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Community Tools

Year of Encounter with Pope Francis

This guide is intended for use in community groups and parishes - in all of our diversity - across the United States. We hope that this tool will help us start a conversation that leads all of us into deeper relationship – with one another, and with all people in our parishes and communities who feel the pain of exclusion. While the faith reflections are written from a Catholic tradition, the values, studies, and tools for encounter we hope you will find to be applicable to many of our diverse traditions, families and communities. 

‘Going forth’, as Pope Francis urges us to do, involves both a physical action and a spiritual one: we must push ourselves beyond our comfort zones, to get past those things that keep us from truly encountering one another: race, class, fear, etc.

The process of encounter will unfold differently in every community. You may decide to begin by building relationships among your own neighbors and friends because they understand the experience of exclusion and need a vehicle to talk about it and take action to undo it. And you can ‘go forth’ from there. Or, your parish and community may be mostly made up of those who do not experience the same kind of exclusion. In that case, we challenge you to partner with another neighborhood, organization or parish - to build a “culture of encounter” past your typical circles of familiarity.

Below, you can find each of the 6 study guide sessions, along with corresponding video stories of exclusion and further resources. If you'd prefer to download the study guides as a complete document instead of by session, you can get those PDF's here: In English, and in Spanish.


   

 

Year of Encounter Study Guide: Preface and Welcome

ENGLISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download
SPANISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download

 

 
  

     
   

Session One: A Journey with Pope Francis

ENGLISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download
SPANISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download

POWER POINT: Download the corresponding power point: Encountering Pope Francis, in Word and Image 

     

 

 

 
 

 

   

Session Two: How Our Economy Excludes People

ENGLISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download
SPANISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download

STORIES OF EXCLUSION:

   

   

Session Three: How Our Immigration System Excludes People

ENGLISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download
SPANISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download

STORY OF EXCLUSION: Liliana Ramos, a single mother threatened with deportation, lives with the constant threat of deportation and being separated from her children.  (9:56) (Latino Community Association, 2011)

     

  

   

Session Four: How Our Criminal Justice System Excludes People

ENGLISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download
SPANISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download

STORY OF EXCLUSION: Pastor Ferguson from Faith in New York shares his story of overcoming adversity — and issues a challenge to the church  (7:54) (Sojourners, 2014)

     

   

Session Five: How Racism Excludes People

ENGLISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download
SPANISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download

STORY OF EXCLUSION: Racism is Real, by Brave New Films

  

     
   

How to Do a One-to-One About Race

ENGLISH: Click here to download
SPANISH: Click here to download 

 

 

     

    

   

Session Six: To Go Forth In Solidarity

ENGLISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download
SPANISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download

STORY OF INCLUSION: PICO clergy and lay leaders across the country stand together in ‘public encounters’ to build support for a pathway to citizenship for our 11 million undocumented brothers and sisters (3:54) (PICO, 2013)

     
   

Charity AND Justice

ENGLISH: Click here to download
SPANISH: Click here to download 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

   

 

Bonus Session: Pope Francis' Climate Change Encyclical and Exclusion

ENGLISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download
SPANISH STUDY GUIDE: Click here to download

STORIES OF EXCLUSION:

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

  

 

 



 



 Selected Bibliography & Resources

A Catholic Framework for Economic Life (USCCB, 1996)
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/economic-justice-economy/upload/catholic-framework-economic-life.pdf

A Church for the Poor (Bishop Robert W. McElroy, America, October 21, 2013)
http://americamagazine.org/church-poor

Brothers and Sisters to Us: U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Racism in Our Day (USCCB, 1979)
http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/african-american/brothers-and-sisters-to-us.cfm

Catholic Church’s Position on Immigration Reform (USCCB, 2013)
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/churchteachingonimmigrationreform.cfm

Economic Justice for All: Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy (USCCB, 1986) 
http://www.usccb.org/upload/economic_justice_for_all.pdf

Joy of the Gospel (2013)
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium.html

Justice for Immigrants – website of the JFI program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
http://justiceforimmigrants.org/index.shtml

La Voz del Pueblo (Ignatian Solidarity Network) – Documentary highlights conditions leading families to migrate from Central America.
http://ignatiansolidarity.net/la-voz-del-pueblo/

The Racial Divide in the U.S. (Bishop Edward Braxton, 2015)
http://messengertest.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/RACIAL-DIVIDE-STUDY-GUIDE.pdf

 Resources for Ferguson: Racism Today is the Ultimate Evil in Our World (Ignatian Solidarity Network, 2014)
http://ignatiansolidarity.net/blog/2014/08/15/resources-ferguson-racism-today-ultimate-evil-world/

Restorative Justice: Healing and Transformation of Persons, Families and Communities (USCCB, 2015)
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/criminal-justice-restorative-justice/upload/Restorative-Justice-Backgrounder-2015-02.pdf

Strangers No Longer on the Journey of Hope: A Pastoral Letter Concerning Migration from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico & the United States (2003)
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/strangers-no-longer-together-on-the-journey-of-hope.cfm

What We Have Seen and Heard (Catholic Black Bishops of the United States, 1984) 
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/african-american/resources/upload/what-we-have-seen-and-heard.pdf

Toolkit for Advocating for the Rights of Unaccompanied Children (Ignatian Solidarity Network) 
http://ignatiansolidaritynet/toolkit-advocating-rights-unaccompanied-children/

Wood, Dr. Richard. Faith in Action: Religion, Race, and Democratic Action in America (University of Chicago Press, 2002)