JustFaith Ministries Facilitators: Transformed by the Transformed
by Susie Tierney
In the fall of 2002, I both participated in and facilitated one of the first fifty JustFaith groups taking place across the country. Since that time, I’ve facilitated JustFaith six times, Engaging Spirituality twice, JusticeWalking three times, and one of the JustMatters modules. Every time I facilitate a JustFaith Ministries program, I am reminded of how transformational they really are. It’s a real privilege to be part of someone else’s faith journey; it feels a lot like walking on holy ground. I am not alone. Other facilitators across the country have also been moved deeply by their facilitation experiences.
An Extraordinary Opportunity: New Pathways for a New Time
by Joe Grant
For some time now, it has been clear to people of faith across the world that we are living through an extraordinary time of crisis. The effects of this crisis are already being keenly felt by the poorest among us. Rooted in the social, economic, and spiritual patterns of our lives, this is a challenge we will surely be facing for the rest of our days, a crisis which carries serious implications for our children and their children to come. Joining with the indigenous and rural people who are close the land, the pope reminds us all of our call to be guardians of Creation: “tillers” and “keepers” of the Earth. He also invites us to explore what it might mean to undergo an “ecological conversion”, and makes an urgent appeal for “a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet” (Laudato Si’, 14).
Looking Through the Lens of Mercy
by Cory Lockhart
Jasmin Dean (age 27) of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Virginia Beach, Virgina was looking for a way to become a better version of herself. As a part of her personal formation, she joined a GoodNewsPeople group, one of over 100 people in her parish to participate. GoodNewsPeople invites participants to explore their personal call to discipleship within small communities of faith.
The program’s Immersion Experience focuses on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Jasmin’s group visited Onesimus Ministries, a halfway house for men transitioning back into society after being incarcerated. Residents of the house include sex offenders. “We were apprehensive about going. We chose something uncomfortable to do.”
Just Imagine! The Transformation of a Parish by JustFaith Ministries Programs
by Mandy Olivam
Almost 11 years ago, the landscape of parish activity looked drastically different, according to parishioner Bill Toller, a current member of JustFaith Ministries’ Board of Directors. “Before our connection to JustFaith Ministries, we were a busy parish with a school and the normal ministries located on church property exclusively.” However, since offering JustFaith Ministries’ programs year after year, the parish’s circle of care has widened. Bill says that the parish now sustains “a consistent focus on ministry outside of parish boundaries.”
The Seeds of the Gospel Sown in Good Soil, JustFaith Reaps a Good Harvest
by Fiona Grant
In 2009, together with a group of young people from my parish, I completed the high school JusticeWalking program. Since then I have wrestled with the call and the responsibility to address the needs of the world around me.
As so many of you who are graduates of a JustFaith Ministries program, I find myself constantly asking, “What do I do now?” The answer seems obvious. Countless people have said that if you expose people to the truth, they will act. This begs the question, how and with whom do we act?
Peacemaking: A Journey Taken Step by Step
by Cory Lockhart
I can trace many of the steps I’ve taken in the last 22 years back to this very ministry. My JustFaith connection started in 1992 when my parents were going through the JustFaith program. (This was before JustFaith Ministries existed; JustFaith was a parish program at the time.) Their involvement led them to visit our church’s sister parish in El Salvador. When they returned, they asked if I’d like to go on the next delegation to El Salvador. Without knowing what I was getting into, I unhesitatingly said, “Yes!”
Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Finding Common Ground
by various JustMatters Module St. Francis and the Sultan participants
Deacon Dardess, a retired professor and consultant to the Diocese of Rochester on interfaith dialogue, refers to himself as an ordinary American who one day realized that he knew nothing about Islam. Writing in a special edition of St. Anthony Messenger in September 2011, he speaks of a time when “he knew nothing of this ‘foreign’ religion: nothing of its holy book, the Qur’an, nothing of its teachings, the people who embraced it, their languages and cultures or even the countries where Muslims live.” All of that began to change in 1991, and since then, having learned Arabic and studied Islam, he wants all Christians to know that “Islam carries the same message Jesus did when he aﬃrmed the key teaching of the law and the prophets to love God and neighbor….”
Pilgrims to El Salvador share stories of new eyes, new hearts
by the delegation of JustFaith Ministries to El Salvador
This past September, fifteen graduates of the JustFaith program left their daily lives behind to journey for a short time as pilgrims in El Salvador. The vision of two JustFaith grads, Mark and Claudia Brown, this experience was brought to reality through a collaboration between the Browns and Friends Across Borders, a mission outreach program of Maryknoll Lay Missioners. The following are reflections from several individuals whose hearts were broken – and, as a result, opened – by what they witnessed in El Salvador.
Make Something Bigger Than Just Us…
by the JustFaith Ministries community in Monroe, Louisiana
In 2005, when Ab Elias was asked by his wife, Elaine, to participate with her in the 30-week JustFaith program, it was about the last thing he wanted to do. Elaine had attended a talk by Jack Jezreel in Monroe, Louisiana, and was aglow with excitement for the program and its possibilities. Ab had stayed away from Jack’s talk because he “didn’t want to be disturbed.” Almost dragged to the first session, Ab recalls that he pushed back with strong opinions on what he heard. He considered himself highly literate in the scriptures, and he bristled at what he considered “out of context” application of scripture. But he stuck with the program and through the work of the Spirit, he was “hooked” by session four. His “life has never been the same since.”