Charismatics urged to renew diocese, face of the earth
Photo Caption: Sister Ana Pia Cordua, SCTJM, and Sister Silvia Tarafa, SCTJM, form a prayer circle during the healing Mass that took place July 30 at the 25th annual Charismatic Renewal Conference in Peoria.
By: By Jennifer Willems
Words of love and gratitude are part of any anniversary celebration and those could be found in abundance at the 25th annual Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference in Peoria last weekend.
When one of the parties involved is the Holy Spirit, however, words of challenge can also be expected — as well as the promise of help — and that’s what more than 250 men, women and children took home with them.
“The Father’s Promise” was the theme for the conference, which was held July 29-30 at Four Points by Sheraton (formerly the Holiday Inn City Centre). Helping participants to explore that message were Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, who celebrated the opening Mass, and Mother Adela Galindo, SCTJM, and Aggie Neck, who were the keynote speakers.
Leading the praise and worship throughout the weekend was a group of musicians under the direction of Mary Delgado of the Spirit of Love Disciples Prayer Group at St. Edward’s Church in Chillicothe.
Father Paul C. Burak, pastor of St. Michael Parish in Orland Park and a keynote speaker at last year’s conference, returned to lead a healing service on Saturday afternoon. He also celebrated the closing Mass.
MISSION NEVER ENDS
One of the challenges to come out of the conference was the need to take up the new evangelization called for by Blessed Pope John Paul II and it came in a keynote address by Mother Adela, founder of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
She said those who would follow Jesus must remember that making disciples of all the nations is the vocation and mission of the church and “we are in a permanent state of mission.”
“The pope says the church can never get tired of making known to the whole world the beauty of the Gospel,” Mother Adela told conference participants.
While the heart of the church cries out for joy every time someone is baptized and brought into the family of God, too many people are living like “orphans” today because secularism has invaded society, she said.
“At one time everything was based on Christian values. We thought we didn’t have to do anything,” Mother Adela said, and the “children of darkness” took advantage of that.
“We need to stand up and say, ‘I will bring hope!'” she urged her listeners, saying the time of waiting for people to come to us has passed.
“Everywhere we go is mission territory and your family comes first,” Mother Adela said. “Don’t allow your family to be evangelized by television. Spend at least one hour a day with them. Teach your children the truth . . . and to reason.”
Another good place to evangelize is the supermarket, she said.
“When you’re standing there in line, let somebody go ahead of you. I assure you they are going to ask why,” Mother Adela said. “Tell them.”
Praying the rosary while on an airplane often presents another opportunity to talk about faith because in those prayers are contained a compendium of Scripture, she explained. “Don’t waste any opportunity.”
Mother Adela also asked her listeners to pray for Bishop Jenky, “who is engaging in battle to defend his bride, the church, and you.”
A PARTNER IN BATTLE
In his homily the night before, Bishop Jenky encouraged them to look to the Holy Spirit as their partner in that battle.
“The Holy Spirit is the very breath of God that gives life to the church. The Holy Spirit is a consuming fire that sets our hearts on fire. The Holy Spirit is the truth revealed in Scripture and tradition. The Holy Spirit is an anointing that reveals inwardly more than could ever be expressed outwardly,” the bishop said. “The Holy Spirit is the way to heaven, admitting us into paradise through his gifts, making us a part of Christ.”
Reminding them of a line from the “Veni Sancte Spiritus” that seeks the Holy Spirit’s assistance in watering what is dry and heating what is cold, Bishop Jenky prayed that that same Holy Spirit would “water whatever is dry in our local church and heat whatever is cold in our hearts.”
“Come, Holy Spirit, and enkindle in us the fire of your love,” he said. “O God, send forth your Spirit and renew me, renew this diocese and renew the face of the earth.”
Aggie Neck, co-director of Servant House, a charismatic house of prayer in Marksville, La., added her reassurance that the Holy Spirit is “the gift that gives gifts.”
“When we receive a prophecy, a Word of Knowledge or a Word of Wisdom it is the Holy Spirit who comes to prompt us,” she explained in one of her keynote addresses. “We have to be ready. We never know when we’ll be the instrument God will use to give that message.”
That preparation includes remembering that God is always present in their lives and not just at prayer meetings, Neck said, adding that Scripture is another gift.
“You can’t say, ‘I didn’t know, Lord.’ You can (know) if you get into the Word,” she told them.
And because human beings “leak” — “we don’t stay full all the time” — it is important to be filled with the Eucharist, she said.
Doing all of this reminds us that heaven is our “homeland” and we are “ambassadors for the Lord,” according to Neck. “We must bring the hope of our homeland to others.”
SUFFERING IS A MINISTRY
Father Burak told conference participants that “Jesus loves each of you. He cares about your pains, your struggles and your hurts. It makes a difference to him.”
“If you’re feeling weak in faith today look at someone who is strong in faith,” he said. “If someone in the congregation thinks, ‘Nothing is going to change,’ we will pray for you so that you have an expectant faith.”
Father Burak said that perhaps the greatest healing we can experience is to realize that suffering is a ministry, and he urged them to pray: “Lord, if my pain is going to save a soul, I offer it to you as a worthy sacrifice.”
In the end, we must be open to whatever healing comes, he said.