Faithful continue the journey with Why Catholic? process
By Kay Cozad
Many parishes across the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend have recently completed their three-year goal of faith formation and renewal through the ARISE Together in Christ/LEVANTATE. Unamonos en Cristo process. Introduced in 2012, the small group, faith-sharing initiative has nurtured the seeds of faith in action that are now being harvested across the area.
The ARISE process, a RENEW International initiative, focused on establishing small Christian communities who met regularly in homes, parishes, youth groups and college campuses, to read and reflect on Scripture and Church teaching, share how it relates in their personal lives and encourage active service and discipleship.
The five distinct six-week sessions that the process offered, which began in fall of 2012 in the diocese, have included “Encountering Christ Today,” “Change Our Hearts,” “In the Footsteps of Christ,” “New Hearts, New Spirit,” and finally, “We Are the Good News!” Coordinator and team leadership training was provided by Renew International prior to each season.
In the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend more than 6,000 small faith members in 58 parishes participated in English and more than 1,000 members in 10 parishes in Spanish. More than 650 lay leaders were trained in English and more than 150 in Spanish.
From this effort parish life has been revitalized in many ways.
St. Patrick Parish in Fort Wayne reports, “This past season, ‘New Heart, New Spirit,’ with its theme of forgiveness and reconciliation, led many to go back to the sacrament of Reconciliation after years of absence. They then received the Holy Eucharist.” And in Angola, St. Anthony of Padua ARISE members worked to put together a parish mission in November.
Gospel action in Monroeville came in the form of feeding the hungry when the ARISE group there not only prepared and served the soup supper for the “Soup and Stations” night during Lent, but they also led the rosary as a group.
And a mother from the ARISE group at St. Augustine Parish in South Bend initiated an candle-lit evening prayer for her young children at bedtime and reports that the new family prayer time calms the children and brings the family together before bed.
St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne reports, “As a result of ARISE our hospitality and homeless ministries have grown.” Sacred Heart Warsaw reports that a jail ministry is in the process of being formed, and a social justice action group that has provided activities for the parish to grow and share emerged from ARISE at St. Joseph in Fort Wayne.
A member of the ARISE group at St. Louis Besancon in New Haven has reached out to the bereaved community there by forming a support group as well.
Participation in the ARISE three-year process has led thousands in the diocese to put the Gospel faith into action in daily life, confidently witnessing to their faith and evangelizing others through their actions. To continue the formation of these and all others interested in growing their faith, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades has invited all parishes in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend to offer “Why Catholic?/¿Por qué ser católico? Journey Through the Catechism” as a comprehensive, innovative adult formation program starting this fall.
“Why Catholic? /¿Por qué ser católico? Journey Through the Catechism” is based on the four pillars of Catholic faith as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and offers insight into prayer, core beliefs, the sacraments and morality. Developed, as was the ARISE process, by RENEW International, the four-year program includes workshops, faith enrichment events and prayerful small group discussions that help parishioners relate Catholic teaching to their everyday lives.
Participants in “Why Catholic? /¿Por qué ser católico? Journey Through the Catechism” will begin in the fall by exploring Christian prayer during the first year of the program. The following year is dedicated to delving into the Creed: the core beliefs of the Church. Then participants will go deeper into the sacraments, followed by the study of Christian moral teachings. The materials and format are designed to create an environment where members can reflect and share, as each session also includes relevant Scripture references, reflection questions and prayers.
For more information about how your parish can participate in “Why Catholic? /¿Por qué ser católico?” contact Cindy Black at 260-422-4611 or email her at [email protected].
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