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JustFaith Testimonials of Participants 2003-Present

Through JustFaith, I learned that I can turn towards the pain of the world and try to look directly at it, instead of following my instinct to turn away and protect myself.  Paradoxically, this has opened me up to hope.The prayerful quality of our meetings and the depth of our conversations about the issues raised in the program, as well as the information about the Church and social justice, gave me faith in the possibility of living a faithful life in full knowledge of the sins of the world.  I am deeply grateful to the program and to my band of fellow pilgrims.  Mary Rein, 2006-07

I had just about given up hope in connecting to the Catholic Church, having been absent for many years. Just Faith brought me back with challenging and inspirational readings, thoughtful reflections with fellow parishioners and experiences with members of our community. I truly believe that this program was God's way to welcoming me back with open arms, not only to learn about myself, but also to serve God's people with more compassion and understanding.   Carla Naranjo, 2009-10

I am the mother of a disabled child who has grown into a capable, yet very challenged young man.  I have always been a person of faith, but I've not been involved in "big" projects within the faith community as my son's needs are quite involved and require much of my time and attention.  In the last couple of years, as my son has gained independence and matured, I have felt called by the Lord to go forward in my faith journey, and I have felt a restlessness in recent years to do more.  But where could I begin?  Well, in September of 2009, I answered God's call to commit to the Just Faith Program.  It felt like it was the right time in my life, and I felt God's hands gently pushing me forward to grow in my faith, my family, my church, my community.  The program ended just a few weeks ago, and now I am continuing my journey of faith and service.  My most important job in this world will always be to serve and care for my son.  But I am being called to do more and more each day, and Just Faith has given me the confidence, knowledge, and focus to hear God's call.  Attending immigration rallies, writing to my legislators, serving members of my church and community, continuing to teach English for Speakers of Other Languages to new immigrants, these are the things I am called to do, many of which I can do with my family!  As my life unfolds each day, I look forward to seeing where God is in every person whom I meet, every person whom I serve, and, ultimately, the abounding blessings every person I serve bring to me!  Linda Bailey Mendoza, 2009-10

 

I really appreciated the chance to participate in JustFaith.  I especially benefited from the "border crossing" experiences where we met immigrants, people who are homeless, and others whose voices I had not previously been privileged to hear.  Committing to the weekly readings was good for me because I learned a lot about Catholic social teaching.Mary Julia Bailey, 2007-08

I have been blessed to be the JustFaith Coordinator for our parish community since 2003 and I participated in JustFaith small groups in the first 2 years at St. Camillus.  I continue to be very committed to promoting the JustFaith program because I believe it is so well thought out and because I continue to see the very positive effects and deeper level of involvement of those who have completed the 8 month formation process in our faith community.

Among other things, the JustFaith process has given me a deeper commitment to serve and advocate for the poor and marginalized in our community.  In listening to the stories of those who are political asylees or undocumented immigrants, those who are recovering from drugs or leaving jail, my heart has often been “broken open” as I recognized our human vulnerabilities and common humanity.  I have been brought to a deeper place of hope because of the courage, strength, deep faith and trust in God that I have often encountered among those who our society often marginalizes.   Karen Simon 2003-04, 2004-05

I was looking for a structured, systematic way to deepen my faith so I could be more articulate in expressing why I continue to be a Catholic.  I came to Just Faith with an open heart and mind, hoping that the Holy Spirit would teach me what to say in talking about my faith.  JustFaith delivered what I was looking for and so much more.   I was able to strengthen and broaden my relationship with the Holy Trinity through JustFaith meditations and prayers that made me focus on current events within the context of God's steadfast love for all creation.  The JustFaith weekly readings made me aware of the many social justice initiatives that the Catholic Church sustains all over the world.  More importantly, I learned that, while not all of us are called to be saints, priests, or charismatic social justice leaders, each one of us has the power and ability to bring the kingdom of God to our families and communities in small yet significant ways, on a day-to-day basis.  JustFaith taught me that indeed I can be an instrument of God's peace and comfort.Magalie Salas, 2007-08

When I heard the invitation to JustFaith at Mass in the early summer of 2008, I thought I would go to the information session.  As I drove up the church driveway on the appointed night, I was thinking about the struggles I had been having with my younger child and wondered why I thought I could take on something else, especially something that involved such a commitment.  I went to the St. Francis room and discovered that it was the wrong night. So the next week, I drove up the driveway again still wondering what I thought I was doing.  At the end of the information session, I decided that if Someone or Something was bringing me up the driveway for a second time, I'd better pay attention.  So I drove up that driveway an extra 30 times that year.  


Our group was small, consisting of six people.  The readings, videos, sessions and prayers of those weeks were phenomenal.   But, it was the group itself and the Border Crossings that challenged and motivated me.  Meeting with the young men of Esperanza Latina, I felt I was meeting my immigrant ancestors for the first time and learning just how great their struggles were.  I so identified with the single mothers at Crossways, (and I think they with me as a fellow single mother). 

My discernment is not complete but I have taken steps I would not have thought I would ever make time for.  And, I know my five new friends are and will be with me.   
Joyce Romanus, 2008-09

Like many of you, I have always been aware of the poverty and injustice in the world.  We cannot drive to the store without meeting someone so desperate for food that they must beg.  Piles of household items line the curbs near our apartment buildings on the last day of the month as people are evicte.  Overseas women struggle to provide for their families in the absence of a small loan to buy a sewing machine or a cart to transport vegetables.  What could I do to help? I am just one person, I thought, and then I looked away.  Just Faith showed me what I could do to help in all the little ways.  I have woven this kindness into my everyday life and try to do at least one small thing every day to promote change.  It's not hard to find the thing that needs doing. Mother Teresa said, "Just do what is in front of you." I hear her words every day now and I find I can't look away anymore.

Suzanne Lizanich-Aro, 2004-05

 Through JustFaith I have developed a greater awareness of how excessive consumption in the U.S. is tied to an unequal distribution of the world’s resources, global poverty and hunger.  I now do my best to consider whether the corporations I support with my purchases act responsibly on a range of social issues, and to reduce my consumption so that others may have enough.  Jenny Halsiki, 2003-04

We read.  We talked about what we read.  And we prayed.  We were confused, sometimes.  We were surprised, even shocked at other times.  We prayed.  All of us, in some way, were changed.   Jim Cullen, 2003-04

I am not a person for whom JustFaith radically changed my life.  In fact, due to having my first child soon after completing JustFaith, I actually became less involved in social justice and parish activities after JustFaith.  However, on a deeper, more subtle level, I do believe that participating in JustFaith has impacted my faith and my life.  Social justice is about thinking about how your actions and your lifestyle affect people across the world.  Since JustFaith, I have made a conscious effort to think about how each of my actions might be affecting someone else; and I ask and pray daily to God for insight and clarity in my decision making.  These do not sound like big, lightening bolt type transformations, but I can trace this deepening awareness of both God and others back to JustFaith.  On a more selfish level, I also met some phenomenal people in my JustFaith group, and I now can’t imagine my life without them.  There is nothing like going though an intense eight-month curriculum with a small group of people.  The journey with the people in my group alone made the experience worthwhile.  I highly recommend JustFaith to anyone who is searching.   Hilary Meek, 2003-04

Being a part of JustFaith has been a life changing experience for me.  I started not knowing any of my group members and left with 7 new friends whom I have shared my life and spiritual growth with.  JustFaith has allowed me to expand myself and I learned how to truly be the hands and feet of Jesus in today's world.  I feel empowered that I can show others Christ's love, no matter how small the act may be. JustFaith has taught me to use my voice, even if it's quivering, to never stop speaking for those who are suffering under injustice and to not come with judgment, but with an open hand and heart to learn and to show true compassion to others who are different than I.    Josi Malcon, 2009-10

Through Just Faith, I realized that changing the world requires that I examine my own personal prejudices and preconceptions about other people.  These are what prevent me from building up the Body of Christ, building community.  It is in building community that injustice and poverty can be confronted successfully.  By becoming aware of these prejudices and preconceptions that I'm able to open myself to the Holy Spirit to help me build relationships where otherwise there would be fear or worse - nothing.  Mike Miehl, 2004-05

I feel such gratitude for the JustFaith experience - the readings and DVD’s were challenging, fascinating and instrumental in getting me charged up for discussions at our weekly meetings.  Prayer formed a very important part of our time together as well as our various experiences, crossing 'borders'.  The best part of JustFaith was that, through it all, our group developed a close relationship with one another. It is based on our common experience of connecting with our Catholic social teaching.  Carolyn Chabolla, 2009-10

JustFaith is a great learning and discipling experience. I was inspired and supported in the group to make substantial changes in my use of time and money and to follow more closely the Way of Christ.  Elizabeth Gelfeld, 2009-10

After going through JustFaith, I can never look at a homeless person and walk past and dismiss him or her again.   Elizabeth Gordon McNeil, 2003-04

My name is Ray Nosbaum.  My wife, Ruth, and I facilitated one of the 3 JustFaith groups the 1st year that St. Camillus had JustFaith in 2003-04.  JustFaith deepened and broadened my knowledge of Christian social justice teachings.  I also met many beautiful people who participated in JustFaith that 1st year, and they are my friends to this day.  Like many people, in my personal growth and development, I was involved in social justice service and activities as a youth and young adult.  Then one's vocation as a spouse and parent takes up a lot of time.  JustFaith came at a time when I was able to reengage in social justice.  JustFaith helped to keep the passion and add prayer and knowledge that helps one leap to action.  Immediately after JustFaith, I focused on joining with others in starting Fair Trade at St. Camillus.  Since then I have become a volunteer at St. Camillus as the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) coordinator.  If not for JustFaith, I am not sure I would have decided to follow this vocation related to social justice at this time of my personal growth and human development.   Ray Nosbaum, 2003-04

JustFaith meant many things to me: getting to know a new group of people; letting myself be encouraged, consoled, and challenged by them; putting myself in uncomfortable situations with them (and learning that this is what the Holy Spirit urges me to do). It has meant searching for TRUTH in the many books we read and videos we watched… and, mostly, in my own heart.  (Is that me being so blind to the racism that has provided me with taken-for-granted advantages?  Is that me that would rather not see those children hunting through garbage piles for food because it feels so “uncomfortable”?) God seems to want me to take the blinders off and see the pain and suffering in the world, and to enter into it…..  JustFaith gives me the impetus to believe that I can try.   Linda Collins, 2005-06

JustFaith: Learning about the gospel and applying it to our faith.   Anne Ehrick, 2003-04

For us, as a married couple, participating in the JustFaith process helped us move closer and participate more in faith-based activities centered around Catholic teaching on social justice.  The process moved us from fellowship to prayer to discernment and, finally, to concrete action. The JustFaith approach to social justice activism is twofold: first, developing relationships with poor and at-risk persons.  This leads to making a commitment to direct service activities which help resolve immediate problems.  Secondly, one learns to focus on advocacy, education and activism which can help change laws and attack the root causes of poverty and discrimination.  JustFaith has been a spiritual growth process for us and we highly recommend it to others.  Patrick and Patricia Brown, 2004-05

The JustFaith experience has led me to a sense of intentional living.  There is a quote in the book about Gandhi that one should cultivate the habit of doing service deliberately.  I think JustFaith can lead one to live a deliberate or intentional life rather than a reactive one.  There is a lot of learning information in JustFaith but perhaps the most important thing is the inner learning and growth that occurs.  As JustFaith progressed, I found myself engaged in a more reflective response to personal relationships, questions of how I spend my time and money, how I pray, how I serve others.

Patty Kolar, 2005-06