Charismatic Renewal celebrates ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit’ 

Pope Francis prays as he attends a Pentecost vigil marking the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the Circus Maximus in Rome June 3. (CNS photo | Paul Haring)

By Katherine Long, Editor

Deacon Ken Money didn’t plan his first encounter with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement — but perhaps the Holy Spirit had something to do with it.

His introduction came shortly after the Easter Vigil that completed his journey of conversion to the Catholic faith. A friend from work invited him to attend a charismatic prayer group at their parish, Pope John XXIII Church in Liverpool.

“I had no idea what it was,” Deacon Money recalled. “I kept putting it off.”

But one day the friend found him mowing the lawn at the parish just before the prayer group was set to meet. Again he was invited to attend, and this time he couldn’t say no.

Walking into the room, the “people there just seemed to have genuine love for God and Jesus Christ and reading scripture,” Deacon Money remembered. “It appealed to me immediately,” he said, and “seemed to be what I was looking for in my search to deepen my faith.” That initial experience began a decades-long involvement that Deacon Money credits with leading him to the diaconate and helping him to grow in his faith.

The Catholic charismatic renewal movement has its roots in a 1967 retreat made by students and faculty of Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University. “The students had spent much of the weekend in prayer, asking God to allow them to experience the grace of both baptism and confirmation. The students, that weekend, had a powerful and transforming experience of God, which came to be known as ‘baptism in the Spirit,’” according to the website of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services.

Word of the experience spread across campuses and parishes; today the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is present in more than 200 countries and has reached more than 120 million Catholics, according to ICCRS. Thousands of those Catholics joined Pope Francis and members of Pentecostal and Evangelical churches for the celebration of Pentecost Mass in Rome this June, marking the 50th anniversary of the movement. A jubilee conference was also held in July in Pittsburgh.

The Holy Spirit is central to the charismatic renewal movement. “Catholic Charismatic Renewal invites all people to experience the Holy Spirit who opens us to a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ and the love of the Father. The Holy Spirit empowers us for personal holiness, renewed Catholic life, and evangelization,” the diocese’s Charismatic Renewal office, directed by liaison Deacon Money, affirms on its website.

A charismatic gathering or Mass is — appropriately — more spirited in its celebration than a typical Mass and often features song, dance, prayer for healing, and speaking in tongues — gifts of the Holy Spirit. The charismatic style of prayer and praise appeals to an extrovert like him, Deacon Money noted with a laugh, and offers a “wonderful opportunity to be really open to gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

Those interested in learning more about the charismatic renewal are invited to two upcoming gatherings sponsored by the diocesan Charismatic Renewal Office: a praise and worship Mass and a Day of Renewal, both featuring guests Father Richard McAlear, OMI, and Father Amedeo Guida.

The Mass will be celebrated Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 8229 Brewerton Rd., Cicero.

The Day of Renewal will be held Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Traditions Restaurant, 5900 Burdick St., East Syracuse. The day will include praise and worship, presentations, pray for healing and Mass. Registration by Sept. 26 is required. Send a check for $45 payable to Charismatic Renewal-West to Linda Diana, 7945 Areopagitica Ave., Bridgeport, N.Y. 13030. Contact Teresa Brusa at (315) 401-0016 with questions.

For more information about Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the diocese, visit www.syracusediocese.org/offices/charismatic-renewal.