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School of the Annunciation, Centre for the New Evangelisation
Buckfast Abbey, Devon

A Centre of Formation for the New Evangelisation has been established by leading experts in Catholic education.  Called the School of the Annunciation, the centre is situated in the grounds of Buckfast Abbey in Devon, UK, thanks to the generosity and collaboration of the Abbot of Buckfast, the Rt. Rev. David Charlesworth and the monastic community in this exciting new venture. 

The aim of the School of the Annunciation is to support the formation of lay people and religious in deepening their knowledge and appreciation of the Catholic Faith in this age of the New Evangelisation, in a manner which enables students to draw upon the riches of the Catholic theological heritage, rooted in the integral relationship of Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.   


The School begins with five short summer schools in July/August 2014 to launch its work and give people an opportunity to taste the courses that the School of the Annunciation is offering. These 4-day summer schools provide a unique opportunity to study and discuss the Catholic Faith in the beautiful setting of Buckfast Abbey, sharing the rhythm of daily prayer of the resident monastic community.

Following this, a two-year, distance-learning Diploma in New Evangelisation is being prepared for the Autumn of 2014.  This Diploma includes modules in Theology, Philosophy, Catechesis and Media; it is designed with two long weekends at Buckfast per year, plus home study supported by contact with tutors and use of online resources.

The Diploma is designed in such a way that sets of modules may be followed by groups of people interested in specific areas of study, such as, Philosophy and Catholic Faith, Theology, Catechetical Formation or Apologetics. 


The School of the Annunciation is staffed by leading Catholic teachers in the field:

Dr Andrew Beards, Academic Director,  is respected internationally in the field of Philosophy and the Catholic tradition. He has had over twenty years of experience in teaching seminarians, undergraduates, masters and doctoral students and is the author of many books and articles.

Dr Petroc Willey, Reader in the New Evangelisation He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as a Consultor for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, chosen as advisor for the Vatican Consultative body for Pope Francis on Catechesis, and was one of the few lay experts for the Synod of Bishops on the ‘New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Faith’ in October 2012. 

Dr Caroline Farey, Director of Studies, is widely known for her work in catechetics in accordance with the mind and heart of the Church. She was one of three lay women experts at the Synod of Bishops on New Evangelisation, and representing the catechists of the world she received the ‘Message for Catechists’ for the Year of Faith from Pope Benedict XVI. 

Deacon Nicholas Donnelly, Director of Formation in the School of the Annunciation, is responsible for formation programmes and spiritual elements of the courses. He is a Deacon of the Lancaster Diocese, is a CTS author and holds an MA in Spiritual Formation.

On the foundation of the School of the Annunciation, Abbot David Charlesworth said:

“Following on the success of Summer Schools in previous years, the foundation of the School of the Annunciation promises to be the next phase in Buckfast Abbey becoming a centre for authentic Catholic studies in continuity with the great Benedictine tradition stretching back over 1,500 years in our country. May Our Lady of Buckfast bless this new venture.”

Rt. Rev Mark O’Toole, Bishop of Plymouth, said:

“I am delighted to welcome this new initiative for the New Evangelisation at Buckfast Abbey, and I am grateful for the generosity shown by Abbot David and the Monastic community in providing it a home and direction.  The Diocese of Plymouth looks forward to working with the School of the Annunciation so that the Gospel may more effectively be preached in our society.” 

Dr Andrew Beards, the Academic Director, said:

“We have gathered together at Buckfast, a faculty of Catholic theologians, philosophers and catechists who are experts in collaborative distance learning to create a unique experience in formation for the Church’s urgent mission of New Evangelisation. Our courses will be delivered through a creative mix of short residential periods of 3-5 days, e-learning and personal tuition.  It is our hope that men and women in this country, and from around the world, will join us in this exciting new venture to take the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ into the heart of twenty-first century culture.”

Contact details:

Website: www.schooloftheannunciation.com 

Email:  enquiries@schooloftheannunciation.com

Phone: + 44 (0)1364 645660