Faithful Share How ARISE is Strengthening Their Faith


Season four of the diocesan renewal initiative ARISE Together in Christ happens during Lent 2020. The theme, New Heart, New Spirit, will explore Reconciliation and the transforming power of forgiveness. Participants will also be invited to reach out to those who have moved away from their faith and their faith communities. Together, participants will be praying for wisdom to respond to the circumstances that can be instrumental in calling someone to return to the Church and embrace his or her faith once again.

All are invited to join in the graces of season four of ARISE — even those who did not engage in the earlier seasons. Please contact your parish.

The following individuals shared with diocesan Director of Communications Tony DeGol their thoughts on how ARISE is strengthening their faith.


Jane Becker
Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Altoona

“ARISE has strengthened my faith through community, learning from others through our large groups, and also by reading the Bible more and just really interacting with God myself and building a personal relationship.”



Mary Casto
Saint Clement Parish in Johnstown

“ARISE has led us to more prayerful small groups that have bonded in our working together within our parish and has brought us closer into our mission of evangelization and reaching out to others in need.”



Barb Dryzal
Resurrection Parish in Johnstown

“ARISE has strengthened my faith by getting to know other parishioners more closely and realizing that we’re going through the same things on our journey toward a relationship with Jesus, and it helps us by just being more supportive with one another.”


Ron Harella

Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Duncansville

“In dealing with the ARISE program, like anytime when you’re studying sacred scriptures and what they mean in our lives, it builds your personal relationship with Jesus, Himself. I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”


Mary Lessard
Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel in Loretto

“Our ARISE program has been a formation of a widows’ group in our parish, and my experience has been great healing for myself, listening to stories from our fellow widows and promoting healing for our grief.”


Diane Madden
Saint Mary Parish in Hollidaysburg

“It has made me realize I can read the Bible more and reflect on what it’s telling me.”





Cecilia Neiderer
Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Johnstown

“I have recommitted more fully to my belief in our Church and, of course, in Jesus Christ. It has also helped me in my ministry with the homebound that I visit, in the hospitals where I take Eucharist, and given me the grace to evangelize with patients I see.”


Rita Redden
Saint Patrick Parish in Johnstown

“It has been like a window has opened. The people in my groups seem so other-centered.”




Mary Beth Schmidhamer
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Altoona

“I went to Catholic school for 12 years, but you forget more than you remember. The small groups have helped me share my faith, share information, and remember things I have forgotten over the years.”


Donna Stoy
Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in Ashville

“It has deepened my faith personally with God and with my community in sharing life experiences.”