Quinn - tquinn@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk


But we pray also because we need to; Mother Teresa says, ‘Because I cannot rely on myself, I rely on him, twenty-four hours a day’

(YouCat 470)

Video of the Daily Review Prayer (the Examen) - St Beuno’s, Wales

Another way of praying the Examen from DiscerningHearts.com













“Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what You want me to be, and becoming that person.”

(St Therese of Lisieux)

Retreats and Courses






For more information on Spiritual Formation, please contact: spirituality@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk (07387 645699) or Father Bruce Barnes: brucebarnes01@gmail.com ( 01635 40332) 

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