The Emmaus Programme
Spiritual accompaniment for Catholic head teachers

The Emmaus Programme

The Emmaus Programme is a new venture to train and provide spiritual guides for Catholic head teachers who would appreciate such support.

This project has arisen out of the national head teachers' retreat which has received considerable interest. After experiencing the retreat, many heads have asked for spiritual direction or accompaniment but there have not been enough spiritual directors or guides adequately to respond to these requests.

The Emmaus Programme is a pilot project, to be run in London and the North West, for two groups of around 12 people, training them to be spiritual guides suitable for supporting Catholic head teachers.

The programme is a collaboration between the Catholic Indendent Schools Conference (CISC), EducareM and the Jesuit Institute.

The training programme will consist of half-day sessions once a month over nine months. It also includes a residential individually guided retreat and a residential weekend of training. The monthly sessions take place in the two locations (Manchester/Salford and Ealing in London); the retreat and residential will bring the two groups together.

The training programme will consis of sessions on spiritual accompaniment, led by Ruth Holgate (Director of Loyola Hall Spirituality Centre) and sessions on basic psychological skills, led by Roger Dawson SJ (Director of St Beuno's Spirituality Centre). The programme is devised and co-ordinated by the Jesuit Institute.

The Course

Session 1 - Introduction (May 2014)
Leadersip in Catholic education – why spiritual accompaniment?
The context and varieties of spiritual accompaniment.
An Ignatian model of accompaniment & spiritual conversation.

Session 1 Resources
What is spiritual accompaniment?
Session 1 Homework
Catholic schools and a Catholic way of seeing
Encountering Jesus
God's grandeur
Lectio divina
Nurturing spiritual experiences (Conroy)
Finding a way in spiritual direction (Marsh)
CH Dodd - Parables of the KIngdom (if you can find a copy)


Session 2 - Listening (June 2014)
Skills of active listening.
Core conditions of the helping relationship.

Session 2 Resources
Working in Triads
Session 2 Homework (includng live links)


Session 3 - Discernment of Spirits (September 2014)
For what are we listening? The focus of spiritual accompaniment.
The Ignatian approach to noticing the working of God in the world.
Guidelines for discernment of spirits.

Session 3 Resources
Discernment of Spirits
Discernment Quotations
Session 3 Homework


Session 4 - Images of God (October 2014)
The various ways in which people perceive God.
How our image of God affects our faith and our prayer.
The relationship of God image and self-image.

Session 4 Resources
Images of God


Session 5 - Decision-Making (November 2014)
Making faith focused decisions.
Accompanying someone making a decision.
Practical tools for decision making in a faith context.

Session 5 Resources
Video Sessions Questions
Video 1
(right click > save target as)
Video 2 (right click > save target as)
Video 3 (right click > save target as)


Session 6 - The Mad and the Sad (January 2015)
Psychology and spiritual accompaniment.
Recognising when the situation lies outside your competence.
Ways of referring people.

Session 6 Resources
The Mad and Sad
MHFA Guidelines for Clergy
Session 6 Homework


Session 7 - Ethics and Boundaries (February 2015)
Elements of good practice in accompaniment – ‘dos and don’ts’.
Virtue Ethics – the person who accompanies.
Case studies.

Session 7 Resources
Ethics and Boundaries


Residential Conference (March 2015)
Practical issues – arranging and organising spiritual accompaniment sessions.
Fishbowl exercise – spiritual accompaniment in practice (movements, countermovements, interventions).
Preparing an introduction to spiritual accompaniment (leaflet preparation).
The context of spiritual accompaniment of headteachers (issues of prayer, study, leadership).

Residential Conference Programme

Residential Conference Resources
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic (on Amazon)
How to Survice Leadership in a Catholic School (from Redemptorist Publications)
>>> more to follow


Emmaus Programme - Continung Formation Weekend
9 - 11 October 2015
at St Beuno's Jesuit Spirituality Centre
A practical weekend for those who trained on the Emmaus Programme for spiritual accompaniment for headteachers. (En-suite £150, Standard £136, Simple £124).


Spiritual Accompaniment of Head Teachers in Practice

Once the programme is completed, it is hoped that each spiritual guide will provide accompaniment to one, or possibly two, serving head teachers. They will meet once a month, or once each half-term, for between 60 and 90 minutes. Included in the training will be how to structure these meetings.

Those trained in the Emmaus Programme will be available to begin the ministry of spiritual accompaniment of head teachers in April 2015.

The spiritual accompaniment is voluntary and so unpaid. It is envisaged that you would accompany a Catholic head teacher in your local area (wherever you did the training programme).


If you have further questions please contact Fr Adrian Porter SJ at the Jesuit Institute.