By Kay Cozad
A new season of ARISE Together in Christ is set to begin in early October and parishes across the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend are gearing up with open registration last weekend and this weekend. “We are the Good News,” is the fifth and final season in this three-year parish-centered process of spiritual renewal, evangelization and adult formation that has enabled its faithful members to develop a closer relationship with Christ, grow in community and reach out in service to others.
The ARISE process, a Renew International initiative, has focused on establishing small Christian communities of eight to 12 members each who meet 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 offers, 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 now “We Are the Good News!” Renew International provides coordinator and team leadership training prior to each season.
Those who have participated in one or all of the past four seasons of ARISE speak of their deepening of faith and joy in service to others.
As a coordinator of the process at Our Lady of Good Hope Parish in Fort Wayne, where 125 participants have met in 13 groups, Marianne treasures the building of community among its ARISE members. “I have gotten to know so many of the parishioners of the parish in a more personal and warm way. The team was so helpful and our leaders were very loyal and dedicated,” she says.
Community building was important to another ARISE coordinator, Mary, at St. Joseph Parish in Fort Wayne as well. She says, “My blessing has been to get to know the heart and soul of others in our group.” From her participation as one of the 90 members of the nine ARISE groups there, Mary has found new hope in Reconciliation and she continues as a member of the social justice/action group that evolved from discipleship.
Marcy, also from St. Joseph Parish, adds that her blessing as participant in a previous season of ARISE was being witness to other group members’ spiritual evolution. Seeing others “risk praying shared prayer, trusting each other with their sharing and bonding as a Christian community” brought a deeper awareness of Christ to her. With that awareness, Marcy has stepped out in faith to teach English as a second language (ESL) classes to those in need.
Peggy, coordinator of ARISE at her parish, Most Precious Blood Parish in Fort Wayne, where 80 members in eight groups met, was gratified to see the diversity of those who participated. “Some had no ties to the parish, other than coming to Mass on the weekend, leaving quickly and never talking to anyone. Now I see lifelong relationships built with Church community and more importantly, Christ,” she says, adding that her participation in the ARISE process has lead to her commitment to the extraordinary minister of the homebound ministry. “They (the homebound) look forward to the Eucharist with such passion it has made me feel so much deeper for the gift of the Eucharist and the Mass,” she relates.
Suzanne and Deb, two of the 65 participants in the seven groups that met at St. Joseph Parish, Roanoke, were enriched by the trust that developed during faith sharing. Deb now feels she is not alone in her faith journey with all its struggles and joys.
St. Rose of Lima in Monroeville claimed four groups with 39 members, one of whom, Linda, was gratified to get to know her group on a personal level. That group prepared and served soup to their parish community during Lent last year and also led the rosary.
Barbara of St. Patrick Parish in Fort Wayne, where 16 groups of 110 participants met in small ARISE communities, found the focus on forgiveness to be life changing for many. “This past season “New Heart, New Spirit,” with its theme of forgiveness and God’s loving mercy, led many of our participants to go back to the sacrament of Reconciliation after years of absence — and then the ability to receive the Holy Eucharist,” she affirms.
The ARISE process begins the week of Oct. 5. Registration is now being accepted at participating parishes in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Those interested in participating in Season V, “We are the Good News,” need not have participated in previous seasons. For more information about registering for ARISE Season V contact your local parish.
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