Good News People
By Ann Marie Jauch
In January of this year, Good News People groups began a fourteen-week journey exploring faith, hope and love in action. Good News People is a program from Just Faith Ministries that came into being when Pope Francis called for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. This is the second year St. Thomas More made this program available to parishioners.
We began our journey as one large group and broke into smaller groups, meeting the members with whom we would be spending two hours each week. We came together as strangers and became close knit groups which lead to becoming friends. As Bertilla Joseph said, “ …one of the best bonuses of this program is the lasting friendships we created with each other…”
This year we had five small groups meeting at a variety of times on different days. No group exceeded ten people. Each group had a facilitator whose role was to be a participant who helped move things along. Every week we read some scripture passages and a brief essay that set the stage for what we would be discussing as a group. Many lively discussions ensued as we talked of “what resonated with us”.
Perhaps the most meaningful part of the program was the telling of our own Good News Story. Because of the level of trust we built within our small groups, the telling of our faith journeys, the joy and the pain, brought us closer together as a community of faith.
Another participant, Beth Stucks, said, “I joined expecting to learn more about my faith and actually learned more about myself and how I must respond to my faith.” Other comments about the program were that we learned putting our faith into action can be as simple as a smile and kind word to the person bagging your groceries, or greeting a neighbor we did not know that well. Everyone seemed to agree that we all grew by sharing.
One component of the Good News People Program is the Immersion Experience. Each group chose a Work of Mercy and then found an organization that lives out that work in their everyday existence. Every group was moved by what they witnessed during the Immersion Experience.
On May 6, we came together as one large group to celebrate the end of our journey together and to share what we experienced. As we all came to understand, it was not an ending, just a transition into the next part of our faithful living.