On Saturday, April 13, I was invited to celebrate evening Benediction and an hour of adoration at Christ King Parish in Wauwatosa. It was sponsored by ARISE, a ministry directed by Dominick Albano and supported by Fathers Luke Strand and John Burns. The theme for the evening service was “Come to the Water.” ARISE targets young adult Catholics to live their faith by incorporating prayer and scripture into their daily lives. The devotional practice of the Church, especially adoration, is a key way to witness this commitment.It's my understanding the music takes a contemporary approach, but hard to argue the numbers.
Usually, when I preside at a Benediction, there might be 250 to 400 people present. When I arrived at Christ King, I was shocked to see more than 1,000 people present, desiring to give praise to the Son of God. There were young adults, but also young families. As I processed around the Church, I could see mothers and fathers instructing their children on the proper etiquette when the Eucharistic monstrance passed. I thought of my own mother and father teaching me proper respect for the Eucharist and understanding how Jesus was present and to seek His blessing, “Let the little children come to me.”
Most surprising to me, this was a Saturday evening, usually reserved for some fun social event or even just a respite for the family. Yet, this crowd of 1,000 chose to come to Church. Good, modern religious music played throughout the ceremony, as many enjoyed the sense of peace that was felt by those offering hymns of praise.
The director invited the congregation to the sacrament of reconciliation; this too-often forgotten, yet powerful sacrament is a direct means to deepening one’s relationship with the Lord. Hundreds lined up outside the confessionals, a testimony to the willingness to transform one’s life in the name of Christ. I was grateful that so many benefitted from that evening, just by knowing that God was with them in the struggles and joys of this world.
ARISE has a nice web presence.