Justice and Peace Formation

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
-Luke 4:18–19

“The Church cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.”
– Pope Benedict XVI

The Church has a responsibility to bear witness to the Kingdom God breaking into our world in the here and now through our works of mercy and justice. The requires that we be rooted in the wisdom from our faith tradition, and, with well-formed consciences, be engaged with the social problems of the world as we work with others to address injustice and oppression and work for the common good of all, especially the most vulnerable.

The following opportunities invite you to continue your learning of our Catholic faith, especially the well-formed but not well-known Catholic social teaching tradition. If you are interested in how faith and politics go together in the Catholic tradition, or how to think about complex social problems through the lens of faith rather than partisan politics, or how to work more effectively and prudently for the kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice and peace, then these opportunities are for you!

Throughout the year, we offer a variety of small group opportunities, film and book discussions, community conversations, workshops, guest speakers, and more. We look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events!

Scroll down to read about upcoming opportunities!

Justice & Peace Formation Opportunities

Black History Month
“It is love that compels us to resist racism courageously. It requires us to reach out generously to the victims of this evil, to assist the conversion needed in those who still harbor racism, and to begin to change policies and structures that allow racism to persist.” US Bishops, Open Wide our Hearts

Since the 1970s Americans have officially set aside February as a month to honor the accomplishments of Black Americans, to lift up the beauty and depth of Black and African culture, and to explore the fullness and truth of our American history through the experiences of our Black brothers and sisters and the sin of racism.

While this is a good and noble endeavor, that we have a month set aside for this speaks to the uncomfortable reality that our normative history has been mostly told from the perspective of the majority, the winners, the White people. Intentional or not, in our schools and universities the fullness of the truth of the American Black experience – from chattel slavery, convict leasing, to Jim Crow laws, lynchings and mass incarceration – and the fierce, ubiquitous, challenging nature of systemic racism that has structured the thinking, behavior and actions of individuals and institutions since the beginning of US history, has been neglected and sanitized down to a few national heroes and even fewer stories depicting the cruelty, torture and violence of being owned and controlled.

We invite you to come along with us as we learn about the reality of systemic racism in our time, break open our foundational Scriptural and church teachings that ground our understanding, explore the American Black experience and how we might work toward racial equity and stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters as we remember what Pope Francis told us upon the murder of George Floyd: “My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

To see our list of programming events and opportunities for learning, prayer, and solidarity: https://www.stfrancisraleigh.org/blackhistorymonth/


Fridays with Pope Francis: Brothers, Sisters, All
Jan 22, 29, and February 5
Join us for three Fridays at noon to deepen our understanding of Pope Francis’ vision of the world and the church. Facilitated by Trevor Thompson, Director of the Office of Justice and Peace. In light of Pope Francis’ publication of his third encyclical Fratelli Tutti subtitled “on fraternity and social friendship,” there is much for us to reflect upon as we dream about what fraternal life might look like in a post-pandemic 2021. Each week, we will provide a short reflection on some major themes of Pope Francis’ vision and facilitate a discussion of how this vision might come to life in our churches an homes.
For more information and to sign-up, go to http://bit.ly/fridayswithpopefrancis
On September 15, 2020, we hosted a virtual event via Zoom sharing the details of St. Francis of Assisi Church’s solar project, how this commitment helps our parish live out our mission and values, and ways to take the next step in solar for your church, business, or home. This program included presentations from St. Francis staff person Trevor Thompson, St. Francis parishioner Larry Petrovick, St. Francis solar contractor Scott Alexander from Eagle Solar & Light, and Fr. Pat Cahill, pastor and Bill Maloney, Solar Project Manager, both from St. Eugene Catholic Church in Asheville, NC.

You can access a recording of this event by clicking on this link: WHY SOLAR ON A CHURCH?

Small Group Opportunities


JustFaith is an adult small group formation program (curriculum of JustFaith Ministries) that we offer annually that focuses on discipleship of Jesus and God’s call to live with the works of mercy, social justice, and deep compassion in a world scarred by poverty and ecological damage, in what Pope Francis calls a “throwaway society.” JustFaith participants meet weekly for 24 weeks (usually mid-September through mid-April) in a small group of 8 to 15 people. 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.

If you are interested in being part of the next cohort, or have further questions, contact Trevor.Thompson@stfrancisraleigh.org or 919-947-8205×267.

Engaging Spirituality

Engaging Spirituality (also a curriculum of JustFaith Ministries) is an adult small group formation program that looks deeply at the injustices in our wounded world like the flagship JustFaith program, but this particular curriculum invites participants to develop a contemplative practice that allows for a deeper relationship with God that is necessary to the work of justice and peace. If we are called to contemplation and action, this program helps make sure our contemplative side is well-formed. The group will engage in silent centering prayer practices, active listening, journaling and retreats, and other practices that invite a deepening relationship to God through scripture, poetry, creation, the saints, and the lives of the poor and vulnerable.

If you are interested in being part of the next cohort, or have further questions, contact, becky.cawley@stfrancisraleigh.org or 919-847-8205×267.

Racial Equity

We are offering a series of facilitated small group discussions on the topic of racial justice and our Catholic faith. Using a curriculum developed by JustFaith Ministries, this program invites participants to formulate their own Christian-rooted responses to racism. Through the fostering of active listening, dialogue, and prayer, this module forms a group that is rooted in trust and compassion. Through new learning from articles, videos, and resource books (including our US Bishops document on Racism called Open Wide Your Hearts), it lends new insights to participants’ awareness of privilege and racism. By encouraging new spiritual practices and informed action, it cultivates an expanding community of Christians who work to dismantle racism in their respective contexts.

If you are interested in being part of the next cohort, or have further questions, contact, becky.cawley@stfrancisraleigh.org or 919-847-8205×267.

If you are interested in learning more about racial justice and the systemic nature of racism – click here.

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