January 8, 2013 // Uncategorized

Sign up for the spring, Lenten session of ARISE begins soon

Participants of ARISE from St. Jude Parish in Fort Wayne gather for one of the fall session meetings. During the weeks of mid to late January the ARISE Together in Christ experience will hold signups for the upcoming Lenten series.

By Tim Johnson

“ARISE is a life changer in my book!” That was the reaction of Jeff Krudop after attending the first session of ARISE last fall at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Fort Wayne.

Many parishes across the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend will sign members up for the upcoming Lenten series of ARISE Together In Christ in the mid-to-late weeks of January.

Cindy Casper, who was part of the parish team coordinating ARISE at her parish, St. Michael the Archangel in Plymouth, encourages new people to sign up for the spring session.

“(ARISE) has deepened my faith and love for my parish family,” Casper told Today’s Catholic. “As a parish team member, I was also blessed with lots of feedback of spiritual renewal and excitement in experiencing God in this special way from many of the small group leaders and participants.”

“From the feedback of others,” Casper added, “I really believe that there is a definite parish-wide longing for something more in their lives, and I think ARISE is helping souls along with a closer relationship with Our Lord.”

For Brigid O’Daniel, who just joined St. Michael Parish with her husband, she felt ARISE would offer an opportunity to meet fellow parishioners.

“I would definitely encourage others to join ARISE,” O’Daniel said. “I know a lot of people have very busy lives, but the program is a doable commitment — especially if you just try one six-week session.”

Casper said, “I really believe we encounter Christ through others. From my experience and from talking to others, the program helped bring people in the parish together and overall strengthened the St. Michael’s community.”

ARISE groups have about eight to 12 members. The groups meet for five sessions over three years. Each session contains of six meetings in which members study Scripture and discuss the reading within the group.

“Our group had 14 (seven couples),” Krudop noted. “One couple had just retired, two couples were new empty nesters, two couples had school-aged children, one couple had toddlers and one couple was newlywed. What a great mix!”

“There were about 11 people in our group,” O’Daniel said. “Even though not everyone was comfortable sharing, there were plenty of people in the group so our discussions were always lively.”

Parishes spent time promoting ARISE in bulletins and the parish priests promoted the faith-sharing process. Core team members were trained as facilitators, and “being part of the parish team was like a preliminary experience for all of the small groups,” Casper said. “The sharing of our faith experience as a parish team really inspired our excitement to share this with the whole parish.”

St. Michael Parish held Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament for the parish and all small group leaders.

“We were only guessing around 40-50 people would sign-up,” Casper said, “however, after sign-up Sunday we had over 150 people registered for a small group. We attribute this great blessing to Our Gracious Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.”

Now that the first session has been completed, participants have noted how the ARISE experience helped them grow in the faith.

“My prayer life and Scripture reading has increased,” Krudop said. “I had opportunity to pray with (my wife) Beth and the other couples. We also, together — as a team — learned to help take care of one another and our St. Elizabeth community.”

O’Daniel said the program encouraged her to also read and think about Scripture, “and helped me build relationships with my fellow parishioners at St. Michael’s.”

“I would say that I have grown in my love for souls,” Casper said. “This was a journey with people that I knew on a friendly level, but not in a deep spiritual sense. When the men and women started to open up in our small group, we were able to see their love for God, their faith and love for others. One can not but draw closer to God through these shared experiences.”

Janice Watts, a parishioner of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne, said, “At the moment of Baptism, Christ began His love story in each of us. How we each accept and respond to His love is our part of the story. All our stories continue. This journey is hard and our faith takes a beating. Thise is where we help each other.”

“Don’t be afraid to join the ARISE Together in Christ small groups,” Watts said. “It is a structured session that centers on the Gospels and guides us  to reflect upon Christ.”

Terry Broberg-Swangin of the cathedral added, “Not only did (ARISE) give me an opportunity to dig into the Bible, but also to really get to know the other parishioners in our small group. In a large parish like ours, it is hard to connect with people and the ARISE mission is a wonderful way to become acquainted with others and to truly deepen your faith. It’s not tool late to get involved. ARISE will be offered again in Lent. I look forward to it.!”

In the upcoming spring session, Krudop added he looks most forward to “growing in fellowship with our team!”

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