Down and Connor Prayer Ministry

Down and Connor Prayer Ministry

Introductory Spiritual Accompaniment Course 2017/18

Down and Connor Prayer Guides, c/o Living Church Office, Diocese of Down and Connor, 511 Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 3GS


Down and Connor Prayer Ministry, a Jesuit-based initiative, started in Belfast in 1989. Its members are lay men and women, religious sisters and priests who have found richness and depth in praying with Scripture, in the way suggested by St Ignatius. The group do not profess to be ‘experts’ but have all undergone training to support others in their prayer life. They work together in teams to facilitate guided prayer retreats in the diocese. During these retreats the guides help people to pray with Scripture, in both group sessions and one -to- one listening. These guided prayer retreats hope to help others to listen to God as he speaks in his Word and to notice where he is present and active in their daily life.

The training of new guides to join this listening ministry would allow this work to continue and enable us to support other prayer initiatives. The parish retreats take place in the evenings or occasionally on Saturdays.

Course requirements:

  • Commitment to one’s own prayer life. Some familiarity with Ignatian approaches to prayer would be helpful.
  • Some experience of having been accompanied in your own prayer – maybe through participation in a week of guided prayer or other guided Ignatian retreat.
  • Commitment to full attendance at the course and full participation in the elements of formation.

Formation of Guides

Training/formation of guides takes place over 8 Saturdays in The Good Shepherd Centre, Ormeau Road, Belfast.

General Aims

This is an introductory course in spiritual accompaniment. It aims, through input, practical sessions and personal prayer, to help participants better understand their own experience of God and prayer and to develop an appreciation of the variety of experiences they may encounter in listening to others speak of their prayer life. Attention is given to basic listening skills. Practical sessions encourage participants to develop an ability to accompany others. At the end of the formation program, participants will be helped to discern if they are called to this ministry.

Elements of the Formation

  • Practical sessions involving personal prayer and sharing
  • Group work, including listening and discussion groups
  • Guiding each other in prayer
  • Taking time to reflect in our own prayer – to help us to grow in our relationship with God
  • Formal input each day by an experienced person (Jesuit Priest, Experienced Prayer Guide or Spiritual Director) who will share valuable insights about prayer, discernment and listening
  • Home Reading
  • Supervision on practice


The rewards of being involved in this ministry are great and the time given to initial training and subsequent commitment to retreat work must be considered. This is outlined below.

Training: 8 Saturdays (9.45am—4.30pm)

  • Sept: 16th, 2017
  • Oct: 14th, 2017
  • Nov: 18th, 2017
  • Dec: 2nd, 2017
  • Jan: 6th & 27th, 2018
  • Feb: 17th 2018
  • Mar:  3rd 2018

Working on two weeks of guided prayer a year each requiring:

  • A preparation meeting (1½ hours)
  • Guided prayer over 6 weeks (one evening per week) 
  • Follow up meeting (1½ hours

1-2 formation days per year for ongoing training and personal development.

Supervision related to retreat work.

Application forms are available from:

Living Church Office, Diocese of Down and Connor, 511 Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 3GS.   Tel : 028 9069 0920.   E-mail :

Contribution to course expenses : £50.00

If you wish to speak to a course organiser (Marie Fitzpatrick, Mary O’Connor) leave your phone number with the Living Church Office and someone will return your call.