Saturday, December 03, 2005

Jennifer Ferber - New CRS Intern From Santa Clara University

Jenni works as an intern in the Office of Evangelization, Justice, & Peace through a grant received from Catholic Relief Services. She is a Senior in Religious Studies at Santa Clara University. She is available to share her experiences and to give presentations on global solidarity and the resources of CRS. She can be contacted at 408.983-0123 or She would love to talk to you!

It has now been almost two months since I began my CRS Internship here with the Diocese of San Jose, and what a wonderful two months it has been. For those of you whom I have not had the pleasure of meeting, I would like to share with you a bit of who I am, and why I am here.

As an active member of the Catholic Church, I feel it is my calling and duty, as well as my greatest joy, to serve those with the greatest need. Sometimes this can become frustrating, as we are not always sure how to engage in this service. This is one of the reasons Catholic Relief Services has recently begun to strengthen its presence here in the United States. As one of the most globally present organizations, CRS creates and solidifies global connections, opening up opportunities for a then global conversation. Through its national presence, CRS hopes to provide opportunities for individuals, schools, parishes, etc., to involve themselves in empowering and enriching projects that affect over 90 countries worldwide.

I am one to constantly ask the bigger questions in life, such as “what is my role in it all…as a Catholic, a human being, and as a pacifist?” I first began asking these questions after my struggle with a heart condition inspired me to make my first of many trips to the small community of Guarjila in El Salvador back in 2001. It was after this first trip that I witnessed the extreme implication of poverty on a global level. During my time there, I truly began to understand the meaning and importance of the ten foundational principles of Catholic Social Teaching. I knew then, upon my return from this very first global immersion, that it was time for me to start reacting to the human connection we all share on a global level and building off of these CST principles.

By graciously allowing me the opportunity to intern for their organization, CRS is helping me further address the bigger questions I continue to ask, and also providing that outlet I needed to react. In promoting and providing resources within the San Jose community, I want to communicate this widespread need of realization and reaction to the plight of our global brothers and sisters struggling with poverty, as well as a provide methods through which to foster more direct action-taking.

Throughout this experience, it is my hope that I be successful in spreading a sense of enthusiasm for global solidarity, as well as igniting a small flame of motivation within each encounter: high schools, parishes, the Santa Clara campus, etc. I remember being provided socially just education and resources throughout my youth, but they were not accompanied by enthusiasm and inspiration. While the flames that I ignite inside others might be small, they are still flames with the potential of growing stronger.

This hope is what continues to compel me in the work that I do with and for the Church. It is hope knowing that even my smallest actions, or the actions I help stimulate in others, will most certainly plant the seeds for a greater change. A prayer and reflection written by the late Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador best describes this feeling and this hope:

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.


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