You remember, don’t you. I used to live just outside Princeton, NJ, and worked at redeveloping programs for young people at St. Joseph’s Seminary. I was lucky enough to meet a (young) man named Sean Sanford. Since I didn’t know anything about youth programs, I hired him. He brought with him to St. Joe’s a parish program designed by he and his Mom, Helen, called the New Jersey Service Projects. They offered opportunities for High School youth to enter the world of people who are poor as servants and learners. Sean, Jesuit trained (Go Hawks!), encountered the Vincentian charism being lived by the folks who served at St. Joe’s. To paraphrase Sean, he found the spiritual tradition that fit the theology he had been living and working.
NJSP became JusticeworX, which sprouted LeaderworX ( for young adults) and ServiceworX (for pre-HS youth). Dedicated young people from all over the country came to live, to learn, and to serve. Friends and alumni of the program, of St. Joe’s, and especially from St. Charles Borromeo Parish and Immaculata High School, gathered around Sean’s dynamic leadership. All along the way, he and a group of dedicated folks were developing a vision of formation and vocational discernment wrapped in concrete service, social and theological analysis, prayer, and spiritual reflection. The roots (and some of the branches) of something new were growing.
As St. Joe’s became no longer tenable as a work of the Vincentians, Sean, with the help of this dedicated community of seekers-of-the-reign-of-God, formally launched the Center for FaithJustice, headquartered nearby in Lawrenceville, NJ. After moving from St. Joe’s, it has expanded its work and its vision. They now have a more comprehensive paradigm they call “SOFIA,” that embraces the worX programs and so much more. It’s truly a wonderful project.
All of this is a preface to say, they invited their old friend to write something for their blog, so I did. The blog is great reading, and there’s a new entry every Tuesday. Subscribe to it. There’s an email subscription form on the right widget column. Those of you who know St. Vincent, you can consider it your “Tuesday Conference.” The Center for FaithJustice is a member of the Vincentian family, and on Facebook.