'Faith in Action ' is an initiative started by the Archdiocese of Middlesbrough in which young people get involved in service of others on a school and parish level, take part in volunteering and participate in reflection on how their actions reflect and enrich their values.
The Archdiocese of Liverpool, under the direction of Father Simon Gore, has launched the Award scheme in schools and parishes in 2016.
Candidates wishing to be entered for the scheme, which has been compared to a 'spiritual D of E award', are encouraged to become active participants in assisting and leading the prayer and service life of the school. The Award offers Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards at senior school level.
We enter pupils at Bronze Level and participants need to complete and log a minimum of 20 hours in school, helping as part of the sacristy team, setting up for Morning Prayer, Year group Masses, Reading, taking the Offertory procession, running or assisting at charity events and attending the three Reflection Points throughout the year, to enrich their inner life in the light of their experiences. They are also called to assist in the life of their parish, or be involved in volunteering outside of school for a total of ten hours, verified by the signature of an appropriate adult. The pupils then complete a final piece, which can take the form of a collage, essay, film, painting or poem, which is a culmination of the inner journey they have experienced.
Uptake of the programme at St Edward's has involved 20 pupils from all three Key stages, which has contributed to the 'family atmosphere' of the programme. Meetings take place after school where ideas germinate and are brought to fruition and planning for liturgical events takes place.
This year an enthusiastic and creative group of Year 9 pupils took a portable Nativity set around Form classes during Advent and led Morning Prayer. Members of the group have also read at services and helped set up and clear away after weekly Year group Masses in College Hall. Lent saw the group lead the way in Stations of the Cross on Friday lunchtimes round the college reciting the Rosary at lunchtime in the Chapel.
As the deadline for the folders approached, there was a flurry of activity as pupils composed their final pieces and all who handed theirs in by the deadline have been sent off for moderation. An award ceremony will take place next term to congratulate all those, across the Archdiocese, who have worked so hard to achieve this interesting and enriching award.
Not only do the pupils learn to work together for the common good, but their knowledge of themselves, each other and the rewards of self-discipline, service and developing a stronger prayer life become apparent. It has been a challenging and fulfilling programme and congratulations to all those who have taken part.
Next year, those who have achieved Bronze will be encouraged to apply for the Silver Award and using the skills, confidence and spirituality they have gained, be able to encourage and inspire newcomers to the scheme.
If you are wondering if it is for you and would be interested in learning more about getting involved, come over to the chaplaincy area before school, at break time, lunchtime or after school and learn more about how to sign up for the group in the upcoming academic year.
Well done to all those who have taken part this year and we look forward to welcoming new members!