Our country is experiencing a pandemic, a badly weakened economy, and an unveiling of racial inequality. The United States is not suffering these issues alone, they are global in nature. How can we understand these issues through the light of faith and allow the truth of our faith to guide us as we make a difference in the midst of these crises?
In my years of priesthood, I have encountered a program which helps one understand how our faith addresses major social issues. These issues include human rights such as health care, treating all with equality, helping the needy to move beyond impoverished conditions, caring for the immigrant and asylum seeker, caring for the environment and building a world of peace.
In short, JustFaith helps its participants to see the world in a compassionate way and to live that compassion. I participated in a JustFaith group seventeen years ago. Through JustFaith I deepened my faith and I was inspired me to better live out my faith. It allowed me to form deeper friendships with the other participants. Since JustFaith we have each been more actively involved in living out the love to which Jesus calls us.
Jack Jezreel offers the following invitation to those who might want to participate in JustFaith: “Do you feel called to explore the expansiveness of love, a love that draws us into compassion and justice?...JustFaith Ministries connects and prepares people of faith for the life-changing, world-changing work of the Gospel by offering small-group programs that deepen faith, invite learning, and inspire action around contemporary social issues.”
The following is a good description of JustFaith:
- JustFaith is a conversion-based process that provides a space in which participants can grow in their commitment to care for the vulnerable and to become advocates for a more just society.
- JustFaith serves to strengthen the growing commitment of parishes to be agents of social transformation, mercy and compassion.
- Participants are exposed to a substantive and demanding course of study and are afforded the privilege of becoming community with other participants.
- JustFaith is small-group focused (8 to 15 individuals), is co-facilitated by two participants from within the group, represents a 24-week commitment and is multi-dimensional (including prayer, reading and discussion, video presentations, guest speakers, two retreats and four visits to outreach ministries).
St. Joseph Catholic Church in Shreveport had a JustFaith group which ended in May of 2020. I am including a testimony from Linde Barnhouse, who was one of the participants in that group.
“My name is Linde Barnhouse. I was somewhat familiar with the JF ministry, after hearing from others that it promotes social justice. The poor and marginalized had always been a concern of mine. I joined a group in Sept 2019 for a 24-week program. It opened my eyes to the enormous injustice experienced by the poor, the immigrants, and by the legal system, primarily minorities. Our group shared similar goals, and we learned of different opportunities where we could get involved and make a meaningful difference. On account of JF, I became more compassionate toward others, especially those who are different. I will join again and hope to build on the impact it had on me.”
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish will host a JustFaith group which will begin on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 6:00 pm. A JustFaith Information Session will be held in the Burleigh Center on Tuesday, August 11 and will begin at 6:30 pm. If you are interested in learning more about JustFaith please attend and please invite friends who also have an interest. You are also invited to call me at (318) 798-1887 in order to learn more about JustFaith. You may register for the program by calling Brandy Boudreau in the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church office.
Fr. Mark Watson