|August 11, 2014 • VOL. 52, NO. 14 • Oakland, CA|
| JustFaith program offers an
introduction to social ministry
People at two parishes in the Diocese of Oakland can learn more about social ministry through presentations by JustFaith Ministries.
"A lot of Catholics have an eighth-grade understanding of their faith," Limberg said, noting that most adults' faith formation ends with Confirmation.
The September mission will begin after the parish's 5 p.m. Sunday Mass. Jack Jezreel, founder of JustFaith Ministries, will speak on three related topics from 7 to 8:30 p.m. each evening. His talk will be followed by a social ministry fair, featuring parish, local and national organizations in which attendees might be interested in pursuing service.
"They come out of this mission on fire and they don't know what to do with themselves," Limberg said. The ministry fair should help stoke those fires.
There will be a free-will offering at the end of each night, with the offerings going to JustFaith Ministries.
In preparation for the three-day mission, the parish's book study group read Pope Francis' "Joy of the Gospel."
The book, a call to action, leaves readers with the questions, Limberg said, such as, "So what are we going to do with it? How will we get involved?"
Along with Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill, St. Bonaventure was among the first in the diocese to offer JustFaith programs. They've had six JustFaith groups, and two in the shorter Engaging Spirituality course. The September visit marks Jezreel's first visit to the parish.
In the parish of 2,700 families, social justice ministries include a very active St. Vincent de Paul conference; and a Tuesday food pantry that serves hundreds of families in the greater community. Some ministries have grown out of JustFaith, Limberg said, including meal preparation for the senior shelter St. Mary's Center in Oakland; a Christmas boutique whose proceeds benefit the food pantry; a Knights of Columbus canned food collection; and participation in a Contra Costa County multifaith task force looking at the resources needed to end poverty in the county.
As the coordinator of Life and Justice for the Diocese of Oakland, John Watkins has seen the impact JustFaith graduates can have in a parish. "I have seen where parishes have taken the leap, usually the startup of social justice ministries or revitalization of social justice ministries," he said. "I see it energizes people and focuses them."
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