JustFaith program explores Catholic social teachings

Published: Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 30, 2013 at 3:43 p.m.

Last year, Angela Miney wanted to participate in JustFaith, a small group program for adults who want to explore Catholic social teachings, but she could not make the time commitment.


If you go

What: JustFaith
Where: Catholic Charities Gainesville, 1701 NE Ninth St.
When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Sept. 4. Second semester scheduled for January through April.
Registration: Contact Tom Rinkoski at 339-3707 or tomrinkoski@yahoo.com
Cost: About $140 for books
Information: www.justfaith.org

This year, she found herself with an empty nest, as her youngest daughter is now a freshman at the University of Florida. With extra time on her hands, Miney, 53, will be one of the co-leaders of the group.

The program includes weekly meetings, two day-long retreats and four immersion experiences. The group will meet every Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 4 at Catholic Charities Gainesville, 1701 NE Ninth St. The program runs for two semesters: September through December and January through April next year.

The program itself is free, but the required books cost about $140. The program is capped at 15 people. Eight people have registered so far.

JustFaith was started in Louisville, Ky., in 1989 by Jack Jezreel, the organization's founder and executive director. JustFaith Ministries offers the program and others like it to more than 1,500 churches across the country, according to the group's website.

The program came to Gainesville four years ago, said Tom Rinkoski, a co-leader for the JustFaith Gainesville group.

Rinkoski, 61, has been involved in the program since it came to Gainesville, but this is the first time he will be a leader.

He said the focus of the program is to explore Catholic social teachings from a justice point of view. It involves looking at the root cause of issues such as poverty and going beyond providing charitable services to people.

"We need to change the system so poverty doesn't exist," Rinkoski said.

He admits it's not an easy task.

"First you need to change yourself, then you have to change the system," he said.

The group is open to people of all faiths, he said.

One part of the course will focus on poverty, and one of the immersion experiences will be to spend time with local people who are experiencing poverty.

Miney, who is a part-time Family Involvement Consultant in the Pediatric Pulmonary Center at the University of Florida, was raised Irish-Catholic. She said when she told her co-workers about the program, they said it was kind of like what she does at work.

Miney describes her job as bringing the patient and family voice to UF Health at Shands. She interacts and connects with different types of people.

"I get paid to be a mom," she said.

Miney said the immersion experiences are about identifying an issue and then meeting people who are in that experience.

"It's about connecting with people we're talking about rather than doing something with them for a few hours and then going away," she said.

To register, contact Rinkoski at tomrinkoski@yahoo.com or 339-3707.

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