Vancouver Conference 2017

Bishop Peter Smith
Vancouver Conference 2017

By Richard Dunstan

 

  The Holy Spirit has been adapting to the needs of the situation since the creation of the world, says Bishop Peter Smith, and we must be ready for whatever He’s planning to do next.

Bishop Smith, auxiliary bishop of Portland, Oregon, was featured speaker at the annual Vancouver Catholic Charismatic Conference in September at Broadway Church, along with Bible scholar Mary Healy.

Bishop Smith was ordained to the priesthood in 2001 and made a bishop in 2014. He is archdiocesan liaison to the Catholic charismatic renewal and a member of the Brotherhood of the People of Praise. But he said he would still be living in his native South Africa, where he was trained as a lawyer, if he hadn’t been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

He said different groups of people require different approaches, even in secular life—a speech to students is not going to be the same as a speech to business people—and the requirements of Christian witness change with each generation.

“The Holy Spirit adjusts to what He has to work with, and what’s going on in the culture and the situation,” he said. “We need to ask, ‘what opens the hearts of the people around us?’”

But at the same time, he said, we must never lose sight of what is essential in our message. First, proclaiming Jesus and a life-changing encounter with Him; “it’s one thing to know about Jesus, but when you encounter Him, it’s a whole different thing.

And second, baptism in the Holy Spirit. We can move into other ministries, “but we can never lose sight of that foundation.”

Bishop Smith said that the Holy Spirit makes it possible to be, not only a servant of Jesus, but His friend (see John 15:11-17). He said many wish to be good servants of the Lord, but do not realize that they can also have friendship with Him. He said we must be like Joshua – “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15)—but we must also be to Jesus as Ruth was to Naomi—“wherever you go, I will go” (Ruth 1:16)—and ultimately like the apostle John, who followed Jesus to the foot of the Cross (John 19:26).

The bishop traced the action of the Holy Spirit through the Old and New Testaments, from the presence of the Spirit of God over the waters of creation (Genesis 1:2) through the preaching of the apostles in the book of Acts; the courage of the early Christian martyrs, the rise of the desert fathers when many Christians had become lukewarm after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire; the formation of religious orders like the Franciscans and the Jesuits to meet the challenges of the 13th and 16th centuries; and the coming of the charismatic renewal in the 20th century.

He said new movements in the Church have always had three ingredients: a new sort of life-changing encounter with God; the formation of a fellowship among those who have had that experience; and an outreach to the larger Church and the world by that fellowship, based on that experience.

 

Mary Healy
Vancouver Conference 2017

by Richard Dunstan

 

How many disciples did Jesus send out to heal the sick, expel demons, and preach the kingdom of God?

Seventy.

Including you and me.

The 70 disciples Jesus sends out on the road in chapter 10 of Luke’s gospel (some translations read 72) aren’t special people the 12 apostles, says Dr. Mary Healy. They’re just followers of Jesus like us. And we should be doing the same things they did, with the same spiritual gifts He gave them.

“The Lord’s plan was never to have just a few superstars have those gifts,” she told the Vancouver Catholic Charismatic Conference in September.

Healy, a leading Catholic Bible scholar and chair of the doctrinal commission of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, was featured speaker at the conference, along with Bishop Peter Smith, auxiliary bishop of Portland, Oregon. About 900  attended the conference, held at Broadway Church.

Healy said the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is “restoring the normal Christian life” by bringing the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the forefront of Catholicism. “It’s returning the Church to what she is.”

Not everyone needs to be a part of the charismatic movement as such, she said, but everyone in the Church needs to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Why? Because that’s how Jesus worked, and that’s how we have to work. Luke’s Gospel makes it clear that Jesus, though God, worked as a man, in the power of the Spirit, for example at the beginning of His ministry in chapter 4, when he returns to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit” (verse 14) and announces in the synagogue at Nazareth, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (verse 18).

“We, baptized in Him, receive the same Holy Spirit He did,” Healy said. “The Holy Spirit is the foundation for everything He did in His ministry,” and our program should be the same as the one He announced for Himself in the synagogue.

Healy said that for much of the past 50 years, charismatic conferences have tended to feature speakers with extraordinary gifts, and everybody else has come to receive from those people. But in the next 50 years, she said, all charismatics should be practicing those gifts. She noted that in Luke 10, Jesus doesn’t tell the disciples to pray for healing—he tells them to heal.

What’s more, she said, although Jesus was clearly a joyful person, he is only actually described as rejoicing once in the entire Bible. It’s in Luke 10, when those 70 disciples come back reporting that even the demons are subject to them. In their work, He has seen “Satan falling like lightning from the sky” (verse 18).

“Satan is losing his grip through you,” Healy said. “The reason Satan keeps us in fear is that he’s terrified of us.” Jesus promises us that nothing will hurt us (verse 19) and that our names are written in heaven (verse 20).

Healy gave seven keys to walking through our lives in the supernatural power of the Spirit, like the 70 disciples and like the apostles in the book of Acts:

Be filled with the Holy Spirit. If you’ve already been baptized in the Spirit, keep being filled. When John the Baptist promises that Jesus will baptize His followers in the Holy Spirit, the word “baptize” has connotations of immersion, soaking, even pickling. “John says He’s going to pickle you in the Holy Spirit,” she said. “Do you want to taste like the Holy Spirit? You need to stand closer to Him.”

Maintain intimacy with Jesus. The closer we stay to Him, the more the Holy Spirit will work through us. We need to spend time with Jesus in the sacraments, in scripture, in prayer and in worship.

Get God’s heart for the lost. “He gives us power to do the things that are on His heart,” she said. “God wants everyone to be freed from the spiritual orphanhood that comes from not knowing Him.” We are surrounded by spiritual orphans who are not in condition for eternal life, and “when we have a heart for the lost sheep, we get over our Catholic reticence and get bold about speaking to them about Jesus.” Then we will find that wonders follow, “the divine audio-visual aids to convince people of the truth of the message.”

Ask, seek, knock. On a large scale. St. Teresa of Avila said “when you ask great things of God, you give Him a  compliment.” And don’t let false humility stop you. “None of us is worthy—get over it.”

Do whatever He tells you—the advice we get (John 2:5) from the Blessed Virgin, the person who knew Jesus best. We must be obedient to Jesus.

Step out in faith. The Protestant preacher John Wimber said “faith” is spelled R-I-S-K. We shouldn’t do anything harmful or dangerous, but we should be willing to risk looking foolish. And if your faith is small, follow it anyhow. “If you want your faith to grow, step out in the faith you have now.”

Take it out. The Church should not be turned in on itself. “It’s time to bring the news of our glorious Lord out into the streets.”


Posted in Uncategorized

Fall Newsletter 2017

A flood of grace

“To share baptism in the Holy Spirit with everyone in the Church, to praise the Lord unceasingly,

to walk together with Christians of different Churches and Ecclesial Communities in prayer and activity on behalf of those in greatest need, to serve the poor and the sick. This is what

the Church and the Pope expect from you, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, but also from

everyone here: all of you who have become part of this flood of grace.”

—Pope Francis, Pentecost 2017 vigil prayer meeting, Circus Maximus, Rome

Pope marks charismatic jubilee with 50,000 pilgrims


By RICHARD DUNSTAN

Three years ago, Pope Francis invited the world’s charismatic Catholics to join him in Rome for Pentecost this year. Fifty thousand people from more than 120 countries took him up on the invitation—including about 50 from B.C.

This year marks the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which got its start at a retreat held by students at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in 1967. International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services celebrated the jubilee with five days of activities in Rome, culminating in Pentecost Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis June 4.

Pilgrimages to Rome were organized in the Vancouver archdiocese and the Nelson diocese, while others from B.C. travelled with an Edmonton group or independently. The groups also visited other religious sites in Italy.

The celebration in Rome featured three events with Pope Francis: a general audience at St. Peter’s Square Wednesday morning, at which he welcomed charismatic pilgrims; a Saturday evening prayer vigil at the Circus Maximus, scene of ancient Roman chariot races and Christian martyrdoms; and the Pentecost Sunday Mass.

At the prayer vigil, Pope Francis welcomed the crowd to “a kind of Upper Room beneath the open sky,” and called the charismatic renewal “a flood of grace” for the whole Church, “not just for some.”

“Many have come from different parts of the world, and the Holy Spirit has brought us together to build bonds of fraternal friendship that encourage us on our journey towards unity, unity for mission. Not to stand still! But for mission, to proclaim that Jesus is Lord.”

Pope Francis went on to stress three more points: Christian unity, the importance of praising God, and the care of the poor. He called attention to the fact that the Circus Maximus, where he was speaking, was a place where early Christian martyrs were killed—and that Christians of all denominations are still being killed today for their faith. He called this “the ecumenism of blood,” when people are killed, not for being Catholic or Evangelical or Lutheran or Orthodox, but simply for being Christian.

He concluded: “To share baptism in the Holy Spirit with everyone in the Church, to praise the Lord unceasingly, to walk together with Christians of different Churches and Ecclesial Communities in prayer and activity on behalf of those in greatest need, to serve the poor and the sick,” he said. “This is what the Church and the Pope expect from you, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, but also from everyone here: all of you who have become part of this flood of grace.” L’Osservatore Romano put attendance at 50,000.

At the Pentecost Sunday Mass, he prayed, “Spirit of God, Lord, who dwell in my heart and in the heart of the Church, guiding and shaping her in diversity, come!  Like water, we need you to live.  Come down upon us anew, teach us unity, renew our hearts and teach us to love as you love us, to forgive as you forgive us.  Amen”.

In addition to the events with the Pope, a Jubilee prayer meeting and Mass was held on the Friday at the Circus Maximus, featuring Patti Mansfield and David Mangan (see Page 4), who were part of the 1967 retreat in Duquesne; Michelle Moran, president of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, the Rome-based governing body; Ralph Martin, a longtime Catholic charismatic leader and evangelist; and Vinson Synan, a Pentecostal pastor who has supported the Catholic renewal from its early days. Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell celebrated the Mass. Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household and a major charismatic speaker, spoke at the Saturday vigil.

Workshops on numerous topics, from charismatic gifts to working with the poor, were held at various churches in the city. Speakers included Sister Briege McKenna, Sister Nancy Kellar, Jim Murphy, Cyril John, Charles Whitehead, Mary Healy, and many other charismatic leaders.

It’s time for the Catholic charismatic renewal’s 50-year review. Fortunately, the Book of Revelation has already done it for us.

Peter Thompson, featured speaker for Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit in Kelowna in August, says the letters to the seven churches found in chapters 2 and 3 of the New Testament book of Revelation were written about 50 years after the original Pentecost. More than 1,900 years later, they match up well to the situation of the renewal 50 years after it began.

Precious Embers was the theme of the gathering, held Aug. 13-18 at St. Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer. Thompson, a Catholic evangelist from Calgary, and Father Obi (Sylvester) Ibekwe of Creston, Nelson diocesan liaison for the charismatic renewal (see page 3), were the speakers. The gathering, formerly known as Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute, is sponsored by Nelson Diocesan Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and endorsed by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C. More than 40 people, from across the diocese and beyond, attended.

Thompson told the crowd that today’s Catholic charismatics, like the churches addressed in Revelation, need to stir up those precious embers. For example, the letter to Sardis (Rev 3:1-6) says to that church, “you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”

Sound familiar? “We (charismatics) have a reputation of being alive in the Holy Spirit,” Thompson said. “People might think we were a bit crazy, but we had a reputation of being alive.” And now, he said, most of us, like the church in Ephesus, have “turned aside from your early love.

“Keep firmly in mind the heights from which you have fallen. Repent, and return to your former deeds.” (Rev. 2:4-5a)

Thompson, who was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1974, said God has had to remind him and stir him up many times since then. “If you’ve felt that flame begin to die, simply ask the Holy Spirit,” he said. “We can’t generate the flame ourselves.”

In six talks over the first three full days of the gathering, Thompson gave advice on many fronts for recovering the power of the charismatic renewal.

Exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He said there are far too many prayer groups that don’t exercise the charismatic gifts beyond maybe 20 seconds of prayer in tongues at each meeting. There’s no prophecy, no healing. “Why the decline? Have we allowed that desire to grow cold?

“God has given us the whole Holy Spirit. Don’t be content with just tongues.” As St. Paul said, “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially prophecy” (1 Corinthians 14:1). We need to step out in faith and deliver the prophetic word God seems to be giving us. “If you have faith for just three words, give those three words.”

He also said prayer group leaders need to get serious about praying in preparation for meetings. “Don’t just leave it to five minutes as we’re driving in.”

Read the Bible. It’s a falsehood that Catholics are, or ever were, forbidden to read the Bible, except for a brief period during the 12th century in response to a particular heresy that was distorting Scripture. What has been forbidden is reading false translations, but popes and saints all through the centuries have urged the reading of Scripture. St. Jerome (fourth century), the great Bible scholar and translator, said “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ,” and Pope Benedict XV (not XVI) said in 1920 Catholics should be “saturated with the Bible.”

Because of readings at Mass, Thompson said, “Catholics know far more Scripture than they think.” But we should read the Bible on our own time, too, he said; “as we read, the Holy Spirit transforms our whole being.” It also equips us for ministry to others; “if you’re immersed in the Word, the Holy Spirit will bring the word that’s needed for that person at that time.”

And if we read the Bible so much that some parts become familiar, read them attentively all the same. “Don’t skip it—read it, because God has more to say to you.”

Be holy. You won’t get into heaven until you are, so you might as well try for it now rather than waiting for purgatory. “Rev. 21:27 says nothing imperfect can enter in,” Thompson said. “Everyone who enters in will be Saints, capital S Saints.”

He asked if anyone had been to a funeral recently, and when nearly every hand went up, he asked with a smile, “was that person canonized?”

At most funerals, he said, we hear that the deceased is in a better place, presumably heaven. “Not quite so fast,” he warned. “We may need further purification.” That’s what purgatory is for. Jesus desires that everyone be saved, but we need to be made fit for heaven first.

But he said holiness in this life is a realistic goal—humanly impossible, but realistic, because “all things are possible for God’s grace.”

“To be holy is to be set apart by God, for God,” he said. Everyone, even adults with a spectacularly sinful past, are made holy at the moment of baptism, and when we fall away from that, we can turn to confession and the Eucharist.

He said confession is “the sacrament of healing love. Don’t wait for a mortal sin. Going regularly fortifies the soul. The just man fails every day.” As for the Eucharist, “every Mass is a miracle beyond imagination, taking place in front of us.”

He also recommended seeking indulgences offered by the Church out of the “treasury of heaven”—the immeasurable merits of Jesus, as well as the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. Indulgences do not forgive sin but do take away the temporal punishment of sin, shortening time in purgatory for ourselves or for those in purgatory for whom we pray.

He also reminded the gathering that both faith and works are pure supernatural gifts from God; we don’t earn salvation by our own efforts. This point was agreed to by the Catholic and Lutheran churches in 2000, thus ending one of the biggest arguments of the Protestant Reformation. “It’s grace, grace, grace,” he said.

Spread the Gospel. “The Church exists to evangelize,” Thompson said. “It’s not an option. We’re commissioned at our baptism.”

“There are in excess  of seven billion  people on  earth, and every one of them needs Christ,” he said. “Increasingly today there is a whole generation who have no knowledge of Christ, other than as a swearword.”

He said everyone in heaven is Catholic “by the time they get there,” but not everyone who gets to heaven is Catholic in their earthly life; those who lack knowledge of the Church and the Gospel, but seek God with a sincere heart and follow His grace, can be saved. Still, this doesn’t mean everybody is saved; the Catechism of the Catholic Church (844) says many are deceived and choose darkness. We don’t know if any individual is in hell, Thompson said, but he noted that Jesus said the road to destruction is wide, and many follow it.

How serious is our obligation? Thompson said early missionaries to the West African country of Ghana took their coffins with them, because foreign missionaries had a life expectancy of six months to a year; “they knew they were going to die.” But it was worth it to save souls.

How should we evangelize? We should start by praying for the salvation of every stranger we see. And we should show our faith by the way we live. But we need to talk about Jesus, too. “The witness of life sooner or later must be proclaimed by the word of life,” Pope Paul VI said.

“Love, and pray for the opportunity to share the Good News,” Thompson said.

He said we should also pray for the salvation of the dead. It’s never too late, he said—“God is outside of time.”

Prepare for the final battle. St. John Paul II said in 1978, shortly before his election as Pope, that the Church is entering the final confrontation between Christ and the antichrist, the Church and the antichurch. But as Pope, he also said “Do not be afraid.”

“We don’t know when the Lord will come back or how long the confrontation will last,” Thompson said. “We may never be called to give our lives for Christ, in the sense of losing blood, but we may.”

He said our society is in bad shape and most people demonstrate “practical atheism” in that “the word of God has no bearing on their lives.” But he also said the real struggle is in the spiritual realm, not in human society. “Our battle is not against those who deny Christ, but against powers and principalities” [the demonic].

We need to put on the armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-17), pray in tongues when we’re confronted by the enemy, and “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Satan’s time is short.”

“We are in dark times,” Thompson said, “but we also live in great times, the times Jesus the Lord has chosen for us to live.”

Thompson, born in England, studied for the priesthood, but discerned a vocation for lay life. He and his wife, Madeleine, who was also at gathering, have been married f55 years. They moved to Canada in 1967. They spent two years in door-to-door evangelization in England in the  90s. Peter has served 12 years on the Canadian national service committee, and two terms on the international service committee. He also does missionary work in Africa with Renewal Ministries, headed by Catholic evangelist Ralph Martin, and was on his way to Kenya the day after leaving Kelowna.                                

 —Richard Dunstan

 

John to headline 2018 Kelowna gathering

Cyril John (at right), former vice-president of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and author of Pray Lifting Up Holy Hands, has been announced as guest speaker for the 10th annual Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit, to be held next summer in Kelowna.

The event, formerly known as Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute, will take place Aug. 12-17 at St. Charles Garnier Church. Theme is Prophetic Intercession.

John, 60, was born in Kerala, India, and currently lives in New Delhi. He was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1982 and held a number of leadership positions in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in India beginning in 1991. He was named to the international service committee, based in Rome, in 2004 and was vice-president from 2007 to 2015.

His book, Pray Lifting Up Holy Hands, was published in 2012 and is a guide to intercessory prayer.

The Gathering in the Spirit will run Sunday evening to Friday lunchtime, and will feature two talks by John on each of the four full days, plus discussions, a healing Mass, and other evening devotional events, plus ample time for prayer and reflection. All events are at St. Charles Garnier except for the opening Mass, to take place Sunday evening in Mary’s Grove at St. Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer.

Cost until June 15, 2018, is $500 including accommodation at Seton House, or $275 without accommodation; both figures include meals and all sessions of the gathering. After June 15 the cost is $550 with accommodation, $325 without. Space at Seton House is limited to 30 people (double occupancy). Some billeting may be available.

To register, contact Maria McManus, #22-2035 Boucherie Rd. Westbank BC, V4T 1Z6, 250-707-1423untamedspirit@telus.net. A $50 non-refundable deposit must accompany registration to hold a room at Seton House.

The Gathering in the Spirit is sponsored by Nelson Diocese Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and endorsed by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C.

 

Why we still need Pentecost in 2017

The fire that poured down on the first Christians on the original Pentecost day is just as necessary for the Christians of the 21st century, Father Obi (Sylvester) Ibekwe told Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit.

“Pentecost was not an event of 2,000 years ago,” he said. “It’s an experience for us today.”

“The ‘why” of my existence can never be fulfilled without the Pentecost experience.”

He noted that the Baltimore Catechism taught that God made us “to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.” And the Holy Spirit, given at the first Pentecost and to all Christians since then who are willing to receive Him, makes it possible for that to happen.

“The love of God has been poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit [Romans 5:5],” Father Ibekwe said. “I can love because I have been loved. And the Pentecost moment is when we realize we are loved by God. We enter into a kind of paradise.”

He noted that in the account of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2, the tongues of fire that bring the Holy Spirit separate and come to rest on each individual (verse 3). “When God deals with us, He doesn’t deal with us as a crowd,” Fr. Ibekwe said. “Each person is unique.” And like the burning bush of Exodus 3:2, where the flame does not consume the bush, the fire of the Holy Spirit is not destructive of our individuality. “We are still intact,” he said.

It does change us, though. It fills us with joy – “it is a contradiction to see a Christian who is sad” – and it gives us a sense of urgency to “rush out of the door” and proclaim the word of God. The risen Jesus tells the disciples in Acts 1:8 that they will go to the ends of the world to be His witnesses, and Pentecost, a Jewish holiday which originated as a harvest feast in the agricultural sense, became a spiritual harvest, with 3,000 people converted to the Gospel (Acts 2:41).

He said there are five steps by which people become disciples of Jesus, and gave advice on how Christians can help them along the path.

First, we must help them establish trust. If we treat people with kindness within an ordinary human relationship, people can see we are human beings just like themselves. “People need that bridge of trust to Jesus.”

Then, we need to satisfy curiosity when people have questions about our faith, even hard questions like how a good God can allow evil in the world. We need to tell the reason for our hope, but we shouldn’t overdo it—sometimes, he said, “we try to fill a teaspoon of a question with a gallon of an answer,” but that’s a mistake.

Next, we must pray for and encourage spiritual openness. He said all people, from Pope Francis to the famed atheist author Richard Dawkins, have a “God-sized hole” in their hearts, and can be brought to realize this.

Then, we should encourage any active spiritual seeking that people may show, as when they want to attend Mass or get involved in the parish some way.

The final step is when people become intentional disciples: consciously, actively following Jesus, as Peter did when he laid aside his fishing net, and with it his former way of life. This may not happen soon, or even in our lifetimes, but we should never be discouraged. We sow the seed, but God gives the growth. “Someday, the seed we sow will grow.”

 

– Richard Dunstan

 

Ground Zero:
When the fire fell at Duquesne

David Mangan was looking at the Holy Spirit through a scientist’s eyes when he went on the first Catholic charismatic retreat 50 years ago. He saw more than enough to convince him that the Spirit is real.

Mangan, now 72, was a 22-year-old math graduate when he joined 26 others on a retreat at the Ark and the Dove Retreat Center near Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in February 1967. Twelve of the young Catholics were baptized in the Holy Spirit on the retreat, which is now considered the beginning of the worldwide Catholic charismatic renewal. He told his story as featured speaker at the Nelson diocesan charismatic conference in April in Kelowna, as the renewal celebrates its golden jubilee.

“I am still an introverted mathematician, but I am a radically different man from what I was then,” Mangan told the conference.

The Duquesne retreat was set up after two members of a Catholic study group had been baptized in the Spirit at an interdenominational prayer meeting. Participants were asked to prepare by reading the first four chapters of the book of Acts, plus Pentecostal minister David Wilkerson’s 1962 book The Cross and the Switchblade. “Most of it went over my head,” Mangan said. He was an active Catholic who had never had a crisis of faith, but “I was not exactly a spiritual giant.”

At the weekend retreat, Mangan was too tired from his week’s work to get much out of the Friday evening activities, but on Saturday morning his interest was piqued by what he heard from the speakers on the first two chapters of Acts. He learned that the Greek for “power” in Acts 1:8 (“you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you”) is dunamis, the origin of the English word “dynamite.” “I said, ‘where’s the dynamite?’” he recalled. Then he was told that speaking in tongues, as in Acts 2, still happens today, and he wrote in his notebook “I want to hear someone speak in tongues—me!”; he says he probably wouldn’t have believed in tongues if he had heard somebody else.

Then at lunchtime, the whole project was threatened. A water pump failed, the repair man couldn’t come until Monday, and it looked like the retreat would have to be cancelled. Mangan was upset at that prospect—“I’m on the trail of something,” he said—so he and a few others went into the chapel to pray for a solution. “Never before had I prayed for something that I needed the answer right now,” he said. But as the group sat on the floor of the bare chapel before the Blessed Sacrament, he had a brief burst of faith and prayed out loud, “thank you, Lord, for giving us water.” Then he felt foolish—what if there was no water?

When the group was done praying, the others went off to lunch, but not Mangan. “I was the scientist,” he said. “I went right into the kitchen and turned on the water. It came gushing out.” It turned out that the repairman had had a change of heart and fixed the pump while the group was praying—not a miracle, but answered prayer is answered prayer.

So Mangan returned to the chapel to thank God, and the Holy Spirit clobbered him. “I was so overcome with the presence of God that I could hardly walk,” he said. “It was like walking under water. The next thing I knew I was prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration.”

He had forgotten saying “where’s the dynamite?” but now he felt “little explosions” throughout his body. And he had forgotten writing that he wanted to hear himself speak in tongues, but that’s what he found himself doing. “I thought that I might die,” he said. “Nobody can look on the face of God and live.”

No sooner had he left the chapel, though, when he began to doubt whether his experience was real. So, he said, he did what scientists do when they mistrust their data: they look for more data. He went back to the chapel and all the same things happened again.

The rest of the weekend, the Spirit stayed with him. Sunday morning, he was trying to be unobtrusive in the back row when he was overcome by roaring laughter; he fell off his chair and had to go to another room—“so much for not disturbing people.” The laughter lasted an hour.

After the weekend, he felt “lost in Christ” for nine to 12 months, at a level of high spiritual development that he had done nothing to achieve. At the end of that, he returned to more or less normal, but he said God told him “this [the ‘lost in Christ’ feeling and the spiritual development] is where you’re going.”

Since the retreat, Mangan has married and had five children; taught theology and math and worked as an administrator in Catholic high schools; and travelled nationally and internationally as a speaker. His most recent book is God Loves You and There’s Nothing You Can Do About It.                                           —Richard Dunstan

 

50-year veteran looks ahead for the renewal

The Catholic charismatic renewal is far from dead, but at age 50 it could use some rejuvenation, says David Mangan, who has been part of the renewal from the beginning.

Mangan asked three pre-teens who attended the Nelson diocesan charismatic conference in April in Kelowna to pray a blessing over the 150 people in the congregation, most of them a long way past their teens.

He said he always looks for youth in the audience at his speaking engagements, and “here you don’t see many, do you?” It’s the same most other places. Young adults and teens are “the missing group in the Catholic charismatic renewal.”

The renewal is “hardly ready to be put out of its misery,” Mangan said, and it has some real strongholds in some parts of the world. In the United States, where he lives, there are some strong pockets, but not many, and he said he suspects Canada is much the same.

Among the world strongholds are Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, and in the United States, the strongest areas are places where the Latin American population is large. The renewal is also strong where there is an outreach to youth and to the needs of youth; where the healing ministry is most active; and where there is a sense of community. He said people don’t return to prayer meetings because the quality of the prophecy; “they come back because they felt love.”

He said part of what the renewal needs is a return to the willingness early charismatics had to go to trouble for their faith. People would attend conferences at a moment’s notice, and though that isn’t always possible, “that should be your heart.”

Mangan said we need to embrace the gift of tongues more fully. He said he has developed the ability to “pray without ceasing” by praying in tongues under his breath whenever he’s not doing anything specific that requires his attention. At times that has led him into contemplative prayer—not always, since contemplation is a gift from God, but when it happens he said it is like being the disciple John lying on Jesus’ breast (John 14:25, 21:20). If you haven’t prayed in tongues, he said, ask God for the gift and then just keep making sounds, but don’t speak English or any other language you know. Those who already pray in tongues should do the same, and keep going while avoiding the tongue they usually use.

In every situation, he said, we should ask God what He’s doing there; “then you follow that, and it will work.” We won’t know everything God is doing, but we will know some things—for example, He is always loving people.

Above all, we must remember that God loves us—not as an abstract doctrine, but “knowing with your knower.”

“Jesus died while we were sinners,” he said. “He didn’t wait until we stopped sinning.” There are 10 Gospel passages where Jesus rebukes the disciples for their “little faith,” but every time He still meets their needs—for example, He saves Peter when he starts to sink after trying to walk on water.

“I was baptized in the Holy Spirit when I didn’t know what it was, when I didn’t know what it was for, when I certainly didn’t deserve it, and when I was certainly going to mess it up. The Lord gave it anyway.”

 

The biblical roots of the jubilee celebration

By MARY HEALY

(Dr. Mary Healy, professor of Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, chair of the Doctrinal Commission of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services. and author of several books, is a featured speaker at the annual Vancouver Catholic Charismatic Conference in September.)

A jubilee is a time of joy, grace, and celebration. As St John Paul II wrote of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000: “The term ‘jubilee’ speaks of joy; not just an inner joy but a jubilation which is manifested outwardly.”

The origins of the jubilee are in the book of Leviticus, where God teaches His Chosen People how to sanctify time. Through Moses at Mount Sinai, the Lord instructed the Israelites how to order their lives within the rhythm of weeks, months, and years such that they continually renewed their fellowship with Him and with one another. They were to keep holy the seventh day, the Sabbath; to celebrate each new moon; and to observe a liturgical cycle of special feasts and seasons each year.

And beyond the annual calendar, certain years were sacred. The Lord commanded that every seventh year would be a sabbath year (Lv 25:1–7). That is, the people had to rest from agricultural work and let the land itself “rest,” or lie fallow—there could be no sowing or reaping. To celebrate the sabbath year was an act of trust in God. It required trust that even without human labour, God would provide enough for the people to eat through what grew of itself or what they had saved from previous years. The sabbath year helped ensure that God’s people would not be slaves to work, that they would not close themselves off in a utilitarian or consumerist vision of reality.

Even greater than the sabbath year was the jubilee year (Lv 25:8–55). The jubilee was a kind of super-Sabbath, to be held after every seven times seven years—that is, the fiftieth year. The Israelites called it a “jubilee” (Hebrew yobel) because they announced it at the end of the forty-ninth year by blowing a ram’s horn (yobel). Leviticus goes on to explain that the jubilee is to be a year of rest, release, and return.

It is a year of rest because, just as in the sabbath year, the people are to take a year off from their farm labour and let the land lie fallow. Long before modern ideas of crop rotation, the Lord taught Israel how to let the land rest and recoup its nutrients!

It is a year of release because the slave-owners of all Israelites who had sold themselves into slavery to pay a debt (a common practice in the ancient world) would free them. This means that no Israelite could be a true slave. He was only an indentured servant, who would eventually be free. Thus, God reminded the Israelites that they were servants of Him alone, who freed them from slavery in Egypt. The book of Deuteronomy later added another form of release: during the jubilee, all debts are to be forgiven (Dt 15:1). The weight of a debt could not permanently oppress God’s people.

And it is a year of return because all land that had been sold off (another common way of repaying a debt) had to be returned to its original owner, and the owner could return to his land. The jubilee ensured that selling property was only a long-term lease. This was essential because an Israelite family’s portion in the holy land was not real estate that they could trade like a commodity, but a sacred inheritance from the Lord. No member of God’s people could be permanently alienated from his land.

The jubilee would thus enable all God’s people to remain in the freedom and fullness of life that He desired for them. No Israelite could be permanently impoverished, and no small group of people could accumulate most of the wealth.

But sadly, it is doubtful whether the jubilee was ever actually carried out as the Lord instructed.The Israelites experienced the bitter fruit of ignoring God’s commands, culminating with their exile and captivity in Babylon—the opposite of rest, release and return. But through the prophet Isaiah, God announced a restoration to come:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me;

He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly,

to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives

and release to the prisoners,

To announce a year of favour from the LORD

and a day of vindication by our God,

to comfort all who mourn;

To place on those who mourn in Zion a diadem instead of ashes,

To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning,

a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit

(Isa 61:1–3).

The “year of favour from the Lord” refers to the jubilee. God promises that the coming of the Messiah will be a new and greater jubilee, a time of freedom and healing, consolation and joy.

And what happened when Jesus came? At the beginning of His public ministry, He went into the synagogue at Nazareth, read this passage from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and then announced to His stunned audience, “This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening” (Lk 4:21). Jesus was proclaiming that His whole mission is to inaugurate the new and everlasting jubilee—the true rest, release, and return of which the ancient jubilee was only a foreshadowing. He gives us the true rest of communion with God, the true release from captivity to sin, and the true return to the promised land God always intended for us, heaven.

The Church had long forgotten the idea of a jubilee in her history until Pope Boniface VIII announced a jubilee year in 1300. He called Christians to celebrate it with almsgiving, works of mercy, and pilgrimages. Since then, the Church has celebrated jubilees on and off, and sometimes has marked an “extraordinary” jubilee (one not at a fifty-year interval), like the Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis.

So what does all this have to do with the Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal? It is  interesting  to

note that Israel’s jubilee had a special connection with Pentecost because just as Pentecost was always celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover (7×7+1), the jubilee is celebrated every fiftieth year (7×7+1). The beginning of the Renewal fifty years ago was a kind of new Pentecost that spread like holy fire throughout the Church. It brought countless people to experience the love of God and the glorious majesty of Jesus. It is fitting to celebrate the jubilee of this great work of God by asking Him to renew in us the wonderful things He did through Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Specifically, this year we might:

Celebrate the Jubilee as rest by taking extra time off from our labours, even ministry labours, and simply enjoying the fruit that God has made to grow through the Charismatic Renewal. Take extra time to visit people, renew old friendships, make a pilgrimage, and enjoy the Lord’s presence in worship. Celebrate the Jubilee as release by forgiving any outstanding debts—debts of offences committed against us, and perhaps even monetary debts. Let us do all that is in our power in this Jubilee year to heal broken relationships.

Celebrate the Jubilee as return by returning to our first love, the passion for Jesus that the Holy Spirit kindled in us, and by returning to the childlike trust in God and abundant exercise of spiritual gifts that we may have known in the past.

Finally, it is curious that the Latin word for jubilee, jobeleus, sounds a lot like another Latin word, jubilus. For the Fathers of the Church, jubilus or jubilation meant sounds made by the tongue that express overflowing joy but without words—that is, nothing other than the gift of tongues! To sing in tongues is a wonderful way to praise and thank God in the Spirit for the gift of His Son Jesus, who is the fulfillment of the jubilee.                                     —ICCRS Newsletter


 

Greetings from new ICCRS president

By JIM MURPHY

President, International Catholic

Charismatic Renewal Services

Dear brothers and sisters,

I was baptized into the Catholic faith when I was 2 weeks old, and have loved being in the body of Christ my entire life. I love the Catholic Church!!!

My introduction to the Charismatic Renewal began in Juneau, Alaska (USA). It was June of 1971. I had gone into an Assembly of God church, out of mere curiosity. I was surprised by what I encountered there, but fell in love with these new brothers and sisters. So many things that I had longed for in my relationship with God I found in that amazing encounter with the Holy Spirit!

I returned to my home in Michigan (USA) and attended a prayer meeting put on by the Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In the following years, I became very involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. I was excited to see how the Spirit was transforming the lives of so many people. I was happy to serve where I could, as I believed the Renewal was a significant way God was working in the world, and was excited to be part of this amazing grace.

Eventually, I was asked to serve on ICCRS, which was a great honour, but also carried a sense of responsibility. In ICCRS, I met many wonderful brothers and sisters from all over the world. I also saw how the one Spirit could move in many ways. God’s work was much bigger than anything I could imagine. I also understood that God  works in a variety of ways through a variety of people. No one “owns” the Spirit.

Those years of service and all those important lessons came to a new moment of realization and clarity as I stood in the crowd at Circus Maximus, during the recent celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal held in Rome at Pentecost. The Jubilee was an opportunity to look back, give thanks, and reflect upon some important lessons. It was also a time to look ahead, trying to understand God’s plans for us and learning how to respond in this new day.

In the ICCRS council meeting that followed the festivities, there was a surprise of the Spirit with my election as the next president of ICCRS. I love and respect our former president, Michelle Moran, so much, that, to be honest, it is a bit intimidating to try to walk the path she has blazed for us. Still, I have to trust God and rely on the prayers of my beloved brothers and sisters, that God will give me the grace necessary to fulfill my task.

As the ICCRS council was coming to a close, we returned once more to the now empty Circus Maximus. The open field was in sharp contrast to the throng of nearly 38,000 people gathered there just a few days earlier. We walked back to the place where Pope Francis had addressed the crowd. The stage was gone; the chairs were taken away. It was an empty space. However, as we stood there looking over the open area, I seemed to see again the smiling faces, the banners snapping in the breeze, and the hands lifted in prayer and jubilation. “Looking out” over the crowd once more, a crowd from more than 120 nations, I fell in love with the Renewal all over again.

But the “Renewal” I felt so deeply for at that moment wasn’t simply a structure, an organization, or an office. It was the men and women, the brothers and sisters…the family from all over the world who had experienced and surrendered to this sweet touch of God’s love, the Holy Spirit.

At the end of the day, the Renewal is not about numbers, demographics, or even accomplishments. It’s about people… you and me… who have been “set on fire” with the love of God. People who believe that the Spirit of the Lord still moves upon the land to bring hearts close to the Father under the Lordship of Jesus.

That is the Renewal that I love.

Richard Dunstan

That is the Renewal I will serve.

—ICCRS Newsletter

 

B.C. Charismatic

CCRS of BC newsletter

published spring and fall

editor Richard Dunstan

308-225 Belleville St.

Victoria BC V8V 4T9

email: richard@thedunstans.com

phone: 250-477-4700

website: www.bccharismatic.ca

 

 


Posted in Uncategorized

Spring Newsletter 2017

Awake from your sleep!
Renewing the power of the renewal after 50 years

By FRANCIS EDO ELOTU

ICCRS council member—Nigeria

The fruits of the charismatic renewal in the lives of Catholic men and women when it started in 1967 left no one in doubt that the renewal was the work of the Holy Spirit, and with time, it was accepted by the whole Catholic Church. The renewal brought freshness in the life of the Church, and people touched by the power of the Spirit were experiencing conversions, expressive praise and worship, spontaneous praying, speaking in tongues, healings and miracles, prophecy, evangelization and other spiritual gifts.

However, as we celebrate the golden jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 2017, it is pertinent to ask ourselves whether our fervour had retained its vigour over the years.

Spiritual slumber is a state of indifference to God and His calling upon our lives; it insidiously develops in a formerly fervent Christian. It is a common trend in human beings to allow the fire of renewal to gradually chill into lukewarmness and slumber unless a person is spiritually alert. Jesus used hard words for the Church in Ephesus when He told them in Rev 2:4 “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” In Mt 26:40-41, when Jesus found His disciples asleep, he woke them up telling them to watch and pray that they would not fall into temptation. St. Paul in Ephesians 5:14, 1 Thess 5:6 and Romans 13:11-14 told his audience to wake up from sleep. Jesus in Rev 6:15 said: “Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake, keeping his garments that he may not go naked and be seen exposed!”

This Jubilee affords us an opportunity to re-examine our lives and repent of the sin of sleeping while we ought to be awake doing God’s work. To stay awake in times like this, the following are practices would be helpful:

  1. Aspire to grow in the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. You must be acutely aware at all times that you need the grace of God to succeed as a Christian; ask the Lord daily for this grace. Paul told Timothy that he needs to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 2:1).
  2. Spend quality time with the Lord every day. Regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament afford you the opportunity to be intimate with the Lord. Power flows from God to us when we are in His presence. Psalm 16:11, tells us that in God’s presence, there is fullness of joy and on His right hand, there are pleasures forever.
  3. Practice the presence of God. It means muttering a prayer before all your activities of the day. When you cultivate an awareness of God’s presence in all you do, sin will be repugnant to you. “He ‘prays without ceasing’ who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing.” (CCC 2745, quoting Origen)
  4. Establish a personal culture of Pentecost, wherein you ask the Lord for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon you daily. By this you would not be living on stale manna. Praying in tongues for extended periods daily helps you build your inner man (1 Cor 14:4). The Holy Spirit makes us a fountain of living water (Jn 7:38) and helps us in contending for the faith in times like this (Eph 5:18; Jude 20).
  5. Receive the sacraments frequently, especially the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist. The sacraments help us to remain steadfast in the faith. They enable us to connect with Jesus who tells us in Jn 15:5-6, that unless we abide in Him and He abides in us, we cannot bear fruit.
  6. Get involved actively in evangelization. Pope Francis said, “How I long to find the right words to stir up enthusiasm for a new chapter of evangelization full of fervour, joy, generosity, courage, boundless love and attraction! Yet I realize that no words of encouragement will be enough unless the fire of the Holy Spirit burns in our hearts. A Spirit-filled evangelization is one guided by the Holy Spirit, for He is the soul of the Church called to proclaim the Gospel….I implore Him to come and renew the Church, to stir and impel her to go forth boldly to evangelize all peoples” (The Joy of the Gospel, 261).
  7. Spend time on the word of God – read, study and meditate upon it. It will build your faith, shine light on your path, make your life fruitful and give you an inheritance among the saints. (Josh 1:8; Ps 1:1-4; Acts 20:32).
  8. Use your spiritual gifts actively in the prayer group and in the church at large. May the Lord give us the grace to know how much we need to keep awake in the times we are in so that we can maximize every opportunity to serve the Lord faithfully.

–ICCRS Leadership Bulletin, Jan.-Feb. 2017

 

Thompson headlines Kelowna event

Catholic evangelist Peter Thompson of Calgary will be featured speaker Aug. 13-18 at Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit in Kelowna. Theme of the event, in the golden jubilee year of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, will be Precious Embers—Catching the Fire.

Father Sylvester (Obi) Ibekwe of Creston, chaplain for the gathering, will also be a featured speaker.

The Gathering, formerly known as Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute, will take place at St. Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer in Kelowna. The schedule will begin with praise, worship and Mass Sunday, Aug. 13, starting at 5:30, and end after lunch on Friday, Aug. 18.

Talks will be held mornings and afternoons. A healing Mass open to all will be celebrated on the Monday at 6:15 at St. Charles Garnier Parish in Kelowna, and devotional activities are planned for Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Seton House. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered at lunchtime Tuesday through Thursday.

The Gathering is presented by Nelson Diocese Charismatic Renewal Service Committee and endorsed by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C., the provincial service committee.

Cost before June 15 is $500 per person including all meals and accommodations (double occupancy) at Seton House, or $275 for commuters, including all meals. After June 16 the cost is $550 live in, $325 for commuters. Seton House has a capacity for accommodation of 30, on a first-come, first-served basis. Capacity of the meeting room for Gathering sessions is 40. Some billeting may be available. For registration contact Maria McManus, 250-707-1423, untamedspirit@telus.net, 22-2035 Boucherie Rd., Westbank BC V4T 1Z6.

Peter Thompson was born in London, England, and educated by the Xaverian Brothers at Clapham College. He studied for the priesthood with the Holy Ghost Fathers, but discerned a vocation for lay life.

He served two years with the Royal Air Force in early warning radar. In 1962 he married his wife, Madeleine, and in 1967 they moved to Canada with their three young children. Peter worked in retail display and design for 20 years.

The Thompsons joined the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 1974, during a crisis in their marriage and faith, and Peter was called into leadership. In 1990 with the call by Pope John Paul II to a decade of evangelization, the Thompsons were invited to join the Sion Catholic community for evangelization in England, and spent the next two years in door-to-door evangelization and street ministry.

Thompson also taught 20 years at the now-closed John Paul II Catholic Bible School in Radway, Alberta, served 12 years on the Canadian national service committee, and two terms on the international service committee. He has also served since 1998 with Renewal Ministries, headed by Catholic evangelist Ralph Martin; with Renewal he has travelled extensively in several African countries, and he was appointed country co-ordinator for Kenya in 2004.

Thompson is also a professional watercoulour artist and supports his ministry through the sale of his work.

He will speak Monday through Wednesday at the Gathering.

“I am looking forward to hearing Peter Thompson again and to see what the Holy Spirit has in store for us this year,” says Loree Renwick, co-ordinator of the Gathering. “He never disappoints.”

Father Sylvester Obiora (Obi) Ibekwe, originally from Nigeria, was ordained for the Nelson diocese in October 2015 and is currently pastor at Holy Cross Parish in Creston, with missions in Riondel and the Lower Kootenay Native Band. He has long been active in the Catholic charismatic renewal and was featured speaker at Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in 2016, 2014 and 2013.

He will speak on Thursday and celebrate the closing Mass on Friday.

Lynne Williams     is co-coordinator of the event. Gladys Miller is master of ceremonies and Johanna Tournemille will lead music. Maureen Watson is in charge of the word gift team, Bev MacIntyre the prayer teams, Roy MacIntyre the after-talk activities, and Flo Reid the intercession ministry. Father Sylvester and Loree Renwick will organized the evening prayer events.

The renaming of the former Summer Institute was the result of a year-long process of discernment and discussion, says Gladys Miller, chair of the Nelson service committee.

“We were certain that the Summer Institute was instigated by the Holy Spirit,” she says, “and it was our desire that it should evolve according to the Holy Spirit.

“We were aware that at least some and perhaps many viewed the SI as an extended conference, and we thought it should be more than that. We wanted it to be a place and time of formation, growth in discipleship and faith, empowerment to be disciples and ambassadors of Jesus.

“We hope that the people attending would be fired up with a stronger desire to serve the Lord wherever and however He calls. It is our fervent hope that the Gathering will have something to offer the novice and the seasoned.”

The discernment process produced a vision statement: “To make missionary disciples who are empowered, equipped, and encouraged by the Holy Spirit.” The accompanying mission statement says the Gathering is intended “to facilitate ongoing spiritual development to all who seek to live the Gospel in response to Jesus’ call to make disciples out of all people.”

This year’s theme, Precious Embers—Catching the Fire, was discerned in connection with Exodus 3:2, Moses’s encounter with the burning bush. “While the fire of the Holy Spirit consumes us, it never destroys us,” says Miller.

“We have become increasingly aware of the need for renewal of God’s people on all levels. No matter how long we have served the Lord and no matter the level of passion, ‘there is always more,’ to quote Pope St. John Paul II, and the time seemed opportune.”

—Richard Dunstan

 

The Royal Road of the Cross

By PETER THOMPSON

featured speaker

Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit

Aug. 13-18, Seton House, Kelowna

Blazoned on the mind of every disciple of Jesus is the image of the Cross.

The first prayer we were taught is the Sign of the Cross. Before we could walk or speak, our parent guided our tiny hands to form the holy sign upon our bodies. We were baptized into Christ, signed with the Cross, born again of water and the Spirit. The heart and core of our faith was expressed by our parents and godparents as they signed our foreheads with this holy sign. At our baptism the royal road of the Cross began.

St. Paul in 1 Cor. 1:18 reminds us that the message of the Cross is complete absurdity to those who are headed for ruin, but to us who are experiencing salvation it is the power of God. Jesus gave us the supreme example of what it means to embrace the Cross. He left heaven, taking the form of man, knowing that He would lay down His life for all humanity, and that includes every one of us (Phil 2:6-11).

The Cross was foreshadowed long before Christ came. The prophetic word was clear that the Messiah would suffer grievously. Psalm 22 describes the crucifixion, as does Isaiah 53: the Suffering Servant. St. Paul in 1 Cor 11:1 invites us to “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” Paul walked that royal road of the Cross, embracing daily the struggles, hardships and sufferings of being a true disciple of Christ. He lists a catalogue of trials in 2 Cor 11:16-32, inviting us to imitate him.

Throughout the centuries we are witness to countless saints, ordinary men, women and children who walked this road—some embracing the greatest witness of all, martyrdom, for the sake of the name. We, likewise, in our time are invited by Christ to take up our crosses daily, to imitate Christ. He promised to be with us, shouldering the crosses He allows us to carry. As He did with Simon of Cyrene, Christ now walks with you.

There is no escaping the crosses of life. We can seek to fight against them, reject them, grumble and complain bitterly. But in doing so we reject the very means God in His love gives to us, so that we, like our forefathers, can come safely home to the Beatific Vision.

St. James tells us to “rejoice when you suffer all kinds of trials and tribulations. Why? Because your faith is tested; this makes for endurance. Let endurance come to its perfection so that you may be mature and lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Who amongst us does not suffer many trials throughout our lives? As we embrace these crosses, we are being made ready for heaven.

The words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 never cease to give me courage to face whatever trial will come my way. In a CD I heard recently by Kimberly Hahn, she reminded us that if we ae currently in a lull between trials, then be assured this is a lull and trials (crosses) will return. We need to memorize these words of Jesus so that wherever on the road of life we are, then His word will penetrate our mind and heart: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon your shoulders and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Self-denial is a sure way to train ourselves for this royal road: disciplining our physical bodies, controlling our thoughts, curbing our tongues. In this way we are better prepared to embrace fully the trials, be they small or severe, that come our way.

Again, St. Paul gives us the example of the runner, racing to grasp the prize. He who would aspire to greatness in the field of athletics must learn from the start to exercise discipline, if he is to achieve his goal. We are seeking the highest goal of all, eternal life in Christ.

The hardest thing for us to do is to place our total trust in Jesus. Trusting that no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, God in His wisdom is working tirelessly for our salvation. In our embrace of the Cross, we join with Christ in the work of salvation. Christ invites us to pick up our crosses daily and follow Him.

This is the royal road that will lead to victory.

(Originally published in The Bread of Life, July-August 2016.)

 

Mercy: Our only reason for hope

By RICHARD DUNSTAN

How do we know God is merciful? Well, for one thing, because the world still exists.

If God hadn’t forgiven our sins, His justice would have annihilated the world, Bishop Sam Jacobs told the provincial Catholic charismatic conference in Vancouver. But God has given us mercy instead of justice.

“He gave us what we don’t deserve, and that is forgiveness, that is healing, that is mercy,” Bishop Jacobs said. “What God does not give us is justice, because if He gave us justice, none of us would have a chance.

“All is mercy, because we deserve none of the gifts God gives us.”

Bishop Jacobs, of Louisiana, chair of the U.S. national service committee for the Catholic charismatic renewal, and Dr. Margarett Schlientz, of Wisconsin, whose ministry combines theology and psychiatry, were featured speakers at the conference, jointly sponsored by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C. and Vancouver Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services. More than 1,100 attended.

The conference returned to Broadway Church, a Pentecostal church approved for Catholic events, after three years in other locations.

Bishop Jacobs said God is like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), which he said should really be called the parable of the foolish father, because the father’s generosity goes far beyond common sense. He accepts the insult of his son effectively wishing him dead, by claiming his inheritance early; then he spends his time waiting for him to come back from throwing the inheritance away on a life of sin, runs to him and kisses him, and throws a feast for him. So there’s no reason for us to stay away from confession for years, the way some fallen-away Catholics do.

“The Father is waiting with open arms for you to come back. Why are you waiting? No matter how far we feel from God, the Father is waiting. All we have to do is pronounce that word from the heart—‘Father, I need You—and He’ll forgive you, no matter what you’ve done.”

Of course, we’re supposed to do something with that mercy we’ve received. We’re supposed to pass it on. If we refuse, we’re refusing God’s mercy for ourselves as well.

“God does not show mercy and healing to those who are in rebellion, to those who refuse to show mercy for others,” Bishop Jacobs said. “God doesn’t refuse us His mercy—we refuse to accept His mercy. We want mercy on our terms—we have to receive it on His terms. To the extent you are open to mercy for others, to that extent you receive mercy from God.”

God’s mercy begins in baptism, Bishop Jacobs said; we are born alienated from God, and in baptism we are united with Him. Mercy continues in the Eucharist, in the sacrament of reconciliation, and in the anointing of the sick.

If we don’t approach it as wholeheartedly as we should, he said, confession can be like cutting weeds—the weeds will grow back again. We need to give God permission to uproot our sins, and when we go to confession we should ask the priest to pray that God will heal us in the core of our sins.

The liturgy of the Eucharist contains many references to mercy, he said: “Lord have mercy” at the beginning, and “Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us,” and “speak but the word and my soul will be healed” just before Communion. “We need to step out and expect that God is going to do mighty deeds in our lives because of the Eucharist.”

As for anointing of the sick, we can look for healing there too. “It’s not the sacrament of the dying, it’s not the last rites, it’s the sacrament of the healing of the sick,” he said. His own dentist was diagnosed with a brain tumour the size of a grapefruit; he would die without surgery and might die, or be left in a vegetative state, even with surgery. He received the anointing of the sick, and prayer, and the surgeon found only a pea-sized tumour that did not penetrate the brain.

The bishop noted, though, that the ultimate healing is sometimes death. God may want us with Him in eternity, where there will be no more suffering. “He’s God, and we’re not.”

Bishop Jacobs said Mary is the Mother of Mercy: prepared from the moment of her conception to be the mother of the Saviour, “she literally brought the Divine Mercy to birth in the world: mercy incarnate, Jesus Christ. Her motherhood of us all was sealed at the foot of the Cross, and after her assumption into heaven she continues to come to our aid.

Dr. Schlientz also stressed the Eucharist – and the need to show mercy to others.

Noting that there are 70 million ex-Catholics in the United States alone, she said the Eucharist “is the greatest miracle, and we have it right in our hands. It’s the cure for everything, and we walk by it as if it doesn’t exist.” She told of a priest who was healed of an addiction to pornography by spending one hour prostrate in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and she urged Massgoers not to bypass the chalice when receiving Communion. “Satan hates the Precious Blood,” she said. She told of a woman who was healed of Lyme disease by receiving from the chalice, and noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention check chalices regularly for germs and have never found a dangerous organism.

But she, too, said we have to pass God’s mercy on by forgiving others. Too many people are still angry at somebody after receiving the Eucharist, as can be seen in any church parking lot.

“Something is wrong with this picture,” she said.

“Forgiveness is the hardest human task there is. People find hundreds of excuses not to do it.” She said we can’t forgive by our own efforts, but must ask for God’s help. “You can’t do it, but God can.”

Since we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we must be Jesus to those we meet. “When people see you, do they see the Lord? Ask yourself this every evening in your examen [examination of conscience].”

“When Jesus came down from the mountain [after the Sermon on the Mount] the crowds were following Him  (Mt. 8:1). They should be following us—right into the Church.’

She said we must pray for seminarians—whose numbers have increased dramatically in recent years—and for priests, and not criticize them. “They are instruments of God—they aren’t supposed to be perfect.” We must even pray for the people in ISIS, and love them as well. “I watch TV news because of the negativity,” she said. “It is our responsibility to pray for everyone who commits a criminal act.”

Dr. Schlientz also said we must pray for healing, of ourselves and others, and expect results. “We rely too much on ourselves. We’re all educated, and we think that’s enough.” She prays at every opportunity. For example, she once prayed in a fabric store, with a woman who was buying material for a turban—a fact that identified her as a cancer patient.

“Medical science has much to offer, but it will never replace healing prayer,” she said. “There are many places of affliction that medical science cannot touch.”

“Our problem is, our God is too small. We don’t ask enough. We don’t trust enough.

“We may pray for a lifetime [for a particular need]. God is always moving in some way. It may be delicate, it may be subtle, but it is not absent.”

Bishop Jacobs is retired bishop of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana, previously bishop of Alexandria, Louisiana. Born in Mississippi but raised in Louisiana, he was ordained in 1964 and served there in the dioceses of Lafayette and St. Charles as parish priest and chaplain, and diocesan director of vocations and seminarians. He was named bishop in 1989. He was named to the national service committee in 1982 and was chairman from 1987 to 1993; he returned to the committee in January 2015. He also chaired the committee for evangelization for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2005 to 2005, and is currently a member of the committees on laity, marriage, family life and youth, and evangelization and catechesis. He retired as diocesan bishop in 2013 but continues to serve as a speaker, as well as operating the Spirit Aflame website, http://www.spiritaflame.org/ . He was featured speaker at the 2015 Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in Kelowna.

He may be seen on YouTube at http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+bishop+sam+jacobs&qpvt=you+tube+bishop+sam+jacobs&FORM=VDRE.

Dr. Schlientz, a Wisconsin resident, holds a doctorate in psychiatric nursing and master’s degrees in theology, spirituality, and psychiatric nursing. She is founder of the Pope Leo XIII Institute for the education of priests in exorcism and deliverance, and assistant director of the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Nebraska. She is co-author of the RISEN program (Re-Invest Spirituality and Ethics in the          Networks of Health Care), and presents it regularly to health care systems across the U.S. She has held teaching and administrative posts at Marquette University in Milwaukee, speaks at conferences and parish missions, and ministers as a spiritual director to priests. Her website is https://drmargarettschlientz.com/. She is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yre6KPH7RJg.

 

Going to heaven in Duquesne

David Mangan went to heaven 50 years ago—without dying.

It was Saturday, Feb. 18, 1967, the middle of the famed “Duquesne weekend” that marked the beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. About two dozen students from Duquesne, a Catholic university in Pittsburgh, were attending a retreat on campus, looking for an experience of the Holy Spirit like a handful of individuals had experienced over the previous couple of months while attending interdenominational prayer meetings.

Mangan was upstairs in the retreat centre chapel praying when he was overwhelmed by what he later learned was called baptism in the Holy Spirit.

“You are probably aware of a phrase that some people say when they are extremely happy about something,” Mangan wrote in 2014 in Pentecost Today, the magazine of the National Service Committee for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the USA. “They say, ‘I thought I died and went to heaven.’ I realize that everyone’s experience is different, but when I was baptized in the Holy Spirit I thought I remained alive and went to heaven.”

He found himself face down on the chapel floor, felt “little explosions” going on in his body, and began praising God in what he later learned was the gift of tongues. Other members of the group were baptized in the Spirit later the same day, and the Catholic charismatic renewal was under way.

Mangan, a longtime leader, speaker and author in the renewal, is this year’s featured speaker at the Nelson Diocesan Charismatic Renewal Conference, April 28-29 at St. Charles Garnier Parish in Kelowna, with the title Jubilee of Fire. The conference date falls just after the publication date of the spring B.C. Charismatic, and a full account will be carried in the fall edition.

In the Pentecost Today article, Mangan wrote that praise, healing, and tongues are wonderful gifts of the Holy Spirit experienced within the renewal, but the most important gift—“our charism”—is what he calls the “glimpse of heaven” he had in the chapel.

This glimpse may come in obvious religious settings like prayer time, Mass, or prayer meetings, he said, but also in less obvious settings—seeing a newborn baby, serving the poor. And “although we may have experiences where we feel great joy, it is not the feeling that is the gift. The gift is that ability to recognize it for what it is, a glimpse of heaven. The gift is the action of the Holy Spirit in our life whether we feel good about it or not.”

“I am looking forward to my next glimpse. But if I never have another ‘glimpse of heaven,’ I know that I have already received more than I could ever deserve. But I am sure we all are looking forward to that day when we get infinitely more than a glimpse. That is the day when “we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

—Richard Dunstan

Nelson retreat: Becoming ambassadors for Christ

By LYNNE WILLIAMS

(Editor’s note: The Nelson diocesan charismatic leaders’ retreat was held Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Seton House in Kelowna, with Gladys Miller, diocesan service committee chair, and Father Sylvester [Obi] Ibekwe, diocesan liaison, as speakers.)

Talk 1 – Ambassadors for a New Heart – Gladys Miller

What does the dictionary have to say about the word “ambassador?” It is a Hebrew word meaning one who goes on an errand; an interpreter; a messenger.  An ambassador for Christ is all of these things. It is a title used by St. Paul in designating those appointed by him to declare God’s will. To do injury to the ambassador is to do injury to the king who sent him.

“So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making His appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 20-21)

“Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.” (Eph. 6:18-20)

We have a privileged place in God’s kingdom because we represent Jesus Christ and his reconciliation to others. We are called to proclaim the gospel to all nations. To do so we must be soaked in scripture, putting our trust in God and recognizing that everything is a gift from God. God will provide all that is necessary for us to do His work.

How does Jesus expect us to be His envoy? “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Cor. 5:17) “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10). It is through a new heart that we become a new creation. This requires co-operation, patience, study, obedience (dying to self), and self-discipline.

We are required to grow and change. “A new heart I will give you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My spirit within you and, and make you follow My statutes and be careful to follow My ordinances.” (Ez. 36: 26-27)

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said that the ways of the Lord are not easy. We are not created for an easy life but for a life of greatness.

Would you like a new heart? Ask for one. Resting in the Spirit is like open heart surgery; the Spirit will stir up your gifts, showing, guiding and providing opportunities and many graces. Pray for holy boldness, zeal for the salvation of souls, and a new heart to be obedient to the Master’s call no matter the cost. Seek to put God first in your life and all will fall into right order; pray to Jesus to remove blockages such as fear, timidity and any other paralysis. Take your eyes off yourself and put them onto Jesus.

Talk 2 – Reflection on 2 Cor. 5 – Father Obi  Ibekwe

“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness (holiness) of God.” (2 Cor.5: 21) For some people, this is the most important verse in the bible. Sometimes we see ourselves as sin (because of our many sins), but Jesus comes to save us so that He becomes sin in order that we can be reconciled with God.

We live in difficult times, in a world that is strange and puzzling. Into this world, Jesus is calling us to enter into these troubling situations and become ambassadors for him. We are the risen presence of Jesus in this world, and as we serve as His ambassadors, He walks in this world through us.

Proclaiming the good news is a magnificent commission. “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Is. 43:18) “For I am about to create a new heavens and a new earth …” (Is. 65:17)

To preach the message of Christ and Him crucified, we must bring the message of God’s great love for all people in the sacrificial offering of his son, Jesus, on the cross. He wants all to receive reconciliation and peace. In Jesus’ rising, death is forever overcome as his followers are promised everlasting life and unity with God. These promises are for all time.

Talk 3 – The Holy Spirit Enables – Gladys Miller

Our ambassadorship is under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jn. 10:10) this scripture is not about material things; it is about being with God and receiving from Him all He wants for us. It is His plan that we enjoy, not endure. To love a party and to celebrate is important. We should celebrate our ambassadorship even though we have trials.

“God is faithful, by him you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.” (1 Cor.1:9) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

When the Holy Spirit comes upon us we will be empowered. Bloom where you are planted; everyone has ministry and one does not need to go searching it. The Holy Spirit surprises us and speaks through us. Passion, that love of our ministry and fire in our belly, is needed to proclaim Jesus crucified and risen. All our gifts are good and God calls us the use them, following the lead of the Holy Spirit.

What happens when others are unhappy with your ministry? Turn to the Lord in prayer, asking, “what do You want me to learn from this?”  Involve your spiritual director and repeat the process, if necessary. “Meanwhile, the church … had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit …” (Acts 9:31)

Satan is busy, but God is busier. The better we know God, the more we trust Him; the better we trust Him, the better we know Him. How do we grow in the knowledge of God? We grow through reading scripture, attending daily Mass, praying, journaling (a love letter to God), and receiving the sacraments. In the Eucharist, you become what you eat.

If we are going to become ambassadors for Christ, we need to know Him and become like him. “Bear with one another and if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you.” Honour Christ by your conduct.

To be afraid of God is an unholy fear. Scripturally, to fear the Lord is to love Him. Fearing God involves reverence, respect, obedience, submission, worship, awe, living in his righteous standards and honouring him in all we do. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and love from the Lord is its completion.

God loves us and will never leave or forsake us. “Am I not free? Am I not and apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 9:1) May you claim your apostleship, living in peace, loving and serving the Lord.

 

Blessed Elena Guerra, mother of the renewal

By DEACON CHRISTOF HEMBERGER

ICCRS council member—Germany

Blessed Elena Guerra (1835–1914) is remembered in the history of the Charismatic Renewal as someone who prepared the way. She courageously pursued what was on her heart: The Holy Spirit needs to find room again in the Church’s awareness! But who was this woman who caused a whole century to be called an “era of the Holy Spirit” – and what did she really achieve?

Blessed Elena Guerra was born into a wealthy aristocratic family in Lucca, Italy, and was educated as befitted her rank. Her nature was shaped by the desire “to do good for God.” Her heart was burning for the conversion of unbelievers. She willingly visited the poor and ill of her city. She wrote down her spiritual intentions and thoughts in small brochures and tracts. Elena gathered like-minded people, and as a young woman she founded prayer groups and prayer initiatives (“the perpetual world-wide Upper Room”) and the Congregation of the Oblate Sisters of the Holy Spirit.

It was Blessed Elena’s desire to bring people into a close relationship with the Holy Spirit. Church and society – Blessed Elena says – need the Holy Spirit as never before for their own renewal and vivification! She was untiring in this task: she encouraged prayer to the Holy Spirit and exchanged letters with priests and bishops exhorting them to teach and preach about the Holy Spirit. In her diaries, Blessed Elena called herself “a poor maidservant of the Holy Spirit” and even a “baggage porter of the Holy Spirit.” As the reaction she received for her efforts still seemed too small, the desire to ask the Pope for support and for a global spreading of her intention, grew more intensely in her.

Blessed Elena’s message was received by Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903) readily and in openness: Only three weeks after her first letter, the Pope introduced a solemn period of prayer to the Holy Spirit between Ascension and Pentecost (now known as Pentecost novena). Between 1895 and 1903, Blessed Elena wrote a total of thirteen letters to the Pope. She encouraged him to urge the bishops to pray together with the faithful for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit as well as for the unity of Christians, which only the Holy Spirit could bring about. In 1897, Pope Leo XIII responded to Elena’s desire by writing an encyclical (“Divinum illud munus”) about the Holy Spirit. This teaching document was about appreciation for the Holy Spirit and His gifts.

While in 1900, Pope Leo had consecrated mankind to the Heart of Jesus on the occasion of the Holy Year, Blessed Elena was moved in her heart to ask the Pope to begin the new century by calling down the Holy Spirit. Pope Leo took up this suggestion and sang the hymn “Veni Creator Spiritus” (Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest) in the name of the whole Church. This prayer did not remain without effect. On the same day, the Holy Spirit really came with his gifts as in the days of the early Christians.

However, it was answered in a different way than Blessed Elena and the Pope had expected: The Holy Spirit was first experienced in a new way by people outside the Catholic Church, who had earnestly sought Him in prayer: In the evening of that same day when the Pope prayed in Rome, a group of American Protestants gathered around Charles Fox Parham (1873-1923) experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts. A second initial event for the so-called Pentecostal movement was a revival in the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles led by the African American William J. Seymour. The Holy Spirit did not adhere to confessional boundaries.

It took quite some time until members of the Catholic Church received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and experienced the outpouring of the charisms in 1967, which we consider to this day the starting point of the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church and which we celebrate in the 50 year Jubilee in 2017.

Exactly at a time when our Church underwent major changes (the secular power of the Popes disintegrated with the loss of the Papal States during the time of Blessed Elena Guerra), this small, unimpressive religious sister helped the Church refocus on a power of the Church which did not rely on rule or armies and had been forgotten for a long time: the power of the Holy Spirit.

At her beatification on 26 April 1959, Pope John XIII called her a “missionary of the veneration of the Holy Spirit in our present time” and thus testified to Blessed Elena’s extraordinary vocation in the church and for the church, which she lived courageously – which makes her a model for us to this day.

—ICCRS Newsletter, Jan.-Feb. 2017

 

Jubilee marked in Rome

Five days of special events are scheduled in Rome May 31-June 4 in honour of the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. A substantial number of charismatics from B.C. will be attending these events on pilgrimages organized in Vancouver, Kelowna, and Edmonton.

The celebration opens with a general audience with Pope Francis, who invited charismatics to Rome for the occasion in his address to a charismatic rally that drew 50,000 people to Rome’s Olympic Stadium in June 2014. It closes with a Mass celebrated by the Pope in St. Peter’s Square June 4, Pentecost Sunday.

Other events include a worldwide jubilee gathering with Mass, a Pentecost vigil with the Pope, prayer meetings, devotional sessions, workshops, leaders’ meetings, and a theological symposium.

The jubilee events mark the 50th anniversary of the Duquesne Weekend (see also Page 5), when a group of Catholic students at a retreat at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh received baptism in the Holy Spirit after praying for an outpouring of the Spirit. The weekend took place in February but the jubilee celebrations are centred on Pentecost, the day the Church celebrates the first outpouring of the Spirit in Acts Chapter 2.

 

Vancouver conference coming Sept. 22-23

Most Rev. Peter Smith, auxiliary bishop of Portland, and Dr. Mary Healy of Ann Arbor, Michigan, a leading Catholic Bible scholar, will be featured speakers Sept. 22 and 23 at the Vancouver archdiocesan conference.

The conference will take place at Broadway Church, 2700 East Broadway (corner of Slocan), a Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada facility approved by the archdiocese for Catholic events.

Bishop Smith, 56, is a member of the Brotherhood of the People of Praise Community, a charismatic community which grew out of the People of Praise at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, and is now based in Portland. He has also served as archdiocesan liaison to the charismatic renewal.

Born in South Africa in 1958, he served in the South African Army and earned degrees in business administration and law, intending to join his father’s law firm, but instead felt called to Christian community in the United States, where he moved in 1983. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2001 and was named bishop in 2014.

Dr. Healy completed her doctorate in biblical theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 2000. She is associate professor of Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission which advises the Pope on scriptural issues, and co-editor of the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, a multi-volume commentary currently in progress.

She is also a member of the doctrinal commission of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, and former co-ordinator of the Mother of God Community, a charismatic group in Maryland.

 

B.C. Charismatic

CCRS of BC newsletter

published spring and fall

editor Richard Dunstan

308-225 Belleville St.

Victoria BC V8V 4T9

email: richard@thedunstans.com

phone: 250-477-4700

website: www.bccharismatic.ca

 

 

 

 


Posted in Uncategorized

National Committee Coming to Kelowna

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of Canada committee is coming to British Columbia for a semiannual meeting at Seton House of Prayer in Kelowna and will be part of praise and worship, Mass and prayers for healing service (see below).

BC Rep. Flo Reid, who is chair of the BC committee, is hosting this falls event. The committee that meets twice annually in different parts of  the country from Newfoundland to BC will be spending four days at Seton House.

The team is made up of:

Rev. Dr. Peter B. Coughlin (Past Chair)
Brian Sullivan (Ontario region representative)
Gerard MacDonald (Chair) (Atlantic region representative)
Lorraine Shonaman (Treasurer) (Atlantic region representative)
Denise Bergeron (French Quebec representative)
Linda Hall
Rick Taylor (Saskatchewan representative)
Corrine (Cory) Yakimovich (Secretary) (Alberta representative)
Flo Reid (B.C. representative)
Christine Manuel(Newfoundland Catholic Renewal)
Brian Bolt (Bread of Life Magazine)For more info on

the CCRSC check out their wibsite:  

http://ccrscanada.com/index.html 

On the occasion of their visit a praise and worship, Mass and prayers for healing service will be offered at St. Charles Garnier church in Kelowna. The team will share the Word of God as the Spirit moves them in the praise and worship session that will begin at 6:15 on Wednesday November 16th. Father Gerald Sekanga will celebrate Mass at 7:00 P.M. and he will join the committee members in praying with people for healing after Mass. This is open to all who wish to come forward for prayer.For more info on the Healing Service Click Here

Come and meet the national committee and share with them.


Posted in Uncategorized

Vancouver Charismatic Conference 2016

By RICHARD DUNSTAN

How do we know God is merciful? Well, for one thing, because the world still exists.

If God hadn’t forgiven our sins, His justice would have annihilated the world, Bishop Sam Jacobs told the provincial Catholic charismatic conference in Vancouver. But God has given us mercy instead of justice.

bishop-sam-jacobs“He gave us what we don’t deserve, and that is forgiveness, that is healing, that is mercy,” Bishop Jacobs said. “What God does not give us is justice, because if He gave us justice, none of us would have a chance.

“All is mercy, because we deserve none of the gifts God gives us.”

Bishop Jacobs, of Louisiana, chair of the U.S. national service committee for the Catholic charismatic renewal, and Dr. Margarett Schlientz, of Wisconsin, whose ministry combines theology and psychiatry, were featured speakers at the conference, jointly sponsored by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C. and Vancouver Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services. More than 1,100 attended.

The conference returned to Broadway Church, a Pentecostal church approved for Catholic events, after three years in other locations.

Bishop Jacobs said God is like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), which he said should really be called the parable of the foolish father, because the father’s generosity goes far beyond common sense. He accepts the insult of his son effectively wishing him dead, by claiming his inheritance early; then he spends his time waiting for him to come back from throwing the inheritance away on a life of sin, runs to him and kisses him, and throws a feast for him. So there’s no reason for us to stay away from confession for years, the way some fallen-away Catholics do.

“The Father is waiting with open arms for you to come back. Why are you waiting? No matter how far we feel from God, the Father is waiting. All we have to do is pronounce that word from the heart—‘Father, I need You—and He’ll forgive you, no matter what you’ve done.”

Of course, we’re supposed to do something with that mercy we’ve received. We’re supposed to pass it on. If we refuse, we’re refusing God’s mercy for ourselves as well.

“God does not show mercy and healing to those who are in rebellion, to those who refuse to show mercy for others,” Bishop Jacobs said. “God doesn’t refuse us His mercy—we refuse to accept His mercy. We want mercy on our terms—we have to receive it on His terms. To the extent you are open to mercy for others, to that extent you receive mercy from God.”

God’s mercy begins in baptism, Bishop Jacobs said; we are born alienated from God, and in baptism we are united with Him. Mercy continues in the Eucharist, in the sacrament of reconciliation, and in the anointing of the sick.

If we don’t approach it as wholeheartedly as we should, he said, confession can be like cutting weeds—the weeds will grow back again. We need to give God permission to uproot our sins, and when we go to confession we should ask the priest to pray that God will heal us in the core of our sins.

The liturgy of the Eucharist contains many references to mercy, he said: “Lord have mercy” at the beginning, and “Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us,” and “speak but the word and my soul will be healed” just before Communion. “We need to step out and expect that God is going to do mighty deeds in our lives because of the Eucharist.”

As for anointing of the sick, we can look for healing there too. “It’s not the sacrament of the dying, it’s not the last rites, it’s the sacrament of the healing of the sick,” he said. His own dentist was diagnosed with a brain tumour the size of a grapefruit; he would die without surgery and might die, or be left in a vegetative state, even with surgery. He received the anointing of the sick, and prayer, and the surgeon found only a pea-sized tumour that did not penetrate the brain.

The bishop noted, though, that the ultimate healing is sometimes death. God may want us with Him in eternity, where there will be no more suffering. “He’s God, and we’re not.”

Bishop Jacobs said Mary is the Mother of Mercy: prepared from the moment of her conception to be the mother of the Saviour, “she literally brought the Divine Mercy to birth in the world: mercy incarnate, Jesus Christ. Her motherhood of us all was sealed at the foot of the Cross, and after her assumption into heaven she continues to come to our aid.

Dr. Schlientz also stressed the Eucharist – and the need to show mercy to others.

dr-margarett-schlientzNoting that there are 70 million ex-Catholics in the United States alone, she said the Eucharist “is the greatest miracle, and we have it right in our hands. It’s the cure for everything, and we walk by it as if it doesn’t exist.” She told of a priest who was healed of an addiction to pornography by spending one hour prostrate in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and she urged Massgoers not to bypass the chalice when receiving Communion. “Satan hates the Precious Blood,” she said. She told of a woman who was healed of Lyme disease by receiving from the chalice, and noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention check chalices regularly for germs and have never found a dangerous organism.

But she, too, said we have to pass God’s mercy on by forgiving others. Too many people are still angry at somebody after receiving the Eucharist, as can be seen in any church parking lot.

“Something is wrong with this picture,” she said.

“Forgiveness is the hardest human task there is. People find hundreds of excuses not to do it.” She said we can’t forgive by our own efforts, but must ask for God’s help. “You can’t do it, but God can.”

Since we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we must be Jesus to those we meet. “When people see you, do they see the Lord? Ask yourself this every evening in your examen [examination of conscience].”

“When Jesus came down from the mountain [following the Sermon on the Mount] the crowds were following Him (Matthew 8:1). They should be following us—right into the Church.’

She said we must pray for seminarians—whose numbers have increased dramatically in recent years—and for priests, and not criticize them. “They are instruments of God—they aren’t supposed to be perfect.” We must even pray for the people in ISIS, and love them as well. “I watch TV news because of the negativity,” she said. “It is our responsibility to pray for everyone who commits a criminal act.”

Dr. Schlientz also said we must pray for healing, of ourselves and others, and expect results. “We rely too much on ourselves. We’re all educated, and we think that’s enough.” She prays at every opportunity. For example, she once prayed in a fabric store, with a woman who was buying material for a turban—a fact that identified her as a cancer patient.

“Medical science has much to offer, but it will never replace healing prayer,” she said. “There are many places of affliction that medical science cannot touch.”

“Our problem is, our God is too small. We don’t ask enough. We don’t trust enough.

“We may pray for a lifetime [for a particular need]. God is always moving in some way. It may be delicate, it may be subtle, but it is not absent.”

Bishop Jacobs is retired bishop of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana and was previously bishop of Alexandria, Louisiana. Born in Mississippi but raised in Louisiana, he was ordained in 1964 for the diocese of Lafayette. He served there and in the diocese of St. Charles as parish priest and chaplain, as well as diocesan director of vocations and seminarians for St. Charles. He was named bishop in 1989. He was named to the national service committee in 1982 and served as chairman from 1987 to 1993; he returned to the committee in January 2015. He also chaired the committee for evangelization for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2005 to 2005, and is currently a member of the committees on laity, marriage, family life and youth, and on evangelization and catechesis. He retired as diocesan bishop in 2013 but continues to serve as a speaker, as well as operating the Spirit Aflame website, http://www.spiritaflame.org/ . He was featured speaker at the 2015 Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in Kelowna.

He may be seen on YouTube at: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+bishop+sam+jacobs&qpvt=you+tube+bishop+sam+jacobs&FORM=VDRE.

Dr. Schlientz, a Wisconsin resident, holds a doctorate in psychiatric nursing and master’s degrees in theology, spirituality, and psychiatric nursing. She is the founder of the Pope Leo XIII Institute for the education of priests in exorcism and deliverance, and is assistant director of the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Nebraska. She is co-author of the RISEN program (Re-Invest Spirituality and Ethics in the              Networks of Health Care), and presents it regularly to health care systems across the U.S. She has held teaching and administrative posts at Marquette University in Milwaukee, speaks at conferences and parish missions, and ministers as a spiritual director to priests. Her website is https://drmargarettschlientz.com/. She is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yre6KPH7RJg.

broadwaychurchconference

Joint conference Vancouver and BC Catholic Charismatic Committees (file photo)


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BC Charismatic Newsletter Fall 2016

Who will you bring?

Sister Linda Koontz: Tell your loved ones about Jesus

Sister Linda - Copy-1By RICHARD DUNSTAN

Catholics need to get up and speak up, Sister Linda Koontz told charismatics from across the province this summer in Kelowna. Tell the world about Jesus. The salvation of the people we love—and everybody else—depends on it.

Mercy was the theme of the eighth annual Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute, in keeping with the current Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. Sister Linda, the featured speaker for the first three days of the week-long institute held Aug. 5-12 at Seton House of Prayer, spent most of her time urging her listeners to spread the news of God’s mercy before it’s too late. As Jesus said to St. Faustina, “speak to My people about My great mercy while there is still time.”

Sister Linda showed a video of “A Vision of the Lost” by Salvation Army founder William Booth, which depicts lost souls drowning, as Jesus and a few Christians try to pull them to safety while most of those already saved are busy with other priorities. (She said St. Francis of Assisi had a similar vision, but she wasn’t able to find a usable version of it.)

“Jesus’ last words (Matthew 28:10, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”) are the most disobeyed in the Bible,” she said. “Ninety-five per cent of Christians have never witnessed to anyone. That’s why people are drowning. Jesus said ‘go.’ A lot of Catholics think He said ‘sit.’

“Some of the people drowning are your loved ones. They’re drowning because you’re afraid to talk to them. The devil wants you quiet, and he has succeeded in a lot of cases.”

About 40 people attended the institute, held at St. Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer with evening prayer events at St. Charles Garnier parish. The institute is sponsored by Nelson Diocesan Charismatic Renewal Service Committee and endorsed by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C. Many of those attending were local residents, but others came from as far away as Cranbrook, Kamloops, Victoria and Powell River. Father Obiora (Sylvester) Ibekwe, bishop’s liaison to the charismatic renewal for the Nelson diocese, was also a featured speaker (see article below)

Sister Linda, originally from Washington State, joined the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in 1960 and was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1968. Before that, she said, she was “a fan [of Jesus], but not a disciple.” The following year, she toured B.C. and Alberta with Father Joe Kane of Ottawa, holding some of the first charismatic prayer meetings in those provinces.

In 1971 she was released by her order from full-time teaching to work in the Catholic charismatic renewal, and in 1977 she moved to El Paso, Texas, to work in the late Father Rick Thomas’s ministry to the poor in the adjoining border city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. She founder her own ministry to the poor, Spirit of the Lord International Mission, in 1986, serving Juárez and other areas.

Sister Linda said she once asked God in prayer what He would ask her on Judgement Day. “I’m going to ask you, ‘who did you bring?’” He said. She took the answer seriously, phoned all her relatives, and asked them if they had surrendered their lives to Jesus—and where they would go if they died tonight.

“That will tell you in seconds where someone stands,” she said.

She said it’s true that we must evangelize by the example of our Christian lives, but that isn’t enough by itself. “We must open our mouth and speak it. We have to talk to people, ask questions, and have courage and not be afraid. “Timidity is not a virtue, it’s a demonic stronghold. Do it scared.”

Actually, she said, talking about Jesus isn’t as hard as it sounds. “People are hungry, and they’re looking for someone who can introduce them to Jesus Christ, not to an organization. Most people in bondage know it, and they want to be set free.”

We’re not working alone, either, she said. “You will be shocked at what Jesus will do. If you take one step, He will take seven steps. You don’t need more prayer—you need to start doing what He told you to do.”

As for those who won’t listen or who reject the message—well, if we tell them about Jesus, we’ve done our part. Quoting her friend Father Thomas, she said “Don’t worry about it. Don’t work with the thorns. Work with the people who are ready and ripe to be brought into the kingdom of God.”

“So if you talk to someone and they’re not interested, there’s someone that’s going to come along that will be interested and that will experience eternal life because of you. He said go into the whole world and proclaim, cry out the good news.  The good news is that Jesus has rescued us and because we’re rescued, it doesn’t mean that we can sit back and have a life of leisure. But it means he has blessed us to enter into the life of His Son, to help Him in saving souls. Zeal for souls is evidence that the Holy Spirit is reigning in your life.”

.              She said our job includes turning nominal Catholics (“sacramentalized but not evangelized”) into real Christians. Most Catholics have only a vague belief in Jesus, with no real knowledge of Him. “Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, one person said it’s like inoculating people with a mild case of Christianity so they never catch the real thing. Today we have a Me-centred Gospel. It goes like this: God’s my personal trainer to make me rich and prosperous and comfortable. And that’s not the Gospel at all.”

The reality is much more challenging: “unless we understand the bad news, that by nature we deserve death, we can’t understand the good news.” People see sin as no big deal, she said, but it is: “it’s not our list—it’s God’s list.” And yes, Jesus is the only way—but the good news is that His way is open to everybody. “A lot of people say the way is too narrow, but it’s wide enough for the whole world.”

At the moment, she said, Christians aren’t doing a very good job of showing people the way. Islam is growing 17 times faster than Christianity, and New Age and other spiritualities are also converting people who could have been evangelized for Jesus. But she said that’s no surprise: “When we quit testifying to Jesus, others come and fill the place, and that’s what’s happening now. Millions will give their lives to Jesus if someone will show them how.”

Next year’s Summer Institute will be held Aug. 13-18, 2017, in Kelowna. Further details will be available in the spring edition of B.C. Charismatic.

Receive mercy,
show mercy to others

father-obi-2God has looked on us with mercy, says Fr. Obiora Ibekwe. And now we must do the same for others.  “Can you see yourself as mercy?” he asked the congregation at Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute. “If my Father is mercy, I have a share in that. I can move around showing mercy.”

Father Obi (also known as Sylvester) was a featured speaker at the summer institute at Seton House in Kelowna, along with Sister Linda Koontz (see above)

Ordained in October 2015, Father Obi is bishop’s liaison for the Catholic charismatic renewal in the Nelson diocese as well as assistant pastor at St. Piux X parish in Kelowna. He also serves the parish of St. Edward in Lake County/Winfield. He is originally from Nigeria.

Father Obi took Mark 10:46-52, the healing of blind Bartimaeus, for the text of his first talk, and noted that the blind man’s first cry to Jesus was “have mercy on me.” And Jesus granted him mercy, in the form of his sight.

“If God does not hear any other prayer, yet he hears the cry for mercy,” Father Obi said.

He noted that Jesus stood still – “God stood still before a human person” – and looked at Bartimaeus with what Father Obi described as “the gaze of mercy.” He focused directly on Bartimaeus despite the presence of a multitude of people: “to Jesus, no one should be lost in the crowd.”

“Jesus sees farther than sins. He sees deeper than wounds. He sees the child of God in us.”

There’s a lesson for us in what Bartimaeus did, Father Obi said, and a lesson in what Jesus did.

“I love Bartimaeus. He is a man who knows what he wants and is prepared to jump any hurdle. There is no sitting back and whining and wishing.

“Sometimes we allow the Jesus moments to pass us by. Bartimaeus seized the moment. He was tired of being blind.”

Once he is healed, Bartimaeus throws away his cloak and his begging bowl; he says “I will not be a beggar any more.” Then he follows Jesus “It is either Him or nothing. It is He I will follow. He has received mercy. Now he has become a disciple.”

We, too, must respond to God’s mercy by becoming disciples, Father Obi said.

For ourselves, the gaze of mercy is purifying. It leads to an awareness, not so much of sin, as of how much we are loved and how often unworthy of it. It also leads us into worship: “We have to start practicing gazing on the one who gazes on us with mercy.”

We also must learn to look at other people as Jesus looked at Bartimaeus. “There is a way of looking at people that gives life,” Father Obi said. “It changes everything—the one who gazes, and the one who is gazed at. Someone will say ‘I feel comfortable in your presence, I feel loved.’” Other gazes can be threatening, but this is “the gaze that brings life.”

In his second talk, Father Obi said God’s mercy is a reference point in every book of the Bible. He cited both Old Testament and New Testament examples, beginning with Genesis, where he said we find the first good news at Genesis 3:15, the promise that Eve’s offspring—Jesus—would crush the head of the snake. In chapter 1 of Luke’s gospel, he noted that when Mary, “highly favoured” by the angel’s announcement, immediately goes to share the news with Elizabeth. “Once we have received mercy, there is no staying back. “Rejoicing doesn’t stop with us. We must tell others of this rejoicing, and that is evangelization.”

Father Obi said he has had plenty of personal experience of God’s mercy. “When I look at the story of my life, it is mercy within mercy within mercy, and I have no doubt that God is mercy.”

As a school child, he spent his school fees on treats and was sent away from school, crying for shame. A passerby asked him why he was crying, and gave him money to pay the fees. The man told him, “remember someday to be a blessing to somebody.”

“When I receive mercy, it doesn’t have to end with me,” he said. “It must move on to others.”

He cited other texts which emphasize how important mercy is to God. In both Matthew 9:13 and Matthew 12:7, Jesus reminds his listeners that God desires mercy, not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6), and in Matthew 23:23 he admonishes the Pharisees for their neglect of mercy.

“To be merciful is not an option,” Father Obi said. “Jesus says it is a fundamental demand.”

– Richard Dunstan

PROPHECIES FROM
SUMMER INSTITUTE

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to space constraints, prophetic words consisting entirely of Scripture passages are shown only with the Scripture reference and the first few words, in italics. Get out your Bible and read them!]

dscf0198-2Compiled by LOREE RENWICK and Word Gift team

Receive this freedom today and rejoice, for it is yours and I will accomplish it.

Respond to the prophecy: I receive

Colossians 1:9-14 We have not ceased to pray for you…

The Lord is saying “I have been looking for someone among them to build a wall and a man to stand in the breach in front of me. To defend the country and to prevent me from destroying it” (from Ezekiel 22:30).   And then he says “but my light has shone upon you. I am bringing you in to my kingdom, I am calling you, I am anointing you, I have called on you today, you will be my breach, you will be the man that will come and defend your country, I have come that you might have life and have it to the full, and that you would  bring new life into your land.  I am giving you this new life open your heart open your mind my Spirit is leading you in power.” Respond to him in all your being.

Jeremiah 31:15-17 In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping…

Ephesians 3:14-19  For this reason I kneel before the Father…

John the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  And I see a fire, a raging fire, in this room. This fire is to purify us, to burn away the dross so that we may be shining like gold, so that we may be refined like silver, and then that we would be on fire, that we would be the fire.

I saw streams of living water flowing over us, and the Lord says that the source of this living water, the source of the streams of water, are my Spirit and my Spirit my people is flowing over you and into you today. Relish it, bathe in it, splash in it, receive it fully. This is my gift to you this day, the streams of my Spirit, the living water which will refresh you and make you anew.  You will be a new transformation because my Spirit my Living Water is flowing over you this day.

Give yourself to the Lord that He will give to you.  And that you will respond to a new touch of the Holy Spirit, to be used by Him.

As we were singing the Lord gave me an image of a water wheel, so I saw that water wheel spinning and the water was pouring over it, but the water was splashing off of the water wheel, splashing on everyone that was around it. So the Lord was saying to me that that water wheel is making Power, is making Power that’s going out, and we just need to let that water wash over us and that water washing over us is going to splash everyone else and is going to make power, power to transform.

Luke 1:46-50 And Mary said, “my soul magnifies the Lord…”

The water that cleanses us gives us power, his power.  The key is to worship like a mother, and the Lord wants you to look within your own heart, for within you own heart on the altar there is a bush.  The burning bush.  And as Moses stepped closer and God anointed him to go, to go to the people in bondage.  And so to you my people there is a fire on the altar of your heart and it is the power.  It is the power within you and in us and because it is a fire that is God, it will never burn out.   The fire that is on the altar of your heart will never burn out. You who are faithful followers of Jesus, worship, let the water fall and recognize the fire within and let it burn wherever you go.

Clearly heard the Lord saying, “you hurt each other with your words, you hurt each other when you ignore each other.  And the hook is hanging, always waiting to be grabbed by us, to form resentments, and even though we are today gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus we continue to be not careful with the words that we speak to one another and the ways we treat one another.  And the Lord is saying to me “look in your heart and see, is there someone that you have offended, even today?” And it may mean that you may need to go to that person and say I am sorry, or it may mean just acknowledging in your heart. We need to realize that Satan is constantly trying to divide and conquer, trying to get us to walk away because someone has hurt us, trying to get us to think we are not good enough or as good as someone else here.  We are all his favoured children and he wants us to love one another, care for each other and encourage each other. And that there be no negative words against each other, not even in your heart.

I have an image of Jesus, with a very large tool box.  And it is not an ordinary box that we think of as a tool box.  But it is a toolbox, and he has different tools in it.  And he is coming to each of us with his toolbox and he is giving each of us one of his tools to take with us when we leave this place.

Psalm 149:1-4 Sing to the Lord a new song of praise…

We are one body and our power is in unity, and I have this strong sense what God is doing this week is making us one. He’s making us one to go out there and it doesn’t matter which part of the world we are in, we are one in Christ.  We are One in Christ.  And the power, because we are united it doesn’t matter that we are at opposite ends of the world, it doesn’t matter where we are, we are positioned uniquely where God wants us, and our power is in our unity and it doesn’t matter where we are. He is with us and we are one Body and his Spirit working throughout the world to bring his light into those dark places.

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear. Rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship, and by him we cry Abba, Abba, ABBA, ABBA, ABBA.

Psalm 63:1-5 (1-6 in the New American Bible) O God you are my God…

I implore you, my people, to keep before you the vision of the hands reaching out of the abyss. I ask you to put your loved ones, your friends, your workmates, put their faces there in the abyss and know that I am calling you to go to those who do not know me, to those who have been forgotten, to those who have begun to walk different paths.  You need to go, my people. I have called you this week to prepare  you to go,  and you must  step out to go.  When you

begin to step out you will realize that my Spirit will give you words, my Spirit is there to enable you, to encourage you. But you need to have hearts that are filled with compassion for those who are lost. The places that I may call you to may not be pleasant places.  They may be barren and dry and filled with ridicule, but I am telling you today that you will not be afraid if you are walking in the power of my Spirit.    That Spirit of fear has been bound in you this week, and you will not walk in fear, but you will walk in joy that you have the ability to carry my word to my people. Many will be saved, many will be saved.  Keep your eyes on the victory that will be one for me because you are my hands and feet and my mouth, and I need you to go. Step out and don’t be afraid. (Confirmed)

Blessed are the feet that bring good news. People, I want you to know today that those are your feet. Blessed are your feet that bring good news, for you are my body, as I send you out this week and the coming weeks and months. Blessed is your mouth too, for you are to speak my word. Fear not about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it, my children, fear not. Open your mouth and begin and I will fill it.  As I said to St. Paul, in the times of trials and stress I will give you the words.  Blessed are you my people, go and take my word to my people.

The Lord says “My people, my friends, brothers and sisters of Jesus, when you pray, often you pray as if I am not in the room with you. You focus on the words, you focus on the intentions, but what I want of you, my people, is that you gaze on me.  I gaze on you continually. My eyes are never off you, and I desire that when you pray that you gaze on me, focus on me, see me. I already know what your intentions are, I already know what your prayers are, but what I desire of you is that you gaze on me.  Think of a couple in love: they gaze on one another, they gaze into one another’s eyes, they don’t have to say a word.  So I desire that you, my beloved, that you gaze on me when you pray.

My people, my wonderful people, how I love you, I have graced you abundantly this week with my mercy and my spirit, and yet there are a few among you that do not believe that my hand is not too short to save.  I have come to set you free, I have come to give you of my abundance. Believe and trust in me. My hand indeed is not too short to save you and yours.  Come and believe and trust in me.

1Peter 4:8-11 Above all, let your love for one another be intense…

A song: Forever I am changed by your love.  In the presence of your majesty, Majesty, Majesty.  Your grace has found me just as I am.  Empty handed but alive in your hands.  And we sing.  Majesty.  Majesty.  Forever I am changed by your love.  In the presence of your majesty. Majesty. Majesty. Majesty. Majesty.

Prophetic tongues. Interpretation: When you come in my name, there is power. In yourself you have no power; all power comes from me. But when you come in my name I pierce the darkness, chains are broken, prison doors are opened. When you come in my name you have my power within you. Call upon my power, depend on my power – not on yourselves, on my power. Watch and see the kingdom of darkness be destroyed; actually I have already destroyed and defeated the enemy. I welcome you to come into the promised land, all the promises I have given you.

I am the Paraclete. I come to tell you that you are loved. My love is so vast it is beyond measure. It is as deep as the ocean and as vast as the sky. My love is never ending and it is always there for you. Open your hearts, my people. Open your hearts of stone. Give me your hearts of stone; they do not belong to you. I want to break the rock that is your heart. Open it up, open it up to me. Receive my love, receive me, receive me the Lord God Almighty, I have come to you through my son through the Holy Spirit. I am with you and I make you whole, I make you strong, I give you the power. Most of all I give you my love; take my love, accept it is as big as the ocean, as big as the sky. There is no limit to my love and it is all available to you. You my servants, to you I come, to you I send forth in my power Jesus name.

I send my love in my son Jesus.  And he sends his love in the Holy Spirit.  And the Holy Spirit in you is meant to bring my love to everyone.

Luke 1:76-79 And you, child will be called prophet of the Most High…

You are indeed my chosen ones. I chose you before the foundation. I chose you to go forth and to bear fruit. I have spent years forming you into my people, I have gifted you, I have made you into an army of praise. But I am asking you now to be the army that will go out, to be the feet that will bring the gospel that will bring the good news to others.  If you do not step out, my people, the revival will not come. The Holy Spirit works through you. I need to be people who are willing to be shod with the sandals of good news.  Take it to your families, take it to your friends, but go step out in faith, my children and know that I am with you.  Know that the Holy Spirit will put the words in your mouth and that I will begin to work signs and wonders as such you have never seen, if you will step out, if you will go forth and proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

This was birthed from the video that Sister Linda showed us. (The previous word) And the Lord said it is not enough.  It is not enough to praise me; it is awesome that you are here praising me, but that praise needs to lead you out, out, and as long as we keep staying in this spot, souls will be lost.  I feel that God is so incredibly serious about telling us to take that step out of the boat. Take that step in faith and believe that you can walk on water. But I can’t make you take that step; you need to do it yourself. So decide today, before you leave this place, decide whom you are going to tell the good news to.  Weather a letter or a phone call or in person, begin to evangelize. We are all more than capable of doing it, because we have the Holy Spirit. We have the power, and Jesus is sending us out to Galilee and he will go before us.

There is a vision that keeps coming to me: there was this great river and it was humongous and it blew out the wall like it came through the wall; it did not come through the door, it came through the wall and blew out the whole wall.  And it just came in with such force; it was the river of God, His Spirit coming through in power, and as it came through the people were caught up in it and some were fighting against it like trying, instead of just being caught up in the flow of it.  And I just really feel like He is breaking down all the walls and we just need to flow with Him instead of fight Him – not resist it but just be caught up and let him have his way.

 

Image: Jesus was above the ground quite a bit and he was happy, he was the risen Christ and he was so happy and he was walking towards me and then he dissolved. The message he gave me was: I am risen, I am risen.  Don’t you believe?  When my first followers saw me risen and alive, what did they do, how did they feel?  And I said, oh Lord they were so happy. And he said, but I am alive today – why are you not so happy?  I want you to be happy and rejoice because I am your risen savior. Yes, I died, and you must know that, but you must know and believe that I am risen. Take yodscf0168-2urself from the cross and bring yourself to my resurrection.

Open your heart. Let me speak to you.  Gaze on me and I will gaze on you.  Be still.

I confirm the quiet. The quiet.

An image of the Lord in front of us and it was like he was the magnet, and each one of us was just being pulled into him and that is the least resistant and that is how he wants us.

1Peter2:9 But you are a chosen race…


Catholic Charismatic Prayer Groups

Vancouver archdiocese

Vancouver

El Shaddai           Sun 1 p.m.  St. Jude (gym)  3078 Renfrew St.
Contact Cindy Lui  604-323-0723

Mission Ablaze   Tues 7:30  St. Mary’s  5251 Joyce St.
contact Oscar and Riz Geronimo 604-454-3143

St. Patrick’s Church  Tues 8 p.m. 2881 Main St. (downstairs hall)
contact Bernard Lee Wen (604) 708-3326

El Shaddai           Thurs 7 p.m. (in St. Patrick’s hall—see above)
contact Grace del Rosario 604-708-3326 or 604-321-5403

Our Lady of Sorrows  Thurs 7:30  555 S. Slocan St.
contact Dianee Washburn (604) 255-8656

Abbotsford

One Body in Christ 7:30 St. Anne’s (second and fourth Fridays)  33333 Mayfair Ave. contact Ken and Mena Beatch 604-855-9701

El Shaddai            Sun 1 p.m.  St. James parish gym 2767 Townline Rd.
contact Rosalina Cole 604-859-8465 or 778-344-9323

Burnaby

Holy Cross           Mon 7:30  1450 Delta St. (music room)
contact Alba Stevenson 604-299-4123

Mustard Seed      Mon 7 p.m.  Our Lady of Mercy  7455-10th Ave.
contact Lila Caldera 604-507-0351

St. Francis de Sales  Wed 7:30  6610 Balmoral (hall)  St.
contact Alex Lim 604-435-9134

Cloverdale 

Precious Blood     17475-59th Ave. (phone for information)
contact Deirdre Thomas (604) 543-8035

Coquitlam

Our Lady of Fatima  Wed 7:30  315 Walker St.
contact Janet Tng  778-998-8098

Gibsons

Spirit Alive           Mon 7 p.m. St. Mary’s Church (hall)  Gibsons Way
contact Mavis Wilson 604-886-7718

Ladner

Sacred Heart (clubhouse) Wed 7:30  3900 Arthur Dr., Delta
contact Terence D’Souza 604-948-1719

Langley

St. Joseph’s         Tues 7:30  20676 Fraser Highway
contact Hans Gottwald 604-534-8765  or Norma Williams 604-514-9859

Maple Ridge

St. Luke’s             Thurs. 7 p.m.  20285 Dewdney Trunk Rd.
contact Bill Sharp (604) 467-6989

Mission

New Beginnings Prayer Group  Thurs 7:30  St.Joseph’s (meeting room)  32550-7th Ave. contact Eileen Roberts 604-826-8105

New Westminster

Community of the Risen Lord  Thurs. 7 p.m. Video teaching/live Skype meeting  St. Peter’s parish hall     405 Royal Ave  contact Ashanti Munaweera 604-526-9910

North Delta

Immaculate Conception Fri 8 p.m. (after 7:30 Mass)  8842-119th St. (hall)
contact Lennie David (Mrs.) (604) 594-7296

North Vancouver

St. Stephen’s       Thurs 7:30  1360 E 24th St.
contact Ted Holowka (604) 924-0573

Port Moody

St. Joseph’s         Thurs 7:30  140 Moody St.
contact Jocelyn Rochard 604-469-0713

Powell River

Maranatha           Wed 7:30  Assumption (bottom floor meeting room) 7109 Glacier St. contact Don and Charlene Bourcier 604-485-9595 or Pat Clark 604-483-9982

Richmond

St. Joseph the Worker   Wed 8 p.m.  4451 Williams Rd.  (hall)
contact Miriam Saldanha (604) 277-5580

St. Monica’s (hall)      (call for information)  12011 Woodhead Rd.
contact Dave Buyser 604-278-2607

St. Paul’s            Tues 7:30 8251 St. Alban’s Rd. (parish centre)
contact Melanie de Souza 604-214-0456

CCMC Chinese group  Thurs 7:30  Canadian Martyrs  5711 Granville St.
contact Elvis Tong 604-838-7728

Squamish

St. Joseph’s       Friday 7 p.m.  2449 The Boulevard  Garibaldi Highlands
contact Sister Josephine de Leon 604-389-8113

Surrey

St. Bernadette   Mon 7:30 6543-132nd (parish centre)  St.
contact Danny Guerrero 778-628-2084

St. Matthew’s    Mon 7:30  16079-88th St. (hall)
contact Steve and Margaret Potusek 604-597-8202

BLD                 Fri 8 p.m.  St. Matthew’s (see above)
contact Franco and Remy Tang 604-274-7036

Our Lady of  Good Counsel   Thurs 7:45  10460-139th St. (Mary Help of Christians hall) contact Rose Zuniga 778-829-8007

The Potter’s House  Wed 7:30  Star of the Sea  15024-24th Ave. South Surrey
contact Jae Ewing 604-536-7860

Kamloops Diocese

Kamloops

Light of God       Thurs 7 p.m.  Our Lady of Perpetual Help basement 635 Tranquille Rd. contact Berthe Hall berthe1@shaw.ca

El Shaddai          Sunday 1 p.m.  Our Lady of Perpetual Help basement  635 Tranquille Rd. contact Ida Sunga rsunga@hotmail.com

Nelson diocese

Castlegar

Community of  Hope   Thurs 7:30  St. Rita’s parish hall  513-7th Ave.
contact Armando Cardoso 250-365-5932

Cranbrook

People of Unity          Wed 7:30  Christ the Servant prayer room  1100-14th Ave. S.
contact Flo Reid 250-426-7570, Lynne Williams 250-489-1702,  or Sharlyn Sorge 250-489-9768

Creston

Life in the Spirit    Wed 7 p.m.  Holy Cross parish hall (starts Oct. 12)  128 16th Ave. N contact David Manning 250-402-6505  Yvonne Horne v.horne@live.com

Grand Forks

People of Peace             Wed 10 a.m.  Sacred Heart sacristy  7269-9th St.
contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589 russ-m@telus.net  or Johanna Tournemille 250-442-2421  johanna.tournemille@gmail.com 

Kelowna

People of Faith              Tues 7 p.m.  St. Pius X Church (side door)  1077 Fuller (corner of Gordon) contact Piera 250-762-6150

Keremeos

Dawn Prayers                Wed 7 p.m.  Our Lady of Lourdes
contact Robert and Barbara Quaedvlieg 250-499-7033  redbridgeguestsuite@nethop.net 

Nelson

Trinity Prayer Community Thurs 9 a.m. (after 8:30 Mass) Cathedral of Mary Immaculate Jubilee room 813 Ward St. contact Loree Renwick 250-352-7960

Oliver

Christ the King  contact Doreen Steger 250-498-6091 (call for information) fdsteger@telus.net

Osoyoos

New Life Praise Group  Mon 7 p.m.  St. Anne’s Church  7709-87th St.
contact Laurie Martin 250-495-2964 lkmartin@persona.ca or Maria (Maite) Gonzalez-Richer cell 250-408-4246, maite33@telus.net or Patricia Norman fishenpat@gmail.com, 250-495-2910

Penticton

Shekinah Prayer Group Tues 7 p.m. St. John Vianney hall 361 Wade Ave.
contact Bernadette Barry 250-492-3478 bkbarry@shaw.ca

Summerland

Holy Child Church         Sun 3 p.m. 14010 Rosedale Ave.
contact Bev MacIntyre 778-740-0508 bevmacintyre777@gmail.com 

West Kelowna

Our Lady of Lourdes     Tues 6:30 p.m.  2547 Hebert Rd.
contact Marcia Lawrence parish 250-768-4114 ololoffice@ololwestbank.ca

Prince George diocese

Prince George

St. Mary’s                        Thurs 7 p.m. 1088 Gillette (conference room)
contact Louis Dauvin 250-563-8538

Kitimat

Christ the King               Mon 7 p.m. (every other Monday)  23-863 Lahakas (private home) contact Mike Weeres 250-632-5609

Terrace

Abba Prayer Group       Thurs 7:30  Sacred Heart  4830 Straume Ave. parish 250-635-2313  

Victoria diocese

Victoria

Led by the Spirit        Mon 7:15 p.m.  Sacred Heart Church  (Pope John Hall)  4040 Nelthorpe St. contact David MacIntyre 250-383-9955 macintyre500@hotmail.com

People of Hope                Tues 7:30  St. Andrew’s Cathedral (enter via parish centre on View Street) 740 View St. contact Lynn Dunstan Weedmark or Richard Dunstan (250) 477-4700 richard@thedunstans.com


Spirit-filled Websites

Dear Friends in Christ,

I have been blessed by some daily devotions in which I find great strength and direction.  These I wish to share with you as you also continue on your spiritual journey.

The first is a link to Bishop Sam Jacob’s Spirit Aflame, Thought for the Day and Reflections on Scripturespiritaflame1@gmail.com

The second is a link to Father Mark Goring’s Daily Video in which he addresses many pertinent topics that give us cause to ponder and be challenged by the wonders of God.  padregoring@gmail.com

And for those who may wish to pray more novenas I have found a wonderful site, PrayMoreNovenas.com

I pray that these links may bless and spiritually nourish you abundantly.

Blessings,

Flo Reid
chair, CCRS of BC


‘Mercy is falling’ – God’s mercy is for all

By LYNNE WILLIAMS
dscn1015-2St. Pius X in Kelowna was the site of the Nelson Diocese Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference, April 29-30. Father Pierre Ducharme spoke on God’s Mercy using three scriptural references: The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15:11-32), Jesus Appears to the Disciples (Jn. 20:19-31), and Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples (Jn. 21:1-19).

The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15:11-32):

Our God is a God of love and mercy. Just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share everything in common, when we receive God’s mercy and love, it goes right back to where it came from and we become one in God’s love. God has perfect love within himself, and God’s love is for us even though we are limited and not perfect. We are invited into this family relationship, to dance and sing and experience pure joy, doing for others what God has done for us.

We need mercy and forgiveness. In the Old Testament, the Jubilee Year was about mercy. The people were called to share their abundance and forgive debts. Forgiveness of others and ourselves is something we work toward, but it is not easy to get there. Sometimes there are situations where we cannot pay back. By dying and rising for our sins, Jesus atones and makes up for what we cannot. We have a God of abundance whose inexhaustible mercy is put before us. Even when we, like the Prodigal Son, have squandered everything and been completely selfish, we can always go back home and return to our Father God who welcomes us, clothes and feeds us, and puts a ring on our finger. We are a child, we belong, and our family relationship has been restored.

Our God is a merciful God who changes us through mercy. Our God calls us out of ourselves and assures us that we are loved; he assures us we are good, and even when we are not good, he assures us we are still loved. We have a God of abundance, a God of Jubilee, a cup that overflows and sets us free to live in the Spirit and go forth following Jesus. We are called to be like the merciful Father, to take on the mission of mercy, to embrace both the younger and the older son.  Forgiveness accepts people where they are at; our task is to go out and pull them in and remind them that they belong, and where they belong, they will be fed and always loved.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples (Jn. 20:19-31):

Have we welcomed God’s mercy in our lives to the point where we will use the gifts we have, or were we sold a lie (e.g. we’re not good enough; mercy is limited)? The Spirit of mercy and love is not limited. The dignity to the human person is affirmed by the fact that God came into the world and took it on. Our God loves us; nothing can take his love away from us. Like the disciples, we can lock ourselves away, but God will go to great lengths to find us. He wants us to see our lives as missionaries of peace, to send us out to heal the broken, to be present to those who refuse to be present to us, and who don’t know God.

As people of faith, we are called to believe and give ourselves to a God we can touch and see, one who is tangible and real and who came to life just like us. To be human is not to be other than God but to be like Jesus who was good and knew he was loved, and who responded with love and faithfulness, always giving credit to the Father. Believe in Jesus and allow the Spirit to be breathed upon us and embraced in us so we are fully human and alive. Be confident that we and the world around us are good. God created the world and loved it. Can we love it too and allow ourselves to be changed in a way that is good, becoming transformed into more loving, human and real friends of Jesus? Can we be people of the Spirit who fall before our Savior and know, that like Thomas, he is, “My Lord, and my God”?

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples (Jn. 21:1-19):

The Holy Spirit that falls upon us is fire, passion, and life. We have been touched by the fire of the Holy Spirit and are uniquely ourselves. Not one of us is the same as the next person, yet we are called together to recognize God’s mercy, unconditional love and absolute forgiveness.

God made us and loved us first, initiating our relationship; he came among us and lives with us. As Christians, we believe we have an ever present God who animates disciples. We believe in the Holy Spirit and believe in the work the Holy Spirit can do. We have been given a diversity of gifts and talents and are members of the church, a body working together to make a difference and change things. As people of faith, let us do what God has called us to do. Let us set sail with Jesus. Evangelization is our mission. It is an issue of great importance.

Our world needs to know there is a merciful God. People are hurting and need to know they are loved, forgiven, belong, and embraced. For whatever reason they are staying away, God is aware of them. We absolutely depend on a loving and merciful God. The Spirit is in charge. If we don’t get out of the way and let God lead, we won’t get very far.

Can we trust our Lord to lead even if we do not know where he’s going? Can we trust that our Lord loves us? The Lord has proven his love for us through the life and death of Jesus, and continues to prove it through his grace. We are called to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus and follow wherever he leads us. We can’t abandon people. We are called to invite them into a journey, to build community, to share our struggles, and to go out serving and seeking relationships with people who need it. We are called to be a people of mercy, always seeking to share more. We are called to go out on a mission. Any good we have is meant to be shared. We ought to go fishing. We are called to include even the ‘fish’ we don’t like.

God’s love never ends and is inclusive, expansive, and powerful enough to change the world. It will always bear fruit that will last. We journey with one another as people of faith, as church, as the hands and feet of Christ to bring love, hope, and joy to the world. Let’s go fishing.

“God does not call the equipped – he equips the called.” (Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave)


Upcoming events

 

Sept. 30-Oct. 2  Nelson diocesan leaders’ retreat Kelowna, Seton House contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589 russ-m@telus.net

160509-Bronze Plaque - Gladys Miller (2)Oct. 1               Mass and dedication: Fr. Don Wilson memorial Kelowna, Seton House (limited space) contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589 russ-m@telus.net

Oct. 14-15       Like a Mighty River: Divine Mercy and Renewal Okotoks, Alberta, St. Joseph Church with Sister Ann Shields contact Anthony Banka 403-667-0637 www.cccrs.com

Oct. 21-22      Year of Divine Mercy Retreat: Healing and Forgiveness North Delta, Immaculate Conception (school gym) Fr. Denis Phaneuf and Moira Noonan contact Lennie David 604-594-7296 lennieptl@telus.net

Feb. 23-April 6  Life in the Spirit Seminar Port Moody (Thursdays) St. Joseph’s Parish contact Jocelyn Rochard 604-469-0713

April 28-29    Nelson diocesan conference: Jubilee of Fire Kelowna, St. Charles Garnier Parish with David Mangan, present at first Catholic Holy Spirit retreat, Duquesne University 1967. contact Scott Frymire 250-493-3554, scottfrymire2@gmail.com or Roy MacIntyre 778-740-0508, roymacintyre@shaw.ca 

Aug. 13-18      Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute Kelowna  details to  be announced; see spring B.C. Charismatic newsletter   contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589 russ-m@telus.net

To include your Life in the Spirit Seminar, prayer breakfast, healing Mass, day of renewal, or other charismatic event in this listing, email B.C. Charismatic editor Richard Dunstan at richard@thedunstans.com


Trips planned to Rome for charismatic jubilee

Two pilgrimages are scheduled to give charismatics from B.C. a chance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal with Pope Francis in Rome next year.

One, led by Father John Brioux, Father Rey Usman, and Lennie David of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C., will leave Vancouver May 29, returning June 11. The pilgrimage includes six days in Rome plus visits to Monte Cassino, San Giovanni, Lanciano, Loreto, Assisi, Florence, Padua, and Venice. For more information, contact Lennie David, 604-594-7296, lennieptl@telus.net.

The other, led by Carol Jones of Kelowna and accompanied by a chaplain, will leave Kelowna May 23, returning June 5. It will include seven days in Rome plus visits to Assisi, Lanciano, and San Giovanni. For more information, contact Steve Baker of Flight Centre, 250-390-9891, toll-free 1-866-539-4379, steve.baker@flightcentre.ca, or Carol Jones, jonesfamily@shaw.ca.


DONATIONS TO CCRS OF B.C.

All donations promote the work of CCRS-B.C. Tours, provincial conferences, leadership workshops and the CCRS of B.C. newsletter. CCRS of B.C. is a registered non-profit organization, and issues receipts for income tax purposes. Indicate below if you wish a receipt (over $10 only) and print your name and address plainly.

Please make cheques payable to CCRS of B.C. and mail to CCRS of B.C.,

c/o Jocelyn Rochard, treasurer, 137 Williams St., Port Moody BC V3H 2R7

Name: ________________________________________________________

Address:______________________________________________________

City:___________________________________Postal code:_____________

Phone:______________________ Donation: $_________Receipt?________

Your prayers and financial support are appreciated.


B.C. Charismatic

CCRS of BC newsletter published spring and fall editor Richard Dunstan 308-225 Belleville St. Victoria BC V8V 4T9 email: richard@thedunstans.com  phone: 250-477-4700 website: www.bccharismatic.ca

 


Posted in Uncategorized

POPE FRANCIS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE 38th NATIONAL CONVOCATION OF RnS IN ITALY

“You, Charismatics,have a special grace to pray and work for Christian unity.”

Dearest Brothers and Sisters,
Good afternoon and welcome. Even the water [referring to the rain] is welcome, because the Lord made it.

I greatly appreciate your response to my invitation in January to meet here in St Peter’s Square. Thank you for this enthusiastic and warm response. Last year in the stadium I shared with all those present several reflections which I would like to remember today — because it is always good to remember, to recall; the identity of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, from which gave rise to the Renewal in the Spirit association. I shall do so with the words of Cardinal Léon-Joseph Suenens, the great defender of the Charismatic Renewal, as he described it in the second volume of his memoirs.

To start with, in this place, he recalled the extraordinary figure of a woman who did so much at the beginning of the Charismatic Renewal; she was his co-worker who also enjoyed the trust and affection of Pope Paul VI. I am referring to Veronica O’Brien: she was the one who asked the Cardinal to go to the United States to see what was happening, to see with his own eyes what she considered to be the work of the Holy Spirit. It was then that Cardinal Suenens got to know the Charismatic Renewal, which he described as a “flow of grace”, and he was the key person for maintaining it in the Church. At the Mass on Pentecost Monday in 1975, Pope Paul VI thanked him with these words: “In the name of the Lord I thank you for having brought the Charismatic Renewal into the heart of the Church.”

It is not a novelty of some years ago; the Charismatic Renewal has a long history, and in the homily of that very Mass, the Cardinal said: “May the Charismatic Renewal disappear as such and be transformed into a Pentecostal grace for the whole Church: to be faithful to its origin, the river must lose itself in the ocean.” The river must be lost in the ocean. Yes, if the river comes to a halt the water becomes stagnant; should the Renewal, this current of grace, not end in the ocean of God, in the love of God, it would work for itself and this is not of Jesus Christ, this is of the Evil One, of the father of lies. The Renewal continues, it comes from God and goes to God.

Pope Paul VI blessed this. The Cardinal continued, saying: “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.”

Here Cardinal Suenens 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. I myself went to the community of Kkottongnae, during my trip to Korea, and I also visited them in the Philippines. This current of grace has two international organizations recognized by the Holy See which are at its service and at the service of all its expressions throughout the world: “iccrs” and “Catholic Fraternity.” This explains the history a bit, the roots.

Last year in the stadium I also spoke of unity in diversity. I gave the example of an orchestra. In Evangelii Gaudium I spoke of the sphere and of the polyhedron. It is not enough to speak of unity, it is not any sort of unity. It is not uniformity. Said thus it can be understood as the unity of a sphere where every point is equidistant from the centre and there are no differences between one point and another. The model is the polyhedron, which reflects the confluence of all the parts which maintain their originality in it and these are the charisms, in unity but in their own diversity — unity in diversity.
The distinction is important because we are speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit, not our own. Unity in the diversity of expressions of reality, as many as the Holy Spirit wills to arouse. It is also necessary to remember that the whole, namely, this unity, is greater than the part, and the part cannot attribute the whole to itself. For instance, one cannot say: “We are the current called the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and you are not.” This cannot be said. Please, brothers, this is how it is; it does not come from the Spirit; the Holy Spirit blows where he wills, when he wills and as he wills. Unity in diversity and in truth that is Jesus himself. What is the common sign of those who are reborn of this current of grace? To become new men and women, this is Baptism in the Spirit. I ask you to read John 3, verses 7-8: Jesus to Nicodemus, rebirth in the Spirit.

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. I ask you: who is the only irreplaceable one in the Church? [from the Square: “the Holy Spirit!”] And who is the only Lord? [from the Square: “Jesus!”]

Let us say that the Lord Jesus is the Lord, let us praise Jesus, loudly! Jesus is Lord! There are no others. There have been sad cases in this regard. There must be a limited term of office for posts which in reality are services. An important service of leaders, of lay leaders, is to make those who will fill their posts at the end of their service grow and mature spiritually and pastorally.

It is appropriate that every service in the Church have an expiry date; there are no lif elong leaders in the Church. This happens in some countries where there is dictatorship. “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart”, says Jesus. This temptation, which is from the devil, makes one go from servant to master, one dominates that community, that group. This temptation also makes one slide into vanity. And there are so many people — we have heard these two testimonies, of the couple and Hugo’s — how many temptations lead to making a community suffer and hinder works, and become an organization an NGO; and power leads us — excuse me but I will say it: how many leaders become vain peacocks? — power leads to vanity! And then one feels one can do anything, and then one slides into business dealings, because the devil always enters through the wallet: this is the devil’s way in.

The founders who received the charism of foundation from the Holy Spirit are different. Because they received it, they have the obligation to look after it, making it mature in their communities and associations. The founders remain such for life, that is, they are the ones who inspire, who give inspiration, but let the inspiration go forward. In Buenos Aires I knew a good founder, who at a certain point became the advisor, and let others become the leaders. This current of grace leads us forward on a path of the Church that in Italy has borne much fruit, I thank you. I encourage you to go forward. In particular, I ask you for your important contribution, especially to undertake to share with all in the Church the Baptism you have received. You have lived this experience; share it in the Church. And this is the most important service — the most important that can be given to everyone in the Church. To help the People of God in their personal encounter with Jesus Christ, who changes us into new men and women, in little groups, humble but effective, because it is the Spirit at work.

Do not look so much at having large gatherings which often end there, but to “homemade” relationships which stem from witness, in the family, at work, in social life, in parishes, in prayer groups, with all!

And here I ask you to take the initiative to create bonds of trust and cooperation with the Bishops, who have the pastoral responsibility to guide the Body of Christ, including Charismatic Renewal. Begin to take the necessary initiatives so that all the Italian charismatic realities born of the current of grace, may bind themselves with these bonds of trust and cooperation directly with their Bishops, there where they are.

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 have all received the same Baptism; we are all going on Jesus’ path, we want Jesus.

We have all made these divisions in history, for so many reasons, but not good ones. But now, in fact, is the time in which the Spirit makes us think that these divisions are not good, that these divisions are a counter- testimony, and we must do everything in order to journey together: spiritual ecumenism, the ecumenism of prayer, the ecumenism of work, but of charity at the same time; the ecumenism of reading the Bible together… To go together towards unity. “But Father, do we have to sign a document for this?” — “Let yourself be carried forward by the Holy Spirit: pray, work, love and then the Spirit will do the rest!” 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.

Unity, for the blood of today’s martyrs makes us one. There is the ecumenism of blood. We know that when those who hate Jesus Christ kill a Christian, before killing him, they do not ask him: “Are you a Lutheran, are you an Orthodox, are you an Evangelical, are you a Baptist, are you a Methodist?” You are Christian! And they sever the head. They are not confused; they know there is a root there, which gives life to all of us and which is called Jesus Christ, and that it is the Holy Spirit who leads us to unity! Those who hate Jesus Christ, led by the Evil One, do not confuse one with the other. They know and therefore kill without asking questions.

And this is something that I entrust to you, perhaps I have already told you this, but it is a true story. It is a true story. In Hamburg, a city of Germany, there was a parish priest who studied the writings to carry forward the cause for the beatification of a priest killed by Nazis, guillotined. The reason: he taught children the catechism. And, as he studied, he discovered that after the priest, five minutes later, a Lutheran pastor was guillotined for the same reason. And the blood of both was mixed: both were martyrs, both were martyrs. It is the ecumenism of blood. If the enemy unites us in death, who are we to be divided in life? Let us allow the Spirit to enter, let us pray to go forward all together. “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.

A few months ago, there were those 23 Egyptians who were also beheaded on the beach in Libya, who in that moment said Jesus’ name. “But they were not Catholics…” But they were Christians, they are brothers, they are our martyrs! — the ecumenism of blood. Fifty years ago, at the canonization of the young martyrs of Uganda, Blessed Paul VI made reference to the fact that their Anglican companion catechists had also poured out their blood for the same reason; they were Christians, they were martyrs. Excuse me, do not be scandalized, they are our martyrs! Because they gave their life for Christ and this is the ecumenism of blood — pray, remembering our common martyrs. Unity in working together for the poor and the needy, who are also in need of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It would be so beautiful to organize seminars of life in the Spirit, together with other Christian Charismatic realities, for brothers and sisters who live on the street: they too have the Spirit within who impels them, so that someone will open wide the door from the outside.

It seems that the rain has stopped. The heat is over. The Lord is good, first he gives us heat, then a good shower! He is with us. Let yourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, by this current of grace, which goes forward always in search of unity. No one is the master. There is only one Lord. Who is it? [from the Square: “Jesus!”]. Jesus is the Lord! I remind you: Charismatic Renewal is a Pentecostal grace for the whole Church. Agreed? [from the Square: “Yes!”]. If someone does not agree, raise your hand!
Unity in the diversity of the Spirit, not any unity — the sphere and the polyhedron — remember this well, the common experience of Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the fraternal and direct bond with the diocesan bishop, because the whole is greater than the parts.

Then, unity in the Body of Christ: pray together with other Christians, work together with other Christians for the poor and the needy. We all have the same Baptism. Organize seminars of life in the Spirit for brothers and sisters living on the street, also for brothers and sisters marginalized by so much suffering in life. Allow me to recall Hugo’s witness. The Lord called him precisely because the Holy Spirit made him see the joy of following Jesus. Organize seminars of life in the Holy Spirit for people who live on the street.

And then, if the Lord gives us life, 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.

Thank you again for having responded joyfully to my invitation. May Jesus bless you and may the Holy Virgin protect you. And, please, do not forget to pray for me, because I need it. Thank you.
Before the final Blessing, the Pope spoke the following words: And with Bibles, with the Word of God, go, preach the novelty that Jesus has given us. Preach to the poor, to the marginalized, to the blind, to the sick, to the imprisoned, to all men and women. Within each one is the Spirit, who wishes to be helped to open wide the door to make him flourish again. May the Lord accompany you in this mission, with the Bible always in hand, with the Gospel always in your pocket, with the Word of Christ.++++


Posted in Uncategorized

BC Charismatic Newsletter Spring 2016

MERCY’ THEME        SEPT. 23-24

Vancouver to host

B.C. conference

               Bishop Sam Jacobs and Dr, Margarett Schlientz will be featured speakers Sept. 23 and 24 at this year’s Vancouver Catholic Charismatic Conference, which will return to a familiar setting: Broadway Church.

The event is co-sponsored by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C, the provincial service committee, and is both a provincial and an archdiocesan conference.

Theme for the conference, being held during the Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, will be Jesus, Son of David, Have Mercy on Me (Luke 18:38).

The conference returns to Broadway Church, a Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada church approved for Catholic events, after a three-year absence using other locations.

The conference will feature Bishop Jacobs, a former chair of the U.S. National Service Committee for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and Dr. Schlientz, whose ministry combines training in theology, spirituality, and psychiatric nursing.

The event runs 7-10 p.m. on Friday Sept. 23 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday Sept. 24. Closing Mass will be celebrated at 5 p.m. Saturday, with Fr. Joseph Nguyen, Vicar-General of the Archdiocese, presiding.

Confessions and Eucharistic adoration are also scheduled.

Tickets are on sale now and are $15 until Aug. 31, $25 after that. They may be purchased from your prayer group or at fireblade@telus.net or 604-597-8227.

Bishop Jacobs is retired bishop of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana and was previously bishop of Alexandria, Louisiana. Born in Mississippi but raised in Louisiana, he was ordained in 1964 for the diocese of Lafayette. He served there and in the diocese of St. Charles as parish priest and chaplain, as well as diocesan director of vocations and seminarians for St. Charles. He was named bishop in 1989. He was named to the national service committee in 1982 and served as chairman from 1987 to 1993; he returned to the committee in January 2015. He also chaired the committee for evangelization for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2005 to 2005, and is currently a member of the committees on laity, marriage, family life and youth, and on evangelization and catechesis. He retired as diocesan bishop in 2013 but continues to serve as a speaker, as well as operating the Spirit Aflame website, http://www.spiritaflame.org/ . He was featured speaker at the 2015 Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in Kelowna.

He may be seen on YouTube at http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+bishop+sam+jacobs&qpvt=you+tube+bishop+sam+jacobs&FORM=VDRE.

Dr. Schlientz, a Wisconsin resident, holds a doctorate in psychiatric nursing and master’s degrees in theology, spirituality, and psychiatric nursing. She is the founder of the Pope Leo XIII Institute for the education of priests in exorcism and deliverance, and is assistant director of the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Nebraska. She is co-author of the RISEN program (Re-Invest Spirituality and Ethics in the              Networks of Health Care), and presents it regularly to health care systems across the U.S. She has held teaching and administrative posts at Marquette University in Milwaukee, speaks at conferences and parish missions, and ministers as a spiritual director to priests. Her website is https://drmargarettschlientz.com/. She is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yre6KPH7RJg.

A prayer room and book tables will be available at the conference. Light refreshments will be available on site, and there are several restaurants nearby.

Broadway Church is located at 2700 East Broadway, corner of Slocan, and near the Renfrew SkyTrain station. There is parking on church property.

VANCOUVER 2015

Jesus will never disappoint you

 By RICHARD DUNSTAN

Do you need to be healed? Put your trust in Jesus and you won’t be disappointed, says Sister Linda Koontz.

“To believe means to put all your weight on what Jesus has said,” she told a crowd of 1,100 at the 2015 Vancouver Catholic charismatic conference Sept. 18 and 19 in Surrey. “Those who trust in Him will never be disappointed.”

Sister Linda, of El Paso, TX, has worked with the poor of Ciudad Juarez, across the Rio Grande in Mexico, since 1977. Before that she was a key figure in the rise of the Catholic charismatic renewal in Canada, touring B.C. and Alberta in 1969 preaching about the Holy Spirit after she was baptized in the Spirit herself in her native Washington State.

Theme of the conference, held at Chandos Pattison Auditorium, was “I am willing—be healed,” and Sister Linda said Jesus is always willing. “There are no rules—Jesus heals all the time.” She said many people who believe Jesus can heal them still think it’s rare and unlikely, like winning the lottery. “Guess what—that’s a lie,” she said.

“Healing is not proof of the [Gospel] message. It is the message. The Kingdom of God is wholeness and healing. ‘Salvation’ means heath—in Greek it means being preserved from death and freed from disease, and ‘Jesus’ in Hebrew means the God who heals, the God who saves, the burden bearer, the one who breaks the yoke.”

Fear, negativity and unbelief can keep us from being healed, she said, and so can unforgiveness, even in the form of resentment. (“Resentment is hatred with a tuxedo on,” she said.) As to negativity and unbelief, “pray until you get results. If we’re going to rise up [and be healed], we must cry out to Jesus and not go anywhere else.”

Fear, she said, is one of Satan’s biggest weapons, but the Bible is clear: “fear not.” “Ninety-two per cent of what we worry about doesn’t happen,” she said. “When we’re in fear, we can’t pray. It destroys our faith. Today we must decide whether to live by fear or faith.”

Fear can’t be hoped or wished away, she said—only prayed away. And “fear not” doesn’t always mean “don’t feel afraid”—it means don’t run away. “Sometimes we have to do things afraid,” she said. “But as we take that step, we find that the Lord is there.”

Sister Linda said she was originally prayed over for baptism in the Holy Spirit by teenage students who told her she needed it.

“The miracle was that I kneeled down,” she said. “I told them ‘I have the Holy Spirit.’ They said, ‘yes, Sister, you do, but He’s in the refrigerator—you have to let Him ouit.”

Before her baptism in the Spirit, she said, “I was one dead nun. The Gospel doesn’t just make good people better. It brings dead people to life.”

Also speaking at the conference was Father Jerry Thompson of Los Angeles, who has been a charismatic since before his ordination 21 years ago. He has training in psychology as well as theology and had ministries in holistic healing and spiritual direction. He also has a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Father Thompson said healing can be mental or emotional as well as physical and can also involve the whole family. A key to healing, he said, is forgiveness. “Forgiveness is an act of love, and love is of God. To forgive is to experience God’s love in our own life, and to allow others, through our forgiveness, to experience God’s love for us.”

To forgive, he said, we must embrace whatever needs to be forgiven, and then let it go. “One never forgets, but one must always forgive,” he said. “God wants us to be whole, and that begins by letting other people off the hook. Let God take care of it.”

We are still entitled to protect ourselves from an unhealthy relationship with the person we’re forgiving, he said; “forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation.” But hatred and vengeance are out. “When we decide to hate someone, we automatically begin to dig two graves: one for them and one for ourselves.”

Father Thompson said devotion to Mary is important because she will make the gifts we give to God more perfect as she presents them. “We have God’s grace, but she has all of it,” he said. “Jesus always does what His mother asks Him to do, because He is an obedient son.”

Archbishop Michael Miller celebrated the closing Mass for the conference. He said in his homily that parents are considered by the Church as the first evangelists and catechists of their children, and their work cannot be outsourced to other agencies. “None of our great Catholic schools can ever supplant your role as parents.”

He said parents should present the Gospel joyfully, keep learning about their own faith, read the Bible to their children, and attend Sunday Mass as a family. “You can’t shut down their [children’s] questions. You must know the faith,” he said. As for the Bible, it’s best to start with the Gospels; “don’t begin with the book of Genesis and think you have to plow through.”

KELOWNA AUG. 7-12

Koontz, Ibekwe to speak at Institute

 Sister Linda - Copy-1               Sister Linda Koontz and     Father Sylvester Obiora Ibekwe will be featured speakers at Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute, to be held Aug. 7-12 at Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer in Kelowna. (An incorrect date was reported in the fall 2015 B.C. Charismatic newsletter.)

Theme of the institute will be Receive Mercy—Move Forward in the Spirit. Chosen scripture text is Romans 10:13, “All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The institute, aimed at discipleship and leadership formation, is sponsored by Nelson Diocese Charismatic Renewal Service Committee and endorsed by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C., the provincial service committee.

The institute opens with a 5:30 p.m. outdoor Mass Sunday, Aug. 7, followed by registration, refreshments, praise and worship, and ends after lunch Friday, Aug. 12. The program includes daily Mass, morning and afternoon teaching and panel discussions, and evening devotional programs. All activities will take place at Seton House except for a healing Mass to be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, at St. Charles Garnier parish in Kelowna.

Other evening devotional programs will include praise and worship, a prayer meeting, and exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, with one free evening. The sacrament of reconciliation will be offered at lunchtime Tuesday through Thursday.

Cost of the institute is $500 ($550 after June 15) for all sessions, accommodation at Seton House (double occupancy), and all meals. Commuter fee is $275 ($325 after June 15) for all sessions plus lunch and supper.

Accommodation is limited to 30 at Seton House and daily attendance to 40. Some billeting may be available.

Sister Linda Koontz, originally from Washington State, was a pioneer of the Catholic charismatic renewal in B.C. and Alberta following her baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1969. She has worked in the renewal full-time since 1971, moved to El Paso, Texas in 1977 to work with the poor of Ciudad Juárez, across the Rio Grande in Mexico, and in 1986 founded Spirit of the Lord International Mission to offer evangelization,

food, housing, and medical care for the poor of Juárez. She is a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, a congregation dedicated to service of the poor.

Sister Linda was also featured speaker at the Vancouver archdiocesan charismatic conference in September 2015 (see Page 2).

Father Sylvester Obiora (Obi) Ibekwe, originally from Nigeria, was ordained for the Nelson diocese in October 2015 and is currently assistant pastor at St. Pius X parish in Kelowna, as well as serving St. Edward’s parish in Lake Country/Winfield.      He has long been active in the Catholic charismatic renewal and was featured speaker at Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in 2014 and 2013.

Roy MacIntyre is co-ordinator of this year’s    Summer Institute, with Loree Renwick as MC and Father Obi as host and Mass celebrant. Gladys Miller will lead panel discussions and Johanna Tournemille is organizing music. Donna Goss and Peter Weiler will co-ordinate services at Seton House, with Evelyn Puckey in charge of meals.

For information, please contact Roy MacIntyre, 778-516-2769, roymacintyre@shaw.ca; to register or for billeting inquiries, contact Maria, 250-707-1423, untamedspirit@telus.net

“The Institute is our opportunity to gather with Mary, the mother of Our Lord, calling upon the Holy Spirit to inspire us and impel us to move forward in the power of the Spirit to bring the knowledge of God’s love and mercy to our communities and the waiting world,” says a statement from Summer Institute organizers. “It is here that we learn to listen, and, like Mary, ponder in our hearts and integrate God’s message for us and be moved to share with all what God is doing in the Church today.

“This year will be listening to how we may live and apply mercy in our lives and show mercy to our communities with the help of the Holy Spirit.”

Cranbrook hosts day of renewal

By LYNNE WILLIAMS

People of Unity Prayer Group, Cranbrook

On a rainy Kootenay Saturday in March, the People of Unity prayer group hosted an East Kootenay deanery day of renewal featuring the Nelson diocesan ministry team of  Father Sylvester Ibekwe as guest speaker and Johanna Tournemille and Gladys Miller as music leaders. Twenty-four people from throughout the deanery participated.

Father prayed, “May we be revived and strengthened in our faith and renewed by love for you and for each other.” God created us for happiness and we all search for it. Happiness is different from pleasure; pleasure cannot be sustained without the activity producing it. Food, success, and certain activities give us pleasure, but we always need more to continue the pleasure; pleasure does not bring enduring happiness. Happiness stays with us no matter what happens.

Father’s talks included the following topics:

  1. What is the essence of happiness? In what and whom does it exist?
  2. What is the meaning of the Beatitudes?
  3. What is the meaning of evil and suffering? How do we approach them and the difficulties of life?

When Abraham said yes to God, he made a journey in darkness, trusting God. Likewise, to be a Christian is to journey in darkness and to move forward in faith, trusting in God’s light.

What is happiness? In whom is it found? “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them saying; ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.’” (Mt. 5:1-3 NRSV)  The Greek word, μακαριοι, here translated “blessed,” properly means happy. (Benson Commentary http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/5-3.htm)

Biblically, when Jesus goes up the mountain, he goes to pray. Praying helps him find the will of his Father. This was difficult for him because he was human. “In his anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.” (Lk. 22:44 NRSV)

When Jesus sits down to teach he assumes a position of authority. Sitting down is important. (Mt. 13:1-2, 15:29, 24:3-4, 26:55) When Matthew writes, he began to speak, he is telling us something important will happen; listen. In his reference to the mountain, he shows how the New Testament fulfils the Old Testament. He is telling the Jewish people Jesus is the new Moses, presenting the new law. Moses appearing at the transfiguration on Mount Tabor means the law with its commands was fulfilled in the person of Jesus, who magnified the law by teaching the law of the Love of God. If we base our lives on love, we will be satisfied and happy.

Matthew, unlike Luke’s version of the Beatitudes, adds the words “in spirit” to “poor.”He includes the religious sense to show the Jewish people that Jesus is the fulfillment of the scriptures. In Nazareth, Jesus reads, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor,” (Is. 6:1-2, Lk.4:18-19 NRSV) then announces, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.

In the Kingdom of God, things are turned upside down; there is a reversal of values. The Beatitudes begin with the poor, who are blessed in spirit. The rest of the world says “blessed are the rich; they are the happy ones.” But, what does the Bible say? “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 121:2) God’s help for the poor and afflicted is referenced many times, (Ps, 12:5, 14:6, 22:24, 27:14: Is. 10:2, 26:6) In Matthew, the followers of Jesus were poor in spirit and fact. Where then does happiness (blessedness) lie? Like the poor person who is totally dependent on him for everything, we must look to God to find our happiness.

At the beginning of his second talk, Father played his guitar and lead us in a spontaneous prayer-song:

“There is something that makes me

Come into your presence, by your love,

My Redeemer, My Savior, My Father.

For you died for me, my helper.

You gave me life, my helper.

You gave me friends, my helper.

You gave me hope, my helper.

We have come because we want to encounter you in any way. We will be quiet and listen to your voice.

Your presence brings us life, strength, hope. Thank-you Lord for bringing us together.

When we come into your presence, we’re so happy, so glad. For in your presence,  there is anointing and in your presence his Spirit surrounds us…”

We believe in the almighty God from whom everything comes. To enjoy this peace and contentment, we have to put aside our life and put it into the life of God. “For, ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’” (Acts 17:28) I am a dependent being. To be means to be in the life of God; enjoy swimming in the life of God; enter into the dance.

In Life in the Spirit means to become one with God who becomes the dwelling place of where we want to be. That’s where Jesus wanted to be. Everything he did came from that source of being with the Father. We will do more and have more satisfying lives if we live in his presence. True freedom is a liberty of spirit; Jesus came “to proclaim liberty to captives.” (Isaiah 61:1)

Something had been seen in Jesus that the disciples had not seen before and a disciple asked, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Lk. 11:1) When we pray, we enter into his presence and partake in a relationship that is transforming. The Kingdom of Heaven begins here, “Because your steadfast love is better than life.” (Ps. 63:3 NRSV) and is fulfilled in the next world.

“Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.” (Mt. 5:5) The humble will inherit the earth and be exalted. (Mt. 19:28) “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”(Mt. 11:29 NRSV)

The meek do not establish themselves above other people and this is not a weakness. Jesus was meek, but spoke his mind, encouraging us to speak the truth in charity and love.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Mt. 5:8 NRSV) What do we mean by righteousness? When we live in God, we too become righteous, just, and have integrity. Jesus took away our shame. We do not have justice and righteousness in ourselves. He has it. The ultimate source of righteousness comes from God.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”(Mt. 5:7 NRSV) To be merciful is a fundamental demand that God is making of us. “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (Mt.9:13) Jesus miracles are examples of living mercy, (Mt.5:43-48, 9:26-31, 15:21-28, 17:14-18, 20:29-34, 25:31-46, Heb. 2:17) Mercy should be shown to everyone, even our enemies and those from whom we are estranged and alienated. We are to open our arms and embrace one another in our beauty and our brokenness. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is an excellent example of the mercy of the Father. Mercy brings us to restoration and revival. The only way to peace in the world is to reach out to embrace one another and to initiate the move of mercy. Merciful action is a concrete sign that we are loyal to our heavenly Father. He demands an activity of loving kindness benefiting other people.

The kingdom of God will bring us six things: permanent inheritance, comfort and peace, mercy, fulfillment, closeness to God, and sufferings and persecution. The Beatitudes bring us consolation and comfort when we face evil and sufferings; they bring into perspective the difficulties of the present moment, lessening pain and anguish, and encouraging us to move forward.

God’s promises, which we hold in our hearts, are being fulfilled in the here and now and will be completed in the future reign of God. We can put our trust in God and not be afraid of living today and tomorrow. The promises possess a secret vision and hope that will make suffering powerless and bearable.

Nelson leaders learn about discipleship

By LYNNE WILLIAMS

On April 20, 1999, two teens went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 13  and wounding more 20 before committing suicide. The crime was the worst high school shooting in U.S. history.

Deacon (now Father) Sylvester Ibekwe’s opening talk to the Nelson Diocesan leaders’ retreat, in September at Seton House in Kelowna, began with this story. A survivor was shot 12 times when she answered, “Yes,” to the question, “Do you believe in God?”  When asked why, she said, “Because my parents taught me and that’s why I believe it myself…My life is a miracle.”

Living our faith the way we are capable of is what changes the world. As a mother of a murdered teen has said, “No matter what evil we perpetuate on each other, God wins in the end.”

A disciple is a student; for discipleship, there needs to be an attraction to the person we are following. Holiness is the most attractive thing in the world. Beauty draws us in, changes us and sends us on a mission. It does not allow us to stay the way we are.

Jesus was not a boring guy. He brings wine to a wedding, food for a picnic, protects women from stoning, raises the dead to life at a funeral, and heals the sick of their illnesses. He was radical.

“He (rich man) said to him (Jesus), ‘Teacher, I have kept all these (commandments) since my youth.’ “Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me.’ ” (Mark 10:20-21 NRSV)

Discipleship is not easy; it has a cost and we cannot do it on our own. We need the look of love.

St. Paul says, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil.3:10-11NRSV)

We can never really know Christ, but each day we can strive to know a little bit more. It is only in heaven that we will really know him. In order to know God, one has to be known – standing naked before him, wearing no masks. One must surrender all, holding nothing back.

The Holy Spirit partners with us to show us areas in our lives that need to be worked on, illuminating us and shedding light on our path; this can take a long time. The journey of illumination leads to unity with God. Not many people arrive at this destination in this life.

“For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:19-20 NRSV) When such unity happens, we are able to listen to God and others. We experience a sense of tranquility and serenity and actually seek the good of the other. Our goal is to decrease so that others may increase.

Gladys Miller, chair of the Nelson diocesan service committee, gave the second talk. She said God enhances discipleship through leadership by pouring out his abundant grace. There is a cost in that nothing is promised in this life, but much is promised in eternal life. When we focus on the world, the cost is sometimes too great; when we focus on Jesus, the cost is not too great.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book titled, The Cost of Discipleship, centres on the Sermon on the Mount and the theology of costly discipleship. From a temporal point of view of the Beatitudes, people do not feel blessed and happy when poor, in mourning, hungry, etc. What makes the Beatitudes acceptable is what follows afterwards– the kingdom of heaven, seeing God, being called a child of God, etc.

 “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God.” (Heb. 10:31 NRSV)

Discipleship involves a spiritual revolution; it is a call to put away old way of life and put on a new self, requiring discipline, and a willingness to listen to God and imitate Jesus.

One must learn that God loves us for who we are, not for what we do. Some costs of discipleship include alienation and isolation within the Church (obedience to God comes before obedience to people); feelings of losing control because of lack of obedience; rejection by family and friends because of our activity; discouragement—the cost of fidelity requires hope regardless of our circumstances; difficulty in letting go of what we want to do – avoiding God’s signals; giving up our own agenda – seek God’s will.

Being what God wants us to be has a human cost. God will often give us prestige and possessions, but there is no guarantee. Give up everything that does not lead to God, including our worldly ambitions. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all., training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from al l iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:11-14 NRSV)

“May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” (Gal. 6:14 NRSV)

We are called to serve. “You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another‘s feet. For I have set an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master … If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” (Jn. 13:13-17 NRSV)

“Then Jesus told his disciples. “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (Mt.:16:24 NRVS) We make a choice for discipleship out of love for Jesus. Our true commitment to Jesus is revealed in our struggles as we turn to him in all circumstances. “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7 NRSV)

If our identity is in possessions and the ungodly things of this world, God does not recognize us. God made whole the person he called us to be; this is our identity as a child of God. Isn’t now the time for us to co-operate with God’s plan and discover the child God created?

Deacon Sylvester began the last teaching on My Identity in the Journey of Discipleship, with a lesson in Greek. Μakarios is often translated as blessed, but more accurately translates as happy or fortunate. “Blessed are the poor…” (Mt. 5:3 NRSV) The poor are branded with labels: economically deprived, marginalized, and facing injustice, misfortunes, disappointments and betrayals. Because of their destitution and suffering, a poor person can put their trust in God and his provision. “…so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him – though indeed, he is not far from each one of us. For in him, we live and move and have our being…” (Acts. 17:27-28)  God’s happiness becomes their happiness.

In John’s gospel, John is humble; no mention is made of his name. But he mentions John the Baptist 20 times, because he was a witness, not an authority. John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” (Jn. 21:20), valued witness more than authority.

The word “apostle” does not appear in John, but the word “disciple” appears 78 times. In John, the disciples live in a community of equals. A leadership position does not make one superior. Top-down leadership leads to disunity. There is authority of service, not dominance of service.

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”(Jn. 20:21-23)  Three things were needed to ensure harmony and order:  bond of love; common experience of the Holy Spirit; service of humility

John’s anonymity is very deliberate. In Jewish tradition, the name is very important. What gives John his identity is the fact that God loves him. Because the disciple remains unnamed, readers can place themselves into the story of the beloved. Our real identity comes from the fact that we are loved. It is enough to be the beloved of the Father.

I begin to live when I find me. When I find me, I can delight in and promote the other person. When you know you are loved, you can see the goodness of the other and take time to bless and welcome them.

When my identity comes from my relationship with Jesus, it leads to self-emptying and a consummation of all virtues in order that Christ will live in me.

When I find me, I can begin to lead. When I find me, I will give myself in service.

 

Upcoming events

 

April 29-30 Nelson diocesan Conference   Kelowna
Mercy Is Falling; speaker Fr. Pierre Ducharme St. Pius X parish
contact: Gladys Miller russ-m@telus.net 250-442-8589
May 14 Pentecost celebration Coquitlam
9 a.m.- 1 p.m. with Fr. Ray Usman, Archbishop’s liaison All Saints parish
contact: fireblade@telus.net 604-597-8227
May 15 Pentecost celebration Victoria
3:30 p.m. Roland and Marian Wauthy, guest speakers St. Patrick’s parish
contact: Richard Dunstan 250-477-4700
May 28 Prayer Breakfast Penticton
9:00 a.m. Father Rex Velmonte St. John Vianney
361 Wade Avenue
Aug. 7-12 Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute Kelowna
with Sr. Linda Koontz and Fr. Sylvester Obiora Ibekwe Seton House
contact: Roy MacIntyre,  roymacintyre@shaw.ca  778-516-2769
Sept. 23-24 B.C. provincial and Vancouver archdiocesan conference  Vancouver
with Bishop Sam Jacobs and Dr. Margarett Schlienz Broadway Church
contact: fireblade@telus.net 604-597-8227

To include your Life in the Spirit Seminar, prayer breakfast, healing Mass, day of renewal, or other charismatic event in this listing, email B.C. Charismatic editor Richard Dunstan at  richard@thedunstans.com

Look beyond the selfie—and the self

By ANN BRERETON

ICCRS representative for Australia

Imagine an archaeological dig site in 1,000 years’ time. A long aluminium stick with a claw on one end and button on the other is found. After much research it is discovered to be a “selfie-stick” from the 21st century. It is displayed in the National Museum with the following inscription “Selfie Stick. A popular photographic tool used by our ancestors to capture a moment in time, with the operator of the device being the main attraction.”

Most of us have participated in a “selfie” or possess our own “selfie stick.” I remember being told by a professional photographer that where possible I should include a person or people in holiday scenery snaps, as this can help to recall where and when the photo was taken. However, the scenery or event remained the subject of the photo, unlike today. The selfie-stick phenomena in which we are now living has shifted the attention to ‘self’ being at the centre and all else as incidental.

This is not a new trend. Reflecting back through the years to family snaps, our usual reaction when seeing them for the first time is to look for myself. If it’s a good photo of me, then I love the snap and may even put it on display, regardless of what everyone else looks like. If it’s a bad photo of me, although everyone else looks fantastic, the photo could be relegated to the bottom drawer.

So fundamentally little has changed when it comes to photography and our response to it. The basic human need to be acknowledged, or even adored, is a temptation faced by many. The current affair with the selfie stick feeds this egocentric desire and can easily become an inordinate attachment and sometimes addiction which feeds our need for recognition.

The voice of social media today bombards us with the messages that we are of value and acceptable only if we are at our most glamorous and sometimes we are driven to post a selfie which proves this. Now of course, it’s possible with body-slimming, skin smoothing and age-defying filters and apps, to change our appearance, to change from our true self to that which will be acceptable to others. The number of “likes” we get will tell us is we’ve been successful in this task.

A recent quote I read said “People get obsessed with likes. It’s an addictive drug. You get a taste of it, and then you want it more and more. People can tell you the precise moment they broke 100 likes.” Alternately, we can feel ostracised and depressed if we do not receive the desired response. This can cause a spiral into an abyss of depression, which can have terrible consequences.

We would do well to heed the words found in Samuel 16:7 “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

As Christians we are not called to “throw away the selfie stick.” However, I believe we are challenged to look beyond the “self.” A selfie can be a wonderful tool to enable us to look at the world a little differently. A photo is usually taken to seize a moment, an emotion, a scene or a place which holds importance to us. Look beyond self in the picture and “see” what is happening in the background. Your photo may contain an act of kindness, of love or joy. If scenery, its beauty could remind you of the majesty of God. Look to the other people in the photo. Give thanks to God for them. Be real and true to yourself. Give thanks for who you are created to be in God’s image: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Ps. 139:14) Selfies do not have to be narcissistic; they can and should include the other.

Let us continue to capture the moment! But also to see beyond ourselves. It is then that our world is enlarged, our lives are enriched and God is given praise and thanks.

—ICCRS Newsletter

PREPARING FOR CHARISMATIC JUBILEE

Don’t keep the fire to yourself

By DEACON CHRISTOF HEMBERGER
ICCRS council member, Germany
When I was young I used to attend a summer camp. In the evenings, we regularly had bonfires. One of the team placed wood in an elaborate tower. When it was lit, the dry sticks burnt until high flames ignited the thicker logs which would burn way into the night. A bit of wood was added regularly to feed the fire so that it would burn for a long time.
These bonfire evenings came back to mind when reflecting on our motto towards the golden jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 2017: After “Fire Starters” (2012-13) and “Fanning the Flame” (2014-15) we now begin the year 2016 with “Spreading the Fire.”
It is relatively easy to start a fire or to be ignited by a fire. To keep a fire burning for a long time, through all of life’s tempests and adversities, is a rather difficult task. It takes stamina and perseverance.
I think the fire that was entrusted to us as a Charismatic Renewal resembles the bonfires of my youth: a fire was entrusted to us: the experience of the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives, in our Church, in our time. This fire should now burn in us, should become big and strong. There are three questions we need to ask ourselves:
How can we let this fire take hold of us (anew)? Over the last few years, we have really focused on this question. It is about experiencing the action of the Holy Spirit afresh every day. It is about living in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit and using the charisms both in our daily lives and in special situations are the foundation. These experiences resemble the lighting up of the fire: Enthusiasm springs forth, flames spread in no time, the fire burns brightly and can be seen from afar.
How can we keep the fire burning for a long time? A fire needs to be fed; you constantly need to add logs or the fire will die down. The same is true for our relationship to God. It is not enough to know about baptism in the Holy Spirit or to have experienced it way back. We constantly need to focus on God, seeking His pres¬ence. We need to let Him fill us and take hold of us over and again.
This is the only way to safeguard that the fire is not just a flash in the pan. This is how our personal life can withstand the tempests and adversities of life and we do not remain in the initial excitement or even lose it but grow in depth and matu¬rity. A continuous encounter with the Lord, constantly being filled with the Holy Spirit and an intimate prayer life, is what it takes to not only ignite the fire but keep it burning for a long time.
Finally, the third and last question: For whom is this fire supposed to burn? Has God entrusted us with the fire so that we feel good, enjoying a cosy life in our prayer groups? Of course not! Sure, the Spirit of God should take hold of our personal lives penetrating us with his power, joy and peace day by day. But this is not the end of the task, but the beginning. We are called to share and pass on this fire. We share in the mission of Jesus to set captives free, to open the eyes of the blind, to let the oppressed go free and bring the Good News to the poor of this world (see Lk 4:18-19). We live in a world that cries out for God’s love. To pass on the good news is truly necessary. But how can it be done concretely, and above all effectively?
I think we first need to answer the question: Have we started to keep the fire to ourselves? If this is the case, we need to repent and refocus. Then it is important to serve and above all live where God has placed us. This is where we are to be living testimonies to the world. Many have gotten used to withdrawing to a pious corner and renounce the world. I believe this is not what God wants. He has called us into this world to live there as His witnesses. There we can pass on what we have received through relationships and by serving our neighbour.
At the start of this new phase towards our jubilee 2017 I want to encourage you today to keep the fire burning that God has placed in your life. This is best done by a regular prayer life and a deep relationship to the Lord. Only then will we succeed on the long to keep the fire burning that God has placed in us. And only then will we succeed in passing on this fire to others.

—ICCRS Newsletter

International leadership training scheduled in Rome this summer

The seventh Leadership Formation Institute sponsored by International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services will be held Aug. 28-Sept. 17 in Rome.
Registration is currently open for the three-week event, which will offer classes, workshops and practical teaching on Scripture, ecclesiology, pneumatology, mariology, kerygma, leadership and ministry. Field trips in Rome are also scheduled.
The cost is 1,850 Euros per person, which includes course fees, accommodations (double occupancy), local transportation, entrance fees to sites visited, and transport to and from the airport. Single occupancy is available for an additional 250 Euros.
“The purpose of the course is to encourage and strengthen current service leaders in the Renewal, as well as to help develop future service leaders for ministry within the Church and the Renewal,” says an email from ICCRS headquarters.
Those attending must submit a letter of recommendation from their national service community or leaders of their own community and a letter of recommendation from their parish priest or spiritual director, plus one passport photo, a photocopy of the photo page of their passport, and a brief curriculum vitae with evidence of a leadership background.
The course, normally held every second year, is being held a year early because 2017 will be devoted to celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the renewal.
More information is available at
http://www.iccrs.org/en/vii-leadership-formation-institute-rome-italy/ .

Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C.

 Flo Reid (Nelson diocese), chair

826-14th St. South, Cranbrook, BC V1C 1X9

phone 250-426-7570      fmreid45@gm  ail.com

Fr. John Brioux, spiritual adviser, 604-984-6709

Lennie David, Vancouver archdiocese 604-594-7296

Richard Dunstan, Victoria diocese, newsletter editor 250-477-4700

Alex Lim, Vancouver archdiocese, 604-435-9134

David MacIntyre, Victoria diocese, 250-383-9955

Flo (chair) and Jim Reid, Nelson diocese 250-426-7570

Jocelyn Rochard, Vancouver archdiocese, treasurer 604-469-0713

Lindael Rolstone, Kamloops diocese, secretary

 

 

B.C. Charismatic

CCRS of BC newsletter

published spring and fall

editor Richard Dunstan

308-225 Belleville St.

Victoria BC V8V 4T9

email: richard@thedunstans.com

phone: 250-477-4700

website: www.bccharismatic.ca

 


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Nelson Diocese Catholic Charismatic Conference 2016

Nelson Diocese Catholic Charismatic Conference 2016 will be held at St. Pius X church in Kelowna BC on Friday April 29 and Saturday April 30. The conference will feature Franciscan Father Pierre Ducharme, OFM. The theme of the conference in keeping with the Holy Year of Mercy is: Mercy is falling – God’s Mercy is for All. The related scripture is Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.” More details appear on the conference poster below. Click to view.

NDCCRConferencePoster2016

NDCCRConferenceBrochure2016

Kelowna Motels and Hotels near conference site

The conference is free but a love offering will be taken up to offset the costs. Contact info at: untaimedspirit@telus.net

 


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BC Charismatic Newsletter Fall 2015

We Are At War

 

By RICHARD DUNSTAN

Christians are at war. With a real enemy. And we had better take it seriously, because we’ll be running into that enemy in our spiritual lives. But there’s no need for fear—as long as we don’t try to fight the battle by ourselves.

“We battle the forces of darkness through the power of Christ,” Bishop Sam Jacobs told Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in Kelowna Aug. 9-15. “We never do it outside the power of Christ, because if we do, we will lose. Let Jesus fight the battles.”

Bishop Jacobs, a former chair of the U.S. National Service Committee for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, stepped in as speaker for the institute when the scheduled speaker, Fr. Bernie Black, stepped down in April. By that time the theme for the institute, spiritual warfare, had already been chosen. It wasn’t one Bishop Jacobs would have chosen himself.

“I really run away from spiritual warfare,” he told the 40 people attending the event. “I don’t want to deal with that guy. But I felt God saying ‘do it.’”

“That guy”—Satan—is no mere folk tale or symbol of evil, Bishop Jacobs said. He’s a real spirit, a person, a major figure throughout the Bible, including at least 25 references in the gospels alone. “The Son of God was formed to destroy the works of the devil.”

Quoting Pope Francis, he said Satan’s temptations start out small and grow gradually, to the point where they spread to other people and affect the whole community, all the while justifying themselves in the eyes of the person tempted.

Why does the devil even exist? God didn’t make him evil, but God does allow him to carry on practicing evil. “We won’t know anything about that until we get to heaven,” Bishop Jacobs said. “If I was God, I’d get rid of him quick.” God has a plan, he said, but at the moment that plan is a mystery to us.

There’s nothing mysterious about the outcome, though. Satan is going to lose the spiritual war. “We need to know that and believe it and act on it,” Bishop Jacobs said. “He’s defeated. He has no other future but eternal damnation.”

Meanwhile, Christians have a role to play in the battle, and Bishop Jacobs laid out some rules to follow. Rule 1 is to remember that we aren’t Jesus. We don’t fight Satan directly; we don’t go looking for demons the way Jesus did in his time on earth. We deal with them only as God leads us to, and then only through Jesus. “You never directly confront them. Jesus confronts them.

Next, be a prayer warrior. Cover yourself in prayer. “No matter what’s happening in your life, be in prayer.”

Always remember who you are—a son or daughter of God. That’s no small matter, because Satan will try to convince you otherwise, reminding you of your sin and your failures. “The devil can’t give us anything good. He goes after who we are.”

Remember also what you can’t see. The invisible world is as real as the visible world. We are in an invisible war, eternal and cosmic, with a powerful enemy whose goal is to destroy us.

But while we need to take the enemy seriously, we shouldn’t fear him, or be preoccupied with him either. Fear is the devil’s second favourite tool (after pride), Bishop Jacobs said.

“He wants us to be afraid, and we have to say no. We don’t have to be afraid.”

Don’t get complacent. Once we’re freed from the devil’s influence, we need to fill the space with Jesus. We need to tell Jesus we love Him, Bishop Jacobs said—mainly just so we hear it ourselves. Satan will only be cast out forever when Jesus returns, so if we don’t fill the space, Satan will find a way back in to defile us again. “He’s always looking for an opportunity to come back.”

The devil comes against our sin and weakness, Bishop Jacobs said, so we must always be on our guard. We won’t be perfect, but we must repent of our sins and trust in God’s mercy. “We still sin, but sin is not in control of our lives. We aren’t steeped in sin—we are steeped in Christ.”

The devil has many ways of getting at us, Bishop Jacobs said. The ordinary ways are the temptations of the world and the flesh. The world was created good, he said, but it has fallen, and it normalizes sinful behaviour. “As long as the world remains unredeemed, Christians may not live as belonging to the world.” He described the flesh as “the traitor within us.” “Flesh” doesn’t mean sexuality, he said; it means ego in place of discipleship—anything that isn’t from Jesus.

 

 

God knows what you’re going through

 

By RICHARD DUNSTAN

               Jesus gets it.

Whatever problems, hardships or obstacles you may be facing in life, Jesus understands, Fr. Gerald Sekanga told Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in Kelowna in August. He was a human being, too, and He went through it all.

“There is no god who understands pain and separation like the Christian God,” Father Sekanga told the crowd of 40. ”On the cross, He was separated [from God the Father]. He’s the Son of God who says ‘I get it.’

“If you have those experiences, hold them tight, because God knows what you’re going through.”

Father Sekanga is pastor of Holy Child parish in Summerland. Originally from Uganda, he is trained as a canon lawyer. He spoke on the final full day of the week-long summer institute.

The doctrine of the Incarnation—that Jesus was both fully God and fully human—should be at the heart of our relationship to Him, Father Sekanga said. And His entire human life is important. Our relationship is not only with the resurrected Jesus. “The baby and the boy Jesus speak to us, and so does the preacher on the mount and the sufferer on the cross.”

The theme of the institute, titled In the Name of Jesus, was spiritual warfare, and Father Sekanga said our relationship with Jesus is the key to that warfare. As Messiah, Jesus’ role is to trample the enemies of God’s people, but the trampling isn’t for Jesus alone—it’s to be done by the Messiah with God’s people.

Father Sekanga made a number of other points about our relationship with Jesus:

“Believing” in Jesus means trusting Jesus. “You’re not saying ‘I’m of the opinion that Jesus exists,’” he said. Jesus’ name is powerful. Using Jesus’ name isn’t the same as praying, Father Sekanga said; it has power all its own. In Acts 3, Peter and John meet a crippled man, and rather than ask God to heal him, Peter commands the man in Jesus’ name to walk—which he does. “He got up, not because Peter prayed, but just by invoking the name of Jesus. How many of us have the trust like Peter did?”

Father Sekanga said there is nothing in the Bible that tells us to pray and then leave it to God to say “yes” or “no.” With God the answer is always “yes,” but the heart of the person prayed for must be in sync with God. If we pray in Jesus’ name, “it passes out of our hands into Jesus’ hands. When you pray in Jesus’ name, it is Jesus who does the praying, not you.”

As Catholics, our relationship to Jesus is more than one-on-one. “You’re born 2,000 years old.” Father Sekanga said. “And you don’t go to heaven alone. When we pray in sync together we are walking to heaven together.”

Our commitment to Jesus must be complete. We need to write Him a blank cheque. Going to Mass on Sunday doesn’t cover it; we need to give Him our whole lives.

Only Jesus can bring actual joy to our lives. “Joy is a transcendental quality. It can only come from Him. You don’t expect somebody else to give it to us. You cannot expect from someone that which only God can give.”

We have to be honest with Jesus. We need to be on intimate terms with Him, and if we try to justify our sins, we will destroy that intimacy.

“The Christian understanding of intimacy is self-revelation: revealing to God who you are, not who you think you are.

“We must tell Him, ‘I have sinned. I need your mercy.’ Then God says, ‘I get it. Go and sin no more.’”

 

BISHOP SAM JACOBS

 

Direct action by the devil or his demons is extraordinary, he said, but it can happen—ranging all the way from infestation, in which the devil basically makes a nuisance of himself, all the way up to diabolical possession, when a demon resides in someone’s body and can operate the person’s faculties as his own. Possession is extremely rare, he said, and exorcism of a possessed person requires a specially trained exorcist and permission of the local bishop. (By canon law every diocese is supposed to have a priest trained as an exorcist, but don’t bother asking who the exorcist is in your diocese—the bishop said the names aren’t make public, because if they were, the exorcist would be swamped with frivolous cases.

Bishop Jacobs said we shouldn’t be quick to diagnose possession or even lesser satanic actions; the Church tells us not to give supernatural explanations for problems that probably have natural causes.

Unless a problem is obviously demonic, he said, “you always begin with ‘could this be other than demonic.’ Start with the lesser cause.”

Bishop Jacobs said the Holy Spirit plays a key role in spiritual warfare. Even Jesus needed the Holy Spirit, as we can see from chapter 4 of Luke, which comes right after the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus at His baptism (3:22). Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Spirit (4:1) to be tempted by the devil, and successfully resists; then He return to Galilee filled with the power of the Spirit to begin His ministry (4:14). “One of the first things Jesus shows us is that He needs the power of the Holy Spirit in His humanity.”

We too need a personal encounter with the Spirit, just as we need a personal encounter with Jesus, and it should happen every day, Bishop Jacobs said. The devil won’t like what we’re up to, and we need the Spirit’s protection.

“Only if the Holy Spirit is within you are you equipped to do battle,” he said. “You can’t fight the evil one with a pistol. You need the atomic bomb. If we have the Holy Spirit, brutal as that attack will be, the Holy Spirit—God—will be there to defend us.”

 

For prophecies from Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute, see below

 

 

National leader steps down

Fr. Peter Coughlin leaves national service committee chair for health reasons

 

               Rev. Dr. Peter Coughlin, long-time leader of the Catholic charismatic renewal in Canada, has stepped down as chair of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of Canada, the national service committee.

He has also retired as pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in Oakville, Ont., effective this past January. He remains editor-in-chief of The Bread of Life, the national charismatic magazine he founded.

He has been named chaplain for the Sisters of St. Joseph at their motherhouse in Hamilton. Gerard MacDonald of Prince Edward Island is now chair of the national committee. Fr. Coughlin continues to advise the committee.

Born in Hamilton in 1941, Fr. Coughlin was ordained in 1967 for the Hamilton diocese, but has said his priesthood didn’t really take off until he was baptized in the Holy Spirit at a prayer meeting in 1971. He was called to a healing ministry in 1972 while on a visit to a missionary friend in Peru: asked for pray for a young man who had hurt his knee, he saw the main healed immediately.

He earned a master’s degree in Christian spirituality at Creighton University in Nebraska in 1999, and a doctorate of ministry from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Iowa in 2003. He has spoken widely in Canada and internationally, including many visits to B.C., and is the author of a variety of books on the charismatic renewal.

 

The glory of God filled the temple

Vancouver celebrates 60th Life in the Spirit Seminar with closing Mass

 

By IRENE HORSFALL

What a powerful encounter we experienced July 22 at the Mass celebrated in Holy Rosary Cathedral.  It was the last of the seven sessions encompassing the Life In the Spirit Seminar, marking the milestone of its 60th round of such Spirit-empowered event which had been provided in the Archdiocese of Vancouver since Jan. 29, 1993.

The glory of the Lord was fully revealed as His people had all joined in one voice, one spirit in praise of His triumphant presence amidst their very upbeat worship.  Needless to say, such unity of hearts was the trademark of the Holy Spirit while coupled with the joy, the jubilant worshipping gestures which demonstrated only how fully alive the whole congregation had been as it was totally soaking in such atmosphere of praise.

It was such an appropriate and marvellous honour due our Almighty God who, as our Creator, our Father, had been so tirelessly and generously imbuing us with the power of the Holy Spirit – as He was fondly called, the giver of life. He had lost no time in saturating us with such lively and spontaneous response to the liturgy of the Mass, allowing us to demonstrate the glory of God as befitting as in St. Irenaeus’s saying:  “The glory of God is in His people fully alive.”

I was indeed taken by surprise at such demonstration of vigour, vitality and ardour shown by the congregation as I had, in the past, attended numerous charismatic Mass celebrations with similar generous responses, yet something was definitely evident at this event, revealing a genuine awareness of the congregation regarding the whole purpose in giving God His praises and worship – in essence as it was stated in St. John’s Gospel that true worshippers are to worship God in spirit and in truth.  (Jn. 4:23)  Our congregation had doubtlessly been prompted and led by the Holy Spirit in giving their entire volition, emotion and will in honouring the one true God who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent and is the very essence of love.  In other words, I was able to pick up the substance in the core of this worship. It had definitely conveyed something more than just the physical outbursts in tones and gestures; I believe that it had been caused by the quickening action of the Holy Spirit which enabled the worshippers to focus totally on God in His entire being.

I could never have given adequate thanks to the Lord for such an eye-opening witnessing, of course, having stated the fact of how our God Almighty had been so generous in showering us with such grace and blessings plus a whole array of gifts/charisms made available to the candidates, let us not omit to thank the organizers for this event, Fr. Stanley Galvon and his cathedral staff members for their hard work, all our powerful and grace-filled speakers for the seven sessions which included Bishop Ken Nowakowski, Ukrainian Catholic Eparch of New Westminster, who directed the congregation to identifying the real goal in its spiritual pursuit.  Finally, we must, of course, give our heart-felt thanks to our very own Archbishop Michael Miller for his very committed and assiduous efforts in making this celebration possible. His prayerful and physical support had made this event such a success.

In closing I would like to share my vision wherein I was given to see this dormant mine having been blasted, producing so many tiny pieces of stones by this dynamite (the Holy Spirit, for He is known in Greek as the dynamis) thereby fulfilling their purpose in edifying the “Church” building for the time to come.

 

Thanks be to God!

               What has God done in your life lately? We’d love to help you thank Him publicly for His blessings.

Please send testimonies of answered prayer to this newsletter for publication (for free!). Email B.C. Charismatic newsletter editor Richard Dunstan, richard@thedunstans.com .

 

PROPHETIC WORDS RECEIVED AT

OL PENTECOST SUMMER INSTITUTE

There are ditches that take water, and wherever the water flows in the irrigation ditches life springs up along that water.  And so with you, My children: when you take My Spirit, and go out wherever you travel, life comes around you when you bring my Spirit.  And so I say to you, come, come to the water, let anyone who thirsts and is thirsty come, let all who are thirsty come.  All who that it may have the water of life and have it free.  My Spirit is free to those who ask.

 

Isaiah 14 – The Lord of hosts has sworn: As I have resolved, so shall it be; as I have proposed, so shall it stand:  I will break the Assyrian in My land and trample him on My mountains:  Then his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden from their shoulder.  This is the plan proposed for the whole earth, and this the hand outstretched over all nations.  The Lord of hosts has planned; who can thwart Him?  His hand is stretched out: who can turn it back?

 

Look! There He stands behind our wall, peering through the window, peering through the lattice.  My lover, my lover searched me and fetched me.  Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with Me. See, the winter is passed, the rains are over and gone, flowers are appearing on the earth and the season of singing has come.  The cooing of doves is in the land.  The fig tree fans its early fruit.  The blossoming vines spread their fragrance.  Arise, come, My darling, My beautiful one, come with Me.

 

Do you hear My love song?  Did you hear it go out to you?  And hear Me singing to you, my precious people: you are beautiful in My sight and I love you.  And I am calling you in a very special, special way in these days because you are the ones whom I am counting on.  You are the ones that I am asking that you will say Yes in a deeper, more surrendering way than you have ever before.   For such a season as this, for such a season that we are in, I need you, I need to hear your beautiful voice and I need to see your beautiful face, I need to see you before with my love and with my word in such a season as this.  I myself have conquered the world, the flesh and the devil, and now I who am the Almighty God need to face it through you. I need you to reach My people in this season, in this season.  This is My invitation and you have everything that you need.

 

All you who are thirsty, come to the water. You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy?  Heed Me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare.  Come to Me heedfully, listen, that you may have life.  I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David.  As I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of nations, so shall you summon a nation you knew not, and nations that knew you not shall run to you, because of the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you.

 

I have heard many times through this day the Lord’s call his call that says I love you, I love you as you are.  Come to Me, come to Me, listen to Me, walk with Me.  And as you come here tonight to celebrate this Mass the Lord calls us and says come, come without cost, come and receive what I would give you.  Come just as you are and I will bless you and I will hear you.

 

The Lord says this: I am not doing what I am doing for your sake, O Israel, but for the sake of My holy name which has been profaned among the holy nations.  I need to display the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have for Me profaned among them, and the nations will learn that I am the Lord; it is the Lord who speaks.  That I display my holiness for your sake before the knaves.  Then I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries and bring you home to your own land. I shall pour clean water over you and you shall be cleansed.  I shall cleanse you of all of your defilement, all of your idols and I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.  I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead.  I shall put my spirit in you and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances, and you will live in the land that I gave your ancestors and you shall be my people and I will be your God. (Response: Lord Jesus, cleanse my heart pour clean water over me, put a new spirit within me and give me a new heart, a heart of flesh.)

 

The Lord has given me an image of a mighty medieval warrior, a knight, a knight on a horse fully clothed in his armour and his lance and he is just going for it.  And the dust is behind the hooves of the horse, and I sense that there is an army behind him, but this is the knight going ahead.  And then I see him on a hill on his horse and he has a flag in his hand a white flag with a huge red cross and the horse stands up and it is such victory, such victory.

 

Sing to God O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord, to Him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heaven; lo, He sends forth His voice, His mighty voice.  Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and His power is in the skies.  Awesome is God in His sanctuary, the God of Israel; He gives power and strength to His people.  Blessed be God!

 

The flag has been raised, My people, and the battle has been won; this is true, this is trustworthy.  This is something that you can stake your life on.  The battle is won; it is accomplished.  There is no need to fear the small skirmishes that go on because the battle has been won.  The battle is won; it is accomplished.

 

Focus on the human Jesus, the One who suffers, the One who went through excruciating pain and suffering for you. Now focus on what that meant.  That meant He freed you, he gave you a life-saving inheritance, an inheritance in Heaven with His father. He wants you to focus on what that means, an inheritance that lasts forever and ever.

I have an image of the risen Jesus. He is happy, He is smiling, and He was walking towards me and He said, I listen, I am alive.  My disciples, when they saw Me risen and alive, they were overjoyed and they rejoiced.  I call you to rejoice and to be glad. I am alive; I am with you.  Don’t be afraid; be filled with My love and rejoice, for I am alive.  I am your risen Saviour.

 

Do you love Me?  Do you really love Me?  Do you know in the very depths of your being that I died for you, I love you? It’s important to know that I love you.  It’s important to Me to know that I love you.  It’s important to you to know that I love you.  It is important for the days ahead that you know My great love for you, for the ministry and the work I am calling you to.  You need to know that I love you that I loved you enough to give my life for you. I died for you, and my blood was shed for you, for you are Mine and I love you.  You are very are very precious to Me. Know this in the very depths of your being.

 

Song:  There is a fountain. Who is the king? Victorious warrior and Lord of everything.  My Rock, my Shelter, my very own precious Redeemer who reigns upon the throne.

 

My children, I am a high and holy God, and I live in a high and holy place. Even so it is I who have called you, it is I who have saved you, it is I who have taught you how to walk, and it is I who on this day stoop to you like a father and I lift you close to My cheek.  Believe it, My children: I love you, with an everlasting love and I am faithful to you till the end of time.

 

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; give to Him glorious praise!  All the earth worships Thee; they sing praises to Thee; sing praises to Thy name.  Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of His praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.

 

Then the Lord said go outside and stand up on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by.  A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake there was fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.  A voice said to him “Elijah, why are you here?  Why are you here?

 

Be still, My people, be still.  Stop striving to do things in your own power.  I call you into My rest.  My rest is a place where you cease to do and just be; where you can be the instrument of my love; where my love can flow through you because you have stopped getting in the way.  All I ask is that you let Me love through you, that you let me speak through you, you let Me be God in you.  It is My presence in you that will make you holy.  There is nothing you can do, My children; it is Me in you making you holy.  Be still, be still and know that I am God who lives in you.

 

I saw the Lord God seated on a high throne. His train filled the sanctuary. Above Him stood seraphim. Each of them had six wings; with two they veiled their faces, with two they veiled their feet, and with two they hovered aloft. And they cried out to one another in this way: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.” His glory filled the whole earth. The foundations of the threshold shook with the voice of the One who cried out and the temple was filled with smoke.  I said, “what a wretched state I am in. I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips.  And my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of hosts.”  Then one of the seraphim flew to me holding in his hand a live coal which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.  With this he touched my mouth and said “See, now this has touched your lips. Your sin is taken away, your iniquity is purged.“ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying “Whom shall I send?  Who will be Our messenger?” I answered, “Here I am. Send me.”

 

And in this day I am gathering a people. I am forming an army; I am equipping a people – a people who will be equipped with tools they have never seen before, tools that are more powerful than any they have ever used. For this is a new day calling for a new army and new gifts.  And I am forming you, My people, I am forming you today, I am giving you the weapons that you will need.  And so I call.

 

Whoever clings to Me I will deliver; whoever know my name I will set on high.  All who call upon Me I will answer; I will be with them in distress; I will deliver them and give them honor.  With length of days I will satisfy them and show them My saving power.

 

Rise up, My people, rise up and walk with the dignity of God’s chosen people.  Rebuke all fear in your life, for I have not given you a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and boldness to go forth and to serve My people and gather them into the Promised Land.  You are My remnant, you are My chosen ones.  Rise up, rise up! I have given you everything you need. I have anointed you with My Holy Spirit, to go forth in the power of the name of Jesus and to do all that He did because He is with us, He is in us.  Our holiness does not depend on us. It does not depend on us.

 

So My precious children, My precious body: it is He that you can depend on, so rise, rise and shine out, for your light has come.  The Glory of the Lord is rising on you.  Though night still covers the earth and night the people, above you, above you the Lord now rises and above you His glory appears.  The nations come to your light and kings to your dawning lightness. Lift up your eyes and look all around, look all around.  Can you not see?  All the assembly are coming towards you, your sons from far away and your daughters being tenderly carried. At this sight you will grow radiant.  Your heart throbbing in full, radiant, your heart throbbing.

 

The cost of leadership

By DENISE BERGERON

ICCRS council member, Canada

Leadership, as a charism of service, is first a gift from God. Its foundation is based on Christ, best figure of the one who serves others.

Authority comes from God himself. Every charism is given to us for conforming our whole being to Christ, perfect image of the Father. Christ’s mission is to testify the Father’s love. St Paul proclaims: “Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God, something to be grasped. But he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Ph 2: 6-8).

In the Scriptures, Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, did not limit himself to the role of Liberator of his people, but he was the Light of the Nations. His service was extended for all humanity. His intimacy with the Father was so deep that he had no other desire than the one to share it.

Leadership comes with cost. The most intense fight for a leader is to ask himself for which purpose to use the charism of service: guided by the flesh or by the Spirit? In accordance with Christ, meaning here for Him, by Him and in Him, or for our personal glory?

We are called to serve the community as a whole, which means to serve the whole Church. Jesus encourages intensely his disciples to respond to this call and today we hear Him insisting again: “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch” (Lc 5: 4). Stop being afraid to look at yourself, but rather fix your eyes on Him.

This choice brings us, at different moments, to fight against:

  • our facility to settle comfortably, accepting to be unsettled;
  • our tendency to remain in our little daily routine, decentralizing from ourselves and getting rid of old habits;
  • the temptation to remain slaves of our fears, our worries of not being loved or accepted to our fair value, fears of what will be asked, daring the risk of faith and learning to trust;
  • the requirements of interpersonal relationships and commitment, by living the grace of surpassing oneself in love and charity.

When we accept Christ and his Lordship in our lives, purification is done at all levels of our being. Here are some examples:

  • Leadership requires work on oneself. Following the example of Jesus, who let himself be transformed by his Father’s love, the leader agrees to let himself be healed in the parts of his being which have not yet seen the light.
  • Leadership is rooted in the Word of God. The leader takes time to learn and let himself be modeled by the image of Jesus. It is by contemplating Him in the Scriptures that he discovers how much he is loved, forgiven and called to the service of his brothers and the Church.
  • Leadership operates within a context of relationships. The leader is brought at some occasions to take positions, such as during relational conflicts, by being a peacemaker, through reconciliation and urging people to live forgiveness.
  • Leadership is learned through the exercise of discernment in the various charisms that we put at the service of our brothers and sisters. The leader learns to discern his own commitments, what is best for the group they belong to.
  • Leadership calls to become detached from one’s ideas and projects. The leader who wants to be obedient to the Holy Spirit, sheds, at times, his projects, as good as they may be, to accommodate the will of God manifested in other projects that are more responsive to the group’s mission.
  • The leader ensures that the image he has of his responsibility. “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (Jn 15: 16). The servant’s attitude of humility is an essential quality that allows the inner freedom in ones commitment to the service of our brothers. He remembers constantly that he is not greater than his Master.
  • Leadership leads to a continual detachment of one’s function. It is so easy for a leader to make of his affiliated group or even of the mission, his property. This is part of his struggle, such as the fear to delegate thinking that the other will do less well than we imagine, or fear of losing power and its place within the group. It is in prayer and in his devotion to Christ that he finds the strength to live a holy indifference, that is to say, living the inner freedom vis-à-vis the people and situations. This should not prevent him to give himself entirely, while ensuring to prepare someone to take over. He remains attentive to discern and promote the talents and charisms of each. In this way, the group is still alive, developing and open to new ideas.

The leader will win these battles by drawing in prayer, worship, and in the use of the sacraments, especially the sacrament of reconciliation and the Eucharist.

The goal to achieve is to grow as a child of the Father, like Jesus, fully given as a servant of every man. Our struggle is to let ourselves be dressed, inhabited, transformed by the Risen Christ.

Jesus has paid the price by accepting his mission of Servant to us. This price led him to die on a cross. But Jesus did not remain on the cross. He is risen and alive in our midst. The call is today, a call to move at large, get out of our beaten tracks, and die to ourselves and to our comfort. He urges us to come out winners of our battles by hosting the anointing of Holy Spirit on us. Let us become disciples with hearts of fire, joyful in hope, strong in faith, and filled with love and zeal in our commitments.

Leadership, charism of service, is a precious gift from God. With the deep assurance that God walks with us and precedes us on the way, let us welcome that gift with gratefulness. May the Holy Spirit, in this time of preparation leading to the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, renew in the heart of the leaders of the whole world the charism of service.

—condensed from ICCRS Leadership Bulletin

 

Let’s welcome Jesus in our lives

 

By LYNNE WILLIAMS

St. Charles Garnier in Kelowna was the site of the Nelson Diocese Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference on April 25, 2015. John Connelly and Father Jack Michalchuk presented three inspirational talks, themed on the power of welcome, contemplation, and welcoming the word.

John Connelly began his presentation by asking us, what does, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Rom.13:14) mean to you? What would happen if the world looks at a Christian and sees the person of Jesus Christ? In which ways do we welcome Jesus and others into our lives?

In the Greek language, “welcome” means “joy and exaltation.”  When we greet a friend, how do we show welcome? Perhaps a hug, a smile, or a friendly word indicates that their arrival gives us pleasure. Jesus is knocking on every human heart and wants to be welcomed as a friend, received with joy, and invited into a personal relationship. “… I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in …” (Rev. 3:20)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 519) states that all Christ’s riches are for every individual and are everybody’s property. Christ did not live his life for himself but for us. As Jesus welcomes us we ought to welcome him and listen to his word, letting him in where we are, not where we wish we were.

God is love and Jesus loves us totally because he is God. The pagan concept of prayer is that God is way out there, but St. Augustine said that God is closer to me than I am to myself. “…we are the temple of the living God; as God said, I will live in them and walk among them and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2 Cor. 6:16) Jesus crucified is the greatest love of all; it is the great welcome of God to all. God sees us through the cross; the cross is the eye through which God sees us and through which we learn to see him.

When we cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus, Christianity becomes a dynamic adventure. By the power of the Holy Spirit, as we welcome Jesus into our hearts, we begin the process of conforming our lives to his. He wants to share our joys and celebrations, pain and suffering. Pain is heroic and redemptive when Jesus is invited into it. Welcoming Jesus and his mercy is the heart of everything: ecumenism, evangelization, unity, renewal, relationships, joy and pain.

Jesus is knocking on the door to your heart. Will you invite him in? John gave us this song refrain, “Jesus with every breath, we welcome you (three times). We welcome you.” We sang the refrain as he recited the song’s verses of welcome.

Finding Our Hidden Treasure was the title of the second talk. “To pray Jesus is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him. (CCC 2666) In the invocation of the holy name, (Jesus), he is present. It is the simplest way of praying and when repeated by a humbly attentive heart, it holds fast to the word and “brings forth fruit with patience.” (Lk 8:15)

To welcome Jesus by praying his name is an encounter. It is therapy and the best counsellor we will ever get. This simplest form of prayer, contemplation, is for everybody. St. Teresa says, “Contemplative prayer … is … a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” (CCC 2709) “One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes time for the Lord, with the firm determination not to give up, no matter what trials or dryness one may encounter.” (CCC 2710) When the word contemplation is broken down, co means to join with; temple means God in your heart; tion means in a permanent state of union.

Contemplation is to rest in the presence of the great ‘I AM’. It is each person welcoming a new vision of their relationship with Christ. Welcoming Jesus in daily contemplation frees us from our boxes and leaves God’s love free to act in us. The church urgently needs the deep breath of contemplative prayer.

John provided a handout, Contemplation: Welcoming Jesus with every breath. He writes, “JESUS, with every breath I welcome you …every heartbeat, every experience, I offer as a prayer of limitless-love. Live your life in me as a Missionary Disciple today.” The contemplation has four steps:

1.Opening: I welcome your Spirit of Limitless-Love (Jesus) in me now – gratitude, praise, forgiveness.

  1. Listening: I welcome your Words of Limitless-Love in me now – humility, repentance, surrender.
  2. Uniting: I welcome your Heart of Limitless Love in me now – contemplation, worship, communion.
  3. Sharing: I welcome Our Father’s Reign of Limitless-Love and Mercy into my life, family, church and world – evangelization, mission, service.

In the third talk, Father Jack spoke of Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ by welcoming the Word. “… Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42) In this familiar passage, Martha was busy with many chores, while Mary was listening to Jesus preaching and not helping Martha. Jesus has clearly stated that listening to the Word of God is the better part. For us, God’s word is in the Bible and it is important to read it.

The ‘Word’ has two Greek meanings. The first, logos, refers to the person of Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (Jn. 1:1) Rhema refers to the NOW word for each person. For example, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word (rhema) that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mat. 4:4) “Then Mary said, “Here I am Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk.1:38)  God has a word for us personally. We read it in scripture and hear his voice speaking to us in prayer, just as this word (rhema), was spoken to Mary

When you read scripture, pray, and welcome Jesus into your heart, listen for God’s personal message, his word for you. Ask, what is the Lord saying to me? Every day, spend time in quiet, listen to God’s rhema and allow its power to transform you.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? We all know the power of welcome in our lives. If we broaden our welcoming of friends into a welcoming of Jesus, we invite the Holy Spirit to change us, our families, church and world. Let’s “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” today.

 

Upcoming events

Sept 25-26 Nelson diocesan leaders’ retreat

The Cost of Discipleship

Contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589 russ-m@telus.net

Kelowna

Seaton House

Oct 14-Nov 15

(Wednesdays)

Life in the Spirit Seminar

Contact Lennie 604-594-7296 or lucy.,rodjito@yahoo.ca

Burnaby

St. Francis de Sales parish

April 29-30 Nelson diocesan conference

Mercy is Falling – Fr. Pierre Ducharme, OFM

Contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589 russ-m@telus.net

Kelowna

St. Pius X parish

Aug. 7-12 Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute

Details TBA – see spring newsletter

Contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589 russ-m@telus.net

Kelowna

 

 

To include your Life in the Spirit Seminar, prayer breakfast, Healing Mass,

or other charismatic event in this listing, email richard@thedunstans.com

 

B.C. Charismatic

CCRS of BC newsletter

published spring and fall

 

editor Richard Dunstan

308-225 Belleville St.

Victoria BC V8V 4T9

email: richard@thedunstans.com

phone: 250-477-4700

website: www.bccharismatic.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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