From The Pastor’s Desk – Sept. 25, 2016

Hendel, LWhat is ARISE? Why the emphasis on small faith sharing groups?
Research shows that people who want a vibrant faith life more than likely engage in some kind of small faith sharing group especially in the Catholic church or any church or denomination. Those who do are more likely to stay in the church. Some people may read extensively on line or through books to develop their faith life. Some people may make an annual retreat, have a solid prayer life or engage in spiritual direction in addition to the above named processes.
However, in terms of faith growth why would we limit ourselves to simply the Sunday Eucharist? For any who have participated in sports, before every game there are a series of practices to develop teamwork, work on skills, develop strategies and prepare for the next game. How do we prepare for the Sunday liturgy? Hopefully, we are all reading the scriptures before Sunday at a minimum but there are more ways to prepare.
One proven method to foster faith is participating in a small faith sharing group.
Taking place in the home, using materials developed by Renew International, couples and individuals gather to pray, read and listen to the Sunday Gospel, answer a few questions and probe more deeply into their faith and how to apply the Gospel to their
lives. This methodology allows the Holy Spirit to work in each person’s life and encourages them to share what they believe, how they believe, and tell stories where clearly God is at work in their lives. This faith sharing is meant to prepare people, prepare individuals to enter more deeply into the Sunday liturgy. There are challenge questions at the end of each session to highlight how one could grow in discipleship, following in the footsteps of Jesus. In addition each person can enhance their faith by a faith action, doing something for another.
We continue with our third season of ARISE Together in Christ, “Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. It emphasizes people living in good relationship with one another, as they make concrete applications of the gospel to their life situations. During the
week of October 2nd the parish embarks on the next six week session, although connected to the previous two sessions, it is a standalone series. What I find is that there is more truth in many people’s lives than I, the preacher, can possibly delve into
a homily on any given Sunday for the approximately ten minutes that I preach.
Arise affords people an adult faith formation process; provides a concrete and practical way of evangelization and enhances their experience of the Sunday liturgy.
It requires planning, coordination and sacrifice, committing 90 minutes of time each week, and as you have heard it is time well spent even for people who live very busy lives.
We invite you to take the time, make the time, to consider signing up for one of the group sessions and you will be amazed at your own personal growth in faith. Don’t wait to the last minute, sign up today or call the parish office if you have any questions.
Blessings,
Father Larry Hendel, Pastor

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