Catholic Renewal Services of BC
Praise the Lord! Come, Holy Spirit!
Now is the time to share the flame
Welcome to the website of Catholic Renewal Services of BC, the provincial service committee for the Catholic charismatic renewal. The Holy Spirit is on the move across Canada and in the Church around the world. We are invited to be part of that current of grace, advancing the Kingdom of God in our lives and in the world around us.
In the power of the Spirit, and at the call of the Pope and the Church, we are being asked to share baptism in the Holy Spirit with everyone in the Church; proclaim Jesus as Saviour to all the world; work toward unity among Christian denominations; and embrace the needs of the poor in face-to-face encounters.
It’s a tall order, but it’s also why the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles at the first Pentecost, 2,000 years ago, and it’s still our job today. By God’s grace, help is on the way.
CHARIS (Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service), the new structure created by Pope Francis four years ago, has been gathering momentum in the past year. With CHARIS, the renewal, which up to now has been one Catholic movement among many, has become an actual arm of the Church, in the service of the Pope. It will act, in the Holy Father’s own words, as “a current of grace for the whole Church.”
CHARIS will also bring together the many “expressions and realities” of the renewal—not only charismatic prayer groups but youth ministries, schools of evangelization, covenant communities, Bible colleges, publishing houses, religious communities, ethnic organizations—any group that has its roots in baptism in the Holy Spirit and wishes to be part of CHARIS. It will be “all hands on deck working together preparing the Church to embrace her call,” in the words of Brian Sullivan, co-ordinator of the newly-established CHARIS National Service of Communion for Canada.
Under CHARIS, “services of communion” are being set up at the international, continental, national and regional levels. These are not governing bodies—all authority within the renewal is held by the Pope, bishops and pastors—but will offer communication, service, fellowship and leadership.
The international and continental bodies have already been formed. In Canada, the national service of communion has been in operation since last year. It was put together by members of the existing English- and French-language national service committees, which represent prayer groups, and is in the process of adding members from other “expressions and realities.” Work is beginning now on setting up regional services of communion for Western Canada and other areas of the country. (Provincial service committees, such as ours in BC, will continue as they are.)
WHAT IS THE CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL?
The Holy Spirit was poured out on the first Christians at the very beginning of the Church on the first Pentecost nearly 2,000 years ago (see Acts, chapter 2), and has been the driving force and the guide of all that our faith has accomplished ever since. But while the Holy Spirit never left the Church, the average Catholic’s awareness of the Spirit’s role declined greatly over the centuries.
Then, 50 years ago, the Spirit was poured out within the Catholic Church again in a new and powerful way. Since then the Catholic Charismatic Renewal has grown to be the largest ecclesial movement in the Church worldwide, with more than 100 million participants.
While strongly faithful to the Mass, the other sacraments, traditional prayer, and the teaching authority of the Church, the renewal also offers a vibrant new way of prayer and worship, and a new power for life, ministry and service to God. (For more information, see “Who We Are” on this website.)
As the provincial service committee for the renewal, our task is to foster baptism in the Holy Spirit, charismatic worship, exercise of the biblical gifts of the Spirit, evangelism, growth in personal holiness, and above all conversion to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. This website is intended to offer news, resources, and inspiration for Catholics and all Christians seeking those goals.
In the service of the Spirit,
Richard Dunstan, chair
Catholic Renewal Services of British Columbia