One of the many unique characteristics of an education at Bishop Carroll compared to other schools is the opportunity for students to discuss, explore, and grow their faith.
While many of our students were raised in Catholic families and have a strong foundation from instruction at home and their parish, they may still have questions, concerns, or experiences they want to share. With our new Faith on Fire program, students are given ample opportunities to explore these questions and share ideas and opinions in small peer groups.
These “safe spaces” were first created in January of 2017, when the school started the Alpha course — an evangelistic course that introduces the basics of the Christian faith through a series of talks and discussions. Described by its organizers as “an opportunity to explore the meaning of life,” this course helped students create bonds with small groups of friends and gave them a chance to open up in safe settings.
Inspired by the transformation they saw in students’ abilities to share their faith, administrators, faculty, and staff launched Faith on Fire. The program is designed to foster further faith exploration and encourage students to ask questions and learn from their peers. Already, it is helping build a stronger sense of community at Bishop Carroll and strengthen our students’ faith.
Students meet in their small groups twice a month to watch a video and answer discussion questions based on the topic of the video.
“We choose videos, questions, and music to align with the Arise content based on the Scripture passages of each session,” explains Karen Blaisdell, teacher, campus minister, and the coordinator of Faith on Fire. “It is a great opportunity for students to see how their faith is a 24/7/365 proposition and everything should be seen through the eyes of their Catholic faith.”
According to Blaisdell, many students say that it was hard to share their faith with their friends before they had a small group, but they now find it easier to share in their group and with others outside of it.
“I like getting to talk to people my own age about Catholicism and knowing the struggles of teens just like me,” said freshman Tia Bradley. “It is easier to relate to my friends than it is with an adult. It is a very open discussion and there is not just one person trying to teach you something.”
Senior Samantha Rosenberger echoed these sentiments. “I like how Faith on Fire allows my friends and I to explore our faith together,” she said. “It encourages us to explore ideas that we didn’t fully understand before together. It is also nice to be able to get answers about faith from people you trust and have a lot in common with. My favorite part of Faith on Fire is how it provides a comfortable environment to ask questions and become closer to God.”