The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this “art of accompaniment” which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other.

Pope Francis Evangelii Gaudium 

Welcome to our page on accompaniment and listening. Our desire is to share practical skills to help everyone learn to journey spiritually alongside others, with the assurance of Jesus Christ walking with them.

Our prayerful reflections and group conversations help participants to recognise and talk about their own relationship with Jesus whilst also learning the fundamental skills of listening and engaging in easy but attentive conversations. The vision is to enable many more parishioners to understand, support and walk alongside parishioners, friends, family, and acquaintances listening to what matters to them and responding appropriately.

Our vision is to enabling people to “lead others ever closer to God, in whom we attain true freedom.

Pope Francis Evangelii Gaudium

Do you want to learn to walk with others?

Whatever your involvement in the life of the Church or with family or friends who are drifting towards or away from the church, you will almost certainly be having spiritual conversations from time to time. Ananias training helps develop an understanding of the spiritual journey and how generous listening, with greater awareness of another person’s unique journey, can open people to growth. We will be offering sessions on Zoom on Monday evenings. If you would like to know more, reserve a place or if you would like to organise sessions for a group in your parish contact: lnahajski@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

Meet the Pre-discipleship Team

Liza Nahajski

Clare Simpson

Joan Kent

Dan Kent

Ananias Training – St Catherine of Sienna Institute

emmaus 2

Inspired by the important role Accompaniment played in St. Paul’s journey to Christ, our Accompaniment Training will help parishes, homes, and apostolates become places where we can:

  • recognize the stages of another’s spiritual journey through compassionate listening.
  • listen lovingly to their real questions and opinions about God in order to guide the discovery of how God is present and active in a person’s life.
  • talk about our relationship with God.
  • share how we came to be a disciple of Jesus.
  • share Jesus’ own story in response to the spiritual hunger of another.

We offer this training across the diocese for any parishioner who wants to grow closer to Jesus and share Him with others. For example: parish welcomers, small groups members, Alpha team, catechists and those spending time with parents of children on sacramental programmes or anyone who wants to enrich day to day conversations with family, friends and work colleagues.

The Sessions

Listening  –  Understanding  –   Discerning

We focus on listening to a person’s  story and understandingthe three Spiritual Journeys people may be travelling.

  • We explore Spiritual Development, tracing our own journey to Jesus and thereby listening attentively to understand better another’s unique journey to Jesus.
  • Together we discern how to have helpful natural conversations so we can support another’s journey.
  • This training can be offered in 5 x 2 hour sessions on Zoom or parish or home settings. Using video input, reflections and discussions, we are flexible and adapt to your situation.

We focus on listening to a person’s  story and understandingthe three Spiritual Journeys people may be travelling.

To ask for the Accompaniment training, contact: lnahajski@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

Who benefits?

A testimony from Dan who in his return to church went through Accompaniment training and found it to be his metanoia moment.

Alpha Training

The discussion groups for Alpha are a rich experience of exploring honestly and openly. Ananias training can develop listening skills for the group hosts and co-hosts to listen and prompt with a greater awareness that others have a unique journey

Parents of Sacramental Children

Grandparents Groups

Grandparents often find themselves at the head of generations drifting away in our increasingly secular society. We lead training to help them explore new ways of relating to their children and grandchildren about faith focussed on listening to them and their concerns.


The journey into the church is a place for accompaniment. We share and discuss developing a context for meetings that supports people on their own journey and at their own pace. Attention to their story and the prompts towards faith can open up deeper conversations about the relationship they are forming with Jesus Christ.

Bereavement Groups

Bereavement groups have welcomed the training as part of the conversation with individuals facing death and their families losing a loved one. We adapt to the group as they explore how to have these conversations with particular sensitivity and awareness about death.

Enjoyed the session, thanks”. “Thank you, tonight was really helpful”. “Thanks for last night, it was most thought provoking

Mixed groups of people from different parishes and ministries on Zoom.

These groups were the only option as we moved to Zoom during lockdown. We have run several Zoom groups with lots of sharing from different perspectives and different locations. With chaplains, catechists, parish secretaries, amongst the diverse participants, the discussions were fruitful.

The programme brought a new level of clarity on what happens during a journey of conversion.

The opportunity to reflect on the stages of conversion was a valuable opportunity to consider which parts I have been missing and what I might do better. 

The course has changed how I might accompany others in that I know now to find out where they are on their faith journey and be sensitive to that, holding off on going into ‘Catechist mode’. I know to place my trust in the Lord that He will send another Ananias for the next stage of the journey.  It is really important for a person to go through the process of coming to know Jesus Christ and developing a relationship with Him.

Kerygma Retreat

The Great Story of Jesus (Kerygma) Retreat – St Catherine of Sienna Institute

Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a definitive direction  

Pope Benedict XVI

Our desire is to present the person of Jesus and his centrality to all human history but also central to us individually. We desire to share the message that he is searching for each of us to change our lives.

The session

In One Day travel the broad sweep of scripture and discover or re-discover why Jesus changes everything. Your personal journey allows you space to reflect on our faith in Jesus Christ, our salvation, and how you share this with others.

This is a day to refresh your life in Jesus and grow in discipleship.

We use video input, scripture, silence and prayer with reflection stations. There are occasional discussions. We can accommodate large groups.

To find out more, contact: lnahajski@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

Retreat testimonies

Some feedback

Reminded me of the focus and direction for my life. (Catechists Day)

Reinforced my faith in Jesus and commitment as a disciple of Christ.  Ready for mission! (Catechists Day)

All aspects of the Retreat were powerful.  I liked the times for personal reflection.  (Catechists Day)

It has given me much needed time out” and a chance to reflect on where I am on my faith journey and where the Lord is trying to lead me (Avon Stour)

Time taken out off the day to day treadmill helps focus mind on more important things (Avon Stour)

The opportunity to pause and reflect on faith and living it (Avon Stour)

It was excellent. New and informative (Holy Communion Parent)

This day helped me to stay in a spiritual atmosphere and to enhance my union with Christ (Holy Communion Parent)

The day helped me to find out how to help my child to find way to love Jesus (Holy Communion Parent)

Revisit my faith which has been lost in recent years just through normal challenges of life (Holy Communion Parent)

I have learned a huge amount that I didnt know about God and Jesus.  I have found it beneficial to contemplate on big questions which I wouldnt ordinarily take time to think about (Teachers Farnborough)

it has made me consider my true beliefs and ask questions (Teachers Farnborough)

it has brought me to a place where I am contemplating if I am ready to follow Jesus.  Alpha perhaps (Teachers Farnborough)

as a non-Catholic, but a Christian, looking at the scriptures and the life of Jesus from a different perspective farm (Teachers Farnborough)

Hard to put in words but I have found the day extremely beneficial, and am very grateful to you all (Head Teacher)

Time to listen to and consider how the gospel speaks to us (Head Teacher)

Inspiring and challenging. (Head Teacher)

A refreshing and spiritual day.  Thank you.  I need to include silence in my prayer life (Head Teacher)


Welcome Event – A deeper understanding of Welcome

Using some of the principles of accompaniment we shared good practice from across the diocese showing that welcome can go further than hospitality in our church buildings. Meeting people where they are, listening attentively and giving them time to travel their spiritual journey at their pace makes space for people to make their individual journey.

“There was so much to listen to and learn from and enjoy, you had terrific people, the clips were fascinating, and the whole thing was full of ideas to learn from.”

We hope the below material and video will be a resource for you and your welcome team to help you meet people where they are and feel equipped to welcome people from all walks of life, those who are passing through to those in our wider community.