Be ‘cooperators with God’ and agents of healing, 200 urged at charismatic event

Martina Akolly, Perolle Assindo and Denise Soglohun of Prayer Group Sinai at Christ the King Church in Moline take the opportunity to praise and worship the Lord during the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference, held July 26-27 at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

In practical, humorous and inspirational ways, speakers at the 33rd annual Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference in Peoria last weekend encouraged nearly 200 people to make good use of the love and mercy God lavishes on them by extending it to others.

Mother Adela Galindo, SCTJM, who has been involved in the charismatic renewal since she was a child, encouraged those who attended the conference to trust in God’s merciful love to overcome evil. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

“We need to be cooperators with God,” said Mother Adela Galindo, foundress of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, in her opening talk. “We live in an historic time, when Jesus is saying, ‘Are you going to do it or not?’ When Jesus is saying, ‘Can I count on you or not?’”

“Are we convinced that nothing, that no one can separate us from the love of God,” she asked her listeners, assuring them that mercy never ceases to bring good from evil or suffering.

“We believe the merciful love of God will triumph,” Mother Adela said.

Author, worship leader and speaker Victoria “Tori” Harris of Dallas, 37 weeks pregnant, quipped that she had already checked out area hospitals, just in case she went into labor during the weekend. Even if that happened, she told conference participants, “we’ll just ignore it” and move on.

Baby No. 2 waited, however, so people were able to hear Harris’ joy-filled, informative presentations about the gift of healing, obstacles to spiritual growth, and how to discern if what they’re hearing in prayer is of the Holy Spirit.

The theme for the conference was “Trust and Seek Refuge in the Lord.” It began at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on Friday, July 26, with a rosary led by members of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary. A Mass celebrated by Father Don Roszkowski, administrator at St. Ann Parish in Peoria, followed.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, had planned to be there, but was detained by a “minor medical appointment” at the last minute and sent assurances of his prayers. Those who attended the conference returned the favor by offering prayers for him as they regrouped at the Spalding Pastoral Center for a reception later that evening and the following day.

The conference also included opportunities for confession, eucharistic adoration, and a healing service. It ended as it began, with a Mass celebrated by Father Roszkowski.

In his homilies, he encouraged people to accept the grace God showers on them and then give it away so that it can grow in others, too.

“How many times have we wasted grace,” Father Roszkowski asked. “How many times have we said, ‘I’m too busy’? How many times has God given us blessings and opportunities? How do we respond?”


Mother Adela, who has been involved in the charismatic renewal since childhood, said people often ask her, “Do you think we can conquer evil?”

Denise Natt of St. Michael the Archangel in Streator (center), Cindy Flottman of St. Matthew in Champaign, and Jane Walsh, also of St. Matthew Parish, join hands in prayer as the healing service begins at the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference on July 27. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

“Of course! The One that is within us is stronger than the one who is in the world,” she said, adding that evil has a limit, which is the merciful love of God.

“He stole us from the hands of the enemy,” she said. “We can only go back to the enemy if we chose to. We have been washed by the precious blood of the Lamb.”

“God is love” is a powerful statement that contains everything we believe about God, Mother Adela said. Offering that love to others through one simple act of love, mercy, kindness or even a smile, can change someone’s world, she told them.

She acknowledged that bad things happen, but they cannot be placed at God’s feet. Badness is the consequence of sin, which disorders everything and sends suffering into the world.

But because God loves us, he gives us the instruments we need to fight in the battle. That means we must stop seeking love in the wrong places and accept that God’s love has the capacity to fill our hearts, she explained.

“God is enough,” Mother Adela said. “God’s love is the only one that can give you happiness.”

And it is only when our culture begins to understand that that things will change, she said.


During her presentations, Harris asked her listeners to consider healing in a new way.

Deacon Kevin Zeeb of Blessed Sacrament in Morton prays over keynote speaker Victoria Harris before one of her talks at the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference July 27 at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Many people don’t think they have that gift, she said, but “your mission is to be an agent of healing by following Jesus. Bringing people into communion with God is the ultimate healing.”

In order to live in the abundance of God’s grace so we can help ourselves and others, it may be necessary to overcome some obstacles to spiritual growth, Harris said. They include:

  • Lack of faith. Harris said we cannot overcome spiritual obstacles on our own — we need divine help. “God wants us to turn it over to him to handle,” she said. “Have you invited God into the struggle?”
  • Lack of forgiveness. It may be necessary to forgive longtime injuries inflicted by others, but it may also be necessary to forgive ourselves, she said. “If you’re blocked in the spiritual life, it may be forgiveness.”
  • Spiritual bondage and personal sin. “I ask you to bravely pray for the gift of knowledge and self-awareness,” Harris said. “Do we recognize our own sin?”
  • Time. Grace takes time because it builds on nature, she explained. “Sometimes God takes time.”
  • God’s will. Harris said God will take care of our needs according to his will and we must accept that.

“Ask the Lord to set you free and then PUSH — pray until something happens,” she said.

Matthew Meads and Jane and Mark Lang of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Peoria pray the rosary before the opening Mass for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

In her presentation on how they can know they’re hearing God’s voice when praying for and with others, Harris said there are several ways to do this, including dreams, visions (interior and exterior), thoughts, words, sensations and physical signs. All of these must be carefully discerned, she emphasized.

If what they’re seeing and hearing in prayer doesn’t resonate with the person they’re praying for, it may not be from the Holy Spirit, Harris said. She added that the Spirit would not give them anything that contradicts church teaching.

“The law of God and the word of God will never be in conflict,” she said.

Musical praise and worship for the conference was led by Dan Dúet, founder of Two-Twelve Ministries in San Antonio, Texas. Mother Adela and members of her community led the Chaplet of Divine Mercy during eucharistic adoration.

EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos from the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference will be posted to an album on The Catholic Post’s Facebook page. 

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