BC Charismatic Newsletter Fall 2022 ——- click link below

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BC Charismatic Spring Newsletter 2022

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BC Charismatic Fall Newsletter Fall 2021

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BC Charismatic Spring Newsletter 2021

Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC Newsletter Spring 2021

Still Gathering

John Connelly headlines OL Pentecost on Zoom Aug. 8-12

Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit is back on line for another year this August, and organizers are convinced they had more than the usual level of heavenly help with the planning.

The theme is Joy, Peace and Hope in Turbulent Times, which seems perfect for the pandemic that has shut down in-person gatherings two years in a row. But Gladys Miller, co-ordinator of the event, said the 2021 theme was discerned a year and a half ago, before anybody had heard of covid-19.

            “The Lord knew, and we believe He has a plan,” she said.

            John Connelly, a Catholic lay evangelist currently based in Saskatchewan, will be featured speaker at the gathering, to be held via Zoom Aug. 8-12 (Sunday-Thursday), 6-8 p.m.

            The gathering, presented by Nelson Diocesan Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services with the endorsement of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C., is normally held at St. Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer in Kelowna, but was moved online last year due to the pandemic. About 80 people attended the event via Zoom in 2020.

            The two-hour sessions will feature praise and worship, talks by Connelly, and small group discussion of the talks. Cost is $25 per person. To register contact Maria McManus, untamedspirit@telus.net, 250-707-1423.

            Connelly said he plans to compare the needs of today’s Christians with Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:2-13)

            “The image of the Wise and Foolish Virgins is a key lesson for us all,” he said. “How do we make sure we are truly wise and filled with the oil of the Spirit? Together we will explore this amazing image and its ramifications for us all.

            “I will also tie in the teaching of St. Ignatius of Loyola on discernment of spirits – a practical and profound way of understanding how to grow in the Spirit.”

            Connelly has been active in lay ministry, parish missions, retreats and conferences for the past 30 years. He has been a diocesan youth director and diocesan director of evangelization and catechesis. His work includes Catholic radio, television, song writing and concerts, leadership formation for youth and adults, and writing for various Catholic publications.

            He is director of SaintPath, a multimedia ministry based in Bruno, Saskatchewan teaching the spiritual wisdom of Scripture and the saints. His wife, Tracy, is also active in the ministry. They have eight children.

            Gathering in the Spirit 2020, featuring Jim Murphy as guest speaker, was a success on Zoom, Miller said. Feedback was all positive.

“The organizing group was grateful to our Lord that things moved forward with ease,” she said. “I expect the Lord to care for us in 2021 equally well or perhaps even better because of having the experience of last year.

“Our format will be similar with praise and worship, speaker and breakout rooms each evening. 

“We have some ideas to add but we’re waiting on the covid situation to ascertain the possibility of implementation, so stay tuned to our website for updates if they come possible.”

Information is available at the Nelson website, https://www.holyspiritbaptizer.com/ .

As We Prayer Without Ceasing…

By LYNNE WILLIAMS, with Gladys Miller, Loree Renwick and Maureen Watson

Despite the onset of COVID 19 more than a year ago, Nelson Diocese Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service has kept active. Being unable to meet in person created a challenge for prayer groups, so a team of organizers courageously decided to offer prayer meetings on Zoom.

Since April 2020, a weekly prayer group has been offered to participants in Nelson diocese and beyond, 1:30 on Thursdays with occasional breaks. Attendance was usually around 35, from all over BC. Most meetings consisted of opening prayer, praise and worship music, prophecy, scripture, teaching, intercessory prayer and small group activity. Feedback has been strongly positive, with participants patiently accepting the use of this new technology.

In addition to the leadership team, many people participated in the multitude of tasks needed to have a successful meeting. Grateful thanks go out to all of them and to Father Obi Ibekwe, our sponsor. 

This fall, John Connelly, well known speaker, musician, Catholic evangelist, and originator of the website SaintPath, was invited as guest speaker. John’s two talks, the Gift of Tongues and 1 Hour Retreat, were terrific and are posted on the NDCCRS website. The 1 Hour Retreat is a prayer facilitation that may be experienced by visiting the NDCCRS web. (See link below.)

In December, a three-session Advent retreat, the 2020 Vigil Project, was offered, with attendance in the high 40s. The project featured video talks by Father Dave Pivonka, president of, Franciscan University of Steubenville, along with beautiful, original music and Advent reflections from the Vigil Project Team.

John Connelly returned in January, and Peter Herbeck of Renewal Ministries joined us for a Lenten retreat. Local organizers Lynne Williams and Roy MacIntyre gave talks in April. Most of the talks are available on our website, https://www.holyspiritbaptizer.com/.

Each week we have breakout rooms with a facilitator and two to four participants. Organizers or the guest speaker provide questions or directions to facilitators for prayer and preparation. Feedback from facilitators and participants has been positive.

A short way into the Zoom prayer gatherings it was discerned by the organizers that we needed a team to seek the will of God for the next session. Every decision has been made as a response to prayer: personal, Zoom core group (Roy MacIntyre, Loree Renwick, Maureen Watson, Gladys Miller, Lynne Williams), our diocesan intercessory prayer team (led by Flo Reid), and our discernment prayer group (led by Gladys). We have also been made aware of the need to pay close attention to the prophetic words received, and to meditate upon them.

            The team has received many positive comments. Here are just a few:

            “That was such a loving, peaceful experience…”

“I’m so pleased to be invited and be able to pray with your community. Praise God, alleluia!”

“Today’s meeting was really special indeed. Feel so blessed to be part of it.Thank you for all you all of you do to make it possible for people like me to receive the gift of this blessing.”

“Lovely meeting. Just what I needed today.”

“It’s been a privilege for me to know some of you and to be involved in the group. Awesome talk by John on Thursday. So blessed to have the opportunity to listen to it!”

“Thank you, everyone, for making this such a beautiful, spiritual journey of faith. My heart is touched and my soul has been enriched.”

 “We wanted to let you know how much we appreciate being able to attend your Zoom events, and how helpful and uplifting it is to have the sharing time.”

It is gratifying to know that what our small group has set out to do has touch so many, including ourselves. We are still learning how to make the meeting a better experience for all. The presence of the Lord is indeed felt each week, the Holy Spirit is able to reach out to each member and brings unity to each meeting. Nothing is impossible for our God.

The current schedule of meetings will continue through May 20. After that the committee will be busy with planning for Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit Aug. 8-12 (see front page), and decisions on meetings for the fall will be made after the gathering.

To join us, check our website. If you have participated in a NDCCRS Zoom prayer meeting, you are on our contact list and will receive an announcement and invitation for the winter session. If you would like to be added to our contact/invitation list, please contact Lynne Williams lynnedwilliams50@hotmail.com with the subject line Zoom Prayer Meeting.


From fall session:

“In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”John 16:33

“Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”John 14:7

“By waiting and by calm you shall be saved; in quiet and in trust your strength lies.” Isaiah30:15

“I will listen for what God, the LORD, has to say; surely He will speak of peace to His people and to His faithful.” Psalm 85

“Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”

“My people, I am calling you in these days to a deep stillness, to a deep quiet, to come into My presence, to rest in My presence and behold My beauty.”

From Advent session:

“Come spend time with Me and I will fill your hearts, I will empower you, I will give you all that you need. Just come! Come, My people, come!”

“I will rejoice heartily in the LORD, my being exults in my God; For he has clothed me with garments of salvation, and wrapped me in a robe of justice.” Isaiah 61:10

Image of Jesus standing at the door knocking, asking us to clear the clutter so there is room for Him.

“In union with Christ and through our faith in Him we have the boldness to go into God’s

presence with all confidence.”

From January session:

“To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God.”

“My ways are not your ways, My thoughts are not your thoughts.”

“You shall seek the LORD with all your heart and you will find me, I will let you find me.”

“It shall come to pass in the last days that I will pour out My spirit on all mankind But I will leave among you a humble and lowly people, and they will take refuge in the name of the LORD.”

“We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away for the assembly but encourage one another.”

From Lenten session: “ ‘Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer be a reproach!’ They replied, ‘Let us begin building!’”

“For He will be like a refiner’s fire. Embrace the fire of My love, don’t fear it.”

“All who take refuge in You will be glad and forever shout for joy.”

“Bless the Lord, you who are holy and humble in heart; sing praise to Him and highly exalt Him forever.”

“Let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” Hebrews 4:16.

God helps with everything—even music by Zoom!


When the Nelson diocesan service committee began online prayer meetings last year, we knew little of online media for prayer meetings. But God supplied. The music ministry was challenged, God blessed us, and I hope this article may help anyone else planning online praise and worship.

It isn’t easy to have music ministry online because the Internet only allows one-way communication; if two people in different locations are speaking at the same time, at best you will only hear one. At worst, both voices will be garbled and unrecognizable.

God provided my wife, Bev, and me a new camera/microphone just before our first online prayer meeting, a whole month ahead of the scheduled delivery. We also ordered two six-foot USB cable extensions (costing only slightly more than one). The video was great, but the sound was very inconsistent.  

Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit was also held online. Fortunately, we were able to assemble a group in a church for our music ministry. The four of us, Bernadette Barry, Maria McManus, Bev and I were able to manage with Covid-19 two-metre distancing. The camera could be positioned to include us all— as noted, God provided USB extensions. The church, St. John Vianney in Penticton, also had a mixer which allowed our mics and guitar to be plugged into the same sound source. This was better, but still somewhat inconsistent.

At a provincial service committee meeting, Peter Herbeck suggested we get a mixer board for our Zoom meetings. We got a deal on a mixer and wireless microphones, and our praise and worship have been greatly improved. All glory to God, who, step by step, has helped us improve our praise and worship transmissions.

Worldwide Pentecost vigil

For the second year in a row, CHARIS, the international service of communion for the Catholic charismatic renewal, will celebrate the vigil of Pentecost with an online gathering.

            Beginning at noon Pacific Daylight Time (9 p.m. Rome time) Saturday, May 22, the fully ecumenical celebration will be streamed from four locations:

            –Rome, headquarters of CHARIS;

            –Topeka, Kansas, where the first baptism in the Holy Spirit of the modern Pentecostal revival took place Jan. 1, 1901;

            –Buenos Aires, Argentina, home of CRECES, a Lutheran-Catholic group with which Pope Francis (then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio) was associated before his election as Pope;

            –Jerusalem, location of the first Pentecost as recorded in Acts chapter 2. The Jerusalem celebration will include Messianic Jews.

            Leading up to the celebration, a week of prayer will be held beginning Sunday May 16.

Links and additional details will be available on the CHARIS website (charis.international), and its Youtube, Facebook and Instagram pages, in a variety of languages

Thank You Lennie!

Lennie David, longest-serving member of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC and one of the best-known charismatic leaders in Canada, has stepped down from the provincial body after more than 25 years.

            But she isn’t leaving the renewal. She remains vice-chair and acting leader of the Vancouver archdiocesan service committee.

Best known for bringing Life in the Spirit Seminars to the archdiocese, she has also been an organizer for many charismatic conferences, starting with Vancouver’s first-ever conference in 1992. In 2013 she was awarded the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for distinguished service to the Church, the highest honour the Pope can bestow on a layperson. In 2014 she was named to the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

She also enjoys telling people a less formal title she has gained over the years, “Lennie the Charismaniac,” for her vigorous promotion of the renewal, all the way from parish life to the chancery office.

            Born in the Philippines, she lived in the Netherlands and Belgium, where her husband, Emmanuel, worked for the Philippine embassy. They came to Canada in 1975. A lifelong devout Catholic, she was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1976 at Immaculate Conception Church in Delta, still her home parish today.

            In 1992, despite great reluctance, she felt led by the Lord to ask her pastor for permission to offer a Life in the Spirit Seminar. The seminar began in January, 1993; She was ready for 100 people; 350 showed up. Since then, she has organized 70 seminars, in many parishes, with about 11,000 attending. Some 25 prayer groups have been founded as a result.

            “Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a must for everyone to have a much better personal relationship with our dear Lord,” she says.

            Annual celebrations of the anniversary of the first seminar feature a Mass at IC Delta. Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto presided at the 20th anniversary Mass in 2013, and Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver presided at the 25th anniversary in 2018.

            Among many other activities, she played a key role in organizing a FIRE rally in Vancouver in 1998; took 17 priests to France for a gathering honour of the 150th anniversary of the beatification of St. John Vianney in 2005; and led a pilgrimage to Rome for the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 2017.

            She and Emmanuel have four children and seven grandchildren.

CHARIS:  Fruit for prayer groups


CHARIS, the new worldwide “service of communion” established in 2019 by Pope Francis, is still a work in progress at the national level, but in the meantime it is promising to bear major fruit at the local level.

            Under CHARIS, prayer groups will have a larger, not a smaller, role in the Church and in local parishes, says Brian Sullivan, chair of Canada’s national service committee.

            Pope Francis has referred to the Catholic charismatic renewal as “a current of grace in the Church and for the Church.” It is not to be seen as an organization or a movement within the Church; rather, the whole Church is to become charismatic – that is, filled anew with the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.

            “We need to adjust the way we think about ourselves,” Sullivan said in a talk earlier this year.  “The Charismatic Renewal is not ours.  We don’t own and operate it.  The CCR is not an organization.  It is not a group you have membership in.  It is a current of grace in and for the Church that we have had the fortunate opportunity to already enter into through our charismatic prayer groups of which we are members.”           

            But the importance of those prayer groups is only going to grow as a result. In setting up CHARIS, Pope Francis laid out a list of goals for the Church and for the renewal: sharing the blessings of baptism in the Spirit throughout the Church; evangelization; ecumenism; service to the poor; and the promotion of unity. Many of these, Sullivan noted, are areas where charismatic prayer groups already have a high level experience and commitment.

–We must take the lead in expanding baptism in the Holy Spirit to all members of the Church, as a necessary prerequisite and equipping for the evangelization to which all Christians are called.

–We need to encourage and foster the charisms of the Holy Spirit as widely as possible in the Church.

 –We need to help those baptized in the Spirit deepen their prayer lives, as we have been doing in our prayer groups throughout the existence of the renewal.

 –We need to promote ecumenism and unity with other Christians, without compromising our own Catholic faith or disrespecting the beliefs of other Christians. We in the renewal have more experience than most Catholics in inter-church outreach.

 –We need to have a special concern for the poor, be they poor economically, spiritually, mentally or physically. As Pope Francis says, we need to “smell like the sheep” whom we serve.

–We need to support, or if necessary initiate, our parish’s work of evangelization. All the points mentioned here are in service of this essential goal.

All of this is an enormous challenge, says Sullivan. But we won’t be doing it in our own power: “We can’t just start doing.” We need to identify the current of grace that is active in our parish, and then move in and support what the Holy Spirit is doing.

            Meanwhile, the overall structure associated with CHARIS calls for setting up national services of communion in each country. Sullivan says our national leadership has met with a generous response from the bishops, and details are being worked out, but are not yet determined.

CHARIS moderator steps down

            Jean-Luc Moens has resigned as moderator of CHARIS.

            Moens, of Belgium, first to hold the position, stepped down March 27 due to the needs of his family. His oldest daughter was paralyzed in an accident and needs full-time care in his home. He and his wife have seven children and 13 grandchildren.

Until a successor is named, Julia Torres will be liaison to the international service of communion and Milagros Carbajal will operate the CHARIS office in Rome.



Give us your “now” word, Lord!

Matthew 14:24-33: When evening came, He was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning He came walking towards them on the lake. But when the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. He said, ‘Come.’ So, Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out His hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’

In the same way that our Lord challenged Peter, He is also challenging us. When we experience the challenges of the world, Jesus will always be there reaching out His hand. He is letting us know that He is with us and we are not alone.

Prophecy from Harp and Bowl prayer meeting in Edmonton: My children, I am here. Take My hand, allow Me to lead you, to lead you deeper into My heart and into the pathways and byways of life. Be not afraid. I will provide everything you need when it is required. Let go of all that holds you back and follow Me.

Deuteronomy 13:4  The Lord your God you shall follow, Him alone you shall fear, His commandments you shall keep, His voice you shall obey, Him you shall serve and to Him you shall hold fast.

There is nothing to fear with the word of God before us. He is calling us into the new situation we find ourselves in.

Isaiah 35: 8-10: A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray. No lion shall be there nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

God is protecting us and sadness and sorrow ended. Lord, we thank You for the plans that You have for us that we may take Your hand and go deeper into Your heart. We want to hold fast to You. Help us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on You and not be distracted by the tumult we have around us.

Vision of a clothes line with different colours of clothes drying on it. In the centre was an unclean garment. The next time I looked this garment was going further away. The sky turned dark and the clothing disappeared. I understand this to mean that the righteous and the unrighteous are going to both be judged. I believe that this represents the state of the world, some are unrighteous and

unclean, but we all have to live together and be judged together.

This brings to mind; how many will be saved? Ralph Martin talks about this in his book [Will Many Be Saved; we need to counteract the thinking that the unclean will be saved. Jesus would never have said about Judas that it would have been better if he were never born if he was going to be saved. This is especially important to remember for those sitting on the fence: the lukewarm.

Prayer – help us to do what we must do to evangelize those sitting on the fence.

Join BC Charismatic on our Facebook page; visit our website

The BC Charismatic Facebook page is designed to offer communication, fellowship, and inspiration for charismatic Catholics, espacially in this time of pandemic.

            To see the page: If you are already a Facebook member (or if you join Facebook), you can find the page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bccharismatic A search for “BC Charismatic” on the Facebook site will also find it. The page is visible to any Facebook member, so you will be able to read whatever is posted on the page.

            To join the page: If you would like to join the group so that you can take an active role on the page, you can make a request to join via the button on the page, and we will accept your request as soon as we see it. 

            We welcome posts of edifying or inspiring material that is consistent with Catholic teaching, with Christian charity, and with godly prudence. This includes information on charismatic or other Church events, and inspiring teachings. (No politics, please!)

            We also have a website: bccharismatic.ca  Roy MacIntyre of the Nelson diocese is webmaster.

Get international charismatic news from CHARIS Magazine

CHARIS Magazine, a publication of CHARIS international service of communion for the Catholic charismatic renewal, is published monthly and is now available free on the CHARIS website, http://www.charis.international/ , along with a great deal of other material. Articles from the latest edition are at the lower right of the home page, and previous issues are available under “magazine” at the top of the home page.

Bread of Life drops print issue, will offer podcasts, videos

The Ontario-based Bread of Life ministry has decided to stop publishing its print magazine, due to high cost and apparent lack of interest.

The ministry polled the 600 to 700 readers on the subscription list as to whether they still wanted the magazine, and got only about 70 replies, of whom 65 wanted the magazine. The ministry will now turn to podcasts, and possibly YouTube videos, with speakers basing their talks on material originating with the late Fr. Peter Coughlin, Bread of Life founder.

The Bread of Life will also continue to sponsor conferences, although the scheduled fall 2020 conference featuring Maria Vadia was cancelled due to covid.


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., 12358   65 Ave., Surrey BC V3W 5Y5



City:_______________________________ Postal code:______________ 

Phone:                                  Donation: $                            Receipt?________

Your prayers and financial support are appreciated.

B.C. Charismatic

CCRS of BC newsletter

published spring and fall

editor Richard Dunstan

308-225 Belleville St.

Victoria BC V8V 4T9

email: rccharismaticbc@gmail.com

phone: 250-477-4700

website: www.bccharismatic.ca

Catholic Charismatic Renewal

Services of B.C.

Richard Dunstan, Victoria (chair) 250-477-4700

Nitz Baylon, Vancouver,604-202-2998                        

Janet Tng, Vancouver, 778-998-8098

David MacIntyre, Victoria, 250-383-9955       

Frans van der Woning, Kamloops, 250-851-5751

Loree Renwick, Nelson diocese, 250-354-7223        

Lynne Williams, Nelson, 250-489-1702

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BC Charismatic Spring 2020

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BC Charismatic Fall 2020

Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC Newsletter Fall 2020

We’re back!

BC prayer groups meeting again, in person and online

The Catholic charismatic renewal is back in action in B.C., even though activities have been limited by COVID-19 protocols.

            At least three of the province’s dioceses have ongoing prayer meetings, either online or in a socially distanced in-person setting. In addition, the annual Gathering in the Spirit sponsored by the Nelson diocesan service committee took place online in August, featuring Jim Murphy of Michigan speaking on Zoom (see Page 3.)            Here is a partial list of events, based on information available at the time of publication.

            In the Nelson diocese, a province-wide prayer meeting is being held Thursdays in six-week blocks, via Zoom. The meeting takes place Thursdays 1:30-3 p.m. Pacific time, with several dozen people attending from across BC. Scheduled dates are Oct. 8-Nov. 12, Jan. 14-Feb. 18, March 11-April 22 and May 13-June 17. The meetings include praise, word gift, intercessory prayer, and a speaker or other activities; the speaker Nov. 5 is John Connelly of Saskatchewan-based SaintPath. In addition, a three-week video Advent session with Father Dave Pivonka will be shown Dec. 3-17. Dates are subject to change. A Zoom invitation and link can be requested via the Nelson committee website, https://www.holyspiritbaptizer.com/ , which will also have up-to-date information.

            At least four prayer groups in the Nelson diocese are meeting in person, with full COVID-19 protocols in place. Contact the leader for scheduling details and information on protocols.

            Osoyoos: Laurie Martin, 250-495-2964, lkmartin@persona.ca .

            West Kelowna: Marcia Lawrence, parish  250-768-4114, ololoffice@ololwestbank.ca .

            Creston: Yvonne Horne, v.horne@live.com .

            Penticton: Bernadette Barry, 250-492-3478, heart4joy@shaw.ca

            In addition, Nelson’s Trinity prayer group meets on line. Contact Loree Renwick, 250-354-7223, loree.renwick@gmail.com

            In the Vancouver archdiocese, three prayer groups are meeting face to face with COVID-19 protocols, and 15 are meeting on line. To find the group nearest you, contact Lennie David, 604-597-8227, lennieptl@telus.net .

            In the Victoria diocese, the People of Praise from St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Victoria meet online Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. For details contact Lynn Dunstan Weedmark or Richard Dunstan, 250-477-4700, richard@thedunstans.com.

             In addition, many prayer groups have kept in touch with members via phone or email. In Osoyoos, leader Laurie Martin has sent the Consecration to Mary’s Mantle meditations to people who can’t attend, and those people have been saying the prayers and daily rosary.

            And, of course, the Lord has kept attending, at church, online, or in individual homes.

“Our Lord has been more than faithful to be strongly present at each meeting,” says Marcia Lawrence in West Kelowna, “and made good on His prophetic words right at the beginning of the church closure and our switching to an email agenda: ‘I will not let anything happen to My “prayer-group of prayer”.’”

“We all have learned a great deal over the past months,” adds Yvonne Horne in Creston. “Mainly that we are not in control, and that we must endeavour to listen more closely to God’s leadership. No human possesses the power to make things better, only God’s unfailing love. He will show us the way once we are ready to accept His power.”

Please join us in prayer


chair, CCRS of BC

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NRSV)

For the Catholic Charismatic Renewal here in BC, one season is coming to an end, and it’s time for another to begin.

The great “current of grace” that the Holy Spirit has given the Church through the renewal will continue, by God’s mercy, but it may need to flow in different ways or different places, and the time has come to seek the Lord for direction.

In BC, and in many other places in the Western world, the present generation of leadership has been in place for decades. More than half of our provincial service committee members are over 70. That may be a testimony to our willingness to serve faithfully, but it’s also a testimony to a failure to raise up the new generation of leaders the renewal will need if it is to continue the work the Lord has entrusted to us. We are still doing faithful and worthwhile work for Him, and age is no barrier to that; but the calendar keeps turning for all of us, and we can’t just keep on doing what we’re doing now until we’re all 90 or 100.

            Raising up that new generation has become a priority for our BC service committee. We’ve been talking about it and praying about it and reaching out to trusted friends and advisers. In October Peter Herbeck, of Renewal Ministries in Ann Arbor, Michigan, joined us via Zoom to hear our concerns, help in our discernment, and exhort us to a new beginning.

            What it comes down to in the end, we all learned, was not just a question of who we are or how old we are. It’s a question of what the Lord wants us to do, and it might well be something different from what we have been doing or planning to do. The anointing of the Spirit is on people, Peter told us, not on structures or activities.

            “The Lord knows why you’re still here,” he said. “It’s because you love Him. But the question is, can you name what the Holy Spirit is primarily directing you to do with the time, energy and resources He has given you?

            “Your job is not to sustain a structure. Your job is to take the anointing and do the job He’s calling you to do.”

            So at the end of the meeting, we agreed to enter into a season of prayer for the next two months, asking the Lord what He would have us do. And we invite all our charismatic friends throughout BC to join us in prayer for this intention.

Fall newsletter: still email only

         Once again, as in the spring, this issue of BC Charismatic is going out by email only.
         While it is wonderful to see Mass and prayer meetings resume on a limited basis, COVID rules for these events don’t allow newsletter distribution in the usual way.
         Please feel encouraged to forward the newsletter to anyone on your contact list who might be interested.
         Also as in the spring, the format has also been altered for email transmission. As before, I apologize for glitches and other inconveniences.
Richard Dunstan, editor

Cantalamessa named cardinal

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, one of the most prominent leaders in the Catholic charismatic renewal, has been named a cardinal by Pope Francis. The Pope announced Oct. 25 that Father Cantalamessa will be among new cardinals to take office at a consistory in Rome Nov. 28.

            Father Cantalamessa, 86, a Franciscan Capuchin friar, is ecclesiastical assistant to CHARIS, the international service for the renewal founded by the Pope last year. He has been “the Pope’s preacher” since 1980, as preacher of the pontifical household under popes St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and the present Pope. He was a featured speaker at the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Catholic charismatic renewal in Rome in 2017.

            Born in central Italy, Father Cantalamessa, was ordained to the priesthood in 1958 and holds doctorates from the University of Fribourg and the Catholic University of Milan. He was formerly professor of the history of ancient Christianity and director of the department of religious sciences in Milan.

            He was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1976 and became a full-time preacher of the Gospel in 1979. Over the years he has spoken at numerous charismatic events, among them an appearance in Vancouver in 2002. Due to his age he no longer travels. He is also the author of numerous books.

            As preacher to the pontifical household, he preaches sermons to the Pope and other Church officials on Fridays in Advent and Lent.

Jim Murphy:
Jesus gives us all we need
Gathering in the Spirit

Two words. Three letters. The answer to every question and every need.

            “I Am.”

            The holy name God revealed to Moses (Exodus 3:14), the name used used often by Jesus to reveal His own divinity, is also the key to our own life with God, featured speaker Jim Murphy told this year’s Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit.

            “What the Lord is saying to us is ‘I Am whatever you need Me to be,’” Murphy told the 80 people who attended the gathering, held on Zoom this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

            The annual gathering is sponsored by Nelson Diocese Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and endorsed by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC. Murphy, who returned as this year’s speaker after headlining last year’s gathering in Kelowna, is a longtime Catholic charismatic leader best-known for carrying a six-foot cross on foot across the United States in 1992. He was the last president of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services before it was superseded by CHARIS last year, and is country co-ordinator for Mexico with Renewal Ministries, a Catholic evangelization ministry based in his home state of Michigan.

            I Am… was the theme of this year’s gathering, with supporting text of Isaiah 55:1: “All you who are thirsty, come to the water.” Over five days of talks, Murphy discussed all 13 verses of Isaiah 55, as well as a related New Testament text, Jesus’ promise at Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest…for My yoke is easy, and My burden light.”

            Murphy said the invitation to “come to the water” in Isaiah is addressed to everybody, not just people who are “good enough” or qualified in some other way. “Jesus says the same thing in the gospel,” Murphy said. “‘Anybody who wants it, I’m here for you.’”

            The Lord is offering us massive blessings, Murphy said. Isaiah promises “wine and milk” and “rich fare,” biblical language for the luxuries available only to royalty, but now offered to everyone. “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard…what God has prepared for those who love Him,” St. Paul writes (1 Corinthians 2:9).

            What’s more, this isn’t just a description of what awaits us when we die. Many Christians suffer in this life, Murphy said, and the promises won’t be fufilled competely until heaven, but the blessings are for this life too, as many Christians have experienced through encounters with God in prayer. “You do not have to wait until you are dead to set foot into heaven,” he said. “God, right here, right now, wants to show you the glory of His ‘I Am.’”

            The point, Murphy said, isn’t so much the specific gifts the Lord gives us, wonderful as they can be. The point is the Lord Himself. “It’s all about relationships… ‘I Am’ inviting you into My life.

            Jesus doesn’t say ‘I will give you resurrection.’ He says ‘I Am the resurrection’ (John 11:25). He won’t do what you need. He is what you need.”


            The invitation is for everybody, Murphy said, but that doesn’t mean you can just stay as you are. To “come” to the Lord, you have to leave somewhere else—whatever you are or whatever you’re doing that isn’t compatible with life with God. “Come to Me heedfully,” God says through Isaiah. “Let the scoundrel forsake his way and the wicked man his thoughts.” (55:3,7)

            To heed, or listen, to God means four things in biblical thought, Murphy said. First is actually hearing, which isn’t necessarily as simple as it sounds. Having words wash over our ears isn’t enough; we must take genuine note of what God is saying. Murphy noted that when St. Francis of Assisi heard the Gospel message to take up his cross (Luke 9:23), and St. Benedict heard the passage about giving all his goods to the poor to follow Jesus (Matthew 19:21), they were in churches full of people, but nobody else responded. “The problem isn’t God isn’t speaking,” Murphy said. “The problem is, we’re not picking it up.”

            Second, we need to understand what God is saying. Not that we’ll ever grasp it completely, but we need to do our best, and God will give us more grace to understand as we respond. “If you wait until you understand everything perfectly, you’re never going to do anything else in your life.” God’s word is a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105); “I wish He’d light up the whole runway, but the fact is He gives us enough light to take the next step in the darkness.”

            Third, we must assent to what we hear, like the crowd at Pentecost who were “cut to the heart” by Peter’s speech and asked “what are we do do?” (Acts 2:37.) Finally we must act, as St. Francis and St. Benedict did when they heard God’s message.

            “Heeding means ‘I get it. It’s changing me,’” Murphy said.

            Acting is an essential part of the process, Murphy said. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says those who hear His words but don’t act on them are like those who build a house on sand, only to have it washed away in a storm; those who don’t do His will, no matter how “involved” they may think they are with Him, will end up hearing Him say “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:21-27).

            “The guy (the one Jesus says He doesn’t know) is not doing anything bad,” Murphy said. “He just didn’t act on the word of God. As I get older, I’m getting more and more afraid of standing before God with sins of omission—all the good I could have done.”

            It sounds scary, but Murphy says God doesn’t expect us to get it exactly right, as long as we work sincerely at putting God’s will first. “If you’re trying, folks, that’s good enough. Try to hear the Lord, try to undertand what He’s saying to you, try to agree with it, try to act on it. Take one step toward being obedient to God.”


            “Seek the Lord while He may be found,” Isaiah says in the same chapter (55:6). Isaiah is by no means the only biblical writer giving that advice. Murphy said he did a word search through the Bible and found “seek” to be one of the most common words in the Old Testament, and with plenty of equivalents in the New Testament. “When you seek Me with all your heart, I will let you find Me,” says Jeremiah (29:13). Devote your heart and soul to seeking God, says 2 Chronicles 22:19; God looks down to see if anyone is wise, anyone is seeking the Lord (Psalm 14:2). And “seeking” doesn’t mean looking around casually; we’re to have a “rabid longing” for the Kingdom of God.

            Murphy said he got a whole new understanding of Psalm 42 (“as the deer longs for streams of water”) when his route took him across the desert when he was carrying his cross in 1992 and he ran short of water. That’s how much we should desire God, he said. “Do you want God as much as a person in the desert wants water?” What’s more, he said, our thirst should not be for the gifts or the benefits God can give us, but God Himself—not God’s hand in our lives so much as God’s face.

            And now is the time to start, Murphy said. The Lord’s invitation is open to everybody, but it isn’t open forever. Remember, Isaiah said “Seek the Lord while He may be found.” Don’t say “Good old God, I’ll follow Him when I’m ready,” Murphy said. “There’s a window of opportunity that’s open to us now, but we can’t presume that it’s always open.” Grab hold of unexpected moments of grace, like when you end up at a prayer meeting you hadn’t planned to attend; that might be God’s appointment with you. “You don’t know how much time you have. You don’t know whether you will be ready.”


            After “seek the Lord,” Isaiah says “let the scoundrel forsake his way and the wicked man his thoughts.” In other words, we must repent. But if that sounds like getting overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, you’re on the wrong track. Repenting is not primarily a matter of feeling bad.

            Repentance has three parts. First, we must recognize that we are on the wrong path in our relationship with God. That can have an emotional component, because sorrow for sin is appropriate, but the key factor is acknowledging that we are in the wrong. Conviction of sin is a work of the Holy Spirit, Murphy said, and is not to be confused with condemnation, which is the work of an evil spirit. Condemnation is intended to “spiral us down into despair;” conviction is supposed to bring hope.

            “If you sincerely seek the Lord, if you’re trying, God is going to show you where you’re off course,” Murphy said. “The trick is, once He shows you something, you need to respond to it. You can’t ignore it.”

            That response is the second step: we must turn in a new direction, get rid of any behaviours or attitudes in our life that aren’t in keeping with God’s will. “Anything that needs to be changed, with the help of God, can be changed,” even though Satan will try to tell us otherwise.

            Murphy told the story of a bear that had been kept in a four-by-four-footcage for a long time, but was finally taken to a zoo with acres of space to roam in. The bear refused to come out of the cage, and when he was finally forced out, he began pacing back and forth the same four feethe had done in the cage, ignoring all the open land around him. We might be like that bear when we repent, Murphy said, but we must remember that “Jesus Christ has broken the bars of the cage. Satan says ‘you’re still in the cage.’ We have to believe the Lord more than Satan. God wants you to be free.”

            Finally, repentance means we keep walking in your new path. Isaiah says “a voice shall sound in your ears, ‘this is the way; walk in it,’ when you would turn to the right or to the left” (30:21). We all know people who walked with the Lord in the past and no longer do, Murphy said, but “it’s not good enough to do something for 20 minutes. We have to keep going for the rest of our lives.”

            The task is demanding, but the reward is infinite. “‘Come to repentance’ isn’t a bad thing,” Murphy said. “It’s the greatest day of a person’s life. ‘Turn to the Lord, that you may be radiant with joy.’ (Psalm 34)God’s idea of repentance is a whole new way of life.”

            “His desire is to heal you, and not just to stop you from doing bad things. His desire is that you literally take on His nature, and you live like Him, and you live with Him, and you live in Him.

            “Lord, here I am. Take out what You need to take out. Put in what You need to put in. Do whatever you have to, because living with You is a much better way than living with me.

       “When we hear the word ‘come,” let’s be willing to walk away from other things, in order to be with the Lord. Whatever price we have to pay, whatever pain we have to endure, whatever hardship we have to experience, it’ll definitely be worth it.”

—Richard Dunstan

Join us on our BC Charismatic Facebook page

After several years on the back burner, the BC Charismatic Facebook page has been revived. We’re hoping it will serve as a means of communication, fellowship, and inspiration for charismatic Catholics at a time when the covid pandemic has disrupted our normal activities. We on the BC service committee will be making a serious effort to keep the page updated with worthwhile and edifying material.

            To see the page: If you are already a Facebook member (or if you join Facebook), you can find the page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bccharismatic A search for “BC Charismatic” on the Facebook site will also find it. The page is visible to any Facebook member, so you will be able to read whatever is posted on the page.

            To join the page: If you would like to join the group so that you can take an active role on the page, you can make a request to join via the button on the page, and we will accept your request as soon as we see it. 

            We welcome posts of edifying or inspiring material that is consistent with Catholic teaching, with Christian charity, and with godly prudence. This includes information on charismatic or other Church events, and inspiring teachings. (No politics, please!)

The Holy Spirit shows up online, too!


CHARIS International

The global pandemic – COVID 19 – has impacted us as a world community, nation, family and as individuals. The pandemic has also brought about innumerable sufferings to all of us without exception. However, I am convinced that the virus going viral is a sign of the time (Lk 12: 54-56). The world is not going to be the same any more. During prayer, the Lord gave me this Word from Hab.1:15: “Look at the nations, and see! Be astonished! Be astounded! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told.” The Lord is doing something new and incredible. It is in this context that I want to share with you something new and amazing that I have experienced during this lockdown.

I live in New Delhi, the capital of India. The Catholic charismatic renewal in the city has a retreat centre of its own, functioning under the guidance of the archbishop of Delhi. The retreat centre is in itself a testimony of the power of intercession. On July 8, 1996, during my personal prayer, I had the image of a huge building. I was filled with awe and asked the Lord what this vision meant. I received a strong confirmation in prayer that it was a renewal centre that the Lord wanted to be established in Delhi. With no money in hand, the only thing we could do was to start praying for it and asked our intercession ministry to pray specially for the project. As a confirmation from the Church hierarchy, the then archbishop, during a meeting with the diocesan service of communion in 1999, suggested for us to look for a place to have a centre of our own because we had a number of events being organized in rented premises. By 2001, Jeevan Jyoti Ashram (a centre of the Light of Life) was established in five hectares of land in the outskirts of the city. Today, it can receive about 150 people for retreats and training courses. “Only ask me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession” (Ps 2:8).

Prophetic intercession is a special charism of the retreat centre and we use it to organize training courses on this topic for participants in the city and at national level. With requests coming initially from the members of Indian communities abroad, we started organizing JERICHO – a residential training program on prophetic intercession – for overseas participants since 2018.

With the lockdown, it was no longer possible to organize physical gathering at the centre. A suggestion was received to organize the prophetic intercession training online. From a human point of view, this was something impossible, as the training has workshops for the participants to receive charisms, followed by group workshops on prophetic intercession using the gifts of the Holy Spirit: like word of knowledge, word of wisdom, gift of discernment, gift of prophecy, gift of tongues, etc. Charisms online? Receiving and using charisms through social media platform is something that we could not visualize. Impossible, it will not work, we said! However, after much prayer, trusting the retreat to the Lord, the retreat centre launched a virtual 15-day training program on prophetic intercession in July 2020. Bishop Francis Kalist and I are the main consulting persons. People from different continents registered for the event.

We had many apprehensions as we started the program. The participants were coming together for workshops on charisms and prophetic intercession on Zoom. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of surprises and indeed surprised us with amazing testimonies of people receiving and using charisms on the online platform. It proved that virtual gathering on social media is not an impediment to the operation of the power of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes all things possible!

The training program is now being organized in English from the 1st to the 15th of every month. We also organize a virtual adoration for healing and baptism in the Holy Spirit. A number of participants have testified healing of mind, body, and spirit. Some participants have received charisms for the first time during the workshop and BHS service. They also use the charisms during the workshops on prophetic intercession. Charisms on Zoom is something new and amazing that the Lord is doing now. Let us thank and praise the Lord that during this time of pandemic we have been able to sanctify the social media through retreats, training programs, celebration of the Holy Eucharist, adoration, prayer meetings, and intercession. I sense this is a new opening that the Lord is giving to us: to use social media in every way possible for evangelization and praying for the world. “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act” (Ps 37:5)!

—CHARIS Magazine

Get international charismatic news from CHARIS Magazine

CHARIS Magazine, a publication of the newly-created CHARIS international service of communion for the Catholic charismatic renewal, is now published monthly and is now available free on the CHARIS website, http://www.charis.international/ , along with a great deal of other material. Articles from the latest edition are at the lower right of the home page, and previous issues are available under “magazine” at the top of the home page.

A ‘firecracker for the Lord’ in Edmonton


On October 2-4, Catholic charismatics from BC, Alberta and beyond attended an online conference sponsored by Catholic Renewal   Services  of  the  Archdiocese   of 

Edmonton, titled The Fullness of the Love of Christ. (see Ephesians 3:19)

Maria Vadia, the guest speaker, is an international speaker who has written 10 books on the spiritual life. Conference organizers say “she has a fire and a zeal for the Lord that is not only contagious but can be life-changing if you are open to the Holy Spirit.  Patti Mansfield has said of Maria, ‘Every time I have heard her proclaim the Word of God, I have been deeply convicted, moved and motivated to give myself to Jesus anew.’”

After hearing Maria speak, I agree that she is indeed a “firecracker” for the Lord! Here is a sampling from the second of three two-hour talks:           

We are in the most amazing time for the Church and we need to wake up! As we work together with Him,we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain.For He says “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! (2 Cor. 6:1-2 NRSV)

All are called into partnership with the Holy Spirit. Say to the Lord, “I want to fulfill your plan, and to co-operate with you to be in my life.  What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him”— 1 Cor. 2:9NRSV

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. – Jer. 29:11

My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfull My intention. – Is. 46:10

In this time of great upheaval, we are not to be afraid, for the stronghold of fear and slavery has been broken.

…for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” – 2 Tim.1:7-10

Take authority; use your weapons: The Name of Jesus, the Blood, the Word, the Holy Spirit, and Praise. Take control of the fear, do battle, resist and be set free. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. – Luke 10:19

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. –  Eph. 2:4-6

Take action. Write down every time the Lord has rescued you; if you journal, go through your journals; pray and give thanksgiving for the memories. Remember, the Lord is never late; He always comes on time. When you see your history, and are reminded of every time He has come to your rescue, raise a mighty shout, HALLELUIAH! Create a legacy for your children, HALLELUIAH!

I sought the LORD, and He answered me,

and delivered me from all my fears.

Look to Him, and be radiant;

so yourfaces shall never be ashamed. Ps. 34:4-5

Every point that Maria makes is supported with one or more scriptural references. She is indeed an inspirational woman of God. To find out more about Maria Vadia and her powerful ministry, talks and outreach, simply Google Maria Vadia. To listen to the conference talks, click on the links.

First session: 

Second session: 

Third session: 

In this interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (John 4:24-26) we find hope and encouragement: 

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am He, the one who is speaking to you.”

Take courage, saying, “God created me to be a champion, a world changer, a dragon slayer! HALLELLUIAH!


Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C.


Richard Dunstan (Victoria diocese), chair     

308-225 Belleville St., Victoria BC V8V 4T9                            

richard@thedunstans.com   250-477-4700


Nitz Baylon, Vancouver archdiocese,604-202-2998

Lennie David, Vancouver archdiocese, 604-597-8227

David MacIntyre, Victoria diocese, 250-383-9955

Loreen Renwick, Nelson diocese, 250-354-7223

Janet Tng, Vancouver archdiocese, 778-998-8098

Frans van der Woning, Kamloops diocese, 250-851-5751

Lynne Williams, Nelson diocese, 250-489-1702


[Delivered by Pope Francis to the worldwide Pentecost Vigil celebration held May 30 on Zoom, organized by CHARIS]

“When Pentecost day came around, they had all met together in the same place.”

Thus begins the second chapter of book of Acts that we have just heard. And thanks to technology advances, today too, all of us, believers from various parts of the world are gathered together on Pentecost eve.

The account continues:

“Where suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a violent wind, which filled the entire house in which they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, they separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” Acts 2, 2-4)

The Spirit came to rest on each one of the disciples, on each one of us. The Spirit promised by Jesus comes to renew, to convert, to heal each one of us. He comes to heal our fears – oh, how many fears we have! – to heal our uncertainty, He comes to heal our wounds, also the wounds we cause one another and He comes to make us disciples, missionary disciples, witnesses full of courage, of apostolic parresia, which are necessary for the preaching of the Gospel that, as mentioned in the following verses, happened to the disciples.

Today more than ever we need the Father to send us the Holy Spirit. In the first chapter of book of Acts, Jesus says to His disciples: “ … He enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father about which you have heard Me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (v. 4). And, in verse 8, He says, “ When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The Holy Spirit leads us to this testimony: today the world suffers, is wounded; we live in a very wounded world, which suffers, especially in the poorest, who are discarded. When all our human certainties have disappeared, the world needs us to give Jesus to it. It needs our witness to the Gospel,the Gospel of Jesus. And that witness we can only give it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We need the Spirit to give us new eyes, open our minds and hearts to face this moment and the future with the lesson learned. We are only one humanity. We are not saved by ourselves. No one saves himself. No one. St. Paul says in the letter to the Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Jesus Christ,” (Gal. 3:28), cohesive by the power of the Holy Spirit, through this baptism in the Holy Spirit that Jesus announces. We know it, we knew it, but this pandemic we are living through has made us experience it in a much more shocking way.

We have before us the duty to build a new reality. The Lord will do it; we can collaborate… “Behold, I make all things new.” he says (Rev 21:5).

When we come out of this pandemic, we will no longer be able to do what we have been doing, and in the way we have been doing it. No, everything will be different. All the suffering will have been useless if we do not build all together a more just, more equitable, more Christian society, not in name, but in reality, a reality that leads us to a Christian behavior. If we do not work to end the pandemic of poverty in the world, the pandemic of poverty in each of our countries, in each of the cities we live in, this time will have past in vain.

From the great trials of humanity, and among them, the pandemic, one comes out either better or worse. One does not come out the same person.

I ask you: How do you want to come out? Better or worse? And that is why today we open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit so that He can change our hearts and help us to come out better.

If we do not live to be judged according to what Jesus tells us: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, in prison and you visited me, a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Mt 25:35-36), we will not come out better.

And this is everybody’s task, a task for all of us. And also for you of CHARIS, who are the communion of all the charismatics.

The third Malines document, written in the 70s by Cardinal Suenens and Bishop Helder Camara, called: Charismatic Renewal and Social Action: A Dialogue, shows the way to this current of grace. Be faithful to this call of the Holy Spirit!

The prophetic words of John XXIII, when he announced the II Vatican Council and which the Charismatic Renewal especially treasures, now come to my mind: “May the divine Spirit deign to answer in a most comforting manner the prayer that everyday rises to Him from every corner of the world: Renew Your wonders in our time, as though in a new Pentecost, and grant that the Holy Church, united in unanimous prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and guided by Peter, may spread the Kingdom of the divine Savior, a Kingdom of Truth, of Justice, of Love, and of Peace.”

To all of you, on this vigil I wish you the consolation of the Holy Spirit. And the strength of the Holy Spirit to come out of this time of pain, sorrow and trial that is the pandemic, to come out improved. May the Lord bless you and the Virgin Mother guard you.

Art book introduces Our Lady to a new generation

Millennials Meet Mary, a beauifully-bound 428-page art book by Joan Foo Mahony, celebrates Our Lady via great works of art, with commentary by members of the Millennial generation who have viewed these images.

The author chosen to reveal the story of the Virgin Mary, the most painted and sculptured woman of all time, through Renaissance and Baroque artworks from great museums all over the world. For commentary on each of the artworks, the author has not attempted to ask art historians, iconologists or theological experts to interpret them. Instead, she has asked 80 Millennials from 42 countries who come from all walks of life – royalty, celebrities, entrepreneurs, professionals, accomplished figures, professionals and students – to “meet” the Mary of 23 BCE. For more on the book, see https://millennialsmeetmary.com/ . A hard copy of the book is available for $33 Cdn from Lennie David, lennieptl@telus.net .

B.C. Charismatic

CCRS of BC newsletter

published spring and fall

editor Richard Dunstan

308-225 Belleville St.

Victoria BC V8V 4T9

email: rccharismaticbc@gmail.com

phone: 250-477-4700

website: www.bccharismatic.ca


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., 12358   65 Ave., Surrey BC V3W 5Y5



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Your prayers and financial support are appreciated.

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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. 

Posted in Uncategorized

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

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