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Who will you bring?
Sister Linda Koontz: Tell your loved ones about Jesus
By RICHARD DUNSTAN
Catholics need to get up and speak up, Sister Linda Koontz told charismatics from across the province this summer in Kelowna. Tell the world about Jesus. The salvation of the people we love—and everybody else—depends on it.
Mercy was the theme of the eighth annual Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute, in keeping with the current Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. Sister Linda, the featured speaker for the first three days of the week-long institute held Aug. 5-12 at Seton House of Prayer, spent most of her time urging her listeners to spread the news of God’s mercy before it’s too late. As Jesus said to St. Faustina, “speak to My people about My great mercy while there is still time.”
Sister Linda showed a video of “A Vision of the Lost” by Salvation Army founder William Booth, which depicts lost souls drowning, as Jesus and a few Christians try to pull them to safety while most of those already saved are busy with other priorities. (She said St. Francis of Assisi had a similar vision, but she wasn’t able to find a usable version of it.)
“Jesus’ last words (Matthew 28:10, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”) are the most disobeyed in the Bible,” she said. “Ninety-five per cent of Christians have never witnessed to anyone. That’s why people are drowning. Jesus said ‘go.’ A lot of Catholics think He said ‘sit.’
“Some of the people drowning are your loved ones. They’re drowning because you’re afraid to talk to them. The devil wants you quiet, and he has succeeded in a lot of cases.”
About 40 people attended the institute, held at St. Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer with evening prayer events at St. Charles Garnier parish. The institute is sponsored by Nelson Diocesan Charismatic Renewal Service Committee and endorsed by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C. Many of those attending were local residents, but others came from as far away as Cranbrook, Kamloops, Victoria and Powell River. Father Obiora (Sylvester) Ibekwe, bishop’s liaison to the charismatic renewal for the Nelson diocese, was also a featured speaker (see article below)
Sister Linda, originally from Washington State, joined the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in 1960 and was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1968. Before that, she said, she was “a fan [of Jesus], but not a disciple.” The following year, she toured B.C. and Alberta with Father Joe Kane of Ottawa, holding some of the first charismatic prayer meetings in those provinces.
In 1971 she was released by her order from full-time teaching to work in the Catholic charismatic renewal, and in 1977 she moved to El Paso, Texas, to work in the late Father Rick Thomas’s ministry to the poor in the adjoining border city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. She founder her own ministry to the poor, Spirit of the Lord International Mission, in 1986, serving Juárez and other areas.
Sister Linda said she once asked God in prayer what He would ask her on Judgement Day. “I’m going to ask you, ‘who did you bring?’” He said. She took the answer seriously, phoned all her relatives, and asked them if they had surrendered their lives to Jesus—and where they would go if they died tonight.
“That will tell you in seconds where someone stands,” she said.
She said it’s true that we must evangelize by the example of our Christian lives, but that isn’t enough by itself. “We must open our mouth and speak it. We have to talk to people, ask questions, and have courage and not be afraid. “Timidity is not a virtue, it’s a demonic stronghold. Do it scared.”
Actually, she said, talking about Jesus isn’t as hard as it sounds. “People are hungry, and they’re looking for someone who can introduce them to Jesus Christ, not to an organization. Most people in bondage know it, and they want to be set free.”
We’re not working alone, either, she said. “You will be shocked at what Jesus will do. If you take one step, He will take seven steps. You don’t need more prayer—you need to start doing what He told you to do.”
As for those who won’t listen or who reject the message—well, if we tell them about Jesus, we’ve done our part. Quoting her friend Father Thomas, she said “Don’t worry about it. Don’t work with the thorns. Work with the people who are ready and ripe to be brought into the kingdom of God.”
“So if you talk to someone and they’re not interested, there’s someone that’s going to come along that will be interested and that will experience eternal life because of you. He said go into the whole world and proclaim, cry out the good news. The good news is that Jesus has rescued us and because we’re rescued, it doesn’t mean that we can sit back and have a life of leisure. But it means he has blessed us to enter into the life of His Son, to help Him in saving souls. Zeal for souls is evidence that the Holy Spirit is reigning in your life.”
. She said our job includes turning nominal Catholics (“sacramentalized but not evangelized”) into real Christians. Most Catholics have only a vague belief in Jesus, with no real knowledge of Him. “Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, one person said it’s like inoculating people with a mild case of Christianity so they never catch the real thing. Today we have a Me-centred Gospel. It goes like this: God’s my personal trainer to make me rich and prosperous and comfortable. And that’s not the Gospel at all.”
The reality is much more challenging: “unless we understand the bad news, that by nature we deserve death, we can’t understand the good news.” People see sin as no big deal, she said, but it is: “it’s not our list—it’s God’s list.” And yes, Jesus is the only way—but the good news is that His way is open to everybody. “A lot of people say the way is too narrow, but it’s wide enough for the whole world.”
At the moment, she said, Christians aren’t doing a very good job of showing people the way. Islam is growing 17 times faster than Christianity, and New Age and other spiritualities are also converting people who could have been evangelized for Jesus. But she said that’s no surprise: “When we quit testifying to Jesus, others come and fill the place, and that’s what’s happening now. Millions will give their lives to Jesus if someone will show them how.”
Next year’s Summer Institute will be held Aug. 13-18, 2017, in Kelowna. Further details will be available in the spring edition of B.C. Charismatic.
show mercy to others
God has looked on us with mercy, says Fr. Obiora Ibekwe. And now we must do the same for others. “Can you see yourself as mercy?” he asked the congregation at Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute. “If my Father is mercy, I have a share in that. I can move around showing mercy.”
Father Obi (also known as Sylvester) was a featured speaker at the summer institute at Seton House in Kelowna, along with Sister Linda Koontz (see above)
Ordained in October 2015, Father Obi is bishop’s liaison for the Catholic charismatic renewal in the Nelson diocese as well as assistant pastor at St. Piux X parish in Kelowna. He also serves the parish of St. Edward in Lake County/Winfield. He is originally from Nigeria.
Father Obi took Mark 10:46-52, the healing of blind Bartimaeus, for the text of his first talk, and noted that the blind man’s first cry to Jesus was “have mercy on me.” And Jesus granted him mercy, in the form of his sight.
“If God does not hear any other prayer, yet he hears the cry for mercy,” Father Obi said.
He noted that Jesus stood still – “God stood still before a human person” – and looked at Bartimaeus with what Father Obi described as “the gaze of mercy.” He focused directly on Bartimaeus despite the presence of a multitude of people: “to Jesus, no one should be lost in the crowd.”
“Jesus sees farther than sins. He sees deeper than wounds. He sees the child of God in us.”
There’s a lesson for us in what Bartimaeus did, Father Obi said, and a lesson in what Jesus did.
“I love Bartimaeus. He is a man who knows what he wants and is prepared to jump any hurdle. There is no sitting back and whining and wishing.
“Sometimes we allow the Jesus moments to pass us by. Bartimaeus seized the moment. He was tired of being blind.”
Once he is healed, Bartimaeus throws away his cloak and his begging bowl; he says “I will not be a beggar any more.” Then he follows Jesus “It is either Him or nothing. It is He I will follow. He has received mercy. Now he has become a disciple.”
We, too, must respond to God’s mercy by becoming disciples, Father Obi said.
For ourselves, the gaze of mercy is purifying. It leads to an awareness, not so much of sin, as of how much we are loved and how often unworthy of it. It also leads us into worship: “We have to start practicing gazing on the one who gazes on us with mercy.”
We also must learn to look at other people as Jesus looked at Bartimaeus. “There is a way of looking at people that gives life,” Father Obi said. “It changes everything—the one who gazes, and the one who is gazed at. Someone will say ‘I feel comfortable in your presence, I feel loved.’” Other gazes can be threatening, but this is “the gaze that brings life.”
In his second talk, Father Obi said God’s mercy is a reference point in every book of the Bible. He cited both Old Testament and New Testament examples, beginning with Genesis, where he said we find the first good news at Genesis 3:15, the promise that Eve’s offspring—Jesus—would crush the head of the snake. In chapter 1 of Luke’s gospel, he noted that when Mary, “highly favoured” by the angel’s announcement, immediately goes to share the news with Elizabeth. “Once we have received mercy, there is no staying back. “Rejoicing doesn’t stop with us. We must tell others of this rejoicing, and that is evangelization.”
Father Obi said he has had plenty of personal experience of God’s mercy. “When I look at the story of my life, it is mercy within mercy within mercy, and I have no doubt that God is mercy.”
As a school child, he spent his school fees on treats and was sent away from school, crying for shame. A passerby asked him why he was crying, and gave him money to pay the fees. The man told him, “remember someday to be a blessing to somebody.”
“When I receive mercy, it doesn’t have to end with me,” he said. “It must move on to others.”
He cited other texts which emphasize how important mercy is to God. In both Matthew 9:13 and Matthew 12:7, Jesus reminds his listeners that God desires mercy, not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6), and in Matthew 23:23 he admonishes the Pharisees for their neglect of mercy.
“To be merciful is not an option,” Father Obi said. “Jesus says it is a fundamental demand.”
– Richard Dunstan
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to space constraints, prophetic words consisting entirely of Scripture passages are shown only with the Scripture reference and the first few words, in italics. Get out your Bible and read them!]
Compiled by LOREE RENWICK and Word Gift team
Receive this freedom today and rejoice, for it is yours and I will accomplish it.
Respond to the prophecy: I receive
Colossians 1:9-14 We have not ceased to pray for you…
The Lord is saying “I have been looking for someone among them to build a wall and a man to stand in the breach in front of me. To defend the country and to prevent me from destroying it” (from Ezekiel 22:30). And then he says “but my light has shone upon you. I am bringing you in to my kingdom, I am calling you, I am anointing you, I have called on you today, you will be my breach, you will be the man that will come and defend your country, I have come that you might have life and have it to the full, and that you would bring new life into your land. I am giving you this new life open your heart open your mind my Spirit is leading you in power.” Respond to him in all your being.
Jeremiah 31:15-17 In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping…
Ephesians 3:14-19 For this reason I kneel before the Father…
John the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire. And I see a fire, a raging fire, in this room. This fire is to purify us, to burn away the dross so that we may be shining like gold, so that we may be refined like silver, and then that we would be on fire, that we would be the fire.
I saw streams of living water flowing over us, and the Lord says that the source of this living water, the source of the streams of water, are my Spirit and my Spirit my people is flowing over you and into you today. Relish it, bathe in it, splash in it, receive it fully. This is my gift to you this day, the streams of my Spirit, the living water which will refresh you and make you anew. You will be a new transformation because my Spirit my Living Water is flowing over you this day.
Give yourself to the Lord that He will give to you. And that you will respond to a new touch of the Holy Spirit, to be used by Him.
As we were singing the Lord gave me an image of a water wheel, so I saw that water wheel spinning and the water was pouring over it, but the water was splashing off of the water wheel, splashing on everyone that was around it. So the Lord was saying to me that that water wheel is making Power, is making Power that’s going out, and we just need to let that water wash over us and that water washing over us is going to splash everyone else and is going to make power, power to transform.
Luke 1:46-50 And Mary said, “my soul magnifies the Lord…”
The water that cleanses us gives us power, his power. The key is to worship like a mother, and the Lord wants you to look within your own heart, for within you own heart on the altar there is a bush. The burning bush. And as Moses stepped closer and God anointed him to go, to go to the people in bondage. And so to you my people there is a fire on the altar of your heart and it is the power. It is the power within you and in us and because it is a fire that is God, it will never burn out. The fire that is on the altar of your heart will never burn out. You who are faithful followers of Jesus, worship, let the water fall and recognize the fire within and let it burn wherever you go.
Clearly heard the Lord saying, “you hurt each other with your words, you hurt each other when you ignore each other. And the hook is hanging, always waiting to be grabbed by us, to form resentments, and even though we are today gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus we continue to be not careful with the words that we speak to one another and the ways we treat one another. And the Lord is saying to me “look in your heart and see, is there someone that you have offended, even today?” And it may mean that you may need to go to that person and say I am sorry, or it may mean just acknowledging in your heart. We need to realize that Satan is constantly trying to divide and conquer, trying to get us to walk away because someone has hurt us, trying to get us to think we are not good enough or as good as someone else here. We are all his favoured children and he wants us to love one another, care for each other and encourage each other. And that there be no negative words against each other, not even in your heart.
I have an image of Jesus, with a very large tool box. And it is not an ordinary box that we think of as a tool box. But it is a toolbox, and he has different tools in it. And he is coming to each of us with his toolbox and he is giving each of us one of his tools to take with us when we leave this place.
Psalm 149:1-4 Sing to the Lord a new song of praise…
We are one body and our power is in unity, and I have this strong sense what God is doing this week is making us one. He’s making us one to go out there and it doesn’t matter which part of the world we are in, we are one in Christ. We are One in Christ. And the power, because we are united it doesn’t matter that we are at opposite ends of the world, it doesn’t matter where we are, we are positioned uniquely where God wants us, and our power is in our unity and it doesn’t matter where we are. He is with us and we are one Body and his Spirit working throughout the world to bring his light into those dark places.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear. Rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship, and by him we cry Abba, Abba, ABBA, ABBA, ABBA.
Psalm 63:1-5 (1-6 in the New American Bible) O God you are my God…
I implore you, my people, to keep before you the vision of the hands reaching out of the abyss. I ask you to put your loved ones, your friends, your workmates, put their faces there in the abyss and know that I am calling you to go to those who do not know me, to those who have been forgotten, to those who have begun to walk different paths. You need to go, my people. I have called you this week to prepare you to go, and you must step out to go. When you
begin to step out you will realize that my Spirit will give you words, my Spirit is there to enable you, to encourage you. But you need to have hearts that are filled with compassion for those who are lost. The places that I may call you to may not be pleasant places. They may be barren and dry and filled with ridicule, but I am telling you today that you will not be afraid if you are walking in the power of my Spirit. That Spirit of fear has been bound in you this week, and you will not walk in fear, but you will walk in joy that you have the ability to carry my word to my people. Many will be saved, many will be saved. Keep your eyes on the victory that will be one for me because you are my hands and feet and my mouth, and I need you to go. Step out and don’t be afraid. (Confirmed)
Blessed are the feet that bring good news. People, I want you to know today that those are your feet. Blessed are your feet that bring good news, for you are my body, as I send you out this week and the coming weeks and months. Blessed is your mouth too, for you are to speak my word. Fear not about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it, my children, fear not. Open your mouth and begin and I will fill it. As I said to St. Paul, in the times of trials and stress I will give you the words. Blessed are you my people, go and take my word to my people.
The Lord says “My people, my friends, brothers and sisters of Jesus, when you pray, often you pray as if I am not in the room with you. You focus on the words, you focus on the intentions, but what I want of you, my people, is that you gaze on me. I gaze on you continually. My eyes are never off you, and I desire that when you pray that you gaze on me, focus on me, see me. I already know what your intentions are, I already know what your prayers are, but what I desire of you is that you gaze on me. Think of a couple in love: they gaze on one another, they gaze into one another’s eyes, they don’t have to say a word. So I desire that you, my beloved, that you gaze on me when you pray.
My people, my wonderful people, how I love you, I have graced you abundantly this week with my mercy and my spirit, and yet there are a few among you that do not believe that my hand is not too short to save. I have come to set you free, I have come to give you of my abundance. Believe and trust in me. My hand indeed is not too short to save you and yours. Come and believe and trust in me.
1Peter 4:8-11 Above all, let your love for one another be intense…
A song: Forever I am changed by your love. In the presence of your majesty, Majesty, Majesty. Your grace has found me just as I am. Empty handed but alive in your hands. And we sing. Majesty. Majesty. Forever I am changed by your love. In the presence of your majesty. Majesty. Majesty. Majesty. Majesty.
Prophetic tongues. Interpretation: When you come in my name, there is power. In yourself you have no power; all power comes from me. But when you come in my name I pierce the darkness, chains are broken, prison doors are opened. When you come in my name you have my power within you. Call upon my power, depend on my power – not on yourselves, on my power. Watch and see the kingdom of darkness be destroyed; actually I have already destroyed and defeated the enemy. I welcome you to come into the promised land, all the promises I have given you.
I am the Paraclete. I come to tell you that you are loved. My love is so vast it is beyond measure. It is as deep as the ocean and as vast as the sky. My love is never ending and it is always there for you. Open your hearts, my people. Open your hearts of stone. Give me your hearts of stone; they do not belong to you. I want to break the rock that is your heart. Open it up, open it up to me. Receive my love, receive me, receive me the Lord God Almighty, I have come to you through my son through the Holy Spirit. I am with you and I make you whole, I make you strong, I give you the power. Most of all I give you my love; take my love, accept it is as big as the ocean, as big as the sky. There is no limit to my love and it is all available to you. You my servants, to you I come, to you I send forth in my power Jesus name.
I send my love in my son Jesus. And he sends his love in the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit in you is meant to bring my love to everyone.
Luke 1:76-79 And you, child will be called prophet of the Most High…
You are indeed my chosen ones. I chose you before the foundation. I chose you to go forth and to bear fruit. I have spent years forming you into my people, I have gifted you, I have made you into an army of praise. But I am asking you now to be the army that will go out, to be the feet that will bring the gospel that will bring the good news to others. If you do not step out, my people, the revival will not come. The Holy Spirit works through you. I need to be people who are willing to be shod with the sandals of good news. Take it to your families, take it to your friends, but go step out in faith, my children and know that I am with you. Know that the Holy Spirit will put the words in your mouth and that I will begin to work signs and wonders as such you have never seen, if you will step out, if you will go forth and proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
This was birthed from the video that Sister Linda showed us. (The previous word) And the Lord said it is not enough. It is not enough to praise me; it is awesome that you are here praising me, but that praise needs to lead you out, out, and as long as we keep staying in this spot, souls will be lost. I feel that God is so incredibly serious about telling us to take that step out of the boat. Take that step in faith and believe that you can walk on water. But I can’t make you take that step; you need to do it yourself. So decide today, before you leave this place, decide whom you are going to tell the good news to. Weather a letter or a phone call or in person, begin to evangelize. We are all more than capable of doing it, because we have the Holy Spirit. We have the power, and Jesus is sending us out to Galilee and he will go before us.
There is a vision that keeps coming to me: there was this great river and it was humongous and it blew out the wall like it came through the wall; it did not come through the door, it came through the wall and blew out the whole wall. And it just came in with such force; it was the river of God, His Spirit coming through in power, and as it came through the people were caught up in it and some were fighting against it like trying, instead of just being caught up in the flow of it. And I just really feel like He is breaking down all the walls and we just need to flow with Him instead of fight Him – not resist it but just be caught up and let him have his way.
Image: Jesus was above the ground quite a bit and he was happy, he was the risen Christ and he was so happy and he was walking towards me and then he dissolved. The message he gave me was: I am risen, I am risen. Don’t you believe? When my first followers saw me risen and alive, what did they do, how did they feel? And I said, oh Lord they were so happy. And he said, but I am alive today – why are you not so happy? I want you to be happy and rejoice because I am your risen savior. Yes, I died, and you must know that, but you must know and believe that I am risen. Take yourself from the cross and bring yourself to my resurrection.
Open your heart. Let me speak to you. Gaze on me and I will gaze on you. Be still.
I confirm the quiet. The quiet.
An image of the Lord in front of us and it was like he was the magnet, and each one of us was just being pulled into him and that is the least resistant and that is how he wants us.
1Peter2:9 But you are a chosen race…
Catholic Charismatic Prayer Groups
El Shaddai Sun 1 p.m. St. Jude (gym) 3078 Renfrew St.
Contact Cindy Lui 604-323-0723
Mission Ablaze Tues 7:30 St. Mary’s 5251 Joyce St.
contact Oscar and Riz Geronimo 604-454-3143
St. Patrick’s Church Tues 8 p.m. 2881 Main St. (downstairs hall)
contact Bernard Lee Wen (604) 708-3326
El Shaddai Thurs 7 p.m. (in St. Patrick’s hall—see above)
contact Grace del Rosario 604-708-3326 or 604-321-5403
Our Lady of Sorrows Thurs 7:30 555 S. Slocan St.
contact Dianee Washburn (604) 255-8656
One Body in Christ 7:30 St. Anne’s (second and fourth Fridays) 33333 Mayfair Ave. contact Ken and Mena Beatch 604-855-9701
El Shaddai Sun 1 p.m. St. James parish gym 2767 Townline Rd.
contact Rosalina Cole 604-859-8465 or 778-344-9323
Holy Cross Mon 7:30 1450 Delta St. (music room)
contact Alba Stevenson 604-299-4123
Mustard Seed Mon 7 p.m. Our Lady of Mercy 7455-10th Ave.
contact Lila Caldera 604-507-0351
St. Francis de Sales Wed 7:30 6610 Balmoral (hall) St.
contact Alex Lim 604-435-9134
Precious Blood 17475-59th Ave. (phone for information)
contact Deirdre Thomas (604) 543-8035
Our Lady of Fatima Wed 7:30 315 Walker St.
contact Janet Tng 778-998-8098
Spirit Alive Mon 7 p.m. St. Mary’s Church (hall) Gibsons Way
contact Mavis Wilson 604-886-7718
Sacred Heart (clubhouse) Wed 7:30 3900 Arthur Dr., Delta
contact Terence D’Souza 604-948-1719
St. Joseph’s Tues 7:30 20676 Fraser Highway
contact Hans Gottwald 604-534-8765 or Norma Williams 604-514-9859
St. Luke’s Thurs. 7 p.m. 20285 Dewdney Trunk Rd.
contact Bill Sharp (604) 467-6989
New Beginnings Prayer Group Thurs 7:30 St.Joseph’s (meeting room) 32550-7th Ave. contact Eileen Roberts 604-826-8105
Community of the Risen Lord Thurs. 7 p.m. Video teaching/live Skype meeting St. Peter’s parish hall 405 Royal Ave contact Ashanti Munaweera 604-526-9910
Immaculate Conception Fri 8 p.m. (after 7:30 Mass) 8842-119th St. (hall)
contact Lennie David (Mrs.) (604) 594-7296
St. Stephen’s Thurs 7:30 1360 E 24th St.
contact Ted Holowka (604) 924-0573
St. Joseph’s Thurs 7:30 140 Moody St.
contact Jocelyn Rochard 604-469-0713
Maranatha Wed 7:30 Assumption (bottom floor meeting room) 7109 Glacier St. contact Don and Charlene Bourcier 604-485-9595 or Pat Clark 604-483-9982
St. Joseph the Worker Wed 8 p.m. 4451 Williams Rd. (hall)
contact Miriam Saldanha (604) 277-5580
St. Monica’s (hall) (call for information) 12011 Woodhead Rd.
contact Dave Buyser 604-278-2607
St. Paul’s Tues 7:30 8251 St. Alban’s Rd. (parish centre)
contact Melanie de Souza 604-214-0456
CCMC Chinese group Thurs 7:30 Canadian Martyrs 5711 Granville St.
contact Elvis Tong 604-838-7728
St. Joseph’s Friday 7 p.m. 2449 The Boulevard Garibaldi Highlands
contact Sister Josephine de Leon 604-389-8113
St. Bernadette Mon 7:30 6543-132nd (parish centre) St.
contact Danny Guerrero 778-628-2084
St. Matthew’s Mon 7:30 16079-88th St. (hall)
contact Steve and Margaret Potusek 604-597-8202
BLD Fri 8 p.m. St. Matthew’s (see above)
contact Franco and Remy Tang 604-274-7036
Our Lady of Good Counsel Thurs 7:45 10460-139th St. (Mary Help of Christians hall) contact Rose Zuniga 778-829-8007
The Potter’s House Wed 7:30 Star of the Sea 15024-24th Ave. South Surrey
contact Jae Ewing 604-536-7860
Light of God Thurs 7 p.m. Our Lady of Perpetual Help basement 635 Tranquille Rd. contact Berthe Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
El Shaddai Sunday 1 p.m. Our Lady of Perpetual Help basement 635 Tranquille Rd. contact Ida Sunga email@example.com
Community of Hope Thurs 7:30 St. Rita’s parish hall 513-7th Ave.
contact Armando Cardoso 250-365-5932
People of Unity Wed 7:30 Christ the Servant prayer room 1100-14th Ave. S.
contact Flo Reid 250-426-7570, Lynne Williams 250-489-1702, or Sharlyn Sorge 250-489-9768
Life in the Spirit Wed 7 p.m. Holy Cross parish hall (starts Oct. 12) 128 16th Ave. N contact David Manning 250-402-6505 Yvonne Horne firstname.lastname@example.org
People of Peace Wed 10 a.m. Sacred Heart sacristy 7269-9th St.
contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589 email@example.com or Johanna Tournemille 250-442-2421 firstname.lastname@example.org
People of Faith Tues 7 p.m. St. Pius X Church (side door) 1077 Fuller (corner of Gordon) contact Piera 250-762-6150
Dawn Prayers Wed 7 p.m. Our Lady of Lourdes
contact Robert and Barbara Quaedvlieg 250-499-7033 email@example.com
Trinity Prayer Community Thurs 9 a.m. (after 8:30 Mass) Cathedral of Mary Immaculate Jubilee room 813 Ward St. contact Loree Renwick 250-352-7960
Christ the King contact Doreen Steger 250-498-6091 (call for information) firstname.lastname@example.org
New Life Praise Group Mon 7 p.m. St. Anne’s Church 7709-87th St.
contact Laurie Martin 250-495-2964 email@example.com or Maria (Maite) Gonzalez-Richer cell 250-408-4246, firstname.lastname@example.org or Patricia Norman email@example.com, 250-495-2910
Shekinah Prayer Group Tues 7 p.m. St. John Vianney hall 361 Wade Ave.
contact Bernadette Barry 250-492-3478 firstname.lastname@example.org
Holy Child Church Tuesday after 7 P.M. Mass 14010 Rosedale Ave.
contact Bev MacIntyre 778-740-0508 email@example.com
Our Lady of Lourdes Tues 6:30 p.m. 2547 Hebert Rd.
contact Marcia Lawrence parish 250-768-4114 firstname.lastname@example.org
Prince George diocese
St. Mary’s Thurs 7 p.m. 1088 Gillette (conference room)
contact Louis Dauvin 250-563-8538
Christ the King Mon 7 p.m. (every other Monday) 23-863 Lahakas (private home) contact Mike Weeres 250-632-5609
Abba Prayer Group Thurs 7:30 Sacred Heart 4830 Straume Ave. parish 250-635-2313
Led by the Spirit Mon 7:15 p.m. Sacred Heart Church (Pope John Hall) 4040 Nelthorpe St. contact David MacIntyre 250-383-9955 email@example.com
People of Hope Tues 7:30 St. Andrew’s Cathedral (enter via parish centre on View Street) 740 View St. contact Lynn Dunstan Weedmark or Richard Dunstan (250) 477-4700 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Friends in Christ,
I have been blessed by some daily devotions in which I find great strength and direction. These I wish to share with you as you also continue on your spiritual journey.
The first is a link to Bishop Sam Jacob’s Spirit Aflame, Thought for the Day and Reflections on Scripture. email@example.com
The second is a link to Father Mark Goring’s Daily Video in which he addresses many pertinent topics that give us cause to ponder and be challenged by the wonders of God. firstname.lastname@example.org
And for those who may wish to pray more novenas I have found a wonderful site, PrayMoreNovenas.com
I pray that these links may bless and spiritually nourish you abundantly.
chair, CCRS of BC
‘Mercy is falling’ – God’s mercy is for all
By LYNNE WILLIAMS
St. Pius X in Kelowna was the site of the Nelson Diocese Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference, April 29-30. Father Pierre Ducharme spoke on God’s Mercy using three scriptural references: The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15:11-32), Jesus Appears to the Disciples (Jn. 20:19-31), and Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples (Jn. 21:1-19).
The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15:11-32):
Our God is a God of love and mercy. Just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share everything in common, when we receive God’s mercy and love, it goes right back to where it came from and we become one in God’s love. God has perfect love within himself, and God’s love is for us even though we are limited and not perfect. We are invited into this family relationship, to dance and sing and experience pure joy, doing for others what God has done for us.
We need mercy and forgiveness. In the Old Testament, the Jubilee Year was about mercy. The people were called to share their abundance and forgive debts. Forgiveness of others and ourselves is something we work toward, but it is not easy to get there. Sometimes there are situations where we cannot pay back. By dying and rising for our sins, Jesus atones and makes up for what we cannot. We have a God of abundance whose inexhaustible mercy is put before us. Even when we, like the Prodigal Son, have squandered everything and been completely selfish, we can always go back home and return to our Father God who welcomes us, clothes and feeds us, and puts a ring on our finger. We are a child, we belong, and our family relationship has been restored.
Our God is a merciful God who changes us through mercy. Our God calls us out of ourselves and assures us that we are loved; he assures us we are good, and even when we are not good, he assures us we are still loved. We have a God of abundance, a God of Jubilee, a cup that overflows and sets us free to live in the Spirit and go forth following Jesus. We are called to be like the merciful Father, to take on the mission of mercy, to embrace both the younger and the older son. Forgiveness accepts people where they are at; our task is to go out and pull them in and remind them that they belong, and where they belong, they will be fed and always loved.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples (Jn. 20:19-31):
Have we welcomed God’s mercy in our lives to the point where we will use the gifts we have, or were we sold a lie (e.g. we’re not good enough; mercy is limited)? The Spirit of mercy and love is not limited. The dignity to the human person is affirmed by the fact that God came into the world and took it on. Our God loves us; nothing can take his love away from us. Like the disciples, we can lock ourselves away, but God will go to great lengths to find us. He wants us to see our lives as missionaries of peace, to send us out to heal the broken, to be present to those who refuse to be present to us, and who don’t know God.
As people of faith, we are called to believe and give ourselves to a God we can touch and see, one who is tangible and real and who came to life just like us. To be human is not to be other than God but to be like Jesus who was good and knew he was loved, and who responded with love and faithfulness, always giving credit to the Father. Believe in Jesus and allow the Spirit to be breathed upon us and embraced in us so we are fully human and alive. Be confident that we and the world around us are good. God created the world and loved it. Can we love it too and allow ourselves to be changed in a way that is good, becoming transformed into more loving, human and real friends of Jesus? Can we be people of the Spirit who fall before our Savior and know, that like Thomas, he is, “My Lord, and my God”?
Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples (Jn. 21:1-19):
The Holy Spirit that falls upon us is fire, passion, and life. We have been touched by the fire of the Holy Spirit and are uniquely ourselves. Not one of us is the same as the next person, yet we are called together to recognize God’s mercy, unconditional love and absolute forgiveness.
God made us and loved us first, initiating our relationship; he came among us and lives with us. As Christians, we believe we have an ever present God who animates disciples. We believe in the Holy Spirit and believe in the work the Holy Spirit can do. We have been given a diversity of gifts and talents and are members of the church, a body working together to make a difference and change things. As people of faith, let us do what God has called us to do. Let us set sail with Jesus. Evangelization is our mission. It is an issue of great importance.
Our world needs to know there is a merciful God. People are hurting and need to know they are loved, forgiven, belong, and embraced. For whatever reason they are staying away, God is aware of them. We absolutely depend on a loving and merciful God. The Spirit is in charge. If we don’t get out of the way and let God lead, we won’t get very far.
Can we trust our Lord to lead even if we do not know where he’s going? Can we trust that our Lord loves us? The Lord has proven his love for us through the life and death of Jesus, and continues to prove it through his grace. We are called to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus and follow wherever he leads us. We can’t abandon people. We are called to invite them into a journey, to build community, to share our struggles, and to go out serving and seeking relationships with people who need it. We are called to be a people of mercy, always seeking to share more. We are called to go out on a mission. Any good we have is meant to be shared. We ought to go fishing. We are called to include even the ‘fish’ we don’t like.
God’s love never ends and is inclusive, expansive, and powerful enough to change the world. It will always bear fruit that will last. We journey with one another as people of faith, as church, as the hands and feet of Christ to bring love, hope, and joy to the world. Let’s go fishing.
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CCRS of BC newsletter published spring and fall editor Richard Dunstan 308-225 Belleville St. Victoria BC V8V 4T9 email: email@example.com phone: 250-477-4700 website: www.bccharismatic.ca
Spring Newsletter 2016
MERCY’ THEME SEPT. 23-24
Vancouver to host
Bishop Sam Jacobs and Dr, Margarett Schlientz will be featured speakers Sept. 23 and 24 at this year’s Vancouver Catholic Charismatic Conference, which will return to a familiar setting: Broadway Church.
The event is co-sponsored by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C, the provincial service committee, and is both a provincial and an archdiocesan conference.
Theme for the conference, being held during the Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, will be Jesus, Son of David, Have Mercy on Me (Luke 18:38).
The conference returns to Broadway Church, a Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada church approved for Catholic events, after a three-year absence using other locations.
The conference will feature Bishop Jacobs, a former chair of the U.S. National Service Committee for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and Dr. Schlientz, whose ministry combines training in theology, spirituality, and psychiatric nursing.
The event runs 7-10 p.m. on Friday Sept. 23 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday Sept. 24. Closing Mass will be celebrated at 5 p.m. Saturday, with Fr. Joseph Nguyen, Vicar-General of the Archdiocese, presiding.
Confessions and Eucharistic adoration are also scheduled.
Tickets are on sale now and are $15 until Aug. 31, $25 after that. They may be purchased from your prayer group or at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-597-8227.
Bishop Jacobs is retired bishop of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana and was previously bishop of Alexandria, Louisiana. Born in Mississippi but raised in Louisiana, he was ordained in 1964 for the diocese of Lafayette. He served there and in the diocese of St. Charles as parish priest and chaplain, as well as diocesan director of vocations and seminarians for St. Charles. He was named bishop in 1989. He was named to the national service committee in 1982 and served as chairman from 1987 to 1993; he returned to the committee in January 2015. He also chaired the committee for evangelization for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2005 to 2005, and is currently a member of the committees on laity, marriage, family life and youth, and on evangelization and catechesis. He retired as diocesan bishop in 2013 but continues to serve as a speaker, as well as operating the Spirit Aflame website, http://www.spiritaflame.org/ . He was featured speaker at the 2015 Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in Kelowna.
He may be seen on YouTube at http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+bishop+sam+jacobs&qpvt=you+tube+bishop+sam+jacobs&FORM=VDRE.
Dr. Schlientz, a Wisconsin resident, holds a doctorate in psychiatric nursing and master’s degrees in theology, spirituality, and psychiatric nursing. She is the founder of the Pope Leo XIII Institute for the education of priests in exorcism and deliverance, and is assistant director of the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Nebraska. She is co-author of the RISEN program (Re-Invest Spirituality and Ethics in the Networks of Health Care), and presents it regularly to health care systems across the U.S. She has held teaching and administrative posts at Marquette University in Milwaukee, speaks at conferences and parish missions, and ministers as a spiritual director to priests. Her website is https://drmargarettschlientz.com/. She is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yre6KPH7RJg.
A prayer room and book tables will be available at the conference. Light refreshments will be available on site, and there are several restaurants nearby.
Broadway Church is located at 2700 East Broadway, corner of Slocan, and near the Renfrew SkyTrain station. There is parking on church property.
Jesus will never disappoint you
By RICHARD DUNSTAN
Do you need to be healed? Put your trust in Jesus and you won’t be disappointed, says Sister Linda Koontz.
“To believe means to put all your weight on what Jesus has said,” she told a crowd of 1,100 at the 2015 Vancouver Catholic charismatic conference Sept. 18 and 19 in Surrey. “Those who trust in Him will never be disappointed.”
Sister Linda, of El Paso, TX, has worked with the poor of Ciudad Juarez, across the Rio Grande in Mexico, since 1977. Before that she was a key figure in the rise of the Catholic charismatic renewal in Canada, touring B.C. and Alberta in 1969 preaching about the Holy Spirit after she was baptized in the Spirit herself in her native Washington State.
Theme of the conference, held at Chandos Pattison Auditorium, was “I am willing—be healed,” and Sister Linda said Jesus is always willing. “There are no rules—Jesus heals all the time.” She said many people who believe Jesus can heal them still think it’s rare and unlikely, like winning the lottery. “Guess what—that’s a lie,” she said.
“Healing is not proof of the [Gospel] message. It is the message. The Kingdom of God is wholeness and healing. ‘Salvation’ means heath—in Greek it means being preserved from death and freed from disease, and ‘Jesus’ in Hebrew means the God who heals, the God who saves, the burden bearer, the one who breaks the yoke.”
Fear, negativity and unbelief can keep us from being healed, she said, and so can unforgiveness, even in the form of resentment. (“Resentment is hatred with a tuxedo on,” she said.) As to negativity and unbelief, “pray until you get results. If we’re going to rise up [and be healed], we must cry out to Jesus and not go anywhere else.”
Fear, she said, is one of Satan’s biggest weapons, but the Bible is clear: “fear not.” “Ninety-two per cent of what we worry about doesn’t happen,” she said. “When we’re in fear, we can’t pray. It destroys our faith. Today we must decide whether to live by fear or faith.”
Fear can’t be hoped or wished away, she said—only prayed away. And “fear not” doesn’t always mean “don’t feel afraid”—it means don’t run away. “Sometimes we have to do things afraid,” she said. “But as we take that step, we find that the Lord is there.”
Sister Linda said she was originally prayed over for baptism in the Holy Spirit by teenage students who told her she needed it.
“The miracle was that I kneeled down,” she said. “I told them ‘I have the Holy Spirit.’ They said, ‘yes, Sister, you do, but He’s in the refrigerator—you have to let Him ouit.”
Before her baptism in the Spirit, she said, “I was one dead nun. The Gospel doesn’t just make good people better. It brings dead people to life.”
Also speaking at the conference was Father Jerry Thompson of Los Angeles, who has been a charismatic since before his ordination 21 years ago. He has training in psychology as well as theology and had ministries in holistic healing and spiritual direction. He also has a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father Thompson said healing can be mental or emotional as well as physical and can also involve the whole family. A key to healing, he said, is forgiveness. “Forgiveness is an act of love, and love is of God. To forgive is to experience God’s love in our own life, and to allow others, through our forgiveness, to experience God’s love for us.”
To forgive, he said, we must embrace whatever needs to be forgiven, and then let it go. “One never forgets, but one must always forgive,” he said. “God wants us to be whole, and that begins by letting other people off the hook. Let God take care of it.”
We are still entitled to protect ourselves from an unhealthy relationship with the person we’re forgiving, he said; “forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation.” But hatred and vengeance are out. “When we decide to hate someone, we automatically begin to dig two graves: one for them and one for ourselves.”
Father Thompson said devotion to Mary is important because she will make the gifts we give to God more perfect as she presents them. “We have God’s grace, but she has all of it,” he said. “Jesus always does what His mother asks Him to do, because He is an obedient son.”
Archbishop Michael Miller celebrated the closing Mass for the conference. He said in his homily that parents are considered by the Church as the first evangelists and catechists of their children, and their work cannot be outsourced to other agencies. “None of our great Catholic schools can ever supplant your role as parents.”
He said parents should present the Gospel joyfully, keep learning about their own faith, read the Bible to their children, and attend Sunday Mass as a family. “You can’t shut down their [children’s] questions. You must know the faith,” he said. As for the Bible, it’s best to start with the Gospels; “don’t begin with the book of Genesis and think you have to plow through.”
KELOWNA AUG. 7-12
Koontz, Ibekwe to speak at Institute
Sister Linda Koontz and Father Sylvester Obiora Ibekwe will be featured speakers at Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute, to be held Aug. 7-12 at Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer in Kelowna. (An incorrect date was reported in the fall 2015 B.C. Charismatic newsletter.)
Theme of the institute will be Receive Mercy—Move Forward in the Spirit. Chosen scripture text is Romans 10:13, “All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The institute, aimed at discipleship and leadership formation, is sponsored by Nelson Diocese Charismatic Renewal Service Committee and endorsed by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C., the provincial service committee.
The institute opens with a 5:30 p.m. outdoor Mass Sunday, Aug. 7, followed by registration, refreshments, praise and worship, and ends after lunch Friday, Aug. 12. The program includes daily Mass, morning and afternoon teaching and panel discussions, and evening devotional programs. All activities will take place at Seton House except for a healing Mass to be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, at St. Charles Garnier parish in Kelowna.
Other evening devotional programs will include praise and worship, a prayer meeting, and exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, with one free evening. The sacrament of reconciliation will be offered at lunchtime Tuesday through Thursday.
Cost of the institute is $500 ($550 after June 15) for all sessions, accommodation at Seton House (double occupancy), and all meals. Commuter fee is $275 ($325 after June 15) for all sessions plus lunch and supper.
Accommodation is limited to 30 at Seton House and daily attendance to 40. Some billeting may be available.
Sister Linda Koontz, originally from Washington State, was a pioneer of the Catholic charismatic renewal in B.C. and Alberta following her baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1969. She has worked in the renewal full-time since 1971, moved to El Paso, Texas in 1977 to work with the poor of Ciudad Juárez, across the Rio Grande in Mexico, and in 1986 founded Spirit of the Lord International Mission to offer evangelization,
food, housing, and medical care for the poor of Juárez. She is a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, a congregation dedicated to service of the poor.
Sister Linda was also featured speaker at the Vancouver archdiocesan charismatic conference in September 2015 (see Page 2).
Father Sylvester Obiora (Obi) Ibekwe, originally from Nigeria, was ordained for the Nelson diocese in October 2015 and is currently assistant pastor at St. Pius X parish in Kelowna, as well as serving St. Edward’s parish in Lake Country/Winfield. He has long been active in the Catholic charismatic renewal and was featured speaker at Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in 2014 and 2013.
Roy MacIntyre is co-ordinator of this year’s Summer Institute, with Loree Renwick as MC and Father Obi as host and Mass celebrant. Gladys Miller will lead panel discussions and Johanna Tournemille is organizing music. Donna Goss and Peter Weiler will co-ordinate services at Seton House, with Evelyn Puckey in charge of meals.
“The Institute is our opportunity to gather with Mary, the mother of Our Lord, calling upon the Holy Spirit to inspire us and impel us to move forward in the power of the Spirit to bring the knowledge of God’s love and mercy to our communities and the waiting world,” says a statement from Summer Institute organizers. “It is here that we learn to listen, and, like Mary, ponder in our hearts and integrate God’s message for us and be moved to share with all what God is doing in the Church today.
“This year will be listening to how we may live and apply mercy in our lives and show mercy to our communities with the help of the Holy Spirit.”
Cranbrook hosts day of renewal
By LYNNE WILLIAMS
People of Unity Prayer Group, Cranbrook
On a rainy Kootenay Saturday in March, the People of Unity prayer group hosted an East Kootenay deanery day of renewal featuring the Nelson diocesan ministry team of Father Sylvester Ibekwe as guest speaker and Johanna Tournemille and Gladys Miller as music leaders. Twenty-four people from throughout the deanery participated.
Father prayed, “May we be revived and strengthened in our faith and renewed by love for you and for each other.” God created us for happiness and we all search for it. Happiness is different from pleasure; pleasure cannot be sustained without the activity producing it. Food, success, and certain activities give us pleasure, but we always need more to continue the pleasure; pleasure does not bring enduring happiness. Happiness stays with us no matter what happens.
Father’s talks included the following topics:
- What is the essence of happiness? In what and whom does it exist?
- What is the meaning of the Beatitudes?
- What is the meaning of evil and suffering? How do we approach them and the difficulties of life?
When Abraham said yes to God, he made a journey in darkness, trusting God. Likewise, to be a Christian is to journey in darkness and to move forward in faith, trusting in God’s light.
What is happiness? In whom is it found? “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them saying; ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.’” (Mt. 5:1-3 NRSV) The Greek word, μακαριοι, here translated “blessed,” properly means happy. (Benson Commentary http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/5-3.htm)
Biblically, when Jesus goes up the mountain, he goes to pray. Praying helps him find the will of his Father. This was difficult for him because he was human. “In his anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.” (Lk. 22:44 NRSV)
When Jesus sits down to teach he assumes a position of authority. Sitting down is important. (Mt. 13:1-2, 15:29, 24:3-4, 26:55) When Matthew writes, he began to speak, he is telling us something important will happen; listen. In his reference to the mountain, he shows how the New Testament fulfils the Old Testament. He is telling the Jewish people Jesus is the new Moses, presenting the new law. Moses appearing at the transfiguration on Mount Tabor means the law with its commands was fulfilled in the person of Jesus, who magnified the law by teaching the law of the Love of God. If we base our lives on love, we will be satisfied and happy.
Matthew, unlike Luke’s version of the Beatitudes, adds the words “in spirit” to “poor.”He includes the religious sense to show the Jewish people that Jesus is the fulfillment of the scriptures. In Nazareth, Jesus reads, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor,” (Is. 6:1-2, Lk.4:18-19 NRSV) then announces, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
In the Kingdom of God, things are turned upside down; there is a reversal of values. The Beatitudes begin with the poor, who are blessed in spirit. The rest of the world says “blessed are the rich; they are the happy ones.” But, what does the Bible say? “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 121:2) God’s help for the poor and afflicted is referenced many times, (Ps, 12:5, 14:6, 22:24, 27:14: Is. 10:2, 26:6) In Matthew, the followers of Jesus were poor in spirit and fact. Where then does happiness (blessedness) lie? Like the poor person who is totally dependent on him for everything, we must look to God to find our happiness.
At the beginning of his second talk, Father played his guitar and lead us in a spontaneous prayer-song:
“There is something that makes me
Come into your presence, by your love,
My Redeemer, My Savior, My Father.
For you died for me, my helper.
You gave me life, my helper.
You gave me friends, my helper.
You gave me hope, my helper.
We have come because we want to encounter you in any way. We will be quiet and listen to your voice.
Your presence brings us life, strength, hope. Thank-you Lord for bringing us together.
When we come into your presence, we’re so happy, so glad. For in your presence, there is anointing and in your presence his Spirit surrounds us…”
We believe in the almighty God from whom everything comes. To enjoy this peace and contentment, we have to put aside our life and put it into the life of God. “For, ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’” (Acts 17:28) I am a dependent being. To be means to be in the life of God; enjoy swimming in the life of God; enter into the dance.
In Life in the Spirit means to become one with God who becomes the dwelling place of where we want to be. That’s where Jesus wanted to be. Everything he did came from that source of being with the Father. We will do more and have more satisfying lives if we live in his presence. True freedom is a liberty of spirit; Jesus came “to proclaim liberty to captives.” (Isaiah 61:1)
Something had been seen in Jesus that the disciples had not seen before and a disciple asked, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Lk. 11:1) When we pray, we enter into his presence and partake in a relationship that is transforming. The Kingdom of Heaven begins here, “Because your steadfast love is better than life.” (Ps. 63:3 NRSV) and is fulfilled in the next world.
“Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.” (Mt. 5:5) The humble will inherit the earth and be exalted. (Mt. 19:28) “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”(Mt. 11:29 NRSV)
The meek do not establish themselves above other people and this is not a weakness. Jesus was meek, but spoke his mind, encouraging us to speak the truth in charity and love.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Mt. 5:8 NRSV) What do we mean by righteousness? When we live in God, we too become righteous, just, and have integrity. Jesus took away our shame. We do not have justice and righteousness in ourselves. He has it. The ultimate source of righteousness comes from God.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”(Mt. 5:7 NRSV) To be merciful is a fundamental demand that God is making of us. “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (Mt.9:13) Jesus miracles are examples of living mercy, (Mt.5:43-48, 9:26-31, 15:21-28, 17:14-18, 20:29-34, 25:31-46, Heb. 2:17) Mercy should be shown to everyone, even our enemies and those from whom we are estranged and alienated. We are to open our arms and embrace one another in our beauty and our brokenness. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is an excellent example of the mercy of the Father. Mercy brings us to restoration and revival. The only way to peace in the world is to reach out to embrace one another and to initiate the move of mercy. Merciful action is a concrete sign that we are loyal to our heavenly Father. He demands an activity of loving kindness benefiting other people.
The kingdom of God will bring us six things: permanent inheritance, comfort and peace, mercy, fulfillment, closeness to God, and sufferings and persecution. The Beatitudes bring us consolation and comfort when we face evil and sufferings; they bring into perspective the difficulties of the present moment, lessening pain and anguish, and encouraging us to move forward.
God’s promises, which we hold in our hearts, are being fulfilled in the here and now and will be completed in the future reign of God. We can put our trust in God and not be afraid of living today and tomorrow. The promises possess a secret vision and hope that will make suffering powerless and bearable.
Nelson leaders learn about discipleship
By LYNNE WILLIAMS
On April 20, 1999, two teens went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 13 and wounding more 20 before committing suicide. The crime was the worst high school shooting in U.S. history.
Deacon (now Father) Sylvester Ibekwe’s opening talk to the Nelson Diocesan leaders’ retreat, in September at Seton House in Kelowna, began with this story. A survivor was shot 12 times when she answered, “Yes,” to the question, “Do you believe in God?” When asked why, she said, “Because my parents taught me and that’s why I believe it myself…My life is a miracle.”
Living our faith the way we are capable of is what changes the world. As a mother of a murdered teen has said, “No matter what evil we perpetuate on each other, God wins in the end.”
A disciple is a student; for discipleship, there needs to be an attraction to the person we are following. Holiness is the most attractive thing in the world. Beauty draws us in, changes us and sends us on a mission. It does not allow us to stay the way we are.
Jesus was not a boring guy. He brings wine to a wedding, food for a picnic, protects women from stoning, raises the dead to life at a funeral, and heals the sick of their illnesses. He was radical.
“He (rich man) said to him (Jesus), ‘Teacher, I have kept all these (commandments) since my youth.’ “Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me.’ ” (Mark 10:20-21 NRSV)
Discipleship is not easy; it has a cost and we cannot do it on our own. We need the look of love.
St. Paul says, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil.3:10-11NRSV)
We can never really know Christ, but each day we can strive to know a little bit more. It is only in heaven that we will really know him. In order to know God, one has to be known – standing naked before him, wearing no masks. One must surrender all, holding nothing back.
The Holy Spirit partners with us to show us areas in our lives that need to be worked on, illuminating us and shedding light on our path; this can take a long time. The journey of illumination leads to unity with God. Not many people arrive at this destination in this life.
“For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:19-20 NRSV) When such unity happens, we are able to listen to God and others. We experience a sense of tranquility and serenity and actually seek the good of the other. Our goal is to decrease so that others may increase.
Gladys Miller, chair of the Nelson diocesan service committee, gave the second talk. She said God enhances discipleship through leadership by pouring out his abundant grace. There is a cost in that nothing is promised in this life, but much is promised in eternal life. When we focus on the world, the cost is sometimes too great; when we focus on Jesus, the cost is not too great.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book titled, The Cost of Discipleship, centres on the Sermon on the Mount and the theology of costly discipleship. From a temporal point of view of the Beatitudes, people do not feel blessed and happy when poor, in mourning, hungry, etc. What makes the Beatitudes acceptable is what follows afterwards– the kingdom of heaven, seeing God, being called a child of God, etc.
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God.” (Heb. 10:31 NRSV)
Discipleship involves a spiritual revolution; it is a call to put away old way of life and put on a new self, requiring discipline, and a willingness to listen to God and imitate Jesus.
One must learn that God loves us for who we are, not for what we do. Some costs of discipleship include alienation and isolation within the Church (obedience to God comes before obedience to people); feelings of losing control because of lack of obedience; rejection by family and friends because of our activity; discouragement—the cost of fidelity requires hope regardless of our circumstances; difficulty in letting go of what we want to do – avoiding God’s signals; giving up our own agenda – seek God’s will.
Being what God wants us to be has a human cost. God will often give us prestige and possessions, but there is no guarantee. Give up everything that does not lead to God, including our worldly ambitions. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all., training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from al l iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:11-14 NRSV)
“May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” (Gal. 6:14 NRSV)
We are called to serve. “You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another‘s feet. For I have set an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master … If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” (Jn. 13:13-17 NRSV)
“Then Jesus told his disciples. “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (Mt.:16:24 NRVS) We make a choice for discipleship out of love for Jesus. Our true commitment to Jesus is revealed in our struggles as we turn to him in all circumstances. “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7 NRSV)
If our identity is in possessions and the ungodly things of this world, God does not recognize us. God made whole the person he called us to be; this is our identity as a child of God. Isn’t now the time for us to co-operate with God’s plan and discover the child God created?
Deacon Sylvester began the last teaching on My Identity in the Journey of Discipleship, with a lesson in Greek. Μakarios is often translated as blessed, but more accurately translates as happy or fortunate. “Blessed are the poor…” (Mt. 5:3 NRSV) The poor are branded with labels: economically deprived, marginalized, and facing injustice, misfortunes, disappointments and betrayals. Because of their destitution and suffering, a poor person can put their trust in God and his provision. “…so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him – though indeed, he is not far from each one of us. For in him, we live and move and have our being…” (Acts. 17:27-28) God’s happiness becomes their happiness.
In John’s gospel, John is humble; no mention is made of his name. But he mentions John the Baptist 20 times, because he was a witness, not an authority. John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” (Jn. 21:20), valued witness more than authority.
The word “apostle” does not appear in John, but the word “disciple” appears 78 times. In John, the disciples live in a community of equals. A leadership position does not make one superior. Top-down leadership leads to disunity. There is authority of service, not dominance of service.
“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”(Jn. 20:21-23) Three things were needed to ensure harmony and order: bond of love; common experience of the Holy Spirit; service of humility
John’s anonymity is very deliberate. In Jewish tradition, the name is very important. What gives John his identity is the fact that God loves him. Because the disciple remains unnamed, readers can place themselves into the story of the beloved. Our real identity comes from the fact that we are loved. It is enough to be the beloved of the Father.
I begin to live when I find me. When I find me, I can delight in and promote the other person. When you know you are loved, you can see the goodness of the other and take time to bless and welcome them.
When my identity comes from my relationship with Jesus, it leads to self-emptying and a consummation of all virtues in order that Christ will live in me.
When I find me, I can begin to lead. When I find me, I will give myself in service.
|April 29-30||Nelson diocesan Conference||Kelowna|
|Mercy Is Falling; speaker Fr. Pierre Ducharme||St. Pius X parish|
|contact: Gladys Miller email@example.com 250-442-8589|
|May 14||Pentecost celebration||Coquitlam|
|9 a.m.- 1 p.m.||with Fr. Ray Usman, Archbishop’s liaison||All Saints parish|
|contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 604-597-8227|
|May 15||Pentecost celebration||Victoria|
|3:30 p.m.||Roland and Marian Wauthy, guest speakers||St. Patrick’s parish|
|contact: Richard Dunstan 250-477-4700|
|May 28||Prayer Breakfast||Penticton|
|9:00 a.m.||Father Rex Velmonte||St. John Vianney|
|361 Wade Avenue|
|Aug. 7-12||Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute||Kelowna|
|with Sr. Linda Koontz and Fr. Sylvester Obiora Ibekwe||Seton House|
|contact: Roy MacIntyre, email@example.com 778-516-2769|
|Sept. 23-24||B.C. provincial and Vancouver archdiocesan conference||Vancouver|
|with Bishop Sam Jacobs and Dr. Margarett Schlienz||Broadway Church|
|contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 604-597-8227|
To include your Life in the Spirit Seminar, prayer breakfast, healing Mass, day of renewal, or other charismatic event in this listing, email B.C. Charismatic editor Richard Dunstan at email@example.com
Look beyond the selfie—and the self
By ANN BRERETON
ICCRS representative for Australia
Imagine an archaeological dig site in 1,000 years’ time. A long aluminium stick with a claw on one end and button on the other is found. After much research it is discovered to be a “selfie-stick” from the 21st century. It is displayed in the National Museum with the following inscription “Selfie Stick. A popular photographic tool used by our ancestors to capture a moment in time, with the operator of the device being the main attraction.”
Most of us have participated in a “selfie” or possess our own “selfie stick.” I remember being told by a professional photographer that where possible I should include a person or people in holiday scenery snaps, as this can help to recall where and when the photo was taken. However, the scenery or event remained the subject of the photo, unlike today. The selfie-stick phenomena in which we are now living has shifted the attention to ‘self’ being at the centre and all else as incidental.
This is not a new trend. Reflecting back through the years to family snaps, our usual reaction when seeing them for the first time is to look for myself. If it’s a good photo of me, then I love the snap and may even put it on display, regardless of what everyone else looks like. If it’s a bad photo of me, although everyone else looks fantastic, the photo could be relegated to the bottom drawer.
So fundamentally little has changed when it comes to photography and our response to it. The basic human need to be acknowledged, or even adored, is a temptation faced by many. The current affair with the selfie stick feeds this egocentric desire and can easily become an inordinate attachment and sometimes addiction which feeds our need for recognition.
The voice of social media today bombards us with the messages that we are of value and acceptable only if we are at our most glamorous and sometimes we are driven to post a selfie which proves this. Now of course, it’s possible with body-slimming, skin smoothing and age-defying filters and apps, to change our appearance, to change from our true self to that which will be acceptable to others. The number of “likes” we get will tell us is we’ve been successful in this task.
A recent quote I read said “People get obsessed with likes. It’s an addictive drug. You get a taste of it, and then you want it more and more. People can tell you the precise moment they broke 100 likes.” Alternately, we can feel ostracised and depressed if we do not receive the desired response. This can cause a spiral into an abyss of depression, which can have terrible consequences.
We would do well to heed the words found in Samuel 16:7 “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
As Christians we are not called to “throw away the selfie stick.” However, I believe we are challenged to look beyond the “self.” A selfie can be a wonderful tool to enable us to look at the world a little differently. A photo is usually taken to seize a moment, an emotion, a scene or a place which holds importance to us. Look beyond self in the picture and “see” what is happening in the background. Your photo may contain an act of kindness, of love or joy. If scenery, its beauty could remind you of the majesty of God. Look to the other people in the photo. Give thanks to God for them. Be real and true to yourself. Give thanks for who you are created to be in God’s image: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Ps. 139:14) Selfies do not have to be narcissistic; they can and should include the other.
Let us continue to capture the moment! But also to see beyond ourselves. It is then that our world is enlarged, our lives are enriched and God is given praise and thanks.
PREPARING FOR CHARISMATIC JUBILEE
Don’t keep the fire to yourself
By DEACON CHRISTOF HEMBERGER
ICCRS council member, Germany
When I was young I used to attend a summer camp. In the evenings, we regularly had bonfires. One of the team placed wood in an elaborate tower. When it was lit, the dry sticks burnt until high flames ignited the thicker logs which would burn way into the night. A bit of wood was added regularly to feed the fire so that it would burn for a long time.
These bonfire evenings came back to mind when reflecting on our motto towards the golden jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 2017: After “Fire Starters” (2012-13) and “Fanning the Flame” (2014-15) we now begin the year 2016 with “Spreading the Fire.”
It is relatively easy to start a fire or to be ignited by a fire. To keep a fire burning for a long time, through all of life’s tempests and adversities, is a rather difficult task. It takes stamina and perseverance.
I think the fire that was entrusted to us as a Charismatic Renewal resembles the bonfires of my youth: a fire was entrusted to us: the experience of the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives, in our Church, in our time. This fire should now burn in us, should become big and strong. There are three questions we need to ask ourselves:
How can we let this fire take hold of us (anew)? Over the last few years, we have really focused on this question. It is about experiencing the action of the Holy Spirit afresh every day. It is about living in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit and using the charisms both in our daily lives and in special situations are the foundation. These experiences resemble the lighting up of the fire: Enthusiasm springs forth, flames spread in no time, the fire burns brightly and can be seen from afar.
How can we keep the fire burning for a long time? A fire needs to be fed; you constantly need to add logs or the fire will die down. The same is true for our relationship to God. It is not enough to know about baptism in the Holy Spirit or to have experienced it way back. We constantly need to focus on God, seeking His pres¬ence. We need to let Him fill us and take hold of us over and again.
This is the only way to safeguard that the fire is not just a flash in the pan. This is how our personal life can withstand the tempests and adversities of life and we do not remain in the initial excitement or even lose it but grow in depth and matu¬rity. A continuous encounter with the Lord, constantly being filled with the Holy Spirit and an intimate prayer life, is what it takes to not only ignite the fire but keep it burning for a long time.
Finally, the third and last question: For whom is this fire supposed to burn? Has God entrusted us with the fire so that we feel good, enjoying a cosy life in our prayer groups? Of course not! Sure, the Spirit of God should take hold of our personal lives penetrating us with his power, joy and peace day by day. But this is not the end of the task, but the beginning. We are called to share and pass on this fire. We share in the mission of Jesus to set captives free, to open the eyes of the blind, to let the oppressed go free and bring the Good News to the poor of this world (see Lk 4:18-19). We live in a world that cries out for God’s love. To pass on the good news is truly necessary. But how can it be done concretely, and above all effectively?
I think we first need to answer the question: Have we started to keep the fire to ourselves? If this is the case, we need to repent and refocus. Then it is important to serve and above all live where God has placed us. This is where we are to be living testimonies to the world. Many have gotten used to withdrawing to a pious corner and renounce the world. I believe this is not what God wants. He has called us into this world to live there as His witnesses. There we can pass on what we have received through relationships and by serving our neighbour.
At the start of this new phase towards our jubilee 2017 I want to encourage you today to keep the fire burning that God has placed in your life. This is best done by a regular prayer life and a deep relationship to the Lord. Only then will we succeed on the long to keep the fire burning that God has placed in us. And only then will we succeed in passing on this fire to others.
International leadership training scheduled in Rome this summer
The seventh Leadership Formation Institute sponsored by International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services will be held Aug. 28-Sept. 17 in Rome.
Registration is currently open for the three-week event, which will offer classes, workshops and practical teaching on Scripture, ecclesiology, pneumatology, mariology, kerygma, leadership and ministry. Field trips in Rome are also scheduled.
The cost is 1,850 Euros per person, which includes course fees, accommodations (double occupancy), local transportation, entrance fees to sites visited, and transport to and from the airport. Single occupancy is available for an additional 250 Euros.
“The purpose of the course is to encourage and strengthen current service leaders in the Renewal, as well as to help develop future service leaders for ministry within the Church and the Renewal,” says an email from ICCRS headquarters.
Those attending must submit a letter of recommendation from their national service community or leaders of their own community and a letter of recommendation from their parish priest or spiritual director, plus one passport photo, a photocopy of the photo page of their passport, and a brief curriculum vitae with evidence of a leadership background.
The course, normally held every second year, is being held a year early because 2017 will be devoted to celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the renewal.
More information is available at
Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C.
Flo Reid (Nelson diocese), chair
826-14th St. South, Cranbrook, BC V1C 1X9
phone 250-426-7570 fmreid45@gm ail.com
Fr. John Brioux, spiritual adviser, 604-984-6709
Lennie David, Vancouver archdiocese 604-594-7296
Richard Dunstan, Victoria diocese, newsletter editor 250-477-4700
Alex Lim, Vancouver archdiocese, 604-435-9134
David MacIntyre, Victoria diocese, 250-383-9955
Flo (chair) and Jim Reid, Nelson diocese 250-426-7570
Jocelyn Rochard, Vancouver archdiocese 604-469-0713
Lindael Rolstone, Kamloops diocese, secretary
CCRS of BC newsletter
published spring and fall
editor Richard Dunstan
308-225 Belleville St.
Victoria BC V8V 4T9
Fall Newsletter 2014
Are we listening?
Pope Francis lays out challenges to charismatics
By FLO REID chair Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C. My heart has been profoundly stirred by the recent writings and addresses of Pope Francis: the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel, and his address to the participants of the 37th National Convention of Renewal in the Holy Spirit held in Rome June 1-2 of this year. As I began reading Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel, my thirst for more increased with each page I read! This was the most encouraging exhortation I had read in some time. All the same, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that, as well, it was the most significant challenge to me spiritually. It caused me to re-examine my own life in light of the Holy Father’s call to a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ, one that would propel me forward with a joy constantly born anew. This was not a warm, fuzzy, feel-good read. It was a challenge to get moving! As I read along I found the work full of action words: embark upon, live life on a higher plane, this mission, an act of evangelization… to name but a few. Along with Pope Francis’ words came an awesome sense that no action would ever bear fruit in the way in which it was intended – save and except for the action of the Spirit of God within. The joy which Pope Francis speaks of is that which comes from our encounter with Jesus and the working of the Holy Spirit within us. I have only scratched the surface of this incredible work, and I am being drawn back to it for further prayer and study. I keep asking myself: “Am I really listening to what Pope Francis is saying? Am I willing to rise to the challenges he is putting before me? What will this challenge look like in my own life? How will I respond to others differently because of answering the call to holiness? How willing am I to live a life that brings life to others?” I had a similar experience when reading the Holy Father’s address to the participants of the 37th National Convention of Renewal in the Holy Spirit held in Rome early in June (click to see full text). My spirit was again quickened by the expectations Pope Francis has for us charismatics. While my intent in writing this is not to explore fully each of the tasks set before us by Pope Francis, I believe we cannot simply set them aside without further deep and sincere, prayerful reflection. In our reflections as individuals and/or as prayer groups we might wish to explore these questions:
- How converted to the love of Jesus am I? How does that relationship affect my other relationships?
- How effective am I in being a witness of the love of God? Does the Holy Spirit guide me and draw me closer in holiness?
- How well do I share with all, in the Church, the grace of baptism in the Holy Spirit?
- How well do I proclaim that Jesus is alive and loves all people?
- How do I give witness of spiritual ecumenism? What does ecumenism mean? What does this look like? What concrete actions are we to undertake to make this a living reality? What are the implications for our prayer groups?
- How close am I to the poor, the needy and the marginalized? What would “touching in their flesh the wounded flesh of Jesus” look like? What actions am I being called forward to engage in?
- What must I do to be truly in unity with others in renewal?
- Are all my actions based on the foundation of the renewal, the adoration of God?
In pursuing these questions it is essential to begin with self-examination. But let’s not stop there. Let’s have these same discussions at all levels: our core groups, prayer groups, diocesan core groups. I am confident that the Spirit of God will give us insights as we trust his leading and will give us the grace to accomplish what he is asking of us. For the full text of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel, see the Vatican website: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium.html
OUR LADY OF PENTECOST, KELOWNA
Beyond baptism: living like Jesus As baptized Christians, we are sisters and brothers of Jesus. It’s an enormous honour—but only if we remember that Jesus’ power came from the cross, and commit ourselves to follow him there. It’s not a path for the timid, Father Pierre Ducharme told Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in Kelowna last month. We need to become as small, tender and human as Jesus did, totally dependent on God. “Can I not be afraid to be transformed, to be molded into the likeness and image of a Lord who is small, but who has the power and will to turn things upside down?” Father Ducharme asked the congregation. “A God who prefers the poor and the weak to the powerful and the rich?” Father Ducharme, a Franciscan friar, is guardian of St. Francis Friary in Edmonton and post-novitiate director for the Franciscans of Western Canada and gives preaching missions and retreats. He gave six of the eight talks at this year’s summer institute, held at St. Charles Garnier parish and Seton House of Prayer in Kelowna. The other two talks were given by Sylvester Obiora Ibekwe, a seminarian currently studying in Edmonton for the Nelson diocesan priesthood. (For his talks, see below). The summer institute, held this year for the sixth time, is sponsored by Nelson Diocese Charismatic Renewal Service Committee and endorsed by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C. A total of 47 attended, including 32 full-time. In his first talk, Fr. Ducharme said baptism is the “gateway sacrament” to service in the church. “The primary call is that of baptism, and we’re all in that together. It is out of that call that flow all the other callings.” Like marriage, baptism is not for a day but for a lifetime. “Just as in the incarnation, God becomes one of us, we become one with God in baptism,” he said. But “the act of being baptized is but the start of something.” God “pushes us out the doors” for service to those in need. “I have a personal relationship to God, but not an exclusive one.” Father Ducharme’s baptismal name is Jean-Pierre, but he said in his second talk he goes by “Pierre” because he identifies with Peter, the “rock” with many imperfections. A rock is solid, stable, and maybe a little cold, he said, but in the gospels Peter doesn’t fit any of that. “He is called the rock because God is faithful, because Jesus has determined he is the rock. It isn’t anything he deserves.” He’s a beautiful example of a humble disciple who knows how much he needs God, and is not deceived into thinking that God needs him.” Father Ducharme himself was the ninth of 11 children in a loving family, and sought his sense of identity in answering a call to the Franciscan order. “I like you have been called by name. Called within myself, but also out of myself, into service.” In his third talk Father Ducharme told how Jesus, to use a phrase coined by Pope Francis, has “flipped the tortilla” by transforming worldly power relationships He gains all his power from love, not force. Even God, Father Ducharme said, can only get us to love him by loving us, and on the cross Jesus made that love clear. “Jesus loves, and by so doing he flips the tortilla. “We do the same as God does to us: by showing mercy we transform others. We flip the tortilla. We turn the world upside down.” The fourth talk was focused on the career of St. Francis. Father Ducharme noted that unlike Jesus, St. Francis never told his followers to imitate him. Rather, each of us must follow Jesus as he or she is called. We’re called, like St. Francis, to be Jesus to the world, but each in our own way. We are compelled to let the word becomes flesh among us, to incarnate the spirit of God.” “We’re for the world,” he said. “We’re there to lift it up.” “It’s not our job to do the saving. It’s our job to let people know they are saved.” In his fifth talk, Father Ducharme told the congregation Christians are called to the “peripheries”—to the poor, outsiders, the marginalized. God himself set the precedent at the annunciation by the Angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary. “For me there’s no better example of the determination of God to go to the peripheries than to go to this young, unmarried woman from Nazareth and show her favour,” he said. “God’s choice of Mary to be the means of salvation, the conduit through which salvation arrives and is present to us eternally also suggests that we as the church, Mary as the church, resides on the periphery itself, and in the poor. She’s the epitome of the poor.” We, too, must go to the peripheries. “We as the hands and feet of Jesus here in the world, are not here to push people away. We are not here to reject. We’re not here to say no. We’re here to say yes, come, you are welcome. We can find a way to work this out.” “Nobody’s too far from God.” Father Ducharme’s final talk was an examination of Pope Francis’ 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel. He led the congregation through a series of key words fom the document, including: Encounter. “In this charismatic movement, encounter is a big word. We don’t have a relationship with God unless we have an encounter with God in whatever that looks like, an encounter that touches the heart and moves us.” Inclusion—“there is no partiality in God. No one is excluded. All are called by God, all are one.” Love—“We can’t forget that God loved us first, and everything we do in that regard is a response to the fact that God loved us first. It is God who initiated this relationship, it is God who carries it forward. We are like Mary at best. We respond.” Next year’s Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute will be held Aug. 9 to 14. Further details will be announced at a later date. —Richard Dunstan
Faith and the future of humanity
By SYLVESTER OBIORA IBEKWE What is the future of humanity? Does humanity even have any future? If humanity does have any future, in what does this future lie? In what does the future of humanity consist? Does faith – the Christian faith – have any role to play in the future of humanity? If the Christian faith has any role to play, what is that role? What is the essence of the Christian faith that ushers us into the future, if at all there is any future? What kind of women and men do we need as we launch into the future? Contrary to the views of some of the atheistic existential philosophers that life is meaningless, absurd, pointless and without future, human life is meaningful, purposeful, joyful, and surely has a future. The human person cannot live without a future. And it is hope in the future that gives meaning to the present. Furthermore, the human person longs for a future in which he himself will be included. And it is precisely when the human person possesses an eternal future, which determines the present that this present truly acquires a significance. To make a journey into the future which gives the present its significance, a fundamental “yes” of trust needs to be made to the One who holds our yesterday, today and tomorrow in His hands – the eternal One – who is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is only through this fundamental “yes” that the human person can launch into the future even when the details of this future are not known. The fundamental “yes” is faith in the One who alone gives life out of death and calls into being what does not exist. It is faith in this God that made Abraham, four thousand years ago, to leave his land and journey into an unknown future. This future was not known, but Abraham believed strongly in the One who has invited him to make that journey. He gave up the present for the sake of what was to come. He let go of what was safe, comprehensible, calculable, for the sake of what was unknown. And he did this in response to a single word from God. He had met God and placed all his future in God’s hands, he dared to accept a new future that began in darkness. The word he had heard was more real to him than all the calculable things he could hold in his hand. He trusted in that which he could not yet see and thus became capable of a new life. The centre of gravity of reality, indeed, the concept of reality itself, changed. The future took precedence over the present. God had become more important to him than he himself and than the things he could understand. Imprisonment within the calculable and among the goods with which a man surrounds himself was broken, and a new, limitless horizon opened up: a horizon toward the Eternal. The future we are talking about includes but not limited to the eternal future of the human person. By “future,” we also refer to the day after today, the week after this week, the month after this month. How can we journey from today to tomorrow when the road is not always clear? To journey alone to a place where we have not been before, we need not journey alone; we need a certain kind of men and women to lead us on this journey. We need men and women who have imbibed an attitude – the attitude of faith – and lived it to its logical conclusion. These men and women were/are well aware that only the attitude of faith gives life its weights and measures, its ordinances, and its very freedom. They embraced this attitude and gave themselves in service to humanity. And only the person who gives himself or herself creates the future. And so, only men and women who are ready to give themselves, to serve and not to be served, only by and in such men and women can the future of the world and the Church be created.
Christianity: A religion or a way of life?
By SYLVESTER OBIORA IBEKWE Christianity is a way of life. Yes, Christianity is a way of life but it is not only that; it is also a religion. Therefore, it is not either-or, but both. However, it is fundamentally a way of life. Christianity is a way of life that is deeply rooted in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. This way of life begins when we encounter the Lord, or more correctly, when we allow the Lord to encounter us. In this encounter, we experience something of God’s mercy and forgiveness that totally changes our lives, and like Mary Magdalene, we fall in love with Christ whose mercy has brought us new life. The personal encounter with Jesus in faith allows our lives to be flooded and transformed by the Holy Spirit. This gives a new perspective and sheds new light on other aspects of life (Bishop John Corriveau, Mountain Star, December 2014). The touch of mercy we received from the Lord and the new life we experience is so heartfelt that we are constantly seeking, searching, longing and yearning for more like the deer that yearns for running stream (Psalm 42:1). As we seek and yearn for the Lord, we encounter Him more and more, and intimacy develops. In this intimacy, we fall in love in an absolute and final way in such a way that the joys of God and His sorrows become ours, too. Things that bring Him joy also bring us joy and the things that break His heart also break our heart. God’s brokenness becomes ours. In this intimacy, we no longer seek God only in glorious things but also in things that are not so glorious – in suffering, in pain, and in loss. We draw near to God as we draw near to our suffering brothers and sisters and touch their wounds. In touching their wounds, we also touch the wounds of God. In touching the wounds of our brothers and sisters, we are also encountering God, no longer in His glory, but in the brokenness of the human condition. This was the story of St. Francis when he encountered Christ in the leper. Since our encounter with the Lord changes our lives completely, we do not hold the beauty or ‘non-beauty’ of this encounter to ourselves, rather we are constantly moving on to share this encounter with others as we proclaim that “The Lord is risen.” In proclaiming that the Lord is risen, we discover that we are never alone. There are those who have also encountered the Lord and together we gather in faith, hope and love and confess that He is Lord, He is risen, and He dwells among us. This is where religion (from the Latin word religare, which means to bind oneself) comes in. In religion, we gather as one people with a firm recognition that nobody is alone; rather, we are bound together to the One whom we have encountered, and who has given meaning and purpose to our lives. And together, we raise our hearts and minds to Him in worship as we partake of the Eucharist from one cup and one chalice. The worship – the Eucharistic meal – is never ended in the Church, but is continued as we leave the place of worship and go back to our homes, families, and places of work and give ourselves in service to others just as Christ has given Himself to us in the Eucharist.
Perera to lead Vancouver retreat
Awaken My Spirit, O Lord, a retreat led by Lalith Perera, will be held Oct. 22-26 in three Vancouver-area churches. The event is sponsored by the Community of the Risen Lord. The retreat begins Oct. 22, a Wednesday, at 6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph the Worker parish in Richmond, ending at approximately 9:30. Thursday’s session will be at St. Stephen’s in North Vancouver, and Friday’s at St. Mary’s in Vancouver, both 6:30 to about 9:30. Saturday’s session will run 10 a.m. to about 4 p.m. at St. Mary’s. All sessions Wednesday through Saturday will be in English. Sunday’s program will be in Sinhala and Tamil, from 10 to about 4 at St. Mary’s. All are welcome. For more information, or to register, call Ashanti, 604-526-9910; Roy, 604-525-2769; Thilina and Deepthi, 604-936-6024; or Cecilia, 778-688-4752. Perera is head of the Community of the Risen Lord, a Catholic charismatic community based in Sri Lanka and operating a worldwide ministry, in person and electronically. He was featured speaker at the annual Vancouver archdiocesan charismatic conference in 2011.
Nelson leaders schedule growth seminar
By GLADYS MILLER chair, Nelson Diocesan Charismatic Renewal Service Committee Nelson diocesan leaders’ retreat will change its focus this year in response to requests that came from a self-assessment questionnaire circulated to all prayer groups in the diocese, collected, compiled and reviewed by the diocesan core. This process has been in progress and being responded to over the last two years. In place of the usual three-day retreat, those attending Seton House of Prayer Oct. 3-6 for the leaders’ gathering will experience a four-day growth seminar based primarily on the book There’s Always More: Expecting New Fire, by Sr. Nancy Kellar SC. The gathering, as always, will begin with the annual business meeting Friday afternoon, followed by a devotional in the evening. Each day, Saturday through Monday morning, will begin with Mass and see a total of nine presentations addressing the three main topics: More Love, More Power and More Wisdom. Over the years the gathering has been called “leaders’ retreat,” and while all charismatic prayer group leaders in the diocese are expected to participate, everyone is welcome. Seton House accommodates 30 people sharing. Some billeting will be available, and if necessary, preference will be given to active prayer group people.
PROPHECY ON YOUR KNEES
Get your prayer list from God
By CYRIL JOHN vice-president International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services There were two masons at work. Someone approached the first mason and enquired as to what he was doing. The mason replied, “I am placing one brick upon another.” The visitor then repeated the question to the second mason and he said, “I am building a cathedral.” The first mason could not relate what he was doing to the entire project of building a cathedral. The second mason had a clear vision, for he saw his contribution in relation to the entire project. He always had in mind the project drawn up by the chief architect for the cathedral. The same could happen to our intercession. We could continue to say prayers that do not go beyond our head or beyond the room we are in. We could be intercessors who might remain in the dark about what the Lord wants to accomplish through intercession. We need to pray specifically to receive specific answers. We should link our intercession closely to God’s overall plan for the world, the Church, and the people of God. To be specific, we need to be prophetic in our intercession. Proverbs 29:18 says that where people do not have a prophetic vision, “the people become demoralized” or will “perish.” Without prophetic vision people drift away, even in prayer. I have found that, frequently, intercessory groups drift aimlessly without knowing for what they should pray and how to pray. We may begin praying according to our own understanding in the initial stages of intercession. At the same time, we need to grow to a deeper level of intercession as we progress. This is what someone who grew up in intercession shared about the initial experience: “I really thought that I was an intercessor then. I took a notebook and began to write down, systematically, a list of the things I wanted the Lord to answer. It had the date of the request, what the request was, then another place for the date when the Lord answered. To me this was intercession. I could not have been more wrong. I was very diligent in prayer, but oh so misdirected in that diligence.” The scope and efficacy of prayer gets restricted when our own understanding guides it. Fidelity to God’s will is a necessary condition for God to answer our prayers. “You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly…” (James 4:3). The attitude of the intercessor should be, “Here I am…how I love to do your will, my God.” (Ps 40:7-8) So many people think that intercession is taking a whole list of requests to the Lord for answer. In intercession, we need to keep our eyes fixed on what is moving in the heart of God. “The Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” (Am 3:7) In fact, every time a situation that warrants prayer arises, the Lord searches for partners: “Thus I have searched among them for someone who could build a wall or stand in the breach before me to keep me from destroying the land.” (Ezk 22:30) The intercessor becomes the trusted aide, the lieutenant of God. We generally think of a prophet as the one who speaks to people on behalf of God. However, the Biblical concept of the prophet is wider. The first action by Abraham was not connected with “prophesying,” but interceding for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah under the judgement of God after the Lord spoke to him. (Genesis 18:16-33) It shows that an important role of the prophet is to make intercession for the people. Intercession identifies with the needs and burdens of the people, whereas prophetic intercession identifies with the burdens of the Lord. Prophetic intercession is not coming to the Lord with a prayer list, but coming to the Lord to get a prayer list. In prophetic intercession, we become like the chisel. By itself, the chisel could do nothing, but when the sculptor takes it and uses it left and right, giving it the right direction, the chisel is able to bring out a masterpiece. So is prophecy on our knees! —ICCRS Newsletter, May-June
|April 24-25||Nelson Diocesan Conference||Kelowna|
|with John Connelly and Fr. Jack Michalchuk||St. Charles Garnier parish|
|contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589|
|9 a.m.-4 p.m.||Joy of the Gospel, with Peter Thompson||Sacred Heart parish|
|9:30 a.m.||Fr. Bart van Roijen, celebrant||Holy Trinity church|
|contact Therese Colquhon 250-367-6268|
|May 22-23||Life in the Spirit Seminar||Penticton|
|contact Bernadette Barry 250-809-2524||St. John Vianney church|
|10 a.m.-||with potluck lunch||St. Matthew’s parish|
|1 p.m.||contact firstname.lastname@example.org 604-597-8227|
|2-4:30p.m.||praise, worship, teaching, fellowship, food||Sacred Heart parish|
|contact David MacIntyre email@example.com 250-383-9955|
|June 5-6||Life in the Spirit Seminar||Kimberley|
|contact Maureen Watson 250-427-5836||Sacred Heart Church|
|June 6 – July 22||Life in the Spirit Seminar||Vancouver|
|seven Wednesdays||Holy Rosary Cathedral|
|contact Lennie David firstname.lastname@example.org 604-597-8227|
|Aug. 9-14||Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute (see Page 3)||Kelowna|
|Fr. Bernie Black, featured speaker||Seton House|
|contact Maria McManus, 250-707-1423|
|Sept. 18-19||Vancouver archdiocesan conference||Surrey|
|Bob Canton and Fr. Jerry Thompson||Chandos Pattison auditorium|
|contact email@example.com 604-597-8227|
To include your Life in the Spirit Seminar, prayer breakfast, Healing Mass, or other charismatic event in this listing, email firstname.lastname@example.org