***PART ONE***

By Roberta Gibson – Coordinator of FIAT

On April 19th more than 200 Faith in Action Team members from 12 different schools from the London District Catholic School Board and 2 schools from the Huron Perth Catholic District School Board gathered together for a day filled with fun, friendship and faith. This annual event brings all of the FIAT members together as “ONE FAMILY IN FAITH”. The day provides an opportunity for students to make new friends, share the successes from their individual schools and to deepen their own faith through participation in learning centers and listening to inspirational guest speakers.

This year the event was held at Carling Heights Community Centre in London. The facilities were perfect for our very large group and the staff there welcomed us and were very helpful throughout the day. The day began with a musical warm up lead by Dorothy de Bakker. Hearing more than 200 young disciples praise the Lord through song was amazing. Following the musical warm up we were brought greetings from Linda Staudt, the Director of Education for LDCSB and the Chair of the Board of Trustees, John Jevnikar. It was wonderful that they were both able to attend the event and took time to share the day with the FIAT members and leaders.

We were fortunate to have Mr. Glen Pearson speak with the students from grades 5-8. Glen has served as volunteer director of the London Food Bank for 18 years and has served terms as head of Ontario’s Association of Food Banks and has consulted with provincial and federal governments regarding poverty issues. He along with his wife Jane Roy continue to fundraise for the building of school classrooms, the establishing of women’s programs, the development of leadership and vocational training, assistance for returning refugees, support for the local medical clinic, and clean water initiatives in partnership with the Water School. He spoke to the students about his experiences in Sudan, adopting his children and how he was inspired to act. The students, leaders and guests who shared in Glen’s talk left inspired. All FIAT members were asked to support the Canadian Aid for South Sudan with a small monetary donation on the day of FIATFEST.

Fr. Patrick Beneteau is the Vocations Director for the Diocese of London. He supported FIATFEST with a financial donation that covered the cost of renting Carling Heights as well as generously offering his talent as a presenter, speaking to the students in grade 3 and 4. Fr. Patrick used the Bible story of the Good Samaritan to speak to the students about listening to God’s call when and where we least expect it. He reminded us that we are called to act with mercy and kindness and that we can make a big difference even in our simple acts of kindness.

To be continued………