The Faith in Action award scheme is a new initiative which we launched during the Autumn Term 2016, following collaborative meetings with St. Teresa's Parish, St. Oswald's Parish and All Hallows High School. Our Year 6 pupils are working hard to achieve the Pin Award by raising money for charities, preparing collective worships helping younger pupils, participating at Sunday Masses and school services.
The Faith in Action award scheme was launched in our Diocese on 18th May.
About 80 representatives from parishes, high schools, primary schools and youth groups gathered together to hear more about the scheme and how it can be implemented in local communities and across the wider Diocese.
The Archbishop welcomed those gathered and stated that it ‘was a dream come true’ that this award had eventually come to fruition and was to be launched in the Archdiocese of Liverpool.
This award did not exist until a few months ago but is now being launched in a number of Dioceses across the country. You can find out more about the award here and why the Faith in Action scheme can be a great blessing for our Diocese.
What is the award?
In broad brushstrokes, the Faith In Action Award rewards active service in schools and parishes and encourages young people to shine the light of faith upon their service experiences.
There are four different levels of award: Pin, Bronze, Silver and Gold. For this reason it has been described as a ‘Catholic Duke of Edinburgh’ – although there are some obvious differences that mean this is very much a stand-alone award grounded in Catholic theology.
The award allows the Church to celebrate, recognize and reward all that active young people of faith already give to the Church; but it also challenges those young people to deepen their relationship with God and change the world in which they live.
The award is designed to run on an annual cycle with all diocesan participants working towards a single Diocesan celebration and presentation evening at which the Diocesan Bishop will present the awards.
Why have a Catholic Award Scheme?
Work started on this award a couple of years ago: around the time Pope Francis issued his ‘Joy of the Gospel’ document. Much of the thrust of this document is about taking the Joy of faith, the Joy of the Gospel, into the world.
Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, on a journey (EG127)
The award encourages the young people in our Diocese to do just this: to take the Joy of the Gospel into the wider world and as Pope Francis asked of young people gathered at World Youth Day 2013 ‘to make some noise’.
We are also fortunate to have a Lourdes pilgrimage that has 500 young people apply to serve the assisted pilgrims in Lourdes. It seems that, for this generation of young people at least, faith is intrinsically linked to acts of service. As a Diocese we have to ask how we can take the ‘spirit of Lourdes’ and transfer that enthusiasm into our schools and parishes.
There is also an age old question of ‘what, as a Church, can we offer to teenagers?’. The award offers a structure that can be in place for four or five years to offer a focus to young people in our schools and parishes that both challenges and rewards.