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The Wisdom of the Group: An Introduction to "Anchor" - 9th July 2022

We've spoken often of the wealth of talent and experience each member our first catechist panel brings to Faith on Fire. These are not just nice words: we really have an amazing group of people, full of passion for the faith and with a really impressive depth of experience in sharing that faith.


It was always the intention to tap into that experience, once we got to know the group and their particular talents, and our July 2022 Formation Day was a great example of that.


Long before she came to Faith on Fire, Aishling Steen has been very active in sharing the faith, both through her work with the Diocese of Down and Connor 'Living Church', and in her own parish. That experience, along with to Aishling's natural ability to communicate with joy and in a way that is both simple and yet has a great depth, made her an obvious choice to present a workshop for the whole group.



Aishling has used "Anchoring Your Faith" with many different groups and suggested it as a very good match for Faith on Fire: it can be adapted for adults that are coming to the faith after a gap, or with little more than their childhood faith education, but is also a great tool for those who would like to go a bit deeper in their faith.


The Anchor programme was developed in 2013 by Sr Hyacinthe Defos du Rau O.P. of the Dominican Sisters of St Joseph, in collaboration with Maryvale Institute. The resource offers:

"a simple and foundational teaching about the essentials of the Faith, the Mass and the ways in which we live and pray that Faith... It can be used by any adult but it is especially valuable for parents, to help them hand on to their children the treasure of the Catholic Faith."

We were blessed to begin the day with an input, via Zoom, from Sr Hyacinthe herself, along with Angela Woods, a catechist who has used Anchor extensively in her diocese in England.



After a short break, we each got a copy of the Anchor Your Faith Leader’s Guide for our Catechist Toolbox, and Aishling gave us a really excellent workshop. As well as guiding us step by step though the resource, Aishling peppered her input with detailed insights and practical catechetical tips from her own use of the programme in parishes. This allowed us to learn so much from Aishling’s own invaluable experience as a catechist.


Her advice on ways of adapting the programme to meet the needs of different groups was particularly helpful and the "Opposite to the Ten Commandments" exercise was excellent and led to lots of interesting discussion. This is a programme we will include in our first set of 'pathway' options for parishes, and Aishling's skill in sharing it as well as her methodologies and pedagogies was a joy to experience. Thank you Aishling!


An Afternoon of Prayer and Reflection


After some small group work, and our usual community lunch, we spent the afternoon in prayer and reflection. Fr Terence lead us into it with a short reflection very suited to us as catechists carrying the truth of Christ out to the highways and byways of society. “How will I Respond? On the Certainty of Faith given by Christ, Teacher of Truth”


Fr Joe Dineen O.P., Prior of the Dominican Community of St Saviour's, celebrated Mass with us, with beautiful singing led by Rebekah, Rosemary and Suzanne (and others too!). After the tea break we spent time in Adoration followed by Benediction and we finished our day as always by joining the Dominican Community for Vespers.

Another blessed day! Deo gratias!


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