Q&A with Center for FaithJustice

Q&A with Stephanie J. Peddicord of Center for FaithJustice

Membership Type: Organizational Member

Organization and Position: President of Center for Faith Justice

Tell us a bit about yourself.

A lifelong Catholic and advocate of service and justice, Stephanie was appointed President of the Center for FaithJustice in April 2015 after having served the organization in a consultative way since 2013. She is a long-time executive in the non-profit sector with more than two decades of experience in all aspects of philanthropic and organizational management.   

Having had deeply transformative service experiences herself as a teen and young adult, Stephanie views her work with Center for Faith Justice (CFJ) as a full circle moment of opportunity to impact the world around her and the future of the Catholic Church.  As CFJ’s President, she spearheads visioning, development, external affairs, and strategic planning and partnerships. 

How has being a member of NFCYM helped you and your ministry to young people?

So much of our work at CFJ (and in ministry in general!) is relationalNFCYM has allowed us to connect and forge relationships with ministry professionals nationwide.

What is your relationship with NFCYM? What does accompaniment mean to you, and how has NFCYM accompanied you?

We’ve done a lot of research on accompaniment in the last five years and we’ve seen the profound importance of the shared journey we are all on – together – as Church.  Everyone is carrying burdens – youth and young adults, ministry practitioners, parish staff, pastors, organizations like ours.  It is only through sharing our stories and supporting one another that we are able to grow.  Our Church is so much richer when we open ourselves up to collaboration and possibility!   

As organizational members, our hope is to bring our learnings and research, and work to the broader field of youth ministry and share it with whomever is open to innovation and imagination!

Why ministry? Why do you do what you do?

When introducing myself as the president of CFJ, I always give the disclaimer that I have no business being in this role.  I have no background in theology.  I have no formal training in ministry.  I’m a consultant by background.  I see things in very clear and linear and strategic terms.  How I ended up in the messiness of ministry is a mystery best left to the machinations of the Holy Spirit!     

Like most of the young people we serve, though, I am just an everyday “in the pew” Catholic with a desire to encounter Christ and invite others to do the same.  I am super passionate about service.  I believe – deeply – in the transformative power of Catholic social tradition.  I trust in the inherent goodness of the Gospel and how we are called to live as Catholics in the world.  This is a vision that I want my children (ages 13 and 10) to be excited about as they grow into young adults. 

If you could share one thing with other ministers, parents, families, and clergy, that you have learned throughout your experience ministering what would it be? It could be a moment, antidote, or words of wisdom:

Ministry doesn’t have to be expensive or flashy or exotic to be effective.  Our most profound transformations happen in the smallest of settings, in the subtlest ways.   

In order to be effective, though, we do need to be open to doing ministry differently.  It’s work.  It’s an uphill climb in a crowded, distracting climate for young people and their families.   

Be open to coaching.  Be open to those of in the field with unique expertise and diverse skill sets.  View us as partners in the journey, not competition.  We have the freedom to invest a ton of resources in experimentation and innovation so that you don’t have to.  Let’s work together to find solutions and strategies for your unique context!

NFCYM members can ask me about…

Our research!  We’re in the final phases of a five-year study on protagonism and accompaniment, the results of which will be available in early 2024.   

NeXt Level, which has been our pilot project for the last five years.  We’ll be ready to scale this nationally as early as next year. 

As NFCYM works to highlight the work of our Focus Areas, can you share how you have implemented them to help support your ministry? (Focus Areas: Essential Elements of Comprehensive Youth Ministry, Profession and Practice of a Youth Ministry Leader, Youth as Protagonists, Growth of Domestic Church)

A lot of our emphasis in the last years has been specific to the focus area of Youth as Protagonists.  NeXt Level was really built on a hypothesis of agency – what would happen if we empowered young people to recognize their own agency, given by God, to drive one’s own narrative, and to be agents of faith and change?  Protagonism goes beyond what we have historically viewed as leadership; it really invites young people into an understanding of vocation and making their faith their own in the long-term.   

I’ve also been lucky to serve as one of the adult advisors of the National Youth Advisory Council (which falls under the protagonism area as well).  It’s been a joy to accompany that group of young people in their own faith journey as they advise NFCYM on all sorts of topics!      

In the coming year, we are really excited to be branching out and applying our research into the “domestic church” through a new initiative called Family Matters.  We’ll be endeavoring to empower parents as protagonists, too! 

Looking for more content like this?   View all the latest articles here.

Leave a Reply

Yazmín Maní Malone

Pastoral Juvenil Hispana Coordinator,
Diocese of Austin

Diocesan Member

"NFCYM has accompanied me in reaching out to like minded professionals to better provide service (ministry) to adolescents. NFCYM has allowed me to network and grow professionally.

'Youth as Protagonists' has been essential to Pastoral Juvenil Hispana in the Diocese of Austin."

Eva P. Delgado

Youth Minister, St. Christopher Church

Associate Member

"The various resources have helped me keep our program exciting and vibrant. NFCYM has provided me with shared information via webinars, workshops, conferences, outreach, and opportunities that are very informative to help make my ministry successful.

NFCYM is an open forum for me to seek material, guidance and support in keeping the youth ministry program successful."