Preach from the Rooftops

Aug. 7-20, 2003
Preach from the Rooftops
By Eileen Jevis/ SUN staff writer
Charismatic renewal teaches evangelization

In these times of uncertainty and fear and a world of hurting and discouraged people, now more than ever Christians need to call upon the Holy Spirit for courage, hope and comfort. The Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Spirit lies within each individual, and a Syracuse-based Holy Spirit Institute Program is offering a way to bring that spirit to life. A Charismatic Renewal is scheduled for Oct. 27 through Oct. 31, at the Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center in Skaneateles and is part of a four-year course that culminates in October 2006.

During the week-long retreat, participants can petition the Lord through increased prayer and renewal of faith, to guide them, heal them and give them strength to endure life’s hardships. After becoming reacquainted with the Holy Spirit and evangelizing themselves, participants will then have the tools they need to go out and evangelize others. Pope John Paul II said, “Do not be afraid to go into the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of Salvation in the squares of cities, towns, and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops.” In answer to the pope’s directive, a Charismatic Renewal has spread throughout the world, impacting the lives and changing the hearts of millions, and leading them to a new-found depth of spirituality.

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a renewal of faith using all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The charisms are found in Chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians.

Among the gifts given by the Spirit are wisdom, knowledge, healing, prophecy and the working of miracles.

Father Regis Rodda, OFM, Conv., has made it his mission to build up renewal in the diocese. “God works through the Holy Spirit in everything He does,” said Father Regis. “If we can get people to believe in the Charismatic gifts, then everything comes alive. We need to have a personal renaissance take place. This renewal is for people who want to experience a bigger chunk of life.” Father Rodda said he has witnessed the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit many times during his pastoral life, especially the gift of healing. He spoke of praying over individuals who were critically ill or severely incapacitated and how the power of prayer healed them. Their maladies simply disappeared. “These things have happened hundreds of times through the power of God,” explained Father Regis.

Arlene Apone is the liaison for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of the Archdiocese of Detroit. She also directs the Detroit Charismatic Renewal Center and is the author of three books. She will be one of the presenters at the renewal program. “We will offer overviews of the Holy Spirit in action,” said Apone. “Our goal is to get people sensitive to the Holy Spirit in their lives.” Every night throughout the week-long event, a spiritual minister will focus his/her talk on living an active life through the Holy Spirit. The institute has a faculty of nine national leaders that includes teachers, speakers and other evangelists. Along with the national leaders scheduled to attend, local leaders will also be invited to speak at the conference. “It’s a very intense week,” said Apone. “We encourage people to commit for the full four years. A commitment of four weeks over the next four years is miniscule in a person’s life. If the Lord calls you, He doesn’t say yes today and no tomorrow. Ask the Lord if He wants you there. If He does, He will clear your calendar,” said Apone.

The curriculum for the first year will include the following: Scripture –– The Holy Spirit in the first half of the Old Testament; Developing Leadership –– Called to Listen; Evangelization –– Charisms and Ministry; The Holy Spirit within the Church –– New Catechism/Documents of Vatican II; and Ministry –– Practicum.

“We will work on identifying ourselves as the children of God and include all aspects of growth formation in the Holy Spirit,” explained Apone. Also included in the program will be the study of repentance and healing, listening to the word of God in an on-going way and using individual gifts to build up the church. Other presenters include Josephine Cachia, the Director of the Charismatic Renewal Office for the Diocese of Brooklyn/Queens; Agatha Neck, a full time minister at Servant House, a Charismatic House of Prayer; and Bill Richart, a worship leader with Jim Murphy for the 1998 and 1999 National Catholic Charismatic Conferences at Notre Dame.

Scripture tells of God’s promise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. “This is what I will do in the last days, God says: ‘I will pour out my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message. Your young men shall see visions and your old men will have dreams. Yes, even on my servants both men and women I will pour out my Spirit in those days. And they will proclaim my message. I will perform miracles in the sky above and wonders on the earth below.’” (Acts 2: 17-19). “The Holy Father is really pushing formation,” said Apone. Pope John Paul has asked for the development of spirituality, growth, service and ministry to a larger church –– whether it be one’s neighbors, family or the world. “It is necessary to awaken again in believers a full relationship with Christ, mankind’s only Savior. Only from a personal relationship with Jesus can an effective evangelization develop,” said Pope John Paul II. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal has helped millions across the world to renew their relationship with Jesus, and by coming to know Him more personally, they may more effectively proclaim Him through their words and actions. “We need to grow in our relationship with the Holy Spirit and know that the Holy Spirit is speaking to us and hanging out with us,” said Apone. “We affect those we live with, and living with the Holy Spirit affects us. It’s all about relationships.”

To learn more about the Holy Spirit Institute, contact Father Regis at (315)425-8843.

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