Nearly 400 at weekend Catholic charismatic conference

Patti Gallagher Mansfield lived out a childhood dream during Friday night’s opening of the Diocese of Peoria’s 22nd Annual Charismatic Renewal Conference.

For a half-hour, the pioneer in the charismatic renewal in the Catholic
Church became a cheerleader.

“Give me an ‘H’!” she urged a crowd of almost 400 at the Holiday Inn City Centre in Peoria, continuing with the rest of the letters of the key word of the weekend: “holy.”

The theme of the July 25-26 conference, which drew participants from
throughout the Midwest and beyond, was “Called to Be Holy.” Friday
night’s conference opening was highlighted by a Mass celebrated by
Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, who said the Holy Spirit is calling all
Catholics to “more intense lives of holiness and greater lives of love and

Prior to the Mass, Mansfield — an author who is a charismatic renewal
leader in the Archdiocese of New Orleans — explained what it takes to be h-o-l-y by linking each letter with a corresponding word from Catholic teaching: humility, obedience, love, and a “yes” to Mary.

Humility is “the basis for all holiness,” she said, as we come to realize
who we are and who God is.

Her address Friday challenged conference attendees to understand
that holiness is not a task we work toward, but rather “holiness is God’s
work in us.”

“God wants to make saints of you and of me,” she said. “He’s going to
do it with our cooperation. It is the Holy Spirit who makes us holy.”

The event’s other keynote speaker, Peter Herbeck, credited the Holy Spirit and prayer for rescuing his father from alcoholism and bringing him and his six siblings to a deeper faith.

Herbeck, now vice president and director of missions for Renewal
Ministries — a lay organization devoted to Catholic renewal and evangelization throughout the world — opened the conference Friday by sharing his personal journey of faith.

Herbeck prayed that God would grant to conference attendees “fresh grace and fresh revelation of the reality and majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The weekend featured energetic praise and worship music led by Bill Richart, a Catholic lay evangelist and musician from Michigan. Prayer
permeated the event, including adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the rosary, a healing service led by Mansfield and Herbeck, and a closing Mass celebrated by Father J. M. Logan.

The annual conference is sponsored by the diocesan Office of Charismatic Renewal. Coordinating this year’s event were Sharon and Paul Martin of Mackinaw, members of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Morton.

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