In this Diocesan Year of Prayer, we’re invited to be inspired by Bishop Declan’s vision that “We are called to be disciples who not only know about Jesus but also come to know him in prayer.” A precious gift in this journey of coming to know Jesus in prayer is through the accompaniment and support of a spiritual director.
Spiritual direction is a confidential and prayerful relationship of trust between two people, in which one listens to the other, enabled by the Holy Spirit, in discerning, supporting, affirming and offering guidance and resources in the lifelong journey of spiritual growth and maturity. As the recent Synod on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment powerfully reminded us “spiritual accompaniment is intended to help people integrate step by step the various dimensions of their lives so as to follow the Lord Jesus.”
“With a spiritual director, I talk about what is happening in my heart where the Spirit is moving, if I feel desolation or consolation, if I am tired, why I am sad: these are the things to talk about with the man or woman who is my spiritual director.” Pope Francis, audience with religious, 16 May 2015
We see in our present time an increasing desire for this ministry, as people desire to grow in their faith and relationship with the Lord. The Synod states this very powerfully: “Never has there been so great a need as there is today for spiritual guides…with profound experience of faith and humanity”. Responding prophetically to this need, the Diocese in 2017 launched a Spiritual Direction course, to provide formation for those who might exercise this ministry in our Diocese. Those who took part in the course met for an overnight session every month over the past two years at Brownshill Monastery, praying together, receiving input on spiritual theology and spiritual direction and having the opportunity to practice their skills accompanied by a team of experienced spiritual directors from around the Diocese.
On Saturday, this first spiritual direction course came to an end with a Mass of Commissioning celebrated by Mgr Liam Slattery, at which he sent the participants out to exercise their ministry with the blessing, prayers and encouragement of the Diocese.
If you would be interested in finding out more about the ministry of spiritual direction, or finding a spiritual director yourself, there is a page on our Diocesan website which gives details of our Spiritual Direction Network which exists both to support and provide formation for directors, and to help those interested in finding a spiritual director by suggesting possible spiritual directors for them: