Convocation to Highlight Forgiveness and Returning to the Church


By Tony DeGol

Who among us does not have family or friends who have strayed from the Catholic Church?

Season four of ARISE Together in Christ may be a step toward drawing those individuals back. 

The theme for the new season, occurring during Lent, will be New Heart, New Spirit.

“We will explore the themes of Reconciliation and the transforming power of forgiveness,” noted Sister Linda LaMagna, CCW, diocesan ARISE coordinator.

Participants will also be invited to reach out to those who have moved away from their faith and their Church communities, she added.

“Together we will be praying for wisdom to respond to the circumstances which the Lord places before us which can be instrumental in calling another to return to the Church and embrace their faith once again,” Sister Linda remarked.

In preparation for season four, all are invited to a diocesan convocation — either on January 25 from 9:00-11:00 a.m. at Our Lady of the Alleghenies Parish in Lilly or on January 26 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at Saint Matthew Parish in Tyrone.

Peter Ascosi of ChristLife, a Catholic ministry for evangelization in Baltimore, will be the presenter. The topic will be Becoming Ambassadors of God’s Mercy and Forgiveness.

“The convocation will highlight the grace of forgiveness and mercy as well as seek helpful ways to draw others to return to the Church,” Sister Linda said.

There is no cost to attend either convocation, but donations will be accepted to help cover expenses.

Please register online by visiting the ARISE section of the diocesan website. Click on the ARISE logo in the upper right of the home page.

Seasons one through three of ARISE Together in Christ have successfully unfolded throughout the diocese over the past year-and-a-half. The renewal effort invites individuals to be part of small faith-sharing groups over the six weeks of each season.

Most parishes have multiple groups. The initiative is also happening in Catholic schools, religious education programs, college campus ministry, prison ministry, and nursing facilities.  

Those who did not engage in the earlier seasons are welcome to be part of season four.

Certainly this new year brings renewed enthusiasm for the next steps in the journey.

“Jesus said that we will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon it,” Sister Linda stressed. “Let’s claim that power once again for season four. Let’s allow God to use us to do great things.”