House Meetings Lead to Fight Against Payday Lending in Arlington, Texas

As the most ethnically diverse parish in the Diocese of Fort Worth, St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish in Arlington, Texas holds mass in four languages: English, Spanish, French and Twi.  Over the last two years, in partnership with the Dallas Area Sponsoring Committee, the parish has undergone a deeply embedded congregational development process involving 3,000 parishioners – 600 of which participated in small group conversational encounters held by 80 ministry leaders. 

Subsequent congregational development meetings integrated Catholic Social Teaching into training sessions on leadership, stewardship and responsibility to the common good.  These meetings consistently drew 200 at a time.  As a result, new leaders soon emerged for the pastoral council and other parish ministries.  There is now clarity about the need to build a stronger parish community and attend to the challenges families face. 

In November, after leaders heard weekly “horror stories” about the debilitating effect of predatory loans on families, St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish stood with the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops to publicly launch a campaign calling on the City of Arlington to better regulate payday and title loan lending.    

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