ARISE (Special Needs)

Mission Statement / Goals

ARISE serves children, teens, and adults who are challenged with disabilities by providing religious education programs that are appropriate for their special needs. 

  • 1. Provide specialized religious education programs;
  • 2. Support individuals with special needs who are included in regular religious education programs;
  • 3. Provide support, resource, and referral services for families and caregivers; and
  • 4. Encourage participants to become active members of their home parishes, as stated in the U. S. Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Statement on People with Disabilities (1978).

Approved by the ARISE Board of Directors: November 10, 1994

ARISE is a collaboration of seven parishes to provide quality religious instruction for their parish children, teens and adults who are challenged with disabilities.

ARISE serves students ages 6+ who have varying degrees of learning, cognitive, emotional disabilities, and physical disabilities, including but not limited to ADHD, Autism Spectrum, Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Hearing, and Visual Impairments.

The ARISE Program is held on Monday evenings starting October 11, 2021 to April 25, 2022 from 6:30pm-7:30pm at St. Gregory the Great School. The students meet with their catechists for their lessons in assigned classrooms from 6:30-7:00pm. From 7:00-7:30pm is the Gathering Prayer Service in the church.

Each student is assigned to a catechist to work 1:1 on his/her Reconciliation, First Communion, or Confirmation. Students who have completed their sacraments will be learning about The Life of Jesus in small groups of threes. The catechist adapts the teaching materials to meet the individual learning needs of the student.

The Gathering Prayer Service allows students, their family members and catechists to be part of the prayer service. Deacon Jim or Deacon Tim will lead the services and students will have opportunities to read the Opening Prayer and Gospel from the pulpit, do sign language to the songs “Open My Eyes” and “Prayer for Peace”, and offer their Prayer Petitions.

There is no charge for the lessons, but will accept donations payable to:

ARISE – St. Gregory the Great, 3160 S. 63rd Street, Milwaukee, WI 53219.

ARISE is looking for interested volunteer catechists to work one-on-one with students. Training and materials are provided. Volunteers must be certified through the Safeguarding All of God’s Family program.  Contact the ARISE Coordinators on how you can be certified in this 1-2 hour class.

For more information about getting involved in any the ARISE program, contact Tom & Sue Klawien, ARISE Coordinators, at 414-614-7071, email at [email protected], or fill out and submit the form below.

ARISE Program’s History

The Special Religious Education Program at St. Gregory the Great Parish began in 1957. On  July 1, 1992, St. Greg’s began a multi-parish collaborative ministry called ARISE. On July 29, 1994 ARISE was recognized as a program of excellence by the National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry.

ARISE Member Parishes

The parishes that have joined this collaboration are:

St. Alphonsus

Holy Assumption

Our Lady of Lourdes

St. Augustine

St. Florian

St. Gregory the Great

St. Rita 

Each member parish contributes financial and volunteer support for the program. ARISE receives a yearly donation from the West Allis Knights of Columbus Council #3095.


ARISE Information Flyer

ARISE Reunion Picnic Flyer

2022-23 ARISE Calendar

2022-23 Registration Form

Bilingual Volunteer Catechist Application