As some may know, several of our Sisters often work in collaboration with the Maryvale Institute (Birmingham) - which is an internatinal Catholic college.  The Mission of the Maryvale Institute is as follows:

The Mission of Maryvale Institute is to be a leader in the provision of lifelong learning for all, and research opportunities, in Catholic Evangelisation, Catechetics, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education in order to serve Christ’s mandate and his Church’s mission of evangelisation in contemporary society. This provision is a distinctive combination of the methodology of distance learning and critical engagement with the Word of God in Scripture and Tradition, guided by the Church’s Magisterium. This work is carried out within an environment of Christian Faith, of academic and administrative quality, of open dialogue and the mutual valuing of the work, gifts and the personal and professional development of every member of the Institute. (from the Maryvale Mission & Vision page)

Through God's Providence, the mission and vision of Maryvale has extended not only through its distance learning programmes, courses, and degrees, but into the heart of our diocese (as well as others).  Our Sr. Veronica has written a blogpost detailing the recent exciting news of our furthering relationship with Maryvale in our diocese of Portsmouth:

The Formation for Mission Team in collaboration with Fr. Peter Hart and the Maryvale Institute launched two new courses for the diocese on 28th October at Park Gate. 

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The Certificate of Catechetical Studies has been specially designed by the Maryvale Institute for the pastoral formation of deacons in our Diocese. It includes areas that often do not get covered in their initial formation prior to Ordination such as modules on Catechesis, Catechetical Methodology and RCIA, the Church and Mary and a basic introduction to Philosophy which is crucial for their understanding of the way people think and act in our present cultural climate. There are several deacons and some who are in the early stages of formation participating in the course.

Following our first study day together on 28th October we had some very fruitful discussions which have resulted in a new initiative in the way this course can be delivered more widely across the diocese.

These deacons are often engaged in full time jobs as well helping in fruitful ways in their parishes as Ministers of the Word assisting and giving service to our priests at the weekends. We recognise that it can be difficult to set aside yet another day for formation. But I believe God in his providence has found a way to overcome this. Maryvale in addition to study days now offer some of their courses in a webinar form. This means that people can participate from the comfort of their own homes at a time which suits them and they can take as long as they wish to complete the course hopefully aiming to complete within one year.

Dr. Marie Cook (Director of Further Education at Maryvale) met informally with the deacons during their weekend together on the 17th November at Marwell to explain this process and how it can be accessed. We look forward to the fruits of this meeting!

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In addition to this course we have twelve lay people participating in a special course in parish ministry and mission. This course will equip them the assist their Parish Priests to begin to put Bishop Philip’s vision for the Diocese into action following the wonderful convocation they all attended facilitated by Fr James Mallon earlier in June.

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The course begins with three Mission modules, providing the rationale in scripture and Church teaching for all the baptised to share in the mission and ministry of Christ by fully engaging with their parishes and local communities. Three further Ministry modules consider the various groups that any parish would seek to care for, namely, young people, the elderly, the sick and vulnerable, and families.

I completed this course during the summer and found it to be a wonderful tool for any parish to assist them to put Bishop Philip’s vision into action within their own parish setting.


For anyone interested in any of these courses offered in our diocese, please feel to contact Sr. Veronica Brennan, OP through our website contact page (or phoning might work a bit better as we've had some difficultly with our website contact page......)