Why you want to know Justin S. White: Justin is one of the founders of a faith formation class for parents and singles eager to learn more about their faith and to be of support to their parish family. He and his wife Kelli also teach a baptism class. He is the co-chairman for St. Edward’s capital campaign and helps with other fund-raising efforts. He is also active in First Choice Pregnancy Center, an ecumenical pro-life organization.
Parish: St. Edward Church
Family: Wife Kelli, married 15 years; three sons: twins Jeb and Chapman, 11; and Harrison, 8
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Arkansas Catholic’s theme this year is “The truth will set you free.” What is your favorite Bible passage and why?
The passage that has stood out to me the past year or so is Matthew 25:14-30. This is the parable about the servants being left in charge of the master’s money. I feel called to help my family, my community and my church. With my work and sacrifice I have also benefited from Christ’s blessings. When I see Christ at work in my life it makes me want to sacrifice more. So many people take their talents and treasure for granted. I now see that my talent is God’s talent and my wealth is his wealth.” How am I going to spend it?” is something I ask myself often. I know that I want to make an impact with his gifts and blessings and I want to be an example to my children so they, too, may know how to use their gifts.
Have you been Catholic all your life?
No. My mother was Catholic; however, I was raised a Protestant. My grandfather, aunt and uncles are Catholic. Our families’ faith traces back 12 generations, which would go back to Prussia in the 1600s. After I converted, my younger brother converted to the faith.
Your Sunday school class is important to you. Tell us about it.
The class has been meeting four years. It was created in order to meet other young couples and singles in our church. We felt that in order to have a strong parish we needed to establish relationships with each other. Additionally, we parents wanted to grow in our faith so we are better equipped to help teach our children about the faith. We pick topics to study throughout the year. We have studied Mary, the sacraments and how they strengthen us and our relationship with God and various other topics. The Formed videos have had a great impact on us. (Formed, an online program, gives Catholics access in one place to videos, audio talks, e-books and movies on the Church.) This material has ignited a fire in many of us. There are many topics and lessons to choose from, which have been a springboard for full immersion in our faith. One video series, “Beloved,” helped teach our class about how to have a healthy marriage surrounded by our faith and Christ. The series created much discussion and helped us better communicate as spouses.
Pro-life issues are dear to your heart. Describe your work with the First Choice Pregnancy Center.
I served on the board for six years and as board president the last 2 1/2 years. The mission of the center is to help those in a crisis pregnancy to choose life. … All of this is free of charge. The center started more than 40 years ago at St. Edward. At that time it was just an answering machine in the church office. It has now bloomed into a full-time nonprofit. It is making a huge impact in Texarkana. We see more than 1,000 clients each year, many of whom choose life for their babies. We are fighting a great battle and we are blessed to have First Choice in Texarkana.
Who is your favorite saint and why?
I chose St. Justin based on the name alone, without having researched him. His feast day is June 1, which happens to be my birthday. He was a pagan convert and when I converted I was not a pagan, but I was floundering as a Christian. He is the patron saint of lecturers, orators, philosophers and speakers. My talents include speaking and being gifted as an orator. Although it was an incredible surprise, I don’t believe it was a coincidence that I met my saint in my own parish and that we share so much in common.
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