Parish to offer social-justice series - Catholic Courier

Parish to offer social-justice series

Beginning in September, Church of the Assumption, 20 East Ave., Fairport, will offer JustFaith, a 30-week course on the Catholic Church’s social-justice teachings.

The parish will host two separate study groups, one designed to meet in the day, the other in evenings, according to Denise Mack, pastoral associate. One group will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 12, and will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. A second group will meet from noon to 2:30 p.m beginning Wednesday, Sept. 13. At each meeting, participants will slate meeting times for the remaining sessions, she said.

JustFaith is a process designed to promote a broader understanding of the plight of the poor, the marginalized and the disenfranchised, Mack said. Each group will use prayer, discussion and videos, she noted, and the groups also will take field trips to such ministry sites as soup kitchens, where they will meet with guests.

The groups also will study various books, including Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life by Henri Nouwen; Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol, who examined life in New York City’s poorest neighborhoods; and The Challenge and Spirituality of Catholic Social Teaching, by Marv Mich, director of social policy and research for Rochester’s Catholic Family Center. Mich said his book covers various themes found in Catholic social teaching, including workers’ rights and respect for life. The book uses stories taken from Scripture as well as the lives of the saints and modern-day social-justice activists to help readers learn more about the church’s social-justice tradition, he said.

Mack said her parish’s decision to offer the JustFaith program grew out of the positive response the parish garnered from a social-justice workshop it offered last year. Participants were fascinated to learn about the church’s social-justice teachings, she said, noting that the church has pronouncements on such subjects as poverty, racism and the environment.

“They were surprised that they know so little about our church’s social-justice teachings — the scope, the depth, the breadth,” she said.

Mack stressed that participants should be prepared to be fully committed to the JustFaith course.

“This is not a come-when-you-can, leave-early course,” she said. “This is a commitment to journey into Jesus-like compassion.”

JustFaith originated in 1989 in a Catholic parish in Louisville, Ky., according to the program’s Web site at www.justfaith.org. Since then, the ministry has spread across the country, and in 2005 it officially partnered with Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. More than 10,000 people have participated in JustFaith programs in more than 600 parishes and churches across the country, according to JustFaith Ministries.

“The aim of JustFaith Ministries is to enable people of faith to develop a passion for justice and to express this passion in concrete acts of social ministry,” the JustFaith Web site states.

The cost of books for the course is $135, Mack said. Anyone interested in the day course should contact Bob Warth at 585/388-0040, ext. 349. Those interested in the evening group should call Ramona Akpo Sani at 585/264-9822. For information on JustFaith, call Mack at 585/388-0040, ext. 314, or e-mail her at dmack@dor.org.

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