As our parish prepares for the ongoing wave of promotional communication for the Atlanta Community Food Bank 2015 “Hunger Walk/Run” on Sunday, March 15th at 2 p.m. at Turner Field, let us take a moment to pause and reflect on the blessing in the increased level of unified community engagement that we have seen from our parishioners over the last few years.
Sending into the unknown
Jack Jezreel (Founder of the “JustFaith” program, www.justfaith.org) spoke at our parish in Adamski Hall over a year ago on the principle of “Gather and Send” to a room filled with approximately 100 Catholics from all over the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Internal parish activities fall into the “Gather” category while external parish activities fall into the “Send” category. He stated that at times parishioners can be resistant to participate in “Send” (Outreach) activities due to the fear of the unknown and what/who they might encounter and how they might be put in situations that might make them uncomfortable during their participation in “Send” (Outreach) ministry activities.
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. (Acts 4:32-35 )
God asks us to become uncomfortable in order to grow in our faith journey. The fundamentals of the “JustFaith” program addresses those specific issues by challenging participants to hear the Gospel’s call to compassion, engage in the life of Jesus, and study God’s vision of justice and compassion in a world tarnished by the domestic and global crisis of poverty. As the Lenten season approaches, let us reflect on how we each can deepen our spiritual understanding of the Gospel and the communities that we serve through either formal adult formation classes such as the “JustFaith” program or informal prayer groups.
We have reached a point in our parish’s community engagement where there are several Outreach ministry options for all parishioners to choose from during the Lenten season and throughout the year, such as: the Health Ministry, Society of St. Vincent de Paul at the Sullivan Center, “Team St. Anthony” events (“Hunger Walk/Run 5k” and “MLK Day Let Freedom Run” 5k Drum Run), “Stop Human Trafficking” committee (“StandUp for Kids” volunteer, mentor, and street outreach), “Meals on Wheels”, “Habitat for Humanity”, Fulton County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and a variety of special projects throughout the year. Let us embrace Lent with our hearts and minds focused on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in the communities that we serve.
Sybil Robinson, Outreach Ministry