The Center for FaithJustice, which operates out of St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville, has received a grant of nearly $1.25 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish a new project called “Family Matters: Empowering Catholic Caregivers as Protagonists in Domestic Faith Stories.”
Aimed to help parents and caregivers share their faith and values with their children, the project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative.
“The Center for FaithJustice is honored to have been selected as part of this new initiative,” said CFJ president Stephanie Peddicord. “Parents have long been essential champions of our work with young people, but we are especially excited to have the opportunity to accompany and empower them directly through this new program.”
Titled “Family Matters,” the program is a collaborative effort with RENEW International and will pilot a new program in 12 parishes with the goal of nurturing Christian progtagonism among parents and caregivers in the corresponding communities. Participating parishes will be selected in the coming months.
Family Matters draws heavily from current Synod documents, numerous secular studies and CFJ’s own research on faith engagement. The project will pay particular attention to the “gap years” between Sacraments.
“Parents are really struggling today with competing priorities,” Peddicord said. “We want to pass on faith to our kids, but it is a constant battle to engage them in this process in a meaningful way. In fact, there is a mountain of literature demonstrating that the old models of faith formation simply do not work.”
Founded in 2008, CFJ inspires leadership through programs that serve those in need and educate for justice in the Catholic tradition. Informed by the passage “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26), CFJ offers a line of signature “WorX” programs through which participants engage in direct service with those in need followed by community, prayer and reflection activities that emphasize Catholic social teaching.
“At CFJ, our research is rooted in protagonism – how people of faith can really embrace their agency and make their faith their own,” Peddicord explained. “We’ve done a lot of work on this with young people, but this new grant will give us the opportunity to work with and empower parents and caregivers.
“The hypothesis will be to invite the parents themselves into a deeper exploration of their own faith, so that they in turn can pass this on to their families,” she said.
CFJ is one of 77 faith-based organizations receiving grants through this competitive round of the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative – launched by Lilly Endowment in 2022. Peddicord noted how extensive the proposal process was, requiring detailed budget and corresponding narrative.
For more information on CFJ involvement, email [email protected].