School of the Announciation - Centre for the New Evanghelism School of the Announciation - Angel Statue
at Buckfast Abbey - Devon


Foundations of the Faith for the New Evangelisation

 Formation rooted in prayer for all those desiring to know the Catholic faith better, and be better equipped to tell others about Christ the Lord. 

Buckfast Abbey centre

 An 18 month online course with 6 training days 
at St Cuthbert's Conference Centre, Buckfast Abbey

Start Date: 10th February 2018, 9.30 am

In forming adult Catholics for the third millennium, the last three Popes have made it clear that the context is now the New Evangelisation, a context markedly different from the previous century and needing new methods and new vigour to deliver the Good News of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Saviour, a message ‘forever ancient and forever new’.  

This formation is for adult Catholics especially those who support parish life in its richness and sacredness, its fellowship, prayer and charity.  It is for parents, grandparents and catechists, for readers, and those involved in children’s liturgy and anyone keen to know and appreciate the faith of the Church more deeply and be better equipped to defend it and pass it on.

The School of the Annunciation, a centre for the New Evangelisation, is situated at Buckfast Abbey, Devon, with other centres being developed around the UK.  The context of the Benedictine monastic community has prompted the development of the programme within the Benedictine Tradition as a spiritual home that is already nourishing the new evangelisation by its hospitality and daily rhythm of prayer in the liturgy of the hours. 

This programme is developed and lead by a strong catechetical team, steeped in the Church’s catechetical documents especially the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and priests will be involved in lecturing. 

Plymouth Diocesan Certificate

We are delighted to announce that Bishop Mark O'Toole of our diocese of Plymouth has endorsed our Foundations in the Faith course at Buckfast Abbey. Plymouth Diocese will issue certificates to those who complete this study course. 

Part 1 of the Course

Christ, the Way the Truth and the Life

  • The Creed: Summary of the Faith Our salvation in Christ and God’s free gift of grace.
  • The Mystery of the Holy Trinity: Who is God? What does it mean to say that God is Trinity? Who is the Father? Who is Jesus Christ, and who the Holy Spirit?
  • The Mystery of Christ and His Church: What is the Church? What is the importance of Our Lady and the saints in the Church?

Sources of the Faith

  • Introduction to Sacred Scripture: Reading Sacred Scripture with the mind of the Church, with a focus on how both Testaments are the one word of God.
  • Introduction to the Liturgy: What do we mean by “liturgy”?  How can we better engage with the Mass?  Other aspects such as the liturgy of the hours (Divine Office).
  • Introduction to the Sacraments: What do we mean by Sacrament? Exploring all seven sacraments with a particular focus on the sacraments of initiation.


Part 2 of the Course

The Search for Happiness

  • The dignity of the human person: Created in the image of God and God’s call that we share everlasting happiness with Him.
  • The virtues of faith, hope and love: Studied in the light of the recent teaching of Popes Benedict XVI and Francis.
  • Life in Christ (Catholic moral teaching): In the light of our call to happiness, eternal life with God, and the grace of Christ.

Handing on the Faith: the New Evangelisation

  • The New Evangelisation and Sacred Art: An exploration of the language of sacred art and how it can help us to explain the faith to others.
  • The New Evangelisation and the Media: In a world transformed by the new media and technology, how does this affect the way people engage with the faith?
  • Handing on the faith in Parish Life: Authentic lay collaboration with the ministerial priesthood in the context of the parish community.


Study Method

As well as the study days, most of your study will take place in your own home at your own pace.  Each unit will be available to download from the School of the Annunciation website and you may read these on your own computer or other electronic device or print as required.  

The study is very practical.  Each unit is divided into four chapters.  As you read through each chapter, short activities help you consolidate what you have read.  These are generally for your own notes, but may, if you are not sure, be sent to your Course Leader for support.  At the end of each chapter there is a short assignment (a Task) which you complete and send to your Course Leader for comments.  These are to be completed as you work your way through the Unit. 

Formative assessment at the end of the Unit is by collating three of the four tasks into one document for marking and grading.

There are also four practical tasks which are introduced at each weekend to complete at home and send to the Course Coordinator for comments.

Assignments for marking are seen by a different person who reads and comments on your work, gives you a grade and sets you a target for the next assignment.

You will have as much support as you need from the School of the Annunciation staff, who will guide you through your study and answer your questions.   Mostly this will be in the form of emails, as well as face to face contact at study days.

Required texts for the whole course

  • Bible – For study purposes, the New Jerusalem version (if possible the Study Bible) or the RSV Catholic Edition are preferred. 

Other reading (mostly Church documents) will be recommended from time to time.


Training days

Training days take place at St Cuthbert's conference centre at Buckfast Abbey, beginning at 9.30 am and ending at 4.30 pm. These include lectures on the Catholic faith, workshops on practical skills as well as times of prayer and reflection. The training days for 2018 are:

  • Saturday 10th February 2018
  • Saturday 23rd June 2018
  • Saturday 15th September 2018

All aspects of the course are important and attendance at each of these days is mandatory for gaining the award.

Dates for 2019 will follow a similar structure.


The course fee for 2018 is £360 for 9 months (6 units). Registration fee of £50.

Accommodation at Buckfast Abbey

Accommodation is available at Buckfast for those that wish to stay. To book, please contact Northgate House by following this link.

Further information

For further information about the course, please email the course leader Carol Harnett For help with booking your place on the course, please contact the course manager Frances Hall or call the School on 01364 645660.

Click here to download an application form

Deadline for applications:

Friday 26 January 2018. We cannot guarantee a place to those who apply after this date.

Cancellation rights:

You have a 14 day cooling-off period which starts from the date of application. Beyond this date the School is unable to offer refunds.


1 Course – this term refers to an entire series of studies which may result in a qualification, for example the Diploma in the New Evangelisation (referred to as a program in US terminology).