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  • faithonfireireland

Sycamore: The Questions that Really Matter - 21st January 2023

Faith on Fire is aimed at supporting the faith of Catholics in parishes and helping men and women grow in knowledge of the foundations of the Catholic faith: sometimes this will mean picking up on questions of faith last touched on years earlier in primary school - others may have had opportunities to explore the faith as an adult but are ready to go a little deeper.

For our resource workshop on 21st January 2023, Fr Damian Polly O.P. gave us an overview of Sycamore, an excellent and very flexible adult faith resource. The programme was developed in the UK by Fr Stephen Wang and his team and aims to explore the questions that really matter, but that we so rarely have time to think about:

How can we find happiness? What’s the meaning of life? Is there a God? Does prayer make a difference?

Sycamore is an ideal match for us at Faith on Fire: the focus of our mission is not so much the person who will to sign up to a two year Certificate in Theology or Pastoral Ministry: we want to support the faith of the woman or man in the parish who at certain moments is open to growing in faith, at whatever level, from those who know very little about the faith, to parents of children preparing for a sacrament, to people active in parish ministry who want to grow in knowledge and love of Christ.

The course is modular and is made up of twenty sessions that can be combined in different ways: a Sycamore “Pathway” is a set of Sycamore sessions put together to form a coherent course - from the 'Enquiry' pathway, for anyone interested in exploring the Christian faith, aimed at those with little or no Christian background, through the First Communion Pathway, which supports and encourages parents whose children are preparing for First Holy Communion, to the Advent and Lent courses, aimed at practising Christians, or for people with some Christian background, who wish to renew their faith in the season of Advent or Lent.

The Faith on Fire afternoon workshops are interactive sessions, where a presenter, who is familiar with a resource we plan to use in parishes, gives the Faith on Fire catechists a real sense of the resource, and of how it might be used on the ground.

A key element of these sessions is the shared experience of the presenter, as much as the content of the resource itself: a 'training the trainers' approach, which allows time for hands on engagement, questions on practice and methods, and sharing by others in the group who have also used this or a similar resource. Fr Damian has used Sycamore several times in St Mary's Priory in Cork and he left us with a very good sense of how we might use this in parishes across Ireland.

Click the 'Contact' link at the top of the page if you'd like us to present Sycamore in your parish.


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