God’s Invitation — For Our times
“To plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands.”
The School for Prophets aims to hear and heed God’s voice from within the tumult of this time.
Practicing the prayer, study, and silent receptivity exemplified by the prophets, school-participants will examine the world as God sees it, and discern ways to speak God’s truth, for both what is needed and possible.
…The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
“The spirit of the lord is upon me
Because he has anointed me and sent me
To bring good news to the poor,
To release the captives,
To restore sight to the blind,
To unburden the oppressed,
To declare a Jubilee of the lord’s favour.”
What does a Prophet do?
‣ Sees what is needed, what is possible,
and what is Good
‣ Witnesses to God in words and example
‣ Empathizes with suffering humanity
‣ Works for peace and justice
‣ Empowers the powerless
‣ Includes marginalized
‣ Speaks for God to the people, and for the
people to God.
Abraham Joshua Heschel “The Prophets”
Aims of The School for Prophets
To prepare course participants — individually, and as a community — to exercise more fully their Baptismal commission to serve as prophets to our world, and our Church.
‣ To grow in friendship with Jesus
‣ To learn from the example of prophetic figures in the bible and the Christian tradition
‣ To enhance the capacity for a life of witness to Christ — personally, and as a community
‣ To nurture the capacity for prophetic contemplation
‣ To develop a way of prophetic discernment
‣ To undertake both critique and creative visioning of our times through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching.
‣ To propose specific contributions towards prophetic witness in the world, and our Church
Situating the prophetic task within the threefold Baptismal commission and appreciating its scriptural foundations.
Gain a methodology for prophetic enquiry and application based on the Beatitudes from Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount (5: 1-16).
Familiarity with the history and developments of Catholic Social Teaching to engage the prophetic dimension of its core principles.
Identify persons in the scriptures or in Church tradition who can serve as spiritual mentors for one’s own prophetic calling.
Interpret and respond to the signs of the times using the keys of contemplation, discernment and proposal
Collaboration and innovation within a prayerful supporting community for one another’s prophetic mission and growth in the virtues for prophecy
Skills and processes for voicing prophetic questions or insights in a dialogue that sets the human horizon for prophetic inspiration—and agitation.
▸Inspired by Scripture and the Living Tradition:
The curriculum draws on the experience of biblical prophets and saints from the Carmelite tradition. The Carmelite values indispensable to the prophetic commission – solitude, silence, community prayer, contemplation, collaborative work, presence, listening, discernment, welcoming, and integration – are at the heart of the programme.
▸Applying Prayerful Enquiry:
The programme encourages a prayerful engagement with current social reality, fostering critical thinking from a spiritual perspective that addresses causes, and not simply effects.
▸A Participative Model:
The residential weekend gatherings and frequent on-line sessions allow for building relationships and confidence in a community growing and learning together how to witness the movements of the Holy Spirit at this time.
▸Catholic, Ecumenical and Inter-disciplinary:
Prophets operate at the boundaries between the religious and the social. This requires gathering input from a wide spectrum of sources, contemplating and processing these within the rich guidance of scripture and tradition, and making God’s presence and desires alive in the world.
Learning and growing together in our prophetic calling and encouraging one another in the demands that prophetic truth-telling engenders.
▸Led by a Religious and Lay Team:
Programme facilitators bring their insights and lived experience as lay and religious members of the Church to enrich the conversation with course participants.
▸Creativity—Inspired and Inspiring:
Prophets not only tell truths that in God’s name must be spoken. They also conjure the latent potential for healing, wholeness, and holiness that reside in each human person created in the imageof God.
Giving Complexity Its Due
▸ Learning from the prophets in scripture
▸ Praying and applying the Beatitudes
▸ Horizontal stretching: Embracing the creative push-and-pull between consolation and desolation
▸ Daring to dream with the audacity of Christ’s incarnation
▸ Lessons from the margins
▸ Inputs from the social sciences
▸ Vertical Stretching: “Putting on Christ” to feel “for, with, and in Him” the agonies and hopes of the world
▸ Elevating human dignity, solidarity, and the common good in concrete ways
▸ Applying one’s gifts and talents to God’s call
▸ Listening to those in distress or despair
▸ Interior stretching: To discover in prayer one’s prophetic mission
▸ Using the prophetic tools of poetry and story to incite conversion
Course Outline – Preliminary Schedule
|October 23th – December 18th||January 15th – February 12th||February 26th||March 11th||March 25th||April 8th – May 6th|
|Scriptural Foundations for The Prophetic Vocation||Growing in Contemplative Prayer to Hear God’s Whisper||The Prophetic Grace Bestowed at Baptism||Prophetic Saints and Their Example||Catholic Social Teaching as Prophetic Praxis||Posing Prophetic Questions|
|‣ Lessons from the Biblical prophets|
‣ Qualities, attributes, and patterns of prophecy
‣ The Beatitudes as a prophetic paradigm
‣ Prophetic theology and spirituality
|‣ Seeds of Prophetic Contemplation|
‣ Invoking and attending to the Holy Spirit
‣ Spiritual and communal practices for Discernment
|‣ Prophetic gifts|
‣ Prophetic calling
‣ Prophetic attributes and tools
‣ Prophetic responsibilities
|‣ Audacious vocations for the truth|
‣ Creating communities of mission
‣ Transforming Church incarnating Jesus in time and place
|‣ Core principles from papal encyclicals|
‣ Lessons from addressing ‘the signs of their times’
‣ Lay advocates who put in practice innovations based on CST
|‣ Taking to heart the questions Jesus posed|
‣ The ethical art of subversive questions
‣ Honing critical thinking, and self-critical reflection
|1||Oct 23||On-Line||The Prophetic Vocation – Then & Now||CONTEMPLATE|
|2||Nov 6||On-Line||Introduction to the Biblical Prophets||CONTEMPLATE|
|3||Nov. 20||On-Line||Encountering Jesus As Prophet||CONTEMPLATE|
|4||Dec. 4||On-Line||Prophetic Qualities, Attributes & Challenges||CONTEMPLATE|
|5||Dec. 18||On-Line||The Beatitudes As Prophetic Template||CONTEMPLATE|
|6||Jan. 15||On-Line||Prophetic Prayer: Heeding Silence||DISCERN|
|7||Jan. 28-29||Residential||Forming a Prophetic Community||DISCERN|
|8||Feb. 12||On-Line||Reading the “Signs of the Times”||DISCERN|
|9||Feb 26||On-Line||Discerning Prophetic Gifts||DISCERN|
|10||Mar 11||On-Line||Finding One’s Prophetic Voice||PROPOSE|
|11||Mar 25||On-Line||Catholic Social Teaching, Applied||PROPOSE|
|12||Apr 8||On-Line||The Ethical Art of Prophetic Questions||PROPOSE|
|13||Apr 22||On-Line||Receiving & Serving the Holy Spirit||PROPOSE|
|14||May 6||On-Line||Prophetic Contributions to the Church & Beyond||PROPOSE|
Course Structure and flow
▸The programme is designed as one ninety-minute on-line session every two weeks, along with two essential residential gatherings.
▸On-line programme will begin on November 7th, 2023.
▸Residential programmes are scheduled for:
– January 28-29
– May 18-19
▸Each ninety-minute on-line gathering will involve 30 minutes of prayer, 30 minutes of instruction or guided reflection, and 30 minutes for questions and dialogue.
▸Participants will be invited to reflect with lessons learned about our current reality, to practice heeding the Holy Spirit in prophetic interpretation.
▸Commissioning will occur on May 19th – Pentecost Sunday 2024.
▸Prophetic lessons and insights from the programme will be complied by participants (in a creative manner to be determined by them) to begin together the process of dissemination and dialogue.
Suggested price: £950
(including two residential overnights)
For further support towards the cost of the programme please send an email to:
Fr Alex Ezechukwu OCD
Please download our poster:
Alexander Ezechukwu, OCD is a Carmelite priest and serves as the prior of the Carmelite community at Boars Hill, Oxford. Fr Alex is a trained spiritual director with many years of pastoral experience in guidance in the spiritual life. He holds a Licence in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.
Kelvin Ekhoegbe, OCD is a Carmelite priest and is involved in the retreat work at the priory. He holds degrees in Philosophy and Theology from The Dominican Institute, Ibadan and Institut Catholique de Toulouse (Catholic University of Toulouse), respectively.