Alive in the Holy Spirit

Dec. 8-14 2005
Alive in the Holy Spirit
Bishop James Moynihan lays his hands on Nancy Flynn, a parishoner at Cathedral Parish, as Bernie Smith waits to catch her
By Claudia Mathis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Charismatic Mass held at St. Daniel Church The atmosphere was lively at St. Daniel Church in Syracuse on the evening of Dec. 2. Close to 150 people had come to praise the Holy Spirit and to participate in a Charismatic Mass marking the first year anniversary of Father Amedeo Guida’s time spent as the bishop’s liaison for the Charismatic Renewal Movement in the diocese.

Charismatic spirituality is the approach to Christian life of someone that has experienced a renewal in the works of the Holy Spirit and has responded to that renewal in a way that has made it a source of more effective Christian living. Preceding the Mass, several music ministers, led in song by Ann Walseman, accompanied those in attendance in the singing of upbeat inspirational songs with their guitars, percussion instruments and voices. Father Guida began the Mass by welcoming everyone in attendance, including Bishop James Moynihan and the music ministers.

Bishop Moynihan was then introduced. He emphasized the importance of the Holy Spirit and then thanked those in attendance for their dedication to the Holy Spirit. Bishop Moynihan said, “That’s what our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II was praying for and that’s what our first Holy Father was praying for.” Bishop Moynihan expounded on the Scripture reading for the Mass from the book of Isaiah. “Isaiah said that God is always at work in so many different ways,” said Bishop Moynihan “He cures the deaf, he heals the blind, he raises the lonely and he also removes the tyrant and the evil-doer. In other words, God is constantly at work bringing fruitfulness to a variety of people. Isaiah is telling us that nobody is without hope. This time of Advent is a beautiful time for us to pause and reflect and think about the holy deeds that God is doing in our lives and in the lives of others. Isaiah makes it clear that all we can do is stand in awe and praise the Mighty One for His wondrous deeds. When you come to these wonderful liturgies, that is essentially all that you do – you praise God and you thank God.”

Bishop Moynihan reminded everyone that it is very important to tell others about Jesus, and bring others to Jesus. He told those in attendance that they were “authentic Christians.” “Your job, your mission, is to tell the world about Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Moynihan. “Being Christian, being Catholic, is an awesome calling — it really is. I think the primary work of the Holy Spirit is twofold: it’s to anchor us in our relationship with God our Father and to anchor us in our relationship with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.” Father Guida then invited several members of the Charismatic Renewal team to share some of their spiritual gifts — the gifts of prophesy and faith testimony.

Following that, Father Guida told a story about a woman whose sight in her right eye had been restored after attending a Healing Mass. “The Lord touched her and she was healed,” said Father Guida. “Always be open to the Lord.” After attending the Mass, Ron Stott, a parishioner of St. Agnes Church in Brewerton, reflected on what he had heard. “I thought the bishop’s words were very inspiring,” said Stott. “I enjoyed the Mass very much.” The Mass also enriched Ruth Simone, a parishioner at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Syracuse. She had heard about the Mass through her involvement in St. Charles Borromeo’s Charismatic Prayer Group in Syracuse. “It was marvelous — especially since the bishop came,” said Simone. “I came tonight to praise the Lord and to open myself to the Spirit. This type of Mass is very special. The Mass tonight was awesome and so spiritual. The music was uplifting. To be there was wonderful.”

As Father Guida reflected on his last year as the bishop’s liaison, he said it was a year of organizing. “I looked back at what happened with my predecessor, and I’m also moving forward with some new goals. It’s been challenging. I’m eager to bring new life into the diocese. We need to provide the opportunities for people to celebrate their faith.” Father Guida has established five goals in his attempt to provide those opportunities. He has established a diocesan pastoral team in order to determine how to keep each region in the diocese spiritually alive. Father Guida also wants to identify leaders of prayer groups in order to reestablish prayer groups throughout the diocese. Also, every first Friday, a praise and worship service is held in which all prayer groups in the diocese are invited to attend. The fourth goal is to continue the Life in the Spirit seminars. As Father Guida’s fifth goal, in January, he will arrange periodic Mass/breakfast/conferences in which inspirational speakers will give presentations.

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