Properly implemented and supported by school and parish structures and communities, the scheme allows young people to see what the Church is for.
This level is designed to be completed a group/class, instilling the idea of working together as a community. In this way, participants will become aware the others around them are on the same journey of discovery.
It will lead participants to ask deeper questions of themselves and others. They respond to the ‘call of faith’ by using their on-going service and project work to both complete the award and learn to support and be supported by the communities to which they belong.
In addition to meeting the criteria required for the Bronze Award, participants should be making the best use of their gifts and talents by leading others for the good of the wider community.
Participants will be required to complete acts of service outside of their existing parish/school structures, which demands a greater level of innovation.
As faith matures and one begins the process of saying, ‘Yes’ to God’s call, then true freedom and personal fulfilment are to be found at the service of the Good News. More than a message, the Good News sets prisoners free, raises the down-trodden, gives new sight to the blind and proclaims God’s favour for us all.
This level promotes spiritual and personal growth, and challenges participants to be true missionary disciples.
The Faith in Action Award Scheme facilitates an exploration of scripture and Church teaching, with an emphasis on translating this into action. The scheme rewards young people for their active service in schools, parishes and encourages them to take their service into the wider community and accept greater responsibility for their faith in action.
There are four levels of award: Pin, bronze, silver and gold. Participants accrue credits of service in parish, school and the wider community. The Scheme builds on what young people already experience, asking them to reflect upon it so that they may find new ways of living out and exploring their faith. There is an opportunity for both guided reflections, through group reflection points and personal reflection, through journalling. At the end of the scheme, participants submit a final piece of work for moderation before being awarded with their Faith in Action Award.
The Faith in Action award encourages young people to engage in faith activity both in their ‘home base, be that at school or in the parish, and in the wider community, their ‘away base’.
If your group is based in a parish, that is where your ‘home’ credits should be accrued, and your ‘away’ credits could be accrued at school or through service in the local community . If the young person does not attend a Catholic school, they could still gain credits at school for volunteering service but they could equally gain the credits in their Scout group or a social club that they attend.
In a school based group, the ‘home’ credits are accrued through school, however we would encourage that for any Catholic taking part in the award some credits should be gained in the parish, even if connection up to this point has been limited. It may be that the group leader should support this engagement by letting the local clergy know that the programme is in place and that they may have young people looking for volunteering opportunities.
The most valuable resource of this award scheme is the leader and the relationship he/she fosters with the participants. It is this dynamic, played out in a faith context, which will allow for informed guidance and decision making at each point in the process.
For the award to have meaning it is vital that the participants feel challenged and supported so that they encounter personal and spiritual growth. What is important therefore is not that a specific list of activities are completed and ticked off, but rather that the experiences help move the participant forwards on their journey of faith.
It is important that the leaders see themselves as more than administrators of the process. The leadership that they give should allow participants to synthesize experience, learning and action in a real and concrete way.
Leaders are therefore encouraged to be creative and to remain responsive to the needs, experiences and context of those with whom they journey. It is hoped that each level of this award could be gained by a young person with learning disabilities – academic achievement should not be a barrier to gaining each level, but every young person should feel that their award has been suitably personally challenging.
The key words at each level have been put in bold in the expectations column above and in order to justify a level these words should be evident to the leader.