Synod (Small Groups)

Synod Implementation 2024 "You Will Be My Witnesses"

Find Your Community This New Year

If you make a resolution to take the next step in your faith journey, you won’t be alone.

Our parish is launching a new small group ministry this Lent to become, as Pope Francis suggests “a community of communities." Group leaders from our parish have been praying and preparing for months to welcome you into a small faith community that meets you wherever you are on your faith journey.

Find a group that works for you. Click here to view all Risen Savior groups.

Groups will start meeting after Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2024. Exact meeting dates and group topics will be available at sign-up.


Make Our Parish a ‘Center of Constant Missionary Outreach’

You know who you are. You’re amazing: you love our parish, you volunteer at every event, you come to Mass with a joyful heart and share Christ in how you live. But you also see a Church that needs renewal, surrounded by a culture that is rejecting the love of our Lord.

Pope Francis has called the parish as a “center of constant missionary outreach.” How? By being a “community of communities” – fostering small groups that bring its members into deeper relationship with the Lord and with our parish. Be part of that mission this Lent.


Small Groups for the Person That’s ‘Not a Small Group Person’

This Lent, our parish is launching a new way of being parish – through a new type of small groups. Imagine a group that meets you where you are and helps you take the next step in your faith journey. Imagine group leaders that welcome new members (in word and deed), so that you don’t feel like the “odd person out.” Imagine deep prayer, sharing and community. Now stop imagining – and join a small group this Lent!


Give me three good reasons to join a small group.

Challenge accepted! Our parish is launching a small group ministry that will:

  • foster personal relationships,
  • build community, and
  • provide formation, so we all may grow as joyful missionary disciples of Christ.

Joining a small group is easy! In-person sign-ups after all Masses the weekend of January 20/21, 2024.


Small Groups: Prayerful Unity in a Divisive Age

“Small group conversations ... were respectful and affirming. While we did not always agree with one another, we did listen and strive to respect the dignity of the other.” - Archbishop Bernard Hebda, You Will Be My Witnesses

Does this sound like an impossibility in today’s divisive age? It doesn’t have to be. Archbishop Hebda, in his pastoral letter You Will Be My Witnesses, describes experiencing this prayerful unity less than two years ago, in the gathering of the faithful in small groups. He is now inviting you to experience this yourself, by joining a small group at our parish.


What would Jesus do? Join a small group!

“In choosing the Twelve ... we could say that Jesus formed the original Christian small group, and once again set the example by saying, ‘Follow me.’“ - Archbishop Hebda

Our Lord set the example of sharing and living the faith in a small community. This Lent, see why small groups – in our Lord’s time, and now – are a powerful way to live our Catholic faith in the company of other believers.


Contact Mary Antilla with any questions regarding the Synod process and/or the small groups at


See below for older information and materials.

Further Information about the Archdiocesan Synod

  • Archbishop Hebda started our local, archdiocesan synod process.
  • Began in Fall 2019 with Prayer and Listening Sessions and has been unfolding since then.
    • In the Fall of 2021, all parishes were invited to host parish small groups on the synod topics. Risen Savior hosted 15 small groups (10 in English with 68 participants and 5 in Spanish with 25 participants). Each participant was invited to submit feedback forms to the Archdiocese on the discussion topics. The Archdiocese will make the data from those forms available to our parish at a later date, and we look forward to sharing insights gleaned with everyone as soon as we’re able!
    • Our parish invited participants to fill out a supplemental Overall Small Group Feedback Form, and our Adult Faith Formation & Social Justice Coordinator reviewed them and wrote a letter to Archbishop Hebda and the Synod Executive Committee distilling the themes from that form and sending each individual response. You can view those documents at these links:
  • In January/February 2022, 10 representatives from each parish will meet with others in their deaneries (geographic groupings of parishes). Risen Savior Deanery Representatives are Vince Breza, Maria Castellon, Michele Engstrom, Keyra Jimenez Vargas, Ken Mosier, Amanda Pampuch, Alejandra Renteria, Bob Schilmoeller, John Woell, & Marcia Woell. They will meet with other parishes’ deanery representatives and pastors on January 29th to discern themes that came out of the parish small groups, pray together, and offer suggestions for the archbishop.
    • In June 2022, every parish sent 2 delegates to the Archdiocesan Synod Assembly with Archbishop Hebda to discuss pastoral priorities for our archdiocese. Risen Savior Synod Delegates were Vince Breza and Marcia Woell.
    • On the Feast of Christ the King (Nov. 20th, 2022), Archbishop Hebda published a pastoral letter “You Will Be My Witnesses: Gathered and Sent from the Upper Room”, which outlines a plan and priorities for our Archdiocese through June 2025.
  • Purpose: to listen to the Holy Spirit moving in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, to dialogue and pray with one another, and to discern what the needs and priorities in our communities are.
  • Learn more at the Archdiocesan site by clicking here.

The theme of Year 2 in the Archdiocesan Synod was “The Church Prepares.” The materials are available on the Archdiocesan Synod web page or at the links for particular resources below.

Praying with Scripture Series

This five-part virtual series on praying with Scripture offers practical tools for growing in holiness, drawing upon the rich tradition of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Hebda and Bishop Cozzens will teach the fundamentals of praying with Scripture and explain how to use a Prayer Companion resource to enrich your prayer experience. This series ran in the Fall of 2020. Watch anytime at your convenience with family, friends or on your own using the materials at this link.

Healing and Hope Series

This five-part virtual retreat grounds each person’s fundamental identity as a beloved child of God. Yet each person has experienced wounds that bind. This retreat explores how to unbind these knots through the intercession of Our Lady, Un-doer of Knots, and open these wounds to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Encountering Jesus’ love and mercy brings healing and hope. This series ran in the Fall of 2020. Watch anytime on your own by using the materials found at this link.

Faith and Culture Series

Inspired by the thousands of participants at the Prayer and Listening Events, this series connects their stories to the story of the Church. Each video includes a talk, testimonials and a panel discussion including Archbishop Hebda. Watch the recordings of these presentations and find the talk outlines at this link.

Synod at Home: Tips and Tools for Growing in Faith

In the Synod process, the Church is taking time to listen to one another, pray, and discuss in order to determine priorities. These steps are important for every household, too, that wants to thrive.

The Synod at Home series takes helpful videos, tips and tools for growing in faith, and pairs them with family-friendly activities based on four pillars: Prayer & Sacraments, Lifelong Learning, Generosity & Service, and Traditions & Fun.

Chris Stefanick – founder of Real Life Catholic, author of The Search and other Catholic books, and global Catholic speaker – will begin each video, and you’ll hear testimonials from other Catholics about how their faith has grown deeper, and their relationships enriched, by intentionally living their faith.

Watch the recordings of these presentations and find at-home resources at this link.


Two Ways to Participate

  • Download the Archdiocesan Synod App: Access videos, discussion questions, and daily Prayer Companion reflections. Plus, receive alerts when new content Is posted. Download MyParish App and within the app, search for “Archdiocesan Synod.”
  • Sign Up for Weekly Emails: Receive an email each week containing links to new content, plus downloadable materials. Sign up here.

Small Groups Focus Areas

Based on the information already gathered in the Prayer and Listening Events, as well as the information gathered for the Ad Limina visit with Pope Francis in January 2021, and the results of the Disciple Marker Index, Archbishop Hebda has discerned the initial set of focus areas for the Archdiocesan Synod. Those areas will set the parameters for discussions at the deanery and parish levels:

  1. Forming parishes that are in the service of evangelization
  2. Forming missionary disciples who know Jesus’s love and respond to his call
  3. Forming youth and young adults in and for a Church that is always young

If you weren’t able to participate in small group, you can view all the Small Group Videos on YouTube:

Play Video

In February 2020, Risen Savior participated in a parish-wide survey, the Disciple Maker Index. This was part of the Archdiocesan Pre-Synod efforts to gather input from the faithful across the Archdiocese. In addition to the survey, other data was collected from the Prayer and Listening Events held in the Fall 2019/Winter 2020. From August 16-September 27 our staff included bulletin articles on the results from the DMI, which are compiled below.

Please direct questions on Risen Savior’s DMI survey results to Grace Koleczek, Adult Faith Formation & Social Justice Coordinator,, (952) 698-1724.

In the Archdiocese, 28, 749 individuals responded to the survey.

189 Risen Savior parishioners completed the survey, which is a 10% response rate of our average weekly attendance prior to the pandemic. Those numbers compare favorably with the other participating parishes as well.

-Age of respondents: 30% between 66-75; 23% between 56-65; 22% over 75; 14% between 46-55; 5% between 36-45; 4% between 26-35; 1% between 18-25

-Sex: 67% of respondents were female. 33% were male.

-Marital status: 74% of respondents were married; 11% widowed; 7% divorced; and 7% single.

-Race: 95% indicated their race is Caucasian; 2% indicated Hispanic/Latino; 1% indicated Asian-American; 1% indicated African-American; and 2% indicated other.

Thank you to all who took the time to participate in the Disciple Maker Index survey.  It is an important piece of the puzzle to help us as a parish understand our strengths and challenges and to help Archbishop Hebda as he leads our Local Church forward through the Synod Process.

*This was originally included in the August 16th bulletin.

One question that respondents indicated interest in and that could be an area for our parish to grow in is the following: “Feeling involved in decisions that affect the future of the parish.” We invite you to read on and learn more about how decisions are made at Risen Savior.

As with all Roman Catholic churches, decision-making authority resides with the pastor. Here at Risen Savior, the pastor is blessed with consultative bodies as well, the main ones being the parish trustees, parish council, and finance council. These are all comprised of parishioners. We also have many committees and commissions who bring their input into the larger parish council, as each council member is a member of at least one committee or commission.

In addition, a great deal of the decision-making authority within the Archdiocese resides with the Archbishop. One example was his directive to launch this very Synod process and related DMI. The Archdiocese makes large-scale decisions in aspects of every parish’s operations, from liturgy requirements to payroll and employee benefits, and things in-between.

Finally, many decisions are made at the staff level. Risen Savior is blessed with a magnificently diverse and expert staff. Some decisions stay within the department while others are brought to staff meetings and some are brought to the pastor for a final decision. In all cases, the staff work for the best interest of the parish while serving the pastor, all within the framework of employment within the Archdiocese. Anyone interested in discussing parish operations or with questions is welcome to call or email our Parish Administrator, Ryan Currens,, (952) 698-1720

This was originally included in the August 23rd bulletin.

This week we are focusing on a key strength the survey indicated: 63% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that Risen Savior helps them grow spiritually by offering music that deepens their desire to participate more fully in the Sunday liturgy. (14% neither agreed nor disagreed; 1% disagreed; and 2% strongly disagreed.)

Music Ministry Response to the DMI from Kevin Rotty, Director of Liturgy & Music:

Greetings everyone,

I was just delighted to see the positive responses in the DMI survey towards our Music Ministry at Risen Savior! It was very affirming to hear that a majority of the respondents found the music at Risen Savior to be a significant factor in drawing them closer to prayer in the Liturgy.

It is especially nice to hear because that is what we make it our mission to do: to facilitate greater participation in the Liturgy through sung, communal prayer. I’ve always made it my focus to clearly differentiate between musically facilitating prayerful participation versus “performing.” As a professional entertainer myself, I know well that performing has its place. However, I feel as though we achieve much greater success when we all raise our voices to God through music rather than simply observing someone else doing it.

It has been especially hard during this pandemic to go without communal singing. One of the rich blessings that I enjoy in my work with this community is their willingness to SING! It is never lost on me how much a gift that is and I look forward, at long last, to be able to “open” it again soon!

Kevin Rotty,, (952) 698-1728

*This was originally included in the August 30th bulletin.

This week we are focusing on one area that had indication for potential growth: Religious Education/Faith Formation. Please read the reflection by Rae Ann Konkol, Director of Secondary Faith Formation and Youth Ministry below.

We could not glean a lot from the DMI results due to the low number of people who responded to the questions that dealt with Religious Education/Faith Formation of Children (11 of 181 respondents). In January 2019, however, we surveyed families who had children in our Faith Formation programs. The response rate was about 50% of the families involved, and overwhelmingly, they were very happy with the programs offered.  One area suggested to improve was communication with parents.  Out of this, we now send a monthly e-newsletter of what is coming up for the next month.  We also continue to email parents monthly in the GIFT program, and weekly in the middle school and Confirmation programs.  We also added Flocknote (a texting service) to send reminders before each class and Sanctuary (Youth Group) meetings.

We have a LifeLong Faith Formation Commission that has representatives from the following committees: Preschool Faith Formation, Elementary Faith Formation, Secondary Faith Formation Adult Faith Formation; and Youth Ministry.  Each committee is always looking for volunteers to help with planning for our Faith Formation programs and events.  You can contact Tara Hahn about Elementary and Liturgy of the Word for Children, Rae Ann Konkol about Secondary Faith Formation and Youth Ministry, and Grace Koleczek about Adult Faith Formation.

For those unfamiliar with Faith Formation for children at Risen Savior, we offer the following programs:

Pre K/Kindergarten: Sunday school classes for children ages 3-Kindergarten as well as the Liturgy of the Word for Children during the Sunday Mass.  Currently due to Covid-19 we are only offering Liturgy of the Word for Children online for this level.

GIFT is our family-based Faith Formation for children in grades 1-4.  In this program, families learn together about our Faith with monthly sessions at Risen Savior that lead to families learning and exploring their Faith together at home.

Grades 5-8 is a more traditional program where children come together with their grade level to learn with the guidance of a catechist at Risen Savior.  They explore the following topics: 5th Grade is the Bible, 6th grade is Jesus the Christ, 7th grade is Liturgy and Prayer, and 8th grade is Morality and Justice.

Confirmation is a two year program that helps prepare teens to confirm their faith in the Catholic Church.  It includes large group and small group learning, service hours, retreats, and youth group participation.  Teens can begin the program in grade 9, 10, or 11 and will be confirmed in grade 10, 11, or 12.

Sanctuary is our high school youth group that meets on Wednesday evenings.  It is open to students in grades 9-12.  We have young adult mentors who share their faith with the youth through fun activities, community building, and praise and worship and services.

Due to Covid-19 we will be having faith formation online for the year to keep all of our members safe.  If you would like to get involved or have technology skills that can assist our volunteers, we would love to have you join us!

Rae Ann Konkol, Director of Secondary Faith Formation and Youth Ministry,, (952) 698-1727.

*This was originally included in the September 6th bulletin.

This week we are focusing on a key strength the survey indicated: 88% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that Risen Savior helps parishioners feel connected to the community by making information about the parish easily accessible. 10% neither agreed nor disagreed; 2% disagreed.

Response on Communication from Marianne Brass, Communications & Community Life
“Good communication is at the heart of a healthy Catholic parish.” – Deacon Don McArdle
Greetings everyone!
I was so excited to see the positive responses in the DMI survey results about Risen Savior’s communication practices. What a wonderful
affirmation! It is always very important to us to make access to information as easy and convenient as possible. We always strive to provide our parishioners with the very latest parish news and updates as well as with the most up-to-date information on programming and Risen Savior happenings. This is especially true right now during the coronavirus pandemic, when many of us are more isolated than ever, and being connected to our parish is of the utmost importance.
We use different platforms to communicate depending on the nature of information to be shared. Currently, our vehicles of communication are: email, bulletin, Risen Savior website (, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Flocknote for Faith Formation & Youth Ministry, and, of course, in some instances, regular mail.
Since the COVID-19 shutdown in March, I have also been putting out parish emails every Friday to keep in touch with our parishioners and to report on the latest developments regarding our Risen Savior parish. The list for these emails is generated in our parish database. If you do not receive my Friday email updates, contact me at, and I will add you to this email list.
Thank you all, and stay connected! Marianne Brass (952) 698-1714,
*This was originally published in the September 13th bulletin.

This week we are focusing on another key strength the survey indicated: 84% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that Risen Savior is a welcoming community by making parishioners and guests feel at home and comfortable. 12% neither agreed nor disagreed; 4% disagreed.
Response on ‘Welcoming Community’ by Marianne Brass, Communications & Community Life
Greetings everyone!
Today I am honored to share the positive responses in the DMI survey results about one of Risen Savior’s extraordinary charisms. Unlike
other attributes, Risen Savior’s welcoming character reflects on all of us, shows in all offerings, programs, events, etc.; it encompasses our
entire community; it is our Risen Savior spirit; it is who we are! Each and everyone of us is a part of this welcoming community and plays a
vital role! We are actively living our mission statement:

Our Doors Are Open to All
(These are the first words of our Parish Mission Statement, and so we welcome everyone to our Risen Savior community. We are truly a welcoming community of prayer, healing and friendship).
Our Eucharist Is A Celebration of the Risen Savior
(Everyone is invited to join us for our Liturgies and Masses filled with the energy of the Spirit. No matter which Liturgy or Mass you attend, expect to find a positive, inviting atmosphere, upbeat music, and a message to take with you, to nourish and sustain you in your everyday life).
Our Call Is To Love and Serve
We leave our Liturgies and Masses with these words in mind as the way the Gospel calls us to live our week.
Thank you all, and let us continue the work of the Spirit! Marianne Brass (952) 698-1714,
*This was originally published in the September 20th bulletin.

This week is our final segment sharing concluding remarks from the DMI survey.

From the DMI, we were heartened to hear that respondents overwhelmingly connect to our music ministry, believe our communications are helpful and easy to access, and they feel a sense of community at Risen Savior. We also learned that two areas of growth that arose for many respondents were that parishioners feel disconnected from the decision making process and are also not as aware of youth faith formation opportunities. Our parish community includes our clergy, lay ecclesial staff, AND parishioners and visitors who worship with us. We are so grateful for your feedback via this survey and strive to continually grow into our mission of opening our doors to all, celebrating the Risen Savior in our Eucharist, and going forth to love and serve.

Thank you once more to all who participated!