On any given day, we can our feel overwhelmed by the fragility of life in what Pope Francis has called a “throwaway culture.” We know we need to pray for healing, for peace, and for justice: “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” We also know that we need to reach out beyond our comfortable lives and share the abundance of love that we have been given by God. There are so many whose lives are broken and are looking for some sign of hope and mercy in a dark world. Our best gifts are often our presence, our friendship, and our solidarity. When we do this work, it is frequently the case that God surprises us when we discover that Christ is already streaming his light and love in the darkest of places.
Below are a number of ways that you can come together with other parishioners, or even explore on your own, the depth and richness of our tradition. Let us know how we can help you find your way!
Events and Small Group Courses
Our most popular learning opportunity is JustFaith, an intensive small group experience focused on Catholic Social Teaching, the discipleship of Jesus, and living Christ’s call to justice and compassion in the modern world. JustFaith is a curriculum written and supported by JustFaith Ministries. St. Francis has been coordinating one or two cohorts every year for over 10 years with over 100 graduates. Many of our graduates share that this has been one of the most transforming faith experiences they’ve ever had. They subsequently find themselves living with a greater sense of purpose and meaning and become involved in a variety of ministries of the parish and in the community.
JustFaith participants meet weekly for four six-session modules in a small group of 8 to 15 people. JustFaith runs from September through April for a total of 24 sessions. Participants are invited to a lively and challenging process of spiritual transformation through books, videos, discussion, prayer, retreats and meetings with people experiencing poverty and injustice.
The intent is to provide opportunities for learning and spiritual growth that bring to life the healing work of God’s compassion found in Scripture, church teaching, and the stories of people of faith working to bring about peace and justice.
The program aims to deepen our understanding of our faith in relation to social justice issues confronting the world today. By the time you complete JustFaith, we hope you will have a good sense of where and how you feel called to serve in the wider community, whether it’s direct service of people in need or participating in education or advocacy on particular social justice issues.
To discuss more details and/or your interest in the next cohort, contact Trevor Thompson, firstname.lastname@example.org
We periodically offer small group mini-courses that allow participants to explore a single social issue more deeply through the lens of the Gospel and Catholic Social Teaching in a way rooted in prayer, study, and action. Past topics have included immigration, climate change, health care reform, simple living, and peace-making. If you are interested in exploring a specific topic in a future Study Circle, contact Trevor Thompson, 919-847-8205 x270, email@example.com
EngagingSpirituality is a program of JustFaith Ministries that invites small groups of concerned Christians to look at the world together and enter deeply into the critical realities of our day as they break open their lives. EngagingSpirituality encourages us to BE STILL and STILL BE in the storms of life that surround us. This is 21-week program that meets weekly starting every October. Participants will learn contemplative prayer practices, incorporate reflective journaling and reading, and begin to share in the grounding power of our God who is Emmanuel, God-With-Us.
For more information and/or interest in participating in the next cohort, contact Becky Cawley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year, we host one or two in-depth community conversations around particular issues that affect human dignity in our local community, nation, and world. We desire to look at all issues through the lens of our Catholic Social Tradition, grounded in scripture and guided by the history of the Church’s application of justice and mercy to the problems of the world.
We are a community that continually looks for the “signs of the times” and discerns how best to live out our faith in a broken world. We are a community led by a question of “what does our city need? And how can we help?” Inspired by our patron St. Francis of Assisi, we are a community that stands in solidarity with those on the margins, listens to people’s struggles and hopes, and look for ways to meaningfully serve and advocate.
Recent conversations include a series of events with our Muslim neighbors in Raleigh, a dialogue around climate change, a look at economic injustice, and an exploration of the struggles around affordable housing in our local county.
We are currently coordinating a series of events in light of National Migration Week, January 8-14, 2018, that looks at the plight of refugees and immigrants in our country. For more information about these events, go to https://www.stfrancisraleigh.org/national-migration-week/
Justice and the Arts
The Justice Theater Project is a theater group inspired by the social justice teaching and tradition of the Catholic Church. The mission of the Justice Theater Project is to use the dramatic arts as a way to call to the fore of public attention the needs of those who are poor, marginalized and oppressed. Every year, JTP identifies a theme related to a difficult social issue and offers at least three productions that engage the theme. With other planned programming like pre-show talks or panel discussions, participants have an opportunity to explore the social issue in greater depth. JTP also puts on an awesome annual production of The Black Nativity, a retelling of the Christmas nativity story through dance, Gospel music, and the poetry of Langston Hughes. Finally, every summer, JTP puts on the popular JTP summer camp that welcomes many youth in the Triangle area.
Catholic Social Teaching
The church’s social teaching is rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amid the challenges of modern society. All of our learning opportunities are rooted in this body of teaching. We look to the US Bishops for guidance in how to approach all our conversations, apply Catholic teaching to complicated social issues, and to take action. For more information about Catholic Social Teaching, go the US Bishops website where you can find details.