Apr 9, 2014

Local parishioners are inspired by JustFaith founder Jack Jezreel



Story and photos by Peggy Weber

SPRINGFIELD – With humor, Scripture and passion, Jack Jezreel began the first of three sessions of a parish mission at Holy Cross Parish, here, April 8.

Jezreel (third from left in above photo), the president and founder of JustFaith Ministries, spoke on the theme, “Hearts Wide Open: A Parish Mission in the Spirit of Pope Francis.”

“I’m particularly interested in Pope Francis’ emphasis on discipleship – which is not necessarily in contrast to membership in a parish, but in some ways has a more challenging flavor to it,” said Jezreel in an interview with iobserve.He said he wanted to give those attending the mission some “tools for their tool box.”

“I want to leave you with some possibilities for your life,” he said to the audience of about 200 gathered in the church.

One tool he gave was a connection to the website info.justfaith.org/your-parish-mission.

Another tool was a volunteer fair where different organizations provided information about their work. Groups such as Catholic Relief Services, The Gray House, and Massachusetts Citizens for Life offered ways that those inspired by the mission could help.

“Catholic social teaching speaks to the invitation in our lives to be a vehicle of God’s healing love in the world, especially to those who are in wounded places,” said Jezreel.

Nicole Brown-Collins, a member of Holy Cross Parish, said the evening was wonderful. “It was time for a reset so it worked out for me,” she said. She noted that Jezreel’s focus on “agape,” where one loves without exception, was “a drive home for me.”

She said she participated in the JustFaith program and liked it because “you could see Christ in every person and working on yourself, and seeing Christ in every person, was the big push that JustFaith had with me.”

Arthur Roland, also a member of Holy Cross Parish, said he became a Catholic about 10 years ago. “This mission helped me reconnect with the bigger themes that are out there. It revitalized me a little bit,” he said.

“You get so caught up in the day-to-day minutia, so it’s nice to come here and be reminded that there’s something bigger that we are... Indeed, every day is a gift,” he said.

“I feel it’s important to strengthen my faith by doing these things (attending a parish mission) and it makes me feel better and it helps my faith journey along,” Roland said.

The mission continues April 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. at Holy Cross. The talk on the 10th will focus on Pope Francis.

A video version of this story will appear on an upcoming edition of the Springfield Diocese’s weekly newsmagazine, “Real to Reel,” which airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22NEWS.