The following are witnesses from participants in ARISE Together in Christ/LEVÁNTATE Unámonos en Cristo in the Diocese of Monterey, California. A total of 178 small groups in the diocese took part in the five-season process from RENEW International:
“ARISE has been a blessing for my parish community because I see the growth in our apostolic groups and because that people seem to be more sensitive in regards to their treatment of others people in the community. Some small groups put their faith into action, cooking food and distributing it to the homeless in the park areas. The sense of belonging among them was great, and the people receiving the food showed a great deal of appreciation.”
“ARISE has given me the opportunity to share the word of God with people I never met before, and not only sharing the word of God but putting it into practice. We have shared our experiences, we had supported one another in difficult times, and the love and mercy of God was in our midst.”-Frida Ramirez – St. Patrick – Arroyo Grande, CA
“ARISE helped me to understand and to live the word of God on a regular basis, something that I never did before. I learned how to pray to God, to have a dialogue with Jesus person to person. I also learned how to express myself in the group. For me that was a great thing; it is true that at the beginning I thought I would never get it, but Jesus was at my side, and I knew it. He helped me to open up a new relationship level with my friends. In the reconciliation season, I went for forgiveness to the sacrament of penance and that was all joy. I cannot describe it.
St. Patrick in Arroyo Grande, CA
“Indeed, to share Jesus and his words has filled me with his love and mercy. It is a great thing to know that other people can be nurtured by Christ too. ARISE has been a blessing that invited me to evangelize those that do not know Jesus.”
Through ARISE I got involved in the Eucharistic ministry. It is a great satisfaction to take Holy Communion to the sick. As facilitator of my group, I felt satisfied when we shared the word of God and everyone shared their own experiences. It is like when I am teaching catechesis to the children; seeing them learning about Jesus is a great experience for me too. ARISE is service; it teaches us how to serve each other just as Jesus did. We did some charity works, bringing food and visiting the sick. We also brought some joy to those living in a nursing home; we bring them music and dance
As leaders, sometimes we receive many blessings from our groups, especially when we hear a testimonial from one of the members of the community—especially when they talk about the presence of God acting in their lives. … It is an immense joy to hear someone saying that through the small Christian communities people, even families, are nurturing their faith. I remember a family in my small community that never showed any sign of their faith. Now they are participating in the Church.