ARISE touches hearts and spirits in sister-parish program

Here are some witnesses from participants in ARISE/LEVÁNATE in the Dominican Republic:

“In this third season, I learned above all that we need to share especially with those most in need, to live in community and be a church, taking the Word of God to our Catholic neighbors that do not participate in any church activities. More and more, I feel that I am a person of faith in Jesus, because, after encountering him, I know he is my guide and my joy.”
    Celestina Castro, San Antonio de Padua, Guerra.

“Participating in these workshops is a blessing for me; they enlighten me, they fill me with faith, and they enable me to carry the mission of Christ to others. Especially sharing my life experience with Jesus with those that do not know him. Sharing my knowledge of Jesus with the parish team and in my small Christian community of LEVÁNTATE.”
    Gabriel Martinez, San Antonio de Padua, Guerra.

“My greatest blessing has been and is to be able to share my faith experiences that my God has granted to me—the opportunities that I have received in my life that God himself wants me to make known and share with others. Helping people to be formed in small Christian communities, in catechesis, vocation ministry, and now as leader of one small Christian community of LEVÁNTATE.”
    Rosa Martinez, San Antonio de Padua, Guerra.

“The LEVÁNTATE process has been wonderful for my parish, because we have been growing, that is, we are lifting up people that were not part of the Church; they say that they are Catholic because they were baptized, but they never come to church, never participate in the Holy Eucharist. They do not participate; they do not commit to anything. They are the same people that live in our own neighborhood. With LEVÁNTATE we have come together more. This past year we celebrated and shared faith with all our neighbors. If someone is missing we call each other, we care for each other. These things bring me joy. I see and I have seen my parish growing due to LEVÁNTATE process.”
    Maria Estela Vasquez, San Antonio de Padua, Guerra.

LEVÁNTATE has been very beneficial, because through these small Christian communities we have opened the doors to the people who were far away from our church. They participate with enthusiasm. The formation through the small Christian communities has been so great that through them we have baptized children and adults, and have married couples. And no one has stopped going to the meetings that we do every Thursday. In these meeting we continue praying, singing, we do the reading and the reflections, and each person shares his own life experience. Personally, for me this is a joy, and I am very satisfied with my small Christian community of LEVÁNTATE. It has filled me with joy, and I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life.”
    Santa Ysabel Castillo, San Antonio de Padua, Guerra.

“I feel very blessed because, through the small ecclesial communities, we have achieved much. Every day more and more people join that want to learn the Word of God. The people enjoy sharing what the Lord does in their lives. For me personally, it has had a wonderful impact, because by the mercy of Christ my life has been changing every day. I feel I am a better person, and I dedicate myself to serve my brothers with more love and dedication. I can also say that we have rescued many people who had left the Church; today they are in a small community and have stayed to serve as well. I feel very happy with the work that small communities do.”
    Wally Alexandra Castillo, San Antonio de Padua, Guerra.