BC Charismatic Spring 2020

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BC Charismatic Fall 2020

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BC Charismatic Fall 2019

Welcome to the fall 2019 Edition of the BC Charismatic.

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Jean-Luc Moens Moderator of CHARIS Invitation

Dear Charismatic Catholic,

One of the reasons why Pope Francis called for the creation of CHARIS, the new one service for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, was his desire that the whole Church come to experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He has always expressed very clearly this desire for a new Pentecost for the Church and the world, recently once more at the end of the mass for World Youth Day in Panama.

In order to prepare for this new Pentecost, CHARIS is launching a big prayer campaign from the beginning of March. This campaign is simple and accessible to everyone. Each month (March, April, May) an address will be given by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Ecclesiastical Assistant to CHARIS, who will prepare us to open our hearts for a new outpouring of the Spirit.

Here is the link with the first teaching of this campaign: https://goo.gl/CXmNSC

Please spread the word about this initiative to those around you, in your prayer groups, your communities, your schools of evangelization… Be faithful in prayer so that the next Pentecost really does mark the start of a renewal of the whole Church in the Holy Spirit.

Jean-Luc Moens
Moderator of CHARIS

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Father Peter Coughlin – A Call to Love

The Lord is Present

God is everywhere. God is present, living in you and me. When I was born I owed God “thanks” for the gift of life. When I was baptized I owed God ‘love” because he made me his child by adoption, filling me with his love and making me an heir to the kingdom of heaven.

               The Lord calls each of us to serve him through a particular calling in a vocation tailored to our particular talents and gifts and our spirituality. Our call may be to marriage or the single state of life, to holy orders or the consecrated life. We follow our particular calling or vocation through love, loving God with the totality of our being and sharing that love with all those entrusted to our care and those who in any way are part of our daily life.

Living within me is the presence of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit who guides me and leads me on the journey through life. The love of the Lord fills me and works through me to draw people to come to know and love the Lord. God is not at a distance.  He is very near, in my heart, my mind, on my lips. With St. Paul we are continually moving from glory to glory because Christ lives in us.  He never leaves us, never stops loving us. He is constant, his love never fails, is always seeking intimacy with us.  The more room we make for the Lord in our life the more aware we become of his presence with us, within us.

               Our vocational call is built on love and the more the love increases the stronger the call and the Lord’s presence within.  People don’t fall in and out of love. They can stop loving but the Lord never stops loving, no matter how far we turn away from him. The Lord is always ready to forgive when we repent, ready to restore us to his favour and to lead us closer and closer in the love he has for us.

               Really, the vocational call each of us have, even though it may be different from one another, is the call to love, to be great lovers who spend time with the Lord, communicating intimately with him. This is our first priority- to love and worship the Lord- to listen to him- serve him in our brothers and sisters- to produce the fruits of love- peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, joy, all the good fruit of the Spirit.

Published with permission:

The Bread of Life

May/June 2018

ISSN No. 0821-168X. All Rights Reserved. 

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Fall Newsletter 2018

B.C. Charismatic

Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B. C. Newsletter                                                        Fall 2018

Intercessory prayer:

Without it, nothing else you do for God will work



We’re all set up for our next charismatic conference. We have our speaker, our music ministry, our word gift team, our healing teams, our master of ceremonies.

Oh, you don’t have a job yet? You can help out with intercessory prayer for the conference.

That, says Cyril John, is a widespread attitude, and it’s totally backward. Intercession isn’t an afterthought—it’s our top priority; neither that conference nor any other ministry will succeed without it. And it isn’t for leftover volunteers, either, or even for specialists. Every Christian is called to intercessory prayer.

“People tend to believe that intercession is the least important, or is meant for people who are good for nothing [else],” he said. “St. Paul says intercession is the first priority. Whatever our ministry, we are all called to be an intercessor.”

John, former vice-president of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, was featured speaker Aug. 12-17 at Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit in Kelowna. He is also a former president of the national charismatic service committee of India and author of Pray Lifting Up Holy Hands, a guide to intercession. The Gathering in the Spirit, celebrating its 10th year, drew more than 60 people from across B.C. and as far away as Ontario to St. Charles Garnier Church and St. Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer.

John compared intercessory prayer to the handle of an umbrella. The spokes are other ministries—preaching, teaching, leadership, social outreach, and whatever else Christians should be doing for the sake of the kingdom of God. But all those ministries are God’s work, not ours, he said, and need God’s power and anointing to succeed. So we can no more carry them out without intercession than we can use an umbrella without a handle. Intercession holds every other ministry up.

“The stem of the Church, just as that of the umbrella, is intercession. These ministries will flourish if there is intercession.”

John called 1 Timothy 2:1-4 the “Magna Carta of intercession.” “First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and all in authority, that we might live a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our saviour, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” The passage says intercession is “first of all,” he noted, and if we don’t live quiet and tranquil lives, it’s because we haven’t prayed enough.

More importantly, God’s desire for “everyone to be saved” hasn’t been accomplished yet, and God wants all of us to be His partners in this through intercessory prayer. John noted that the two patron saints of missionaries are St. Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit evangelist who travelled from Europe to the East Indies and Japan, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who died at age 24 without ever leaving her convent in France—but who spent her time praying for the missions.

Another great intercessor, he said, was St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, who was extremely poorly qualified for the priesthood and almost missed out on ordination. He was finally ordained, with some reluctance from church authorities, because he was known to be extremely prayerful; and his first pastorate was a parish that had been shut down. But his piety drew flocks of people, and Satan accused him in a vision of rescuing 80,000 souls from his clutches.

Intercessors, John said, are channels of grace, and to be usable vessels, we must be clean and holy. A little farther on, verse 8 of 1 Timothy 2 says “It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands.” We must be people of love, for the Lord and for other people, and must avoid sin, for “the face of the LORD is against those who do evil” (Psalm 34:16).

John devoted two of his eight talks to listing 12 rules of intercession, a rearrangement of material compressed into 10 rules in Pray Lifting Up Holy Hands. He said that these rules are not to be taken as absolute, like the 10 Commandments, but that they do apply in most cases.

  1. Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the principal agent of intercession, and only the Spirit fully understands the situation we are praying about.
  2. Pray according to God’s will. 1 John 5:14 promises God will give us anything we ask in His will; praying outside His will doesn’t work.
  3. Pray with vision. Jesus says to the disciples in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:41) “watch and pray.” We need to be aware of what is going on around us, in the world and in the news.
  4. Pray with faith. That may sound obvious, but in practice we usually pray without faith. It is the faith of the intercessors that matters, rather than the faith of the person prayed for.
  5. Pray with love. Intercession is an act of love for which we should be willing to make sacrifices, such as leisure time. St. Teresa of Ávila said people of much love pray much.
  6. Pray with compassion. We should actually feel the distress or need of those for whom we pray.
  7. Pray identifying with the people prayed for. This is a step further than rule 6—actually living our prayer, making ourselves part of the need, as Moses did for the sinful Israelites and St. Paul did for both Jews and Gentiles he was trying to convert.
  8. Pray with unity—“with one accord” like the early Church (Acts 1:14, 4:24). The devil loves to create division, and prayers are ineffective when not united.
  9. Pray with spiritual burden. John compared the sense of commitment and urgency to exam time at university, or to pregnancy. We must be ready to pray for years if that is what the burden requires.
  10. Intercede thanking and praising the Lord. 1 Thess. 5:17, “pray without ceasing,” is followed by verse 18, “in all circumstances give thanks.”
  11. Pursue all three dimensions of intercession: vocal prayer; offerings (Mass attendance, fasting and abstinence, personal suffering); and prayer actions, like going to sites like accident-prone intersections or suicide-plagued neighbourhoods to pray.
  12. Take a persistent stand in intercession. Intercession is different from petition, in which we pray once or a few times, for ourselves or others, and forget about it. In intercession we pray as long as necessary—for example, 70 years of prayer for the conversion of Russia. We are to pray like the bothersome neighbour in Luke 11:5-8, who hammers on his friend’s door, demanding three loaves of bread. Verse 8 is usually translated as saying the friend will finally get up and provide the bread because of the neighbour’s “persistence,” but John said the Greek word implies “importunity” or even “shamelessness.”

John also devoted one talk and three workshop sessions to prophetic intercession—intercessory prayer guided by God, through the use of prophetic gifts, rather than by ourselves.

For the exercise, the congregation broke up into groups. First, they were to take a few minutes to empty themselves of preconceptions and open themselves to the Lord; then seek God’s plan, praying briefly in tongues, listening in silence, and sharing individual words from God with the group, which prayed and settled on one intention. They would then ask God for a prayer strategy—for example, praying the Divine Mercy chaplet; then, carry out the prayer; listen to God for further prophetic words; and finally give thanks. The groups prayed for a variety of intentions; one group felt led to pray for an orphanage in Cambodia, facing an unspecified threat. After the prayer, the group received a prophetic word that the threat was dispelled.

John also said intercessory prayer is a form of spiritual warfare, and so we need to wear the “armour of God” listed in Ephesians 5:10-17. He said St. Paul’s list is powerful but not intended to be exhaustive, and we should use other available pieces of armour and spiritual weapons, such as praise, trust in God’s faithfulness, and Catholic prayers such as the Our Father, Hail Mary, rosary, Divine Mercy chaplet, creed, and prayer to St. Michael. He said in any major spiritual battle, spiritual warfare should be a group activity—we should not go it alone.

Finally, he said intercession should be a way of life—“the blood that flows through your veins”—and we should offer everything in our lives except our sins as intercession. This especially includes offering our sufferings for the salvation of souls. He said everyone, even the happiest and most blessed people, have some suffering they can offer. Those more seriously afflicted should pray for healing, but in the meantime offer up the suffering. “Suffering is the greatest source of untapped spiritual energy,” he said.

Where two or more are gathered…


On Jan. 19, the Living in the Spirit Prayer Group in Summerland hosted an evening of adoration, benediction and praise and worship. Roy McIntyre, prayer group leader, played guitar and led the singing.

Fr. Ben Buelo, pastor of Holy Child Church, giving a talk on the Eucharist, said that as a young child, he so loved the sacrament that he was inspired to imitate the priest in saying the Mass to his playmates, using bread from his mother’s kitchen as the host.

Quoting scripture, Father gave us two reasons as to why our Lord honoured us with the Eucharist: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20); and “…I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”(John 10:10)

Sometimes what’s missing from people’s efforts to teach us about the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus, is the dimension of God’s great love for us.

It was love for this sacrament that led Father Ben to pursue the priesthood. The Eucharist makes Jesus present to us and makes us present to Jesus. God shows his great love for us through the atoning sacrifice of his son, Jesus.

After his talk, Father Ben was available to hear confessions; prayer teams were also available for those desiring prayers for healing.

Participants came from Penticton, West Kelowna, Kelowna and Summerland; they were enriched by attending. Thank you Father Ben and Living in the Spirit Prayer Group for making this evening possible.


Msgr. Peter Coughlin of Bread of Life dies at 76

Monsignor Peter Coughlin, one of the best-known figures in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Canada, died Aug. 25 in Burlington, Ont. He was 76.

Msgr. Coughlin was long-time chair of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of Canada and founder and editor-in-chief of The Bread of Life magazine. He was named monsignor and papal chaplain by Pope Francis in December 2017.

He had retired from parish ministry and from the chairmanship of the national committee in 2014 due to ill health, but remained as editor-in-chief of The Bread of Life and as adviser to the committee, and served as resident chaplain for the Sisters of St. Joseph at their motherhouse in Dundas, Ont. On the afternoon of Aug. 25, he suffered a heart attack on the way home from his three-times-a-week dialysis. He died in Joseph Brant Hospital shortly after 11 p.m.

Born Oct. 11, 1941, in Hamilton, Ont., Msgr. Coughlin was the oldest of five children. His father died when he was a child, and he kept busy with family responsibilities and as an altar boy.

He was June 3, 1967, in the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King in Hamilton, and over the half-century of his priesthood served nine parishes in the Hamilton diocese, most recently St. Andrew’s in Oakville. He also served as a missionary in Mexico and at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ottawa.

He was baptized in the Holy Spirit at a prayer meeting in 1971, and began healing ministry in 1972 on a visit to Peru, when a travelling companion injured his knee badly and asked him to pray over it. “The knee started moving under my hand,” he said later. Father Coughlin was doubtful at first, but his companion “took off the bandage and danced the rest of the night,” and the two spent the next three weeks praying for people in Peru, with many healings. He continued the healing ministry in Canada.

The Bread of Life began publication in November 1977. “The magazine came about as the prayer group leadership team was praying at one of our meetings,” said Brian Bolt, now president of the board of directors. “A word of knowledge came forth from one person to start a publication proclaiming the work of the Spirit, and the name Bread of Life came from another. We had no experience in creating, printing and distributing such a document but we trusted in the Lord and very slowly the doors started to open.”

Msgr. Coughlin was a well-travelled charismatic speaker in Canada and internationally. He conducted a series of healing Masses in B.C. communities in 1997, and was speaker at the annual Vancouver conference in 2004; he often taught those attending how to pray for healing and exercise word gifts. He awrote or edited a variety of books on the charismatic renewal, including Understanding the Charismatic Gifts and He’s Alive!, all through The Bread of Life.

He earned a master’s degree in Christian spirituality at Creighton University in Nebraska in 1999, and a doctorate of ministry from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Iowa in 2003.

“To me Father Peter was a gentle man, a true man of God, with a heart for the renewal and for encouraging us all to continue to growth in the Spirit despite our circumstances,” said Flo Reid, chair of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC, who served with Msgr. Coughlin on the national committee. “His whole life embodied the working of the Spirit to its fullest.”

His health had declined in recent years, due to muscular dystrophy and heart and kidney problems.

A funeral Mass was celebrated Aug. 31 at the cathedral in Hamilton, with four bishops and 65 priests present. He is survived by his four younger siblings and his nephews and nieces. Memorial donations may be made to The Bread of Life, PO Box 127, Burlington, ON L7R 3X8              — Richard Dunstan


Former BC chair

Marlene Sarich dies

   Marlene Sarich, 80, former chair of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC and founder of BC Charismatic newsletter, died April 29 in Victoria.

Born Jan. 19, 1938 in Prince Rupert and raised in Terrace, Sarich said in her testimony in He’s Alive! (2000) that she grew up in a non-churchgoing family but had a sense of God’s presence as a young child, and checked out several denominations as an adolescent. She was baptized into the United Church at age 14. Soon after she decided to go away to high school, and chose St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria for reasons of cost. She attended her own church on Sundays but was attracted by the Eucharist at the twice-weekly weekday Masses students at the academy were required to attend. She entered the Catholic Church in 1959, the same year she married her non-Catholic husband, John, a logging contractor.

Active in her parish from the beginning, she was baptized in the Holy Spirit at a prayer meeting during a visit to Vancouver in 1975. She was on the founding leadership team at Abba Prayer Group in Terrace and gave a talk at the first meeting. Later she was named Prince George West diocesan representative to Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC, then chair. Under her chairmanship the committee expanded its meetings, drew up a constitution, and started the newsletter, with herself as editor. She also served as secretary of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of Canada, the national service committee.

John died in 2004, and in 2010 she moved to a Victoria to be near her son and his family. She died in Royal Jubilee Hospital. She is survived by two sons, a daughter, and her younger brother.      Funeral Mass was celebrated May 8 at St. Joseph the Worker parish in Victoria.        –Richard Dunstan



(for Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit)

          What is the difference between petition and intercession? What should be our priority?

Petition is most often myself telling God what I want Him to do for me. In intercession, we are led and directed by the Holy Spirit on what to pray for and how to pray. I feel our priority should be on intercession.

Intercession is a gift of the Holy Spirit, praying in tongues, prophecy, words of wisdom, praying with lover for our fellow men and women. Led by the Holy Spirit, we will know and do God’s will on earth.

Intercession is praying for others. However, we ourselves and our near and dear ones have a lot of prayer needs. What would happen to those needs if we continue to focus on praying for others?

          What a question! We have our hope, our faith, the perfect love of our glorious God, His mercy for us. God knows our every need, knows our heart’s desires, our love for ourselves and those near and dear to us. With faith, trust and love of God, our needs will all be looked after. We must have love for our brothers and sisters in the world.

Our God will never abandon us. He promised to be with us from generation to generation. Thank you Father!

Scripture teaches us to “pray without ceasing.” How practical is this exhortation? How can we develop the habit of praying without ceasing?

Let us remember, let us not forget, Scripture is God’s holy word. It is up to us, our Christian duty, to make it practical! Hearing, reading God’s word is the beginning. To understand, we need to listen, to meditate. Praying without ceasing is a lifestyle.

Prayer is communication with God. Living a Christian life is prayer. Singing is, I am told, double prayer. Praise God always, for a beautiful day, a field of daisies, a child. Praise God for the gift of life. All these are praying.

We can begin our day with a prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to come to our aid, to show us how to pray. Pray in tongues. Love the people we are praying for.

In the evening, take a walk with Jesus. He loves to walk by the water. Speak to Him about your day, your concerns, your joys, your sufferings. Thank Him for His great love. Hear Him speak to you. Listen. Communicate with patience.

Take God’s love seriously—and gratefully


God loves us. What more could we ask?

Too many Christians take God’s love for granted and look for something else to go with it, says Father Dave Pivonka. They don’t understand that His overwhelming love covers everything.

“People say, ‘I know that God loves me. What’s next?’” he told this year’s Nelson diocesan Catholic charismatic conference. “The news is that there’s nothing next… we ought never to get tired of knowing we are loved.”

Father Pivonka, a Third Order Regular Franciscan based in Pittsburgh, is a writer, speaker, and pilgrimage leader who is also the author of the Wild Goose video series on the work of the Holy Spirit. The conference, titled United in Your Love, was held April 27-28 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in West Kelowna.

In his first of three talks, Father Pivonka combined the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15) with a harrowing story from his own life, when he was accidentally separated from a young nephew on the New York City subway; only after many terrifying wrong turns did he find the boy safe. But God is always searching for us with just that much commitment and concern, he said.

“We have a God who looks for us,” he said. “In most religions, humanity is looking for God. In Christianity, God is looking for us.”

For Christians, God is our Father, even our “Daddy” (the meaning of the biblical word “Abba”), a concept you won’t find in Islam, among other faiths. And He isn’t a casual father. There’s a reason why Paul writes in Romans 8:15 that we have received a spirit, not of sonship or daughtership, but of adoption. In the Roman Empire in New Testament times, any father could abandon any birth child at his whim, for any reason or no reason, but if he adopted a child, at any age, the relationship was forever; all debts the child owed were cancelled and the adoptee became a new person.

God will willingly do that for any of us, he said, and that literally means any. “God knows all about you, and He still chooses you.”

Our relationship with God is always personal. That’s a serious matter, because it means sin, too, is always personal. “It’s not like breaking a law,” Father Pivonka said. “I’ve broken the heart of God.” But there, too, God’s love triumphs. When the world convicts us of sin, that brings discouragement, but when Jesus convicts us of sin, it brings us joy.

In his second talk, Father Pivonka said the process of conversion is never complete. We must constantly be turning to God from wherever we are now.

He read the account from Mark 10 of the rich man who asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. The man says he has kept all the commandments since he was young, but walks away sadly when Jesus tells him he must sell all he has and give it to the poor.

“It’s a really sad story,” Father Pivonka said. “There are very few scriptures where people have such personal, intimate encounters with the Lord and then walk away from Him.”

He said the man missed the point. He hadn’t broken any of the commandments, but “in heaven, Jesus won’t ask us what we didn’t do. Heaven is full of sinners.” Rather, the question is what he needs to be freed from that is keeping him out of heaven.

“We need to ask ourselves, ‘what is that for me?’” It won’t necessarily be selling our possessions, but it will probably be something difficult. “What keeps you away from the Lord? What is it that He is asking of you that is difficult for you to let go of, that doesn’t allow you to be faithful to what the Lord is asking of us? Whatever that is, it’s almost always something that’s difficult.”

We need the Holy Spirit to reveal the answer to us, and we also need the Spirit to give us strength to carry the cross Jesus gives us. “The evil one has convinced us to believe there’s not supposed to be a cross,” Father Pivonka said. But the cross is the key: Jesus is revealed as the Son of God not at the resurrection, but on the cross, where He offers Himself for us, and where He forgives us just as He forgave the people who crucified Him.

As for our own crosses, Father Pivonka said we must learn to find joy in the midst of suffering so that people can see our joy and share it. “In the degree to which we are able to embrace our cross, we give life to those around us.” Quoting the theologian Yves Congar, he said suffering is worthwhile because “there are places in our hearts that don’t exist, and into which suffering must enter so that they may.”

He also said God wants to free us from false pictures of who He, God, is, and what He is like. Father Pivonka said too many people picture God as almost interchangeable with Santa Claus, in both a pleasant and an unpleasant way. He gives us presents, but He’s also watching over us, making a list and checking it twice. If we’re good we get presents from Santa and God lets us go to heaven; if we’re bad, we get coal from Santa, and “we become coal.” For other people, God is simply a judge, waiting for our mistakes and giving us the punishment we deserve. For yet others, He is an ATM and is expected to give us exactly what we want when we ask for it.

When he was baptized in the  Spirit, Father Pivonka said, he heard God say “that’s not the kind of God I am.” What kind of God is He? He’s “a Jesus-shaped God,” who wants to reach out to us and forgive us.

Father Pivonka began his final talk with a knock-knock joke. “Knock-knock” “who’s there?” “Holy Spirit” “Holy Spirit who?” “That’s the problem.” Not enough Christians take the Spirit seriously. We try to live the Christian life under our own power, which might work on a secular project, but “it’s a disaster” in the spiritual life. “It is impossible to live the spiritual life apart from the Holy Spirit.”

That’s why the birthday of the Church is not Easter but Pentecost. The apostles had had every advantage of knowing Jesus on earth, but before the Spirit descended they were hiding away in the Upper Room. “We are like the apostles. We live our faith lives in a locked room, afraid.”

He said not everybody needs to take part in the charismatic renewal, but everybody needs to receive the Holy Spirit. It’s the fruits of the Spirit that allow our faith to be seen, allows people to recognize that we’re different, and want to find out more about what Jesus has done for us.

Yes, Canadians can fast. Let’s do it!


Bishop Gregory Bittman of the Nelson diocese has asked by letter that the people of the diocese fast and pray as requested by Pope Francis. This is to be an offering, a sacrifice, that the scourge of abuse be eradicated from the Church and that no child or vulnerable person will ever again be harmed. This letter by Bishop Gregory has motivated me to offer some thoughts on fasting.

Cyril John stated at the Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit in Kelowna this August that he was told, “Canadians don’t fast.” Is this really true?

Canadians, as well as most other people on earth, can fast. The exception would be for health reasons, such as diabetes. Nevertheless, because of the abundance of material goods and food in this country, Canadians are comfortable in their wealth and reluctant and fearful to fast.

There are many ways we can fast, from Facebook, computers, video games, TV shows and the like, and these are suitable offerings to God. However, in many of these types of fasting, it is easy to end up substituting another diversion or distraction. When I was a child I remember attempting to give up candy for Lent. Within the first few days of Lent I was confronted for chewing bubble gum. I said, “I gave up candy, not bubble gum”. We can see that giving up something can easily have a substitute take over. But I would still say any effort to renounce the habits that delight us is a valid offering to God.

Jesus said, “When the Bridegroom is taken away, then they (His followers) will fast.” When He said this, He was talking about reducing the intake or giving up food for a time. When you don’t eat, or reduce the intake of food, the experience is with you the whole time of the fast. This, by its very nature, cannot be substituted with something else. Fasting also gives us the opportunity to join in solidarity with a great portion of our sisters and brothers in the world who go to bed hungry.

If a person is forcibly deprived of food, that person can live for a very long time; weeks or months. Without water, on the other hand, one will only last a matter of days.

To fast voluntarily takes some personal effort. I would say it takes faith and a sense this is the right thing to do. By faith, I mean that when we embark on a fast we must not waver. We should never say, “I will try it.” This approach is almost certain to fail.

But fasting must also be the right thing to do. For instance, I knew a group of Christians who were once gathering communally for Thanksgiving dinner. One of the newly converted members decided that, as an offering for the gift of his salvation, he would fast on Thanksgiving Day. As you might imagine, this was not a good idea, and led to a failed attempt followed by guilt. So, fasting needs to be the right thing to do.

Finally, the person who is about to fast must decide what the fast will be and act and believe that it is already done – thinking, for instance, I will be having coffee tomorrow morning, signifying the end of the fast.

I know a person who has had a long history of fasting. His first fast, one done when he was a young adult without guidance, was from food and water from Wednesday in Holy Week to after the Easter Vigil Saturday evening. Needless to say, this was a dangerous fast, not drinking water for that length of time. He recalls having blurry vision at the Easter Vigil. Nevertheless, he survived and did a number of fasts that always after that included water, but none longer than five days. Since he had a full-time job, he sometimes drank coffee on his fast day. However, he eventually gravitated to what he called the Medjugorje Fast, that is, bread and water Wednesday and Friday.

The Medjugorje fast was popularized in Canada by Father Bob Bedard, the founder of Companions of the Cross, in the 1980s. He shared many stories, some of them quite humorous, of peoples’ experience of attempting to fast. He cited one nun who complained that she was so weak she had to crawl to the bathroom. In most cases, when we fast we will have low sugar in our blood stream. This makes us feel tired and lack motivation to do anything, and is often accompanied by a mild headache. However, if we force ourselves to be busy we will find that we can overcome the internal reluctance and be able to keep going throughout the time of our fast. For older folks, like myself, a nap can help.

The man cited above began to follow the Medjugorje fast around the year 2000. For a time, he even found himself guided to fast Mondays as well. His fasting was four slices of bread and water for each of his meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. This turned out to be a fast that avoided some of the side effects of a black fast, that is, fasting without any food. Black fast can lead to nausea and vomiting, but bread and water fasts, although offering a true sense of fasting where you go to be hungry, keep the bodily systems functioning well.

One final issue with regular fasting: it can cause social conflicts. In the home, other family member will complain that the person’s fasting is affecting the rest of the family negatively, e.g. “When you are fasting, I don’t know what to eat”. Secondly, the same is true for social gatherings: people can be annoyed that someone is not joining in, partaking of the same food, drinks, and treats as the others. And one last thing; you will need to be careful not to overeat the day following the fast.

All that being said, I encourage you to do a bread and water fast. Make it a regular practice. In this way you will be offering something to God that can go a long way in obtaining from God the grace of healing and protection within the Church. And that the Church may be a shining witness to Jesus so that our neighbours will give thanks to our Father who is in heaven.

God’s lessons – from a hanging basket




A frequent word the Lord has given to me over the years has been from Isaiah 54:2 “Enlarge the space for your tent, spread out your cloths unsparingly, lengthen your ropes and make firm your stakes.”

This is a wonderful image for a lifelong enthusiast of camping and hiking in the outback, and one I could readily relate to on many levels. In the past this word had been a prelude to a new job, a move to a new place, or a new ministry which He wanted me to undertake. In every situation I had to lay down my ideas and my opinions of how it should be, and open myself up to new people, new challenges, a real change in my life. Little did I suspect this spring, when I received this word again, that it would mean sharing my personal space with some of God’s little ones.

My son gave me a big, beautiful hanging basket for Mother’s Day and I proudly hung it up on my patio right beside the back entrance to the apartment building. As people walked up the stairs to open the door, they often stopped to gaze at this wonderful combination of summer flowers and comment about their beauty. I took great pleasure in sharing my gift with everyone.

Not long after it was hung, a pair of juncos decided the hanging basket was the perfect spot for their new home and proceeded to nest and lay five tiny grey speckled eggs. This caused no end of trauma for me. I loved that display and wanted to care for it to keep it flourishing, but every time I tried to water, the mother bird would fly out in great distress, sit on the fence and give me a piece of her mind regarding the disturbance I was causing her and her nesting procedures.

I began to speak quietly to her to assure her that I didn’t want to harm her babies, and that watering was necessary to maintain the foliage that made it such a perfect place to nest. She slowly began to trust me and as I watered, she would watch vigilantly from the fence top, but with much less agitation. Four new little creatures were hatched and I was present to witness the last one fledge, being watched and encouraged by very excited parents.

This whole month-long procedure took its toll on my beautiful hanging basket, and I moaned and groaned over the loss of flowers. However, I began to look at it differently when my family all agreed that it was an honour to have the juncos choose my patio to nest, and the flower-giving son confirmed it by saying, “Choose the birds over the flowers”.

What has God been teaching me through all of this?

All creatures are precious to Him. Hospitality is to be extended to them too.

Watering is necessary to maintain health and growth. We may object, splutter, make a lot of fuss as the water disturbs us, but it’s for our own good.

Trust is built over a period of time. He speaks to me assuring me of His love and care. I witness that love and care and my trust grows.

I grew, enlarged my tent to be more inclusive, accepted the birds, and they flew off without even a look backward. How often do I treat God in the same manner? Do I take for granted my Lord’s care for me, forgetting to give thanks?

“My plans are not your plans”. Isaiah 55:8. I plan to beautify my patio. God plans to beautify the patio, provide shelter and home to not only one but two new families of juncos, for on the day the first family left, another pair of juncos moved in and four new babies were fledged. Eight new little creatures and a hanging basket that has survived the summer. His plans are always so much better than mine.

Expect the unexpected. Look with eyes of faith. Be open to new opportunities for God to show His love and concern.


Father Rick Thomas

biography published

A biography of the late Father Rick Thomas SJ, a widely-travelled charismatic conference speaker and founder of a Holy Spirit-based ministry to the poor of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, is now available via Amazon.ca.

The book, titled A Poor Priest for the Poor, was written by Richard Dunstan, editor of BC Charismatic newsletter and a member of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC, at the request of Father Thomas’s successors in El Paso.

Father Thomas (1928-2006) was named head of Our Lady’s Youth Center, a wide-ranging social agency in the slums of El Paso, in 1964. Looking for a way to bring both spiritual and material help to clients, he received baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1969 and immediately began to incorporate the charismatic renewal into all OLYC ministries, which eventually included food banks, medical clinics, prison ministry, Operation Rescue abortion blockades, a shortwave radio station, and the Lord’s Ranch.

He is probably best known for a miraculous multiplication of food when he and his friends shared Christmas dinner with the ragpickers who lived at the Juárez municipal dump in 1972; several arrests and short jail terms for abortion protests; and his extreme embrace of personal poverty.

Dunstan first met Father Thomas in El Paso in 1989 and visited the OLYC ministries many times, both before and after Father Thomas’s death. He is also the author of The Bible on the Border (2009), a work on OLYC’s spiritual principles written in co-operation with Father Thomas; and Fire in the North (2007), a history of the Catholic charismatic renewal in Canada, published by the Bread of Life.

A Poor Priest for the Poor is available as a print or Kindle edition through Amazon.ca. It is published by the Lord’s Ranch Press.


Funds needed: Help us do God’s work

The BC provincial charismatic service committee has issued an appeal for donations.

The committee is facing unpaid bills and also has outstanding loans from one of its partner service committees.

“In effect, without an infusion of funds we may have to go one more year without a penny to our name,” said Flo Reid, chair of Catholic Charismatic Renewal services of B.C. “It’s overwhelming.”

The committee’s mandate is to promote what Pope Francis has called “a current of grace for the whole Church.” “I expect you to share with everyone in the Church the grace of the baptism of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope told 50,000 charismatics from around the world at the renewal’s Golden Jubilee celebration in Rome last year.

“In coming years we ask you to be involved in your parishes and Christian communities, and even to increase this involvement if possible,” the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops added in a jubilee greeting to the renewal.

The provincial committee publishes the twice-yearly BC Charismatic newsletter, co-sponsors a provincial conference with the Vancouver archdiocesan committee every three years, and provides ongoing communication among the charismatic groups of B.C.’s five dioceses, as well as with charismatics across Canada.

The committee’s main sources of income are the provincial/Vancouver conference, next scheduled for September 2019; donations from some diocesan service committees and prayer groups; and members of the committee, who donate their travel expenses, but receives very few individual donations. “We would like to appeal to our readers and prayer group members to join in this work of God by donating,” Reid said. “This is our mandate, this is the direction from Pope Francis as well as the Conference of Canadian Catholic Bishops. Our hearts are set to respond positively.  We are praying for you to join us in this mission.”

Donations to CCRS of BC are tax deductible.


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

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

c/o CCRS of BC, 137 Williams St., Port Moody BC V3H 2R7



City:                                                              Postal Code:             

Phone:                                         Donation: $                     


Your prayers and financial support are appreciated.

Upcoming events

Sept. 21-22            Vancouver Catholic Charismatic Conference      Vancouver
                                                                                           Broadway Church
                          Do You Want to Be Healed? with Mary Healy and Robert Canton
Contact Lennie David 604-597-8227 lennieptl@telus.net

Sept. 28-30              Nelson diocesan leaders’ retreat                     Kelowna                                     Seton House
Contact Gladys Miller russ-m@telus.net

Oct. 2-Nov. 13                         Life in the Spirit Seminar                   Vancouver
Blessed Sacrament Church

                        7:30 Mondays free but pre-registration required
Contact lennieptl@telus.net or epdizon@yahoo.com
Oct. 15-17         Life in the Spirit Seminar                                    Invermere
Canadian Martyrs Church

Contact Gladys Miller russ-m@telus.net
 Oct. 20                           Day of renewal                                             Cranbrook
location TBA
Contact Lynne Williams 250-489-1702 lynnedwilliams50@hotmail.com

Nov. 3                           Day of Renewal                                     Castlegar
St. Rita’s parish
Contact Loree Renwick 250-354-7223 loree.renwick@gmail.com

Nov. 17                         Catholic prayer breakfast                           Victoria

9 a.m. Comfort Inn, Blanshard Street,
Speaker Fr. Karam Alraban
Contact Lynn Dunstan Weedmark 250-477-4700
$15 adult $10 student

April 26-27                    Nelson diocesan conference                   Cranbrook
Christ the Servant Church
Welcome into His Presence. John Connelly, speaker
Contact Roy MacIntyre 778-740-0508 roymacintyre@shaw.ca

Aug. 11-16              Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit Kelowna
St. Charles Garnier Church and Seton House
                        Behold I Stand at the Door Knocking. Speaker Jim Murphy
Contact Gladys Miller russ-m@telus.net

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

Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C.


Flo Reid (Nelson diocese), chair                  fmreid45@gmail.com

828-14th St. South, Cranbrook, BC V1C 1X9          250-426-7570      

Lennie David, Vancouver archdiocese, 604-594-7296

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

David MacIntyre, Victoria diocese, 250-383-9955

Flo Reid, Nelson diocese, chair, 250-426-7570

Jocelyn Rochard, Vancouver archdiocese, 604-469-0713

Lynne Williams, Nelson diocese, 250-489-1702

B.C. Charismatic

CCRS of BC newsletter

published spring and fall

editor Richard Dunstan

308-225 Belleville St.

Victoria BC V8V 4T9

email: richard@thedunstans.com

phone: 250-477-4700

website: www.bccharismatic.ca

Posted in Uncategorized

CCRSO Breakthrough 2017 – Brian Sullivan

YouTube URL Address for Brian Sullivan’s talk Breakthrough 2017. https://youtu.be/i6vwtUtYUBM

This talk is a must for leaders and all in the charismatic renewal and in the Church itself. Talk Summary:

The Reason the Holy Spirit called forth the Charismatic Renewal and a vision of the Renewal in 50 years

As one of my duties on the National Team for the Charismatic Renewal, I was asked to attend a CCCB forum for Movements and Organizations within the Catholic Church.  There were 25 different groups present. They asked us to introduce ourselves by taking a few minutes to explain why we exist.

I began by saying the CR has no human founder.  It’s founder is the Holy Spirit.  I didn’t share this to set CR apart but rather to indicate that the Holy Spirit directs the Renewal and because of that each of us has direct access to the ‘Leader’.

Then I quoted EN saying ‘The Church exists to evangelize’

But as JPII says in Redemptoris Missio (29) ‘The Holy Spirit is the prime agent of mission (evangelization)’.  Without the Holy Spirit our evangelization efforts would not bear fruit.

In our baptism and our confirmation we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and the charisms that he never ceases to bestow and with it the tools we need to live out our two universal calls; to be holy and to evangelize.

So if we are going to bear the fruit of personal holiness then developing a relationship with the Lord and a personal prayer life is key.

If our evangelization efforts are going to be fruitful then we need to develop the ability to listen to the Holy Spirit and use the charisms he gives us to answer this call.

And that’s why the CR exists.  It draws people into a relationship with the Lord and journeys with them as the cultivate a personal prayer life.  It supports the universal call to holiness.

Secondly, prayer groups baptizes the laity in the Holy Spirit to release the power of the HS into their lives and journeys with them while they learn to activate the charisms the Holy Spirit gives them to allow their evangelization efforts to be fruitful.  Thus supporting the universal call to evangelize!

Its so simple and I think it’s essential that we have this understanding to share with everyone but particularly with pastors of our parishes.  It has to make sense for them if they are going to be supportive of our efforts to evangelize.

As a member of the National Team I was given opportunity to attend the 50th anniversary celebration of the Renewal at the Ark and Dove Retreat Centre in Pittsburgh along with Cory and Gerard. In preparing to go, we each were asked to write a summary of where we thought the Renewal would be in fifty years.  I want to share my vision with you.

As I reflect on where the CR will be in 50 years, I think of what Cardinal Suenens said, “May the Charismatic Renewal disappear as such and be transformed into a Pentecostal grace for the whole Church: to be faithful to its origin, the river must lose itself in the ocean”.

My hope is that in 50 years that no one will be able to tell the difference between a ‘Charismatic’ and a regular parishioner because most will have a personal relationship with Jesus, most will be baptized in the Spirit, and most will be using their charisms to live out their baptismal call to be holy and to evangelize.  This will be the common experience of the faithful.

Over the next fifty years a new wave of the Spirit, that we are already feeling, will flow over the Church and cause a New Springtime of Evangelization.  The Charismatic Renewal that has so often operated on the fridges of Church and ended up serving itself in the prayer group instead of the parish will understand not only the role it has in serving the parish but also how to accomplish it in a way that will open the hearts of parishioners to Jesus.  As hearts open, Jesus will develop a personal relationship with each.  There will be a new openness to the baptism of the Holy Spirit in both clergy and laity.

This will cause two key changes in our parishes.  Parishioners will begin to enter into worship in a deeper way that will lead to a grasp of the beauty and gift of the Church and particularly the sacraments that support them in their growth in holiness.  Parishioners will also begin to understand the need to evangelize and the particular role of the laity in the process.  They will actively seek the charisms of the Spirit because they will need them to be effective in their mission.

As the CR turns outward to serve parishes and parishes turn outward to serve and evangelize their communities, the pews will once again be filled.  As parishes move from maintenance mode into missional mode, we will abandon our fear of losing our Catholic identity setting the stage for a new interest in unity and ecumenism.

The gift of Vatican II to the Church will be realized in the growth of holiness, evangelization and ecumenism.



Posted in Uncategorized

Vancouver Conference 2017

Bishop Peter Smith
Vancouver Conference 2017

By Richard Dunstan


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mary Healy
Vancouver Conference 2017

by Richard Dunstan


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


Including you and me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Uncategorized

Fall Newsletter 2017

A flood of grace

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

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

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

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

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

Pope marks charismatic jubilee with 50,000 pilgrims


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 —Richard Dunstan


John to headline 2018 Kelowna gathering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Why we still need Pentecost in 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


– Richard Dunstan


Ground Zero:
When the fire fell at Duquesne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


50-year veteran looks ahead for the renewal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The biblical roots of the jubilee celebration


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me;

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

to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives

and release to the prisoners,

To announce a year of favour from the LORD

and a day of vindication by our God,

to comfort all who mourn;

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

To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning,

a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit

(Isa 61:1–3).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Greetings from new ICCRS president


President, International Catholic

Charismatic Renewal Services

Dear brothers and sisters,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is the Renewal that I love.

Richard Dunstan

That is the Renewal I will serve.

—ICCRS Newsletter


B.C. Charismatic

CCRS of BC newsletter

published spring and fall

editor Richard Dunstan

308-225 Belleville St.

Victoria BC V8V 4T9

email: richard@thedunstans.com

phone: 250-477-4700

website: www.bccharismatic.ca



Posted in Uncategorized

Spring Newsletter 2017

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


ICCRS council member—Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

–ICCRS Leadership Bulletin, Jan.-Feb. 2017


Thompson headlines Kelowna event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He will speak Monday through Wednesday at the Gathering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Richard Dunstan


The Royal Road of the Cross


featured speaker

Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit

Aug. 13-18, Seton House, Kelowna

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the royal road that will lead to victory.

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


Mercy: Our only reason for hope


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Going to heaven in Duquesne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Richard Dunstan

Nelson retreat: Becoming ambassadors for Christ


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

Talk 1 – Ambassadors for a New Heart – Gladys Miller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk 3 – The Holy Spirit Enables – Gladys Miller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Blessed Elena Guerra, mother of the renewal


ICCRS council member—Germany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—ICCRS Newsletter, Jan.-Feb. 2017


Jubilee marked in Rome

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

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

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

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


Vancouver conference coming Sept. 22-23

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

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

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

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

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

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


B.C. Charismatic

CCRS of BC newsletter

published spring and fall

editor Richard Dunstan

308-225 Belleville St.

Victoria BC V8V 4T9

email: richard@thedunstans.com

phone: 250-477-4700

website: www.bccharismatic.ca





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