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

A formation programme 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 the School of the Annunciation, Buckfast Abbey

The “Cortona” Annunciation by Fra Angelico

Formation for the New Evangelisation

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 especially for catechists. It is also 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 that is already nourishing the new evangelisation by its hospitality and liturgy.

This programme is developed and led 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 of the Faith course at Buckfast Abbey. Plymouth Diocese will issue certificates to those who complete this study course. 

Part 1 of the Course: Six Units

Christ, the Way the Truth and the Life

  • The Creed: Summary of our faith in Jesus Christ: Our salvation in Christ and God’s free gift of grace.
  • The Mystery of Christ and the Holy Trinity: Who is God? What does it mean to say that He is Trinity? Who is the Father? Who is Jesus Christ, and who the Holy Spirit?
  • The Mystery of the Church of Christ: 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: Six Units

The Search for Happiness

  • Grace and the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love: Studied in the light of the recent teaching of Popes Benedict XVI and Francis.
  • The dignity of the human person: Created in the image of God and God’s call that we share everlasting happiness with Him.
  • 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?
  • The New Evangelisation and Parish Life: Authentic lay collaboration with the ministerial priesthood in the context of the parish community.

Each of the six days includes lectures on the Catholic faith, workshops on practical skills as well as times of prayer and reflection. 

Cost: The course fees for 2019 are £370 per year plus a registration fee of £50.

Refreshments and lunch are included in the cost

Assessment is through written exercises submitted for each unit. No exams are taken. Basic computer and internet skills are essential.

On successful completion of all the assessment and attendance requirements the participant gains a Certificate from the School of the Annunciation.


9th February 2019 – Introduction to The Course and Units 1-3

8th June 2019 – Introduction to Units 4-6

19th October 2019 – A Practical Day with Workshops

25th January 2020 – Introduction to Units 7-9 (Part two of the course begins)

6th June 2020 – Introduction to Units 10-12

12th September 2020 – Final group meeting day; Retreat day


Cancellation rights

You have a 14-day cooling off period which starts from the date acceptance on the course

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

Study Method

As well as the mandatory days listed above, 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 you may, if you are not sure, send them to your tutor for support. At the end of each chapter there is a short assignment (a Task) which you complete and send to your Personal Tutor for comments. These are to be completed as you work your way through the Unit.

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

The practical workshop day will introduce 4 different practical tasks for you to try out at home and send in a written summary of your experience. These are not graded but are read with interest, and returned with positive comments and suggestions.

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, we recommend the Didache Bible (which is the RSV translation, and has excellent comments and notes based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.) If you already have a Bible, make sure it is a “Catholic” edition as “Protestant” versions have a number of the books of the Old Testament missing. 
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church – if you have not got one already please make sure that the version you have includes the artwork and the list of citations at the back. See below for illustrations to help you.

Other reading (mostly extracts from Church documents) may be recommended from time to time and will be provided to you.


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.

Registration is now open!

Please apply as soon as possible as places are limited.

Click here to download an application form

For further information about the course, please e-mail the course leader Carol Harnett

or ring 01364 645660 to speak to a member of staff at the School.


Buying your Catechism

Catechisms: what to get and what not to get 

The best for study

cccnew2.jpgcccnew1.jpg We strongly recommend this new edition published by CTS in April 2016 (images on the left).  This edition is not only of the definitive text of 1997, it has also been updated with the new translation of the Missal and has a greatly expanded index.  It is a beautiful copy which is easy to work from. 

The red one is smaller and in paperback.  We recommend that if you can, to get the hardback (blue) copy as you will be using this text a lot.

good CCC 1.jpg

Other definitive texts 

If you already have the copies of the edition illustrated on the right you can use them for study. These have the definitive text of 1997.

The red one is published by Burns & Oates; the green one is the American Version and has “Libreria Editrice Vaticana” on the front cover. It is cheaper but experience has shown that it falls apart before the course is finished.

Not suitable versions of the Catechism


These are all are much smaller (and cheaper) but inadequate.  The black, white and green versions do not have any of the art which the Church recommends for the publication of the Catechism. The white and green versions lack the citations of Scripture which are vital for your study and a proper use of the Catechism.

The earliest (not definitive) edition of 1994. 


This is a yellow covered edition (or the red and white “pocket” version.) We recommend that if you have a first edition from 1994, you buy the new CTS edition of the Catechism.