ARISE — A group of parish representatives hold the candles for their parishes. Each was lit from the paschal candle and will in turn be used for the lighting of the candles in each small group in all of the parishes of St. Boniface when ARISE begins in mid-October.
Powerful words bear human truths
By Lynda Pisa
ST. BONIFACE — On Sept. 30, members in leadership from 49 parishes of the St. Boniface Diocese gathered at the cathedral for a Liturgy of the Word celebration to launch ARISE Together in Christ, a diocesan initiative established by RENEW International.
They answered the call of Christ, through Archbishop Albert LeGatt, to come together in small faith-sharing communities to receive the Word of God and share their faith experience with each other. Leaders have been trained by Sister Marie Cooper of the pastoral services team of Renew International. Together, they worked in hope; many have answered this call so as to grow closer to Christ.
LeGatt welcomed the celebrants with gratitude for their response to Christ’s invitation to grow spiritually and strengthen their parish communities. He acknowledged all the prayer, hard work and preparation that brought all participants to this joyful celebration.
Liturgical dancers and drummers from the African parish, St. Kizito, processed the Book of the Gospels. In his bilingual homily, LeGatt stressed that words have such power as when, in key moments of life, someone says “I love you,” “I forgive you,” when a teacher expresses words of encouragement and hope for the journey, or when a spouse or friend speaks words of unconditional support.
He emphasized that powerful words bear human truths, bringing meaning to life and celebrating God’s word in the person of Jesus Christ who brings light and hope. He is the truth in the lives of all, through struggles, joys and hopes. The archbishop went on to explain that “we use our human words and actions to share Christ with others in our daily lives; the richness of our experience of Jesus depends on our response to him!”
He suggested that as ARISE participants place themselves inside the Gospel story, using the Ignatian approach, they connect their life to Christ’s and when they share this with others in their faith communities, they will arise to new life, new faith and hope.
“As we become more intimate with Jesus Christ, our words and actions invite others to have strength and courage to walk in his light.”
Two testimonies were given, each recalling memories of the 1980s small faith-sharing experience of RENEW. Jim Frater of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Transcona and Gabriel Gagné of St.-Joachim Parish in La Broquerie related that those small communities provided a unique experience of bonding, creating better relationships, growth in faith and a stronger commitment to ministry.
“When two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name,” Frater reminded the participants, “he is truly there! It is our responsibility to grow our faith and in God’s circle of love, we will be transformed.”
The celebration ended when parish representatives each carried a candle in procession. Each candle was lit from the paschal candle and will in turn be used for the first lighting of the candles in each small group in all of the parishes when ARISE begins in mid-October.
LeGatt closed his remarks by thanking all involved in the leadership of ARISE, the “lumière vérité” who courageously stood up to spread the truth, hope and peace throughout the diocese.
ARISE Together in Christ is a three-year process of spiritual renewal, divided in five “seasons” of six weeks each. It enables people to get together in small groups, in a relaxed setting, to read and share the Word of God. For more information, visit: http://www.renewintl.org/