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.”
“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
We celebrate “Earth Day” on April 22, a day that provides an opportunity for us to re-examine how we are living up to our responsibility to keep watch and preserve the earth. While we might argue about the magnitude of our impact, there is no denying that what your neighbor does in his or her yard affects you in your yard. Our actions, duplicated dozens, hundreds and thousands of times, multiply those effects. How we interact with the earth makes a difference.
The Care of Creation ministry is providing daily suggestions during the week to invite reflection on our lifestyles in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the impact we make on the earth and to take more meaningful and responsible actions.
(Click on link above)
Book and Film Discussion on Racism:
How do you talk with your children about racism?
Racism is a difficult topic to talk about. Yet, talking is one of the first and often most important steps to understanding this very complex topic that is affecting the lives of all of us. And like all things parents teach their children about, the best place to do that is within the loving embrace of home.
So we invite you to gather your family together and watch these movies: Akeelah and the Bee and/or Remember the Titans and read this book: Ghost Boys and then gather via Zoom with other parishioners for an enlightening discussion, movies on April 21st and the book May 12th. Follow these links for more information and to sign up: www.bit.ly/REIT-movie42021 www.bit.ly/REIT-book52021 .
Note that these movies and book are not Catholic per se, but our tradition and the Gospel invite us to look at all of life through the lens of our faith.
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 (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.
St. Francis is committed to addressing racial equity, healing and reconciliation, and social justice in light of our faith values as followers of Jesus. Over the last handful of years, we have been offering book and film discussions, small group studies, guest speakers, immersions, prayer evenings, and demonstrations of solidarity around this important issue of racism. Although the US has officially set aside February and the Catholic Church November as months to honor the accomplishments of Black Americans and Black Catholics, we know that we are called to reverence the dignity of all God’s children at all times. Through our ministries and programs, we hope to lift up the beauty and depth of Black and African culture, to explore the fullness and truth of our American history through the experiences of our Black brothers and sisters, and to confront the sin of racism in its personal and systemic forms.
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.”
We periodically offer 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.
To see our list of programming events and opportunities for learning, prayer, and solidarity: https://www.stfrancisraleigh.org/racial-justice/