ARISE (Special Needs)

Association for Religious Instruction, Special Education

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

ARISE serves students ages 6+ who have:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Autism
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Downs Syndrome
  • Emotional Disability
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Learning Disability
  • Physical Disability
  • Speech/Language Disability
  • Visual Impairment

The ARISE Program is held on the second Monday of each month from September to May at St. Gregory the Great School.

Students and catechists enter at Door #11 (parking lot near playground) between 6:15-6:30pm and go to Tenpenny Hall (lower level) for their Sacrament Lessons OR  Gospel Reflection Lessons and Activities.  At 7:00 pm everyone walks to the Church for the 30-minute Gathering Prayer Service led by Deacon Jim Banach or Deacon Tim Waldoch.  Family Members are welcome to join us for the Gathering Prayer service!   The school and church are both wheelchair accessible.

Sacrament Information

Students who desire to complete their Reconciliation, First Communion, or Confirmation will be evaluated if they meet the age requirement (8+ for First Communion and 16+ for Confirmation) and fully understand the sacraments by January 2024.  They will be assigned to a catechist for 1:1 lessons.  Please contact Tom and Sue Klawien at if you have any questions.

You can register and pay online OR request a registration form through the ARISE Coordinators and pay by check to ARISE.  The fee is $5.00/person for the September 2023-May2024 Session.

Check out the Links Below  for Schedule & Welcome Newsletter

There will be three special events- watch for more details to follow!

September 11 - Welcome Back! Potluck and Preview of Program

December 11 - Las Posadas Candlelight Service and Celebration

February 10 - Valentine DJ Dance with St. Greg's School Students

ARISE is looking for interested volunteer catechists to assist students in group lessons and activities.  Volunteers must complete the Safeguarding All of God's Family Training Session by August 31, 2023.  Go to  for a listing of trainings that you can register online.  There is no charge for this training. YOU can make a difference in a student's life!

Tom & Sue Klawien, ARISE Coordinators     414-810-3702 (home)    414-614-7071 (Cell)


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 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. 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 and the Human Concerns Committee of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.


ARISE Welcome Newsletter - August

ARISE September 2023-May 2024 Schedule