For those of us who were there it was a wonderful experience and we would like to share with you some of the things that happened.
POPE FRANCIS AT THE GOLDEN JUBILEE OF THE CHARISMATIC RENEWAL
FROM THE WHOLE WORLD TO ROME FOR 5 DAYS OF MEETINGS AND CELEBRATIONS
Pope Francis will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. ICCRS (International Catholic Charismatic Services ) and the Catholic Fraternity are in fact organizing this great event, after 50 years since the birth of this current of grace in 1967. This event will take place in Rome from the 31st of May to the 4th of June, in preparation for the next Pentecost, with the participation of Charismatics from all over the world. For an explicit desire of the Pope, other than the members of the various Charismatic expressions of the Catholic Renewal, representatives from the Evangelical and Pentecostal world too will be attending and intervening. It will therefore be a great Ecumenical Event.” The Charismatic Renewal was born Ecumenical and so it will be an Ecumenical Celebration in this sense,” said Pope Francis himself, answering a question regarding the Golden Jubilee during his flight back from Sweden last January.” In Buenos Aires we had a Mass of the Charismatic Renewal in the Cathedral once a year, to which everyone came. Therefore, I too experienced a process of recognition of the good that the Renewal has given to the Church”.
The Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal will open on Wednesday 31st May, in the morning, with the General audience with the Pope in St. Peter’s Square. An articulate program will then follow with Meetings, Symposiums, Workshops and Celebrations, that will take place in various Basilicas, Churches and locations in the centre of Rome. The witnesses of the first years of the Renewal and the big world leaders will be intervening. The event will conclude on Saturday, 3rd June, in the evening, with a great Vigil with the Pope at the Circo Massimo and on Sunday, 4th June, with the solemn Celebration of the Feast of Pentecost in St. Peter’s Square. The official program of the Golden Jubilee will be presented by Michelle Moran, President of ICCRS, and Gilberto Gomes Barbosa, President of the Catholic Fraternity, on Monday, 24th April, at the Fiera in Rimini, during the 40th National Convocation of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit (RnS).
The Catholic Renewal was born in February 1967, during a Students’ Retreat at the Duquesne University in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania – USA). During that weekend, the students prayed for a long while, asking God to be able to experience in a new way, the grace of Baptism and Confirmation. And they had a powerful experience of God, that changed their hearts and became known as ” Baptism in the Spirit”. This Charismatic experience got out of the Duquesne University pretty soon and started spreading in the Parishes and other Catholic structures in the whole world. 50 years later, we estimate that the Renewal is present today in over 200 countries, and has reached over 120 million Catholics. The Renewal is not a single, unified world-wide Movement, it hasn’t got a single founder or a group of founders, like other Ecclesiastical Movements. Nevertheless, the various expressions of the Renewal in the world share the same fundamental experience in common: the ” Baptism in the Holy Spirit “.
Rome 8th May 2017
Visit the ICCRS website to find out more:
* WEB SITE * http://www.ccrgoldenjubilee2017.org/index.php?lang=en.
CCR Leaders share their expectations, looking forward, for the celebrations of the 50 years of
“a current of grace for and in the Church”.
Gilberto Barbosa, President of the Catholic Fraternity
I met the Charismatic Renewal, and I received the Baptism in the Spirit in 1985. For 50 years this chain of Grace has brought many fruits to the Church. I witnessed this Renewal, because it has completely changed my life, it changed my way of doing things, it changed my mind and my heart. I come from a traditional Catholic family, but we were not practitioners, with fourteen siblings, trained by our parents to study, work and have an honest living, but not through faith. After receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I became a man of faith, and I met Jesus Christ who is everything that I want to live. Me and my family now serve the Lord!
To Pope Francis we assure our prayers and at the same time, our fidelity to the mission we have entrusted to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. The grace of Baptism in the Holy Spirit should be experienced by everyone. As he said in his speech at the Olympic Stadium in Rome in June 2014; “do not deprive us of this grace.”
Today for us the greatest challenge is to follow the final message of Jesus when, before he was arrested and dying on the cross, he said, ” that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me..” Jn 17,21. Not to live in unity is a scandal for new Christians, since Christ is one, and invites us to be One. The unity should be, however, not only among Christians but among all the currents of grace.
Father Raniero Cantalamessa, The Preacher to the Papal Household
An occasion to look back at the progress made, to give thanks to the Holy Trinity and humbly recognize all the deficiencies with which our sin has overshadowed the work of the Spirit : for me, this is the sense of the Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal that we are preparing to celebrate in Rome. Praise, Thanks giving, Repentance. Even we “elders” of the Renewal full of amazement will say “to the people who come after us”: “This is the work of the Lord; a wonder to our eyes.”(Ps.22,32; 118,23).
No one is unaware of the significance of the fact that Pope Francis has taken to heart this event, to personally follow the preparation and the conduction. If I had to answer to the question : what does the Pope expect from this Jubilee event? I would say this: that the Charismatic Renewal should not be satisfied in being a reality ” in the” Church, but should try even more to be a reality “of the” Church, of all the Church. Contrary to what some feared at the beginning, the Renewal has remained deeply rooted in the Catholic Church and obedient to the hierarchy. This is not put into doubt by anyone. The danger is that both on one side and the other side -both on the part of the great Church and on the part of the Charismatic Renewal -one remains satisfied with this, that is a kind of peaceful coexistence and mutual recognition. It’s from this impasse that Pope Francis, it seems to me, is trying to pull out the Church and the Charismatic Renewal. To support him in this project, it is necessary that we always speak less in terms of Charismatic Renewal and always more in terms of Church. The Renewal in the Spirit is a ‘Current of Grace’ destined to all the Church because in its essence it is nothing but a powerful manifestation of the Spirit of the Risen Christ for the believers of today; it is the answer to the prayer of St. John XXIII for a “New Pentecost”. From here comes the exhortation that Pope Francis addresses to the Renewal, to share with the whole Church the grace of the Baptism in the Spirit and implicitly to the Church, not to be afraid to welcome this gift of the Spirit. I don’t feel like saying what the future prospects and challenges that await the Catholic Charismatic Renewal could be. Jesus says that the Holy Spirit is like the wind: We don’t know where it comes from and where it is directed (John 3,8). That’s how it’s “unexpected ” manifestation came about 50 years ago and that’s how it’s further development will be. We only know one thing about this with certainty: That He comes from Christ and takes us to Christ. The real challenge will be our capacity to “Let us be guided by the Spirit”, and to be docile to His action, at the cost of dying to ourselves. Soon after receiving the Baptism in the Spirit, 40 years ago, one day I took a sheet of paper and a pen and wrote down some thoughts, of which at that moment I myself was surprised, as I had thought so little about them before.
I will write it as it is printed in my book, ” The Sober Intoxication of the Spirit”, because I think they still have something to remind me and everyone, at the moment in which we celebrate 50 years of Life in the Renewal:
“The Father wishes to glorify His Son Jesus Christ on earth in a new way, with a new invention. The Holy Spirit is responsible for this glorification, because it is written : “He will glorify me and will take what is mine”. A Christian life that is totally consecrated to God, without any founder, any rule, any new congregation. Founder: Jesus! Rule: the Gospel interpreted by the Holy Spirit! Congregation: the Church! Don’t worry about tomorrow, Don’t desire to do things that remain, Don’t desire to create recognized organs that perpetrate with successors. Jesus is a founder who never dies, therefore He doesn’t need any successor. You must let Him always do new things, even tomorrow. The Holy Spirit will be present even tomorrow in the Church!”
JOHANNES FICHTENBAUER, president of the ENC (The European Network of Communities)
When I first heard about the invitation from Pope Francis to this Catholic Charismatic Jubilee I was thrilled at very moment. I was even more thrilled when it became clear that the Pope´s intention is for a strong ecumenical flavor of this event. For Francis this convocation is not a show of veterans. Much more he desires a fresh start into a new season for the Catholic Church and whole Body of Christ. I am excited that the Pope wants to reawaken in all of us the instinct for the original intentions of the Holy Spirit when this Tsunami of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit began for the Catholics in 1967. Just a few weeks ago, in February 2017, around the anniversary of the Duquesne-weekend where everything began, I read through again the book with the testimony of Patty Mansfield. Being reminded of the early beginnings I was deeply touched. And I had to weep. What an investment of God. How much have we lost over the decades? A longing for the first love filled me. I felt a fire burning inside for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit over all of us who have been faithful over those last 50 years. But now we desire to be rekindled and to experience the double blessing. The Golden Jubilee is a chance for the movement and in a sense for the whole Church to correct some of the mistakes we made over these five decades. This correction will be at the same time the direction into the future. There have been several basic intentions of the Holy Spirit right there at the beginning in 1967 we have to reorient ourselves to. One was the end of Catholic triumphalism just by the fact that we Catholics needed the help of Protestants and Pentecostals to come this deep in the encounter with God. That does not mean that the world has not a great need for our Catholic input. But the need is for a humble Church which shares her gifts in a spirit of humility. We should never forget – we are a part, but not the whole. Connected with this is the ecumenical dimension of the Charismatic grace. God always meant this current of grace to be a spiritual foundation for the upcoming unity of all parts of the Body. This particular experience of God´s Spirit we should have in common with all the others we are ecclesiological separated off. We almost lost this element over the course of the last 50 years. But fortunately there had been “prophets” and apostolic leaders within the CCR to remind us back to this foundational ecumenical element. In the beginning we saw clearly the need of a spiritual home for everyone to be supported in this new life according to committed relationships and biblical standards. The grace of God to provide for these nurturing places was multifold. We saw the growth of various forms of “charismatic power plants”, smaller ones and bigger. There were prayer groups, charismatic parishes, retreat houses, ecumenical covenant communities, community networks, prayer houses, centers for evangelization, and new religious orders with celibate and married members. 10 years after the start we began with tensions between the different directions in the movement. Accusation against each other demolished the beautiful and colorful expressions. Unity in diversity was forgotten for the price of pride and perfectionism. For almost 40 years we have walked too often separately and not side by side. The Jubilee is a great chance to present the CCR before the Holy Spirit again, saying: Lord! We are ready for a new season of mutual respect, support and common mission. This is the end of rivalry games. Every part of the CCR is now willing to add to the common cause what they are in their best. I pray for a new level of spiritual power. Many of us have experienced the charismatic gifts as a personal delight. Too many have even forgotten to use the charisms later on. In the new season the Holy Spirit wants us to experience a multiplication of our gifts both in power and in depth. Besides the individual charisms he wants us to see an even more explicit gifting with the five-fold-ministry of strong lay leaders for the pastoral, the teaching, the evangelism, the prophetic and the apostolic ministry. And at the same time the Holy Spirit wants us not any longer serving separately but pulling together the gifts we have received freely to be more effective in their combination. Again here the Holy Spirit forces us to humility instead of lonesome ministry performance. More than before we need to understand that these gifts of the Spirit are for to build the Kingdom within this world. This means very concrete forms of exercising our supernatural equipment by serving the structures of this world in politics, economy and all other areas of engagement for a better society. We will not save the world. But we have to testify to the power of the Cross by changing evil into experiences of restauration and salvation. I believe all of this is meant to prepare the CCR and through it the whole Church for the Second Coming of Jesus. There are so many signs both in the spiritual as well as in the secular world indicating that the coming of the Messiah is near. The growth of the Messianic Jewish Movement is only one of them, but a significant one.
Matteo Calisi, president of “Comunità di Gesù”
On the occasion of the Ecumenical Meeting organized by the Italian Ecclesial Movement “Rinnovamento nello Spirito” (Renewal in the Spirit) in St . Peter’s Square on 3rd July 2015, the Holy Father Francis made the following invitation: “…I expect you all together at the meeting of the ICCRS and of the Catholic Fraternity, which are already organizing it, all of you and all those who wish to come at Pentecost in 2017 — it is not so far off! — here in St Peter’s Square to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of this current of grace — an opportunity for the Church, as Blessed Paul VI said in St Peter’s Basilica in 1975. We will gather to give thanks to the Holy Spirit for the gift of this current of grace, which is for the Church and for the world, and to celebrate the wonders that the Holy Spirit has worked in the course of these 50 years, changing the life of millions of Christians..” This invitation came as a conclusion to the very beautiful speech where the Pope affirmed that the “Charismatic Renewal is a Pentecostal grace for the whole Church “. In that Assembly also formed by various “Charismatic expressions” and representatives from Christian churches and Comunities belonging to this current of grace, all assembled together for this Occasion, Pope Francis evoked the prophetic vision that inspired Cardinal Leon Joseph Suenens, with the blessing of Pope Paul VI.: “….the Renewal is not a Movement … it is a current of grace, a renewing breath of the Spirit for all members of the Church, laity, religious, priests and bishops “What is the common sign of those who are reborn of this current of grace? Renewed men and women who, after having received the grace of Baptism in the Spirit.” The history of these 50 years of life of the Charismatic Renewal has shown how much this vision has often been blurred with time, certainly due to multiple factors. Two of these are underlined in the same Pontifical speech. The first factor is a wrong concept of the very nature of the Charismatic Renewal. With determination Pope Francis affirms: “The first error that must be avoided is including the Charismatic Renewal in the category of a Movement. It is not a specific Movement; the Renewal is not a Movement in the common sociological sense; it does not have founders, it is not homogeneous and it includes a great variety of realities; it is a current of grace, a renewing breath of the Spirit for all members of the Church, laity, religious, priests and bishops. It is a challenge for us all. One does not form part of the Renewal, rather, the Renewal becomes a part of us provided that we accept the grace it offers us”. Continuing with his speech the Pope cited Cardinal Suenens who: “spoke of the sovereign work of the Spirit who without human founders, aroused the current of grace in 1967. Renewed men and women who, after having received the grace of Baptism in the Spirit, as fruit of this grace gave life to associations, covenant communities, schools of formation, schools of evangelization, religious congregations, ecumenical communities, communities of help to the poor and the needy.” According to Pope Francis, the conviction of Card. Suenens is actual today: the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is not a ” Movement next to other Movements”, nor is it ” an exclusive manifestation that replaces everything”, but “a current of grace that passes, bringing the Charismatic dimension inherent to the Church to a higher level of awareness”. From the experience of these 50 years we cannot hide how some tensions and difficulties created within the Charismatic Renewal and in the ordinary pastoral of the particular churches, have been caused by this ” spiritual myopia” that has guided those who attempted to ” domesticate” the Holy Spirit, creating divisions and even abandonment in some cases. Pope Francis providentially thought of us in his speech to the Renewal, to “recover” the famous “bottle” of Card. Suenens ” containing a message thrown into the sea” with a “cry for help “to avoid distorting or denaturing the Renewal. A second factor that has blurred the vision of the current of grace, always according to Pope Francis is leadership. Let’s propose this passage of his speech again, and it doesn’t require any comment: “There is another point that it is very important to clarify, in this current of grace: those who lead. Dear brothers and sisters, there is great temptation for the leaders — I repeat, I prefer the term servants, those who serve — and this temptation for the servants comes from the devil, the temptation to believe they are indispensable, no matter what the task is. The devil leads them to believe they are the ones in command, who are at the centre and thus, step by step, they slip into authoritarianism, into personalism and do not let the renewed Communities live in the Spirit. This temptation is such as to make “eternal” the position of those who consider themselves irreplaceable, a position that always has some form of power or dominance over others. This is clear to us: the only irreplaceable one in the Church is the Holy Spirit, and Jesus is the only Lord” In the Apostolic sollecitude of Pope Francis, his concern to protect the Charismatic Renewal from some dangers is very evident: “As in an orchestra, no one in the renewal can think of himself or herself as being more important or greater than the others, please! Because when you think of yourselves as more important or greater, disaster is already on the horizon! No one can say: “I am the head”. Like the Church, you have only one head, one Lord: the Lord Jesus. Repeat with me: Who is the head of the renewal? The Lord Jesus! Who is the head of the renewal? [the crowd:] The Lord Jesus!” I hope that this Jubilee is the occasion for an attentive examination of conscience for all pastors and faithful, to relaunch the prophetic vision of Pope Paul VI: “So then how can this “spiritual renewal” not be but a chance for the Church and for the world?” Lastly in the Jubilee program a speech of the Holy Father is expected in the presence of some representatives of other Christian Comunities. This celebration with an Ecumenical character has a fundamental significance I would dare to say, for the future of the Charismatic Renewal. At the Press Conference during his return flight from Sweden, Pope Francis had announced this: “…the celebration organized by the ICCRS [International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services], the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Charismatic Renewal, which was ecumenical from the outset, and so it will be ecumenical in that sense… It will be celebrated in the Circus Maximus..” In all the speeches of Pope Francis to the Charismatic Renewal, references regarding it’s nature and ecumenical vocation for which he doesn’t admit any doubts, have never been missing. A sign of the times even in this Pontificate. “There is another strong sign of the Spirit in Charismatic Renewal: the search for unity of the Body of Christ. You, Charismatics, have a special grace to pray and work for Christian unity, so that the current of grace may pass through all Christian Churches. Christian unity is the work of the Holy Spirit and we must pray together — spiritual ecumenism, the ecumenism of prayer. “But, Father, can I pray with an Evangelical, with an Orthodox, with a Lutheran?” — “You must, you must! You have received the same Baptism” We know that the Charismatic Renewal can contribute towards the reconciliation of Christians of different confessions offering them a privileged place of meeting, “Comunion in the Holy Spirit”, comunion that opens them to God and brethren. The Holy Father wants to underline the immense hope of unity between Christians that is implicit in spiritual ecumenism, desired by the Second Vatican Council, to which the Charismatic Renewal can give new ardour and enthusiasm. He recognises that Providence seems to assign a specific role to the Charismatic Renewal with a rich future ahead, creating fraternal and profound meetings between Christians. He himself personally experimented it during his long Episcopal period in Argentina. In his message he affirms: “This current of grace passes through all Christian Confessions, all of us who believe in Christ — unity first of all in prayer. The work for Christian unity begins with prayer. Pray together.” Padre Raniero Cantalamessa ofm capp., Apostolic Preacher, in a sermon to the Pope and the Vatican Curia affirms: “It is precisely on this point, thanks be to God, that we have been witnessing a change for a while that we can call momentous. All the Churches of the West and those or founded by them, have had for more than a century a current of grace running through them, the Pentecostal movement and the different charismatic renewals derived from it in traditional churches. It is not actually a movement in the current meaning of that term. It has no founder, no rule, no spirituality of it own; nor does it possess a governmental structure, except for coordination and service. It is exactly a current of grace that must be diffused through the whole Church, to be dispersed in it the way an electric discharge is dispersed into a mass, and then at the end, to disappear as a distinct phenomenon. It is no longer possible to ignore, or to consider as marginal, this phenomenon that in more or less profound ways, has reached hundreds of millions of believers in Christ from all Christian confessions and tens of millions just in the Catholic Church. In receiving the leaders of the charismatic renewal in St. Peter’s Basilica for the first time on May 19, 1975, Paul VI in his address called the renewal “a chance for the Church and for the world.” Unfortunately we have to admit honestly that with time, even the initial Ecumenical vision of the Renewal has been blurred and has often found strong opposition, ironically right within the movement, due to ignorance, fear, uncertainty and prejudice. In front of these forms of resistance the Pope replies with conviction: “But there are differences!”. Let us leave them aside; let us walk with what we have in common, which is enough: there is the Holy Trinity; there is Baptism. Let us go forward in the strength of the Holy Spirit For this reason the Pope exhorts: “…Remember that “the charismatic renewal is de facto ecumenical in nature … The Catholic renewal rejoices in what the Holy Spirit is accomplishing in the other Churches (1 Malines 5,3).” Even on a concrete level of collaboration, the Pope presses on to suggest how: “It would be so beautiful to organize seminars of life in the Spirit, together with other Christian Charismatic realities”. So at the end of this brief meditation of mine, I sincerely express my total adhesion in sharing the vision that was of Card. Suenens, who affirmed that the “Charismatic Renewal will be Ecumenical or won’t be”. An imperative commitment for the credibility itself of the Charismatic Renewal. This is the hope that I cherish for the future of the “Charismatic Renewal, a Pentecostal grace for the whole Church “.
Catholic Charismatic Renewal Golden Jubilee 2017
Palazzo San Calisto – 00120 Vatican City
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