JustFaith program ‘transforms’ lives, emphasizes Catholic social teaching


Dozens of Portland-area Catholics are following a new program, which has been transforming lives through the social teachings of the Church.

Archdiocesan justice and peace director David Carrier describes the JustFaith program “a conversion-based learning process that seeks to integrate personal spirituality and social ministry.”

He told reporter Ed Langlois that participants form community with peers in sessions that are “challenging and life-giving.”

“The aim of JustFaith is to empower participants to develop a passion and thirst for justice and to express this passion in concrete acts of parish social ministry,” he was quoted as saying.

JustFaith gathers people at St. Cecilia Parish in Beaverton, St. Andrew in Northeast Portland and St. Anthony in Southeast Portland. Until May, they will study Scripture, papal encyclicals, the lives of Catholic social justice workers, like Dom Helder Camera and Dorothy Day, as well as take social action.

Many participants are experiencing conversions of the heart and utter transformations in the way they live their faith and reach out to those in need. Marilyn Newton, 69, told reporter Ed Langlois that she believes few Catholics know about the social teachings of the Church, leaving their political consciences “very under-informed.” She said she is learning to “care for those who Jesus cared for most.”

Since taking the program, Newton is doing things she has never done before. This year, instead of buying Christmas gifts, she donated money to a good cause in the names of loved ones. She and her husband served fair-trade coffee after Mass.

She also worked as a greeter recently with other members of the JustFaith group during a day to serve the Portland homeless at Memorial Coliseum. Others helped folks find the doctors, dentists, housing specialists and others who had come to offer services for the day.

JustFaith was developed in collaboration with Catholic Charities, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and Catholic Relief Services. For more on JustFaith, go to www.justfaith.org.

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