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  • faithonfireireland

Altaration: "a game changer!" 3rd December 2022

"That's a game changer" - a remark from one of the Faith on Fire catechists at the end of our December 2022 Formation Day. In recent months, the focus of our afternoon workshops has been on formation programmes we think will work well with adults who are open to exploring the faith at a given moment, but may not have had the opportunity to do that in some time.

That means programmes that are engaging, dynamic, suitable for adults and don't assume any particular prior learning: they must work well as either introductions or re-introductions to the foundations of the faith, and as ever with Faith on Fire, we have a particular eye out for what will appeal to parents.

When George and Noreen Kerr suggested "Altaration" (and no, that's not a typo!) we jumped at their offer to workshop it with the group.

"Altaration" was developed by a team at Ascension Press as a resource to help parents, teachers or catechists "capture the hearts and minds of a new generation of Catholics."

"The goal of 'Altaration' is not to fill teens heads with information but to pierce their hearts with transformation."

Aiming to capture the attention of teens, it captured our hearts too! Noreen and George are both experienced catechists, and have worked with Living Church in Down and Connor, and in local parishes. They were drawn to Faith on Fire partly because of their own passion for supporting the faith formation of parents and and when they came across Altaration, it jumped out at them as just what they were looking for to engage parents.

When they delivered our Faith on Fire workshop they had just completed a pilot of the programme in their own parish, and we were truly blessed to share all the insights they had gained from that experience.

The five carefully crafted session of Altaration are designed to "stir thought, create conversation, dispel myths..." and Noreen and George were delighted to discover that's exactly what it did - their parish pilot group included those returning to faith formation after many years as well as adults who are more active in their faith, and all of them were blown away by the programme.

As usual with Faith on Fire sessions, Noreen and George lead us through the programme but also shared their notes of experience from actually running the programme on the ground: ways of tweaking and adapting to suit the particular people in the room. A key part of our workshop is to learn from the experience of the presenter, as well as from the resource itself.

In the small group element of the workshop, we participated as if attending one of the Altaration sessions, going through the discussion questions, both answering and analysing them!

There was a great buzz by the end of the session, thanks to the skill and enthusiasm of our presenters (thank you Noreen and George!) and because we all felt sure this would touch hearts, would help people to understand not only the 'what' of the faith, but to see it much more as an encounter with a 'Who' - an encounter with the person of Jesus! And ultimately, that is the sole aim of Faith on Fire!


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