byMary Ann McLaughlin
Something wonderful is happening in the Archdiocese of Boston; it’s called Arise Together in Christ. You may have heard the buzz in your town, seen the lapel buttons that say, “Ask me about Arise” or watched the abbreviated training sessions on iCatholic.com. Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley has invited us to a time of spiritual renewal as we celebrate 200 years as the Church of Boston. He has invited the team from Renew International to prepare a program specifically for this archdiocese.
It is a three-year parish-centered program of spiritual renewal and evangelization that happens in small communities of faith. Last fall, participating parishes called parish leaders together to form Arise Parish Teams. Those team members attended workshops provided by Renew International of Plainfield, N.J. The first two workshops were entitled, “Launching Arise” and “Tools for Evangelization.” These training sessions were offered in parish facilities in all the regions of the archdiocese, attracting between 1,400 and 1,600 participants to each set of trainings. The workshops were also offered in Portuguese and Spanish.
On May 19 we will begin another set of workshops on liturgy that will continue through Saturday, May 31. This time the workshops are offered for pastoral staff, the Arise Parish Team, members of the Parish Liturgy Team and music ministers. The first of the liturgy workshops was offered at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Newton with 188 people in attendance. The liturgy workshop is offered in collaboration with the archdiocesan Office of Worship and Spiritual Life. It provides the fundamentals of liturgy preparation and proposes a range of ways to connect the Arise process to the Sunday liturgy. Father Brian Mahoney, co-director of the Office of Worship and Spiritual Life and Sister Honora Nolty, OP, a team member from Renew International are the presenters in the English speaking training sessions. The workshop is also offered in Spanish and Portuguese by Father Alejandro Lopez-Cardinale of Renew International together with Father Adolfo Marcias, Father Jose Eduardo in Spanish and Father Roni DoReis, CSSR in Portuguese.
The purpose of these workshops is to train parish leaders to organize small communities of faith. These small groups will meet once a week for six weeks to pray together and to share faith and fellowship. The meetings will take place in parishioners’ homes or in parish meeting rooms. In the first season that begins next fall the small communities of faith, will reflect on “Encountering Christ in the World Today” by reflecting on Scripture passages and stories of faith. A small booklet containing the material used in the gathering will be available for purchase by each participant.
Over the next two-and-a-half years there will be five seasons. Each season will last for six weeks and will happen in the fall and spring of 2008/2009, in the fall and spring of 2009/2010 and in the fall of 2010. Each season will begin with “Sign-up Sunday” when all parishioners in the Archdiocese of Boston will be invited to participate in these small faith communities that will be formed in participating parishes.
Each season there will be materials for children and teens that reflect the themes of each of the five seasons. These materials will be available at minimal cost to all Catholic schools and religious education programs. Pastors in parishes that are not formally participating in the Arise program are welcome to purchase these materials and to invite parishioners to join small groups in neighboring parishes. It is our hope that the spiritual renewal Cardinal Seán has invited us to through Arise Together in Christ will be available to all members of the Church of Boston over the next two-and-a-half years.
Registration of parishes for participation in the Arise program will remain open. If you have questions don’t hesitate to call or e-mail Mary Ann McLaughlin, archdiocesan coordinator of Arise Together in Christ or Ann Cussen, operations associate.
The Arise program is housed in the Office for Worship & Spiritual Life, 2121 Commonwealth Ave., Brighton, MA 02135, e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org, Telephone: 617 779 3640.
Further information is also available on www.renewintl.org/rcab.
Following are the upcoming liturgy workshops that will be offered in the archdiocese:
Tuesday, May 27
Bishop Peterson Hall, Brighton
Wednesday, May 28
St. Francis of Assisi, Dracut
Thursday, May 29
St. Mary of the Nativity, Scituate
Saturday, May 31
10 a.m. - noon
St. Theresa, Sherborn