Welcome to the fall 2019 Edition of the BC Charismatic.
Posted in Uncategorized
Dear Charismatic Catholic,
One of the reasons why Pope Francis called for the creation of CHARIS, the new one service for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, was his desire that the whole Church come to experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He has always expressed very clearly this desire for a new Pentecost for the Church and the world, recently once more at the end of the mass for World Youth Day in Panama.
In order to prepare for this new Pentecost, CHARIS is launching a big prayer campaign from the beginning of March. This campaign is simple and accessible to everyone. Each month (March, April, May) an address will be given by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Ecclesiastical Assistant to CHARIS, who will prepare us to open our hearts for a new outpouring of the Spirit.
Here is the link with the first teaching of this campaign: https://goo.gl/CXmNSC
Please spread the word about this initiative to those around you, in your prayer groups, your communities, your schools of evangelization… Be faithful in prayer so that the next Pentecost really does mark the start of a renewal of the whole Church in the Holy Spirit.
Moderator of CHARIS
Posted in Uncategorized
The Lord is Present
God is everywhere. God is present, living in you and me. When I was born I owed God “thanks” for the gift of life. When I was baptized I owed God ‘love” because he made me his child by adoption, filling me with his love and making me an heir to the kingdom of heaven.
The Lord calls each of us to serve him through a particular calling in a vocation tailored to our particular talents and gifts and our spirituality. Our call may be to marriage or the single state of life, to holy orders or the consecrated life. We follow our particular calling or vocation through love, loving God with the totality of our being and sharing that love with all those entrusted to our care and those who in any way are part of our daily life.
Living within me is the presence of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit who guides me and leads me on the journey through life. The love of the Lord fills me and works through me to draw people to come to know and love the Lord. God is not at a distance. He is very near, in my heart, my mind, on my lips. With St. Paul we are continually moving from glory to glory because Christ lives in us. He never leaves us, never stops loving us. He is constant, his love never fails, is always seeking intimacy with us. The more room we make for the Lord in our life the more aware we become of his presence with us, within us.
Our vocational call is built on love and the more the love increases the stronger the call and the Lord’s presence within. People don’t fall in and out of love. They can stop loving but the Lord never stops loving, no matter how far we turn away from him. The Lord is always ready to forgive when we repent, ready to restore us to his favour and to lead us closer and closer in the love he has for us.
Really, the vocational call each of us have, even though it may be different from one another, is the call to love, to be great lovers who spend time with the Lord, communicating intimately with him. This is our first priority- to love and worship the Lord- to listen to him- serve him in our brothers and sisters- to produce the fruits of love- peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, joy, all the good fruit of the Spirit.
Published with permission:
The Bread of Life
ISSN No. 0821-168X. All Rights Reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized
Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B. C. Newsletter Fall 2018
Without it, nothing else you do for God will work
By RICHARD DUNSTAN
Oh, you don’t have a job yet? You can help out with intercessory prayer for the conference.
That, says Cyril John, is a widespread attitude, and it’s totally backward. Intercession isn’t an afterthought—it’s our top priority; neither that conference nor any other ministry will succeed without it. And it isn’t for leftover volunteers, either, or even for specialists. Every Christian is called to intercessory prayer.
“People tend to believe that intercession is the least important, or is meant for people who are good for nothing [else],” he said. “St. Paul says intercession is the first priority. Whatever our ministry, we are all called to be an intercessor.”
John, former vice-president of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, was featured speaker Aug. 12-17 at Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit in Kelowna. He is also a former president of the national charismatic service committee of India and author of Pray Lifting Up Holy Hands, a guide to intercession. The Gathering in the Spirit, celebrating its 10th year, drew more than 60 people from across B.C. and as far away as Ontario to St. Charles Garnier Church and St. Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer.
John compared intercessory prayer to the handle of an umbrella. The spokes are other ministries—preaching, teaching, leadership, social outreach, and whatever else Christians should be doing for the sake of the kingdom of God. But all those ministries are God’s work, not ours, he said, and need God’s power and anointing to succeed. So we can no more carry them out without intercession than we can use an umbrella without a handle. Intercession holds every other ministry up.
“The stem of the Church, just as that of the umbrella, is intercession. These ministries will flourish if there is intercession.”
John called 1 Timothy 2:1-4 the “Magna Carta of intercession.” “First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and all in authority, that we might live a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our saviour, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” The passage says intercession is “first of all,” he noted, and if we don’t live quiet and tranquil lives, it’s because we haven’t prayed enough.
More importantly, God’s desire for “everyone to be saved” hasn’t been accomplished yet, and God wants all of us to be His partners in this through intercessory prayer. John noted that the two patron saints of missionaries are St. Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit evangelist who travelled from Europe to the East Indies and Japan, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who died at age 24 without ever leaving her convent in France—but who spent her time praying for the missions.
Another great intercessor, he said, was St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, who was extremely poorly qualified for the priesthood and almost missed out on ordination. He was finally ordained, with some reluctance from church authorities, because he was known to be extremely prayerful; and his first pastorate was a parish that had been shut down. But his piety drew flocks of people, and Satan accused him in a vision of rescuing 80,000 souls from his clutches.
Intercessors, John said, are channels of grace, and to be usable vessels, we must be clean and holy. A little farther on, verse 8 of 1 Timothy 2 says “It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands.” We must be people of love, for the Lord and for other people, and must avoid sin, for “the face of the LORD is against those who do evil” (Psalm 34:16).
John devoted two of his eight talks to listing 12 rules of intercession, a rearrangement of material compressed into 10 rules in Pray Lifting Up Holy Hands. He said that these rules are not to be taken as absolute, like the 10 Commandments, but that they do apply in most cases.
- Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the principal agent of intercession, and only the Spirit fully understands the situation we are praying about.
- Pray according to God’s will. 1 John 5:14 promises God will give us anything we ask in His will; praying outside His will doesn’t work.
- Pray with vision. Jesus says to the disciples in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:41) “watch and pray.” We need to be aware of what is going on around us, in the world and in the news.
- Pray with faith. That may sound obvious, but in practice we usually pray without faith. It is the faith of the intercessors that matters, rather than the faith of the person prayed for.
- Pray with love. Intercession is an act of love for which we should be willing to make sacrifices, such as leisure time. St. Teresa of Ávila said people of much love pray much.
- Pray with compassion. We should actually feel the distress or need of those for whom we pray.
- Pray identifying with the people prayed for. This is a step further than rule 6—actually living our prayer, making ourselves part of the need, as Moses did for the sinful Israelites and St. Paul did for both Jews and Gentiles he was trying to convert.
- Pray with unity—“with one accord” like the early Church (Acts 1:14, 4:24). The devil loves to create division, and prayers are ineffective when not united.
- Pray with spiritual burden. John compared the sense of commitment and urgency to exam time at university, or to pregnancy. We must be ready to pray for years if that is what the burden requires.
- Intercede thanking and praising the Lord. 1 Thess. 5:17, “pray without ceasing,” is followed by verse 18, “in all circumstances give thanks.”
- Pursue all three dimensions of intercession: vocal prayer; offerings (Mass attendance, fasting and abstinence, personal suffering); and prayer actions, like going to sites like accident-prone intersections or suicide-plagued neighbourhoods to pray.
- Take a persistent stand in intercession. Intercession is different from petition, in which we pray once or a few times, for ourselves or others, and forget about it. In intercession we pray as long as necessary—for example, 70 years of prayer for the conversion of Russia. We are to pray like the bothersome neighbour in Luke 11:5-8, who hammers on his friend’s door, demanding three loaves of bread. Verse 8 is usually translated as saying the friend will finally get up and provide the bread because of the neighbour’s “persistence,” but John said the Greek word implies “importunity” or even “shamelessness.”
John also devoted one talk and three workshop sessions to prophetic intercession—intercessory prayer guided by God, through the use of prophetic gifts, rather than by ourselves.
For the exercise, the congregation broke up into groups. First, they were to take a few minutes to empty themselves of preconceptions and open themselves to the Lord; then seek God’s plan, praying briefly in tongues, listening in silence, and sharing individual words from God with the group, which prayed and settled on one intention. They would then ask God for a prayer strategy—for example, praying the Divine Mercy chaplet; then, carry out the prayer; listen to God for further prophetic words; and finally give thanks. The groups prayed for a variety of intentions; one group felt led to pray for an orphanage in Cambodia, facing an unspecified threat. After the prayer, the group received a prophetic word that the threat was dispelled.
John also said intercessory prayer is a form of spiritual warfare, and so we need to wear the “armour of God” listed in Ephesians 5:10-17. He said St. Paul’s list is powerful but not intended to be exhaustive, and we should use other available pieces of armour and spiritual weapons, such as praise, trust in God’s faithfulness, and Catholic prayers such as the Our Father, Hail Mary, rosary, Divine Mercy chaplet, creed, and prayer to St. Michael. He said in any major spiritual battle, spiritual warfare should be a group activity—we should not go it alone.
Finally, he said intercession should be a way of life—“the blood that flows through your veins”—and we should offer everything in our lives except our sins as intercession. This especially includes offering our sufferings for the salvation of souls. He said everyone, even the happiest and most blessed people, have some suffering they can offer. Those more seriously afflicted should pray for healing, but in the meantime offer up the suffering. “Suffering is the greatest source of untapped spiritual energy,” he said.
Where two or more are gathered…
By MARCIA LAWRENCE
On Jan. 19, the Living in the Spirit Prayer Group in Summerland hosted an evening of adoration, benediction and praise and worship. Roy McIntyre, prayer group leader, played guitar and led the singing.
Fr. Ben Buelo, pastor of Holy Child Church, giving a talk on the Eucharist, said that as a young child, he so loved the sacrament that he was inspired to imitate the priest in saying the Mass to his playmates, using bread from his mother’s kitchen as the host.
Quoting scripture, Father gave us two reasons as to why our Lord honoured us with the Eucharist: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20); and “…I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”(John 10:10)
Sometimes what’s missing from people’s efforts to teach us about the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus, is the dimension of God’s great love for us.
It was love for this sacrament that led Father Ben to pursue the priesthood. The Eucharist makes Jesus present to us and makes us present to Jesus. God shows his great love for us through the atoning sacrifice of his son, Jesus.
After his talk, Father Ben was available to hear confessions; prayer teams were also available for those desiring prayers for healing.
Participants came from Penticton, West Kelowna, Kelowna and Summerland; they were enriched by attending. Thank you Father Ben and Living in the Spirit Prayer Group for making this evening possible.
Msgr. Peter Coughlin of Bread of Life dies at 76
Monsignor Peter Coughlin, one of the best-known figures in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Canada, died Aug. 25 in Burlington, Ont. He was 76.
Msgr. Coughlin was long-time chair of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of Canada and founder and editor-in-chief of The Bread of Life magazine. He was named monsignor and papal chaplain by Pope Francis in December 2017.
He had retired from parish ministry and from the chairmanship of the national committee in 2014 due to ill health, but remained as editor-in-chief of The Bread of Life and as adviser to the committee, and served as resident chaplain for the Sisters of St. Joseph at their motherhouse in Dundas, Ont. On the afternoon of Aug. 25, he suffered a heart attack on the way home from his three-times-a-week dialysis. He died in Joseph Brant Hospital shortly after 11 p.m.
Born Oct. 11, 1941, in Hamilton, Ont., Msgr. Coughlin was the oldest of five children. His father died when he was a child, and he kept busy with family responsibilities and as an altar boy.
He was June 3, 1967, in the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King in Hamilton, and over the half-century of his priesthood served nine parishes in the Hamilton diocese, most recently St. Andrew’s in Oakville. He also served as a missionary in Mexico and at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ottawa.
He was baptized in the Holy Spirit at a prayer meeting in 1971, and began healing ministry in 1972 on a visit to Peru, when a travelling companion injured his knee badly and asked him to pray over it. “The knee started moving under my hand,” he said later. Father Coughlin was doubtful at first, but his companion “took off the bandage and danced the rest of the night,” and the two spent the next three weeks praying for people in Peru, with many healings. He continued the healing ministry in Canada.
The Bread of Life began publication in November 1977. “The magazine came about as the prayer group leadership team was praying at one of our meetings,” said Brian Bolt, now president of the board of directors. “A word of knowledge came forth from one person to start a publication proclaiming the work of the Spirit, and the name Bread of Life came from another. We had no experience in creating, printing and distributing such a document but we trusted in the Lord and very slowly the doors started to open.”
Msgr. Coughlin was a well-travelled charismatic speaker in Canada and internationally. He conducted a series of healing Masses in B.C. communities in 1997, and was speaker at the annual Vancouver conference in 2004; he often taught those attending how to pray for healing and exercise word gifts. He awrote or edited a variety of books on the charismatic renewal, including Understanding the Charismatic Gifts and He’s Alive!, all through The Bread of Life.
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.
“To me Father Peter was a gentle man, a true man of God, with a heart for the renewal and for encouraging us all to continue to growth in the Spirit despite our circumstances,” said Flo Reid, chair of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC, who served with Msgr. Coughlin on the national committee. “His whole life embodied the working of the Spirit to its fullest.”
His health had declined in recent years, due to muscular dystrophy and heart and kidney problems.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Aug. 31 at the cathedral in Hamilton, with four bishops and 65 priests present. He is survived by his four younger siblings and his nephews and nieces. Memorial donations may be made to The Bread of Life, PO Box 127, Burlington, ON L7R 3X8 — Richard Dunstan
Former BC chair
Marlene Sarich dies
Born Jan. 19, 1938 in Prince Rupert and raised in Terrace, Sarich said in her testimony in He’s Alive! (2000) that she grew up in a non-churchgoing family but had a sense of God’s presence as a young child, and checked out several denominations as an adolescent. She was baptized into the United Church at age 14. Soon after she decided to go away to high school, and chose St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria for reasons of cost. She attended her own church on Sundays but was attracted by the Eucharist at the twice-weekly weekday Masses students at the academy were required to attend. She entered the Catholic Church in 1959, the same year she married her non-Catholic husband, John, a logging contractor.
Active in her parish from the beginning, she was baptized in the Holy Spirit at a prayer meeting during a visit to Vancouver in 1975. She was on the founding leadership team at Abba Prayer Group in Terrace and gave a talk at the first meeting. Later she was named Prince George West diocesan representative to Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC, then chair. Under her chairmanship the committee expanded its meetings, drew up a constitution, and started the newsletter, with herself as editor. She also served as secretary of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of Canada, the national service committee.
John died in 2004, and in 2010 she moved to a Victoria to be near her son and his family. She died in Royal Jubilee Hospital. She is survived by two sons, a daughter, and her younger brother. Funeral Mass was celebrated May 8 at St. Joseph the Worker parish in Victoria. –Richard Dunstan
INTERCESSION PANEL NOTES: HOW WE CAN PRAY
By GRACE NAKA
(for Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit)
Petition is most often myself telling God what I want Him to do for me. In intercession, we are led and directed by the Holy Spirit on what to pray for and how to pray. I feel our priority should be on intercession.
Intercession is a gift of the Holy Spirit, praying in tongues, prophecy, words of wisdom, praying with lover for our fellow men and women. Led by the Holy Spirit, we will know and do God’s will on earth.
Intercession is praying for others. However, we ourselves and our near and dear ones have a lot of prayer needs. What would happen to those needs if we continue to focus on praying for others?
What a question! We have our hope, our faith, the perfect love of our glorious God, His mercy for us. God knows our every need, knows our heart’s desires, our love for ourselves and those near and dear to us. With faith, trust and love of God, our needs will all be looked after. We must have love for our brothers and sisters in the world.
Our God will never abandon us. He promised to be with us from generation to generation. Thank you Father!
Scripture teaches us to “pray without ceasing.” How practical is this exhortation? How can we develop the habit of praying without ceasing?
Let us remember, let us not forget, Scripture is God’s holy word. It is up to us, our Christian duty, to make it practical! Hearing, reading God’s word is the beginning. To understand, we need to listen, to meditate. Praying without ceasing is a lifestyle.
Prayer is communication with God. Living a Christian life is prayer. Singing is, I am told, double prayer. Praise God always, for a beautiful day, a field of daisies, a child. Praise God for the gift of life. All these are praying.
We can begin our day with a prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to come to our aid, to show us how to pray. Pray in tongues. Love the people we are praying for.
In the evening, take a walk with Jesus. He loves to walk by the water. Speak to Him about your day, your concerns, your joys, your sufferings. Thank Him for His great love. Hear Him speak to you. Listen. Communicate with patience.
Take God’s love seriously—and gratefully
By RICHARD DUNSTAN
God loves us. What more could we ask?
“People say, ‘I know that God loves me. What’s next?’” he told this year’s Nelson diocesan Catholic charismatic conference. “The news is that there’s nothing next… we ought never to get tired of knowing we are loved.”
Father Pivonka, a Third Order Regular Franciscan based in Pittsburgh, is a writer, speaker, and pilgrimage leader who is also the author of the Wild Goose video series on the work of the Holy Spirit. The conference, titled United in Your Love, was held April 27-28 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in West Kelowna.
In his first of three talks, Father Pivonka combined the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15) with a harrowing story from his own life, when he was accidentally separated from a young nephew on the New York City subway; only after many terrifying wrong turns did he find the boy safe. But God is always searching for us with just that much commitment and concern, he said.
“We have a God who looks for us,” he said. “In most religions, humanity is looking for God. In Christianity, God is looking for us.”
For Christians, God is our Father, even our “Daddy” (the meaning of the biblical word “Abba”), a concept you won’t find in Islam, among other faiths. And He isn’t a casual father. There’s a reason why Paul writes in Romans 8:15 that we have received a spirit, not of sonship or daughtership, but of adoption. In the Roman Empire in New Testament times, any father could abandon any birth child at his whim, for any reason or no reason, but if he adopted a child, at any age, the relationship was forever; all debts the child owed were cancelled and the adoptee became a new person.
God will willingly do that for any of us, he said, and that literally means any. “God knows all about you, and He still chooses you.”
Our relationship with God is always personal. That’s a serious matter, because it means sin, too, is always personal. “It’s not like breaking a law,” Father Pivonka said. “I’ve broken the heart of God.” But there, too, God’s love triumphs. When the world convicts us of sin, that brings discouragement, but when Jesus convicts us of sin, it brings us joy.
In his second talk, Father Pivonka said the process of conversion is never complete. We must constantly be turning to God from wherever we are now.
He read the account from Mark 10 of the rich man who asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. The man says he has kept all the commandments since he was young, but walks away sadly when Jesus tells him he must sell all he has and give it to the poor.
“It’s a really sad story,” Father Pivonka said. “There are very few scriptures where people have such personal, intimate encounters with the Lord and then walk away from Him.”
He said the man missed the point. He hadn’t broken any of the commandments, but “in heaven, Jesus won’t ask us what we didn’t do. Heaven is full of sinners.” Rather, the question is what he needs to be freed from that is keeping him out of heaven.
“We need to ask ourselves, ‘what is that for me?’” It won’t necessarily be selling our possessions, but it will probably be something difficult. “What keeps you away from the Lord? What is it that He is asking of you that is difficult for you to let go of, that doesn’t allow you to be faithful to what the Lord is asking of us? Whatever that is, it’s almost always something that’s difficult.”
We need the Holy Spirit to reveal the answer to us, and we also need the Spirit to give us strength to carry the cross Jesus gives us. “The evil one has convinced us to believe there’s not supposed to be a cross,” Father Pivonka said. But the cross is the key: Jesus is revealed as the Son of God not at the resurrection, but on the cross, where He offers Himself for us, and where He forgives us just as He forgave the people who crucified Him.
As for our own crosses, Father Pivonka said we must learn to find joy in the midst of suffering so that people can see our joy and share it. “In the degree to which we are able to embrace our cross, we give life to those around us.” Quoting the theologian Yves Congar, he said suffering is worthwhile because “there are places in our hearts that don’t exist, and into which suffering must enter so that they may.”
He also said God wants to free us from false pictures of who He, God, is, and what He is like. Father Pivonka said too many people picture God as almost interchangeable with Santa Claus, in both a pleasant and an unpleasant way. He gives us presents, but He’s also watching over us, making a list and checking it twice. If we’re good we get presents from Santa and God lets us go to heaven; if we’re bad, we get coal from Santa, and “we become coal.” For other people, God is simply a judge, waiting for our mistakes and giving us the punishment we deserve. For yet others, He is an ATM and is expected to give us exactly what we want when we ask for it.
When he was baptized in the Spirit, Father Pivonka said, he heard God say “that’s not the kind of God I am.” What kind of God is He? He’s “a Jesus-shaped God,” who wants to reach out to us and forgive us.
Father Pivonka began his final talk with a knock-knock joke. “Knock-knock” “who’s there?” “Holy Spirit” “Holy Spirit who?” “That’s the problem.” Not enough Christians take the Spirit seriously. We try to live the Christian life under our own power, which might work on a secular project, but “it’s a disaster” in the spiritual life. “It is impossible to live the spiritual life apart from the Holy Spirit.”
That’s why the birthday of the Church is not Easter but Pentecost. The apostles had had every advantage of knowing Jesus on earth, but before the Spirit descended they were hiding away in the Upper Room. “We are like the apostles. We live our faith lives in a locked room, afraid.”
He said not everybody needs to take part in the charismatic renewal, but everybody needs to receive the Holy Spirit. It’s the fruits of the Spirit that allow our faith to be seen, allows people to recognize that we’re different, and want to find out more about what Jesus has done for us.
Yes, Canadians can fast. Let’s do it!
By ROY MacINTYRE
Bishop Gregory Bittman of the Nelson diocese has asked by letter that the people of the diocese fast and pray as requested by Pope Francis. This is to be an offering, a sacrifice, that the scourge of abuse be eradicated from the Church and that no child or vulnerable person will ever again be harmed. This letter by Bishop Gregory has motivated me to offer some thoughts on fasting.
Cyril John stated at the Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit in Kelowna this August that he was told, “Canadians don’t fast.” Is this really true?
Canadians, as well as most other people on earth, can fast. The exception would be for health reasons, such as diabetes. Nevertheless, because of the abundance of material goods and food in this country, Canadians are comfortable in their wealth and reluctant and fearful to fast.
There are many ways we can fast, from Facebook, computers, video games, TV shows and the like, and these are suitable offerings to God. However, in many of these types of fasting, it is easy to end up substituting another diversion or distraction. When I was a child I remember attempting to give up candy for Lent. Within the first few days of Lent I was confronted for chewing bubble gum. I said, “I gave up candy, not bubble gum”. We can see that giving up something can easily have a substitute take over. But I would still say any effort to renounce the habits that delight us is a valid offering to God.
Jesus said, “When the Bridegroom is taken away, then they (His followers) will fast.” When He said this, He was talking about reducing the intake or giving up food for a time. When you don’t eat, or reduce the intake of food, the experience is with you the whole time of the fast. This, by its very nature, cannot be substituted with something else. Fasting also gives us the opportunity to join in solidarity with a great portion of our sisters and brothers in the world who go to bed hungry.
If a person is forcibly deprived of food, that person can live for a very long time; weeks or months. Without water, on the other hand, one will only last a matter of days.
To fast voluntarily takes some personal effort. I would say it takes faith and a sense this is the right thing to do. By faith, I mean that when we embark on a fast we must not waver. We should never say, “I will try it.” This approach is almost certain to fail.
But fasting must also be the right thing to do. For instance, I knew a group of Christians who were once gathering communally for Thanksgiving dinner. One of the newly converted members decided that, as an offering for the gift of his salvation, he would fast on Thanksgiving Day. As you might imagine, this was not a good idea, and led to a failed attempt followed by guilt. So, fasting needs to be the right thing to do.
Finally, the person who is about to fast must decide what the fast will be and act and believe that it is already done – thinking, for instance, I will be having coffee tomorrow morning, signifying the end of the fast.
I know a person who has had a long history of fasting. His first fast, one done when he was a young adult without guidance, was from food and water from Wednesday in Holy Week to after the Easter Vigil Saturday evening. Needless to say, this was a dangerous fast, not drinking water for that length of time. He recalls having blurry vision at the Easter Vigil. Nevertheless, he survived and did a number of fasts that always after that included water, but none longer than five days. Since he had a full-time job, he sometimes drank coffee on his fast day. However, he eventually gravitated to what he called the Medjugorje Fast, that is, bread and water Wednesday and Friday.
The Medjugorje fast was popularized in Canada by Father Bob Bedard, the founder of Companions of the Cross, in the 1980s. He shared many stories, some of them quite humorous, of peoples’ experience of attempting to fast. He cited one nun who complained that she was so weak she had to crawl to the bathroom. In most cases, when we fast we will have low sugar in our blood stream. This makes us feel tired and lack motivation to do anything, and is often accompanied by a mild headache. However, if we force ourselves to be busy we will find that we can overcome the internal reluctance and be able to keep going throughout the time of our fast. For older folks, like myself, a nap can help.
The man cited above began to follow the Medjugorje fast around the year 2000. For a time, he even found himself guided to fast Mondays as well. His fasting was four slices of bread and water for each of his meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. This turned out to be a fast that avoided some of the side effects of a black fast, that is, fasting without any food. Black fast can lead to nausea and vomiting, but bread and water fasts, although offering a true sense of fasting where you go to be hungry, keep the bodily systems functioning well.
One final issue with regular fasting: it can cause social conflicts. In the home, other family member will complain that the person’s fasting is affecting the rest of the family negatively, e.g. “When you are fasting, I don’t know what to eat”. Secondly, the same is true for social gatherings: people can be annoyed that someone is not joining in, partaking of the same food, drinks, and treats as the others. And one last thing; you will need to be careful not to overeat the day following the fast.
All that being said, I encourage you to do a bread and water fast. Make it a regular practice. In this way you will be offering something to God that can go a long way in obtaining from God the grace of healing and protection within the Church. And that the Church may be a shining witness to Jesus so that our neighbours will give thanks to our Father who is in heaven.
God’s lessons – from a hanging basket
By FRAN FAGAN
This is a wonderful image for a lifelong enthusiast of camping and hiking in the outback, and one I could readily relate to on many levels. In the past this word had been a prelude to a new job, a move to a new place, or a new ministry which He wanted me to undertake. In every situation I had to lay down my ideas and my opinions of how it should be, and open myself up to new people, new challenges, a real change in my life. Little did I suspect this spring, when I received this word again, that it would mean sharing my personal space with some of God’s little ones.
My son gave me a big, beautiful hanging basket for Mother’s Day and I proudly hung it up on my patio right beside the back entrance to the apartment building. As people walked up the stairs to open the door, they often stopped to gaze at this wonderful combination of summer flowers and comment about their beauty. I took great pleasure in sharing my gift with everyone.
Not long after it was hung, a pair of juncos decided the hanging basket was the perfect spot for their new home and proceeded to nest and lay five tiny grey speckled eggs. This caused no end of trauma for me. I loved that display and wanted to care for it to keep it flourishing, but every time I tried to water, the mother bird would fly out in great distress, sit on the fence and give me a piece of her mind regarding the disturbance I was causing her and her nesting procedures.
I began to speak quietly to her to assure her that I didn’t want to harm her babies, and that watering was necessary to maintain the foliage that made it such a perfect place to nest. She slowly began to trust me and as I watered, she would watch vigilantly from the fence top, but with much less agitation. Four new little creatures were hatched and I was present to witness the last one fledge, being watched and encouraged by very excited parents.
This whole month-long procedure took its toll on my beautiful hanging basket, and I moaned and groaned over the loss of flowers. However, I began to look at it differently when my family all agreed that it was an honour to have the juncos choose my patio to nest, and the flower-giving son confirmed it by saying, “Choose the birds over the flowers”.
What has God been teaching me through all of this?
All creatures are precious to Him. Hospitality is to be extended to them too.
Watering is necessary to maintain health and growth. We may object, splutter, make a lot of fuss as the water disturbs us, but it’s for our own good.
Trust is built over a period of time. He speaks to me assuring me of His love and care. I witness that love and care and my trust grows.
I grew, enlarged my tent to be more inclusive, accepted the birds, and they flew off without even a look backward. How often do I treat God in the same manner? Do I take for granted my Lord’s care for me, forgetting to give thanks?
“My plans are not your plans”. Isaiah 55:8. I plan to beautify my patio. God plans to beautify the patio, provide shelter and home to not only one but two new families of juncos, for on the day the first family left, another pair of juncos moved in and four new babies were fledged. Eight new little creatures and a hanging basket that has survived the summer. His plans are always so much better than mine.
Expect the unexpected. Look with eyes of faith. Be open to new opportunities for God to show His love and concern.
Father Rick Thomas
A biography of the late Father Rick Thomas SJ, a widely-travelled charismatic conference speaker and founder of a Holy Spirit-based ministry to the poor of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, is now available via Amazon.ca.
The book, titled A Poor Priest for the Poor, was written by Richard Dunstan, editor of BC Charismatic newsletter and a member of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC, at the request of Father Thomas’s successors in El Paso.
Father Thomas (1928-2006) was named head of Our Lady’s Youth Center, a wide-ranging social agency in the slums of El Paso, in 1964. Looking for a way to bring both spiritual and material help to clients, he received baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1969 and immediately began to incorporate the charismatic renewal into all OLYC ministries, which eventually included food banks, medical clinics, prison ministry, Operation Rescue abortion blockades, a shortwave radio station, and the Lord’s Ranch.
He is probably best known for a miraculous multiplication of food when he and his friends shared Christmas dinner with the ragpickers who lived at the Juárez municipal dump in 1972; several arrests and short jail terms for abortion protests; and his extreme embrace of personal poverty.
Dunstan first met Father Thomas in El Paso in 1989 and visited the OLYC ministries many times, both before and after Father Thomas’s death. He is also the author of The Bible on the Border (2009), a work on OLYC’s spiritual principles written in co-operation with Father Thomas; and Fire in the North (2007), a history of the Catholic charismatic renewal in Canada, published by the Bread of Life.
A Poor Priest for the Poor is available as a print or Kindle edition through Amazon.ca. It is published by the Lord’s Ranch Press.
Funds needed: Help us do God’s work
The BC provincial charismatic service committee has issued an appeal for donations.
The committee is facing unpaid bills and also has outstanding loans from one of its partner service committees.
“In effect, without an infusion of funds we may have to go one more year without a penny to our name,” said Flo Reid, chair of Catholic Charismatic Renewal services of B.C. “It’s overwhelming.”
The committee’s mandate is to promote what Pope Francis has called “a current of grace for the whole Church.” “I expect you to share with everyone in the Church the grace of the baptism of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope told 50,000 charismatics from around the world at the renewal’s Golden Jubilee celebration in Rome last year.
“In coming years we ask you to be involved in your parishes and Christian communities, and even to increase this involvement if possible,” the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops added in a jubilee greeting to the renewal.
The provincial committee publishes the twice-yearly BC Charismatic newsletter, co-sponsors a provincial conference with the Vancouver archdiocesan committee every three years, and provides ongoing communication among the charismatic groups of B.C.’s five dioceses, as well as with charismatics across Canada.
The committee’s main sources of income are the provincial/Vancouver conference, next scheduled for September 2019; donations from some diocesan service committees and prayer groups; and members of the committee, who donate their travel expenses, but receives very few individual donations. “We would like to appeal to our readers and prayer group members to join in this work of God by donating,” Reid said. “This is our mandate, this is the direction from Pope Francis as well as the Conference of Canadian Catholic Bishops. Our hearts are set to respond positively. We are praying for you to join us in this mission.”
Donations to CCRS of BC are tax deductible.
DONATIONS CCRS OF B.C. TO
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 CCRS of BC, 137 Williams St., Port Moody BC V3H 2R7
City: Postal Code:
Phone: Donation: $
Your prayers and financial support are appreciated.
Sept. 21-22 Vancouver Catholic Charismatic Conference Vancouver
Do You Want to Be Healed? with Mary Healy and Robert Canton
Contact Lennie David 604-597-8227 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sept. 28-30 Nelson diocesan leaders’ retreat Kelowna Seton House
Contact Gladys Miller email@example.com
Oct. 2-Nov. 13 Life in the Spirit Seminar Vancouver
Blessed Sacrament Church
7:30 Mondays free but pre-registration required
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Oct. 15-17 Life in the Spirit Seminar Invermere
Canadian Martyrs Church
Contact Gladys Miller firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct. 20 Day of renewal Cranbrook
Contact Lynne Williams 250-489-1702 email@example.com
Nov. 3 Day of Renewal Castlegar
St. Rita’s parish
Contact Loree Renwick 250-354-7223 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nov. 17 Catholic prayer breakfast Victoria
9 a.m. Comfort Inn, Blanshard Street,
Speaker Fr. Karam Alraban
Contact Lynn Dunstan Weedmark 250-477-4700
$15 adult $10 student
April 26-27 Nelson diocesan conference Cranbrook
Christ the Servant Church
Welcome into His Presence. John Connelly, speaker
Contact Roy MacIntyre 778-740-0508 email@example.com
Aug. 11-16 Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit Kelowna
St. Charles Garnier Church and Seton House
Behold I Stand at the Door Knocking. Speaker Jim Murphy
Contact Gladys Miller firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C.
Flo Reid (Nelson diocese), chair firstname.lastname@example.org
828-14th St. South, Cranbrook, BC V1C 1X9 250-426-7570
Lennie David, Vancouver archdiocese, 604-594-7296
Richard Dunstan, Victoria diocese, newsletter editor, 250-477-4700
David MacIntyre, Victoria diocese, 250-383-9955
Flo Reid, Nelson diocese, chair, 250-426-7570
Jocelyn Rochard, Vancouver archdiocese, 604-469-0713
Lynne Williams, Nelson diocese, 250-489-1702
CCRS of BC newsletter
published spring and fall
editor Richard Dunstan
308-225 Belleville St.
Victoria BC V8V 4T9
Posted in Uncategorized
On the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Renewal in Canada
Dear Friends in Christ
I have just received this message below regarding the letter from the CCCB for the 50th anniversary of CR in Canada. I believe this is of such great importance that it be sent on broadly – Flo Reid, BC Committee (CCRC BC)
I was impressed and excited when I read it. It is well tied into Pope Francis’s vision for the Church – Brian Sullivan, National Committee (CCRSC)
Be grateful, be inspired and be motivated to continue and extend the work of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal for the Church, the Christian community and the world. Read and pass it on.
For your information we have added the the Bishops’ message for the renewal on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the renewal in 2003.
Posted in Catholic Charismatic Renewal Canada and tagged Canada, Catholic, CCCB, Charismatic
YouTube URL Address for Brian Sullivan’s talk Breakthrough 2017. https://youtu.be/i6vwtUtYUBM
This talk is a must for leaders and all in the charismatic renewal and in the Church itself. Talk Summary:
The Reason the Holy Spirit called forth the Charismatic Renewal and a vision of the Renewal in 50 years
As one of my duties on the National Team for the Charismatic Renewal, I was asked to attend a CCCB forum for Movements and Organizations within the Catholic Church. There were 25 different groups present. They asked us to introduce ourselves by taking a few minutes to explain why we exist.
I began by saying the CR has no human founder. It’s founder is the Holy Spirit. I didn’t share this to set CR apart but rather to indicate that the Holy Spirit directs the Renewal and because of that each of us has direct access to the ‘Leader’.
Then I quoted EN saying ‘The Church exists to evangelize’
But as JPII says in Redemptoris Missio (29) ‘The Holy Spirit is the prime agent of mission (evangelization)’. Without the Holy Spirit our evangelization efforts would not bear fruit.
In our baptism and our confirmation we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and the charisms that he never ceases to bestow and with it the tools we need to live out our two universal calls; to be holy and to evangelize.
So if we are going to bear the fruit of personal holiness then developing a relationship with the Lord and a personal prayer life is key.
If our evangelization efforts are going to be fruitful then we need to develop the ability to listen to the Holy Spirit and use the charisms he gives us to answer this call.
And that’s why the CR exists. It draws people into a relationship with the Lord and journeys with them as the cultivate a personal prayer life. It supports the universal call to holiness.
Secondly, prayer groups baptizes the laity in the Holy Spirit to release the power of the HS into their lives and journeys with them while they learn to activate the charisms the Holy Spirit gives them to allow their evangelization efforts to be fruitful. Thus supporting the universal call to evangelize!
Its so simple and I think it’s essential that we have this understanding to share with everyone but particularly with pastors of our parishes. It has to make sense for them if they are going to be supportive of our efforts to evangelize.
As a member of the National Team I was given opportunity to attend the 50th anniversary celebration of the Renewal at the Ark and Dove Retreat Centre in Pittsburgh along with Cory and Gerard. In preparing to go, we each were asked to write a summary of where we thought the Renewal would be in fifty years. I want to share my vision with you.
As I reflect on where the CR will be in 50 years, I think of what Cardinal Suenens 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”.
My hope is that in 50 years that no one will be able to tell the difference between a ‘Charismatic’ and a regular parishioner because most will have a personal relationship with Jesus, most will be baptized in the Spirit, and most will be using their charisms to live out their baptismal call to be holy and to evangelize. This will be the common experience of the faithful.
Over the next fifty years a new wave of the Spirit, that we are already feeling, will flow over the Church and cause a New Springtime of Evangelization. The Charismatic Renewal that has so often operated on the fridges of Church and ended up serving itself in the prayer group instead of the parish will understand not only the role it has in serving the parish but also how to accomplish it in a way that will open the hearts of parishioners to Jesus. As hearts open, Jesus will develop a personal relationship with each. There will be a new openness to the baptism of the Holy Spirit in both clergy and laity.
This will cause two key changes in our parishes. Parishioners will begin to enter into worship in a deeper way that will lead to a grasp of the beauty and gift of the Church and particularly the sacraments that support them in their growth in holiness. Parishioners will also begin to understand the need to evangelize and the particular role of the laity in the process. They will actively seek the charisms of the Spirit because they will need them to be effective in their mission.
As the CR turns outward to serve parishes and parishes turn outward to serve and evangelize their communities, the pews will once again be filled. As parishes move from maintenance mode into missional mode, we will abandon our fear of losing our Catholic identity setting the stage for a new interest in unity and ecumenism.
The gift of Vatican II to the Church will be realized in the growth of holiness, evangelization and ecumenism.
Posted in Uncategorized
Bishop Peter Smith
Vancouver Conference 2017
By Richard Dunstan
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.
Vancouver Conference 2017
by Richard Dunstan
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
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.
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, 250-707-1423, email@example.com. 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
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
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
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.
That is the Renewal I will serve.
CCRS of BC newsletter
published spring and fall
editor Richard Dunstan
308-225 Belleville St.
Victoria BC V8V 4T9
Posted in Uncategorized