Department of Evangelisation
Diocese of Johannesburg
South Africa

"Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world" (Matthew 28:19-20).

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John Chapter 20 : 1 On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.


 

Charismatics Tell of Effects of the Holy Spirit (Part 1 & 2)
Members Testify to a Life-Changing Encounter

ROME, JUNE 10, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Profound friendship with Jesus Christ and a sure and strong sense of conversion are just two of the effects of the Holy Spirit, say charismatic renewal leaders.

The leaders of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal recently shared with ZENIT their personal experience of Pentecost. The ICCRS, headquartered in Vatican City, provides service, communication and linkage to this ecclesial reality whose spirituality is followed by more than 100 million Catholics.

At the vigil of Pentecost in St. Peter's Basilica, on May 29, John Paul II sent special greetings to the Rinnovamento nello Spirito Santo, an Italian branch of the expression of Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

The Pope said that "thanks to the charismatic movement, many Christians, men and women, youths and adults, have rediscovered Pentecost as a living and present reality in their daily life."

ICCRS leaders readily testify to the workings of the Spirit.

Allan Panozza, president of ICCRS, recalls Matthew 3:11 -- "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" -- and says, "I have always loved my Catholic faith."

"But when I received a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 1978 in what is described within Catholic Charismatic Renewal as the 'baptism in the Holy Spirit' -- I experienced that fire," Panozza said. "And yet it was so simple: my prayer from deep within which said to God 'I give you my life.'"

"I began to experience profound changes within myself," recalled Panozza, an Australian. "I found myself being led to a deeper love and devotion to the Blessed Eucharist. I experienced a hunger to know more about the Word of God, and avidly read and studied the Scriptures."

Panozza also found himself "letting go of long-held habits of impressing my own attitudes and beliefs onto other people. I began to see myself more in the light of being loved by Almighty God, and that love became mine to share."

"But by far the greatest change in my life was to know the reality that Jesus is my friend," the ICCRS president said. "Yes, he is my protector, he is my Savior; indeed, increasingly I know him to be the Lord of my life. But above all else -- he is my friend! I know that he will never desert me nor disown me, and that my eternal destiny is securely held in his hands."

"This was the sublime grace given me by the Holy Spirit, and that grace remains with me daily," Panozza said. "Through the intercession of Mary I am empowered as she was to prayerfully surrender my life to God, and to be used in service by him in the ways he chooses."

Oreste Pesare, director of the ICCRS office in the Vatican, recalled how "one day, 20 years ago, when nobody could help me, I cried to the Lord. I was then an agnostic. And he answered me; he liberated me 'miraculously' and instantly from what would have harmed my life forever."

"I felt loved as I had never felt before, as I needed to feel for so many years ... and I gave him my life," Pesare said. "Since then, the Love of God, the Holy Spirit, has led my step by step on the paths of my history until he transformed an unbeliever -- as I was -- into a believer."

"Today I can witness that the Holy Spirit is my point of reference, refuge in difficulties, fortitude in my commitment. He is alive, converses with me, counsels me, guides me. He is my God and I am immensely grateful to him," Pesare said.

Nicholas Chia, representative of Asia in ICCRS, said that "in a world where money, power and sex are symbols of success, to live my Christian life is not easy."

"God's Holy Spirit is my lifeline to survive in this secular world, where there is no peace, no joy, no true happiness," he said.

"He is my strength when I am weak, he is the treasure that I seek, he is my friend when I am lonely," said Chia.

"Living one's faith is not the fruit of one's own efforts," Oreste Pesare said, "but rather a grace that we receive through a continual outpouring of the Holy Spirit -- when we pray, especially with our brothers and sisters; when we receive the sacraments. This is what happened in Jerusalem that day" of Pentecost.

The Spirit "is the love that every man and all of creation need to live," Pesare continued. "To receive the Holy Spirit consciously, freely in one's life, enables you to experience the passage from death to life. Anyone with a searching heart desires this passage and intuits its importance in one's life."

[Friday: The drive to evangelize]
ZE04061022
Charismatics Tell of Effects of the Holy Spirit (Part 2)
Evangelization Seen as One Fruit of Inspiration

ROME, JUNE 11, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Leaders of Catholic Charismatic Renewal say one of the effects the Holy Spirit has on the faithful who invoke him is a strong drive to evangelize.

To learn more about a "personal" Pentecost experience and its repercussion on evangelization, as requested by John Paul II on the eve of the recent solemnity, ZENIT talked with exponents of the charismatic renewal. Part 1 appeared Thursday.

"Since receiving for the first time the effusion of the Spirit, after having resisted the grace proposed for a long time, my life has been totally transformed, said Cathy Brenti, vice president of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS), headquartered in Vatican City.

A member of the charismatic Community of the Beatitudes, Brenti said: "The Holy Spirit is a 'gust,' a 'breath' that has never left me for 30 years."

"This gust has made me follow Christ to the point of offering him the whole of my life," she said. The Community of the Beatitudes, founded in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal line in 1974, promotes a residential, contemplative and missionary life that follows the charism of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

"Committed for the past 26 years in one of those new communities, which John Paul II recently referred to as 'a providential answer inspired by the Spirit given the present need for a new evangelization,' my husband and I constantly discover that it is the Spirit who animates us; that the Spirit is our whole life," Cathy Brenti told ZENIT.

"There is nothing magical; however, every invocation, every prayer addressed with fervor to the Holy Spirit, Spirit of counsel and power, necessarily finds an echo in one's heart and a favorable answer, according to one's needs," she said.

Matteo Calisi, president of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, talks of his experience in reference to a quote of Jesus in Acts 1:8.

"'You shall receive the power when the Holy Spirit, has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses,'" Calisi said. "The baptism in the Spirit which we have experienced with Charismatic Renewal represents this invitation to be missionaries."

Recognized by the Holy See, the Catholic Fraternity embraces more than 50 communities of Catholic Charismatic Renewal worldwide, such as the Community of the Beatitudes and the Emmanuel Community of Paris.

"The Church needs to rediscover this renewed evangelization full of 'power from on high' as fruit of a 'personal Pentecost,'" Calisi stressed.

"It is estimated that close to 120 million Catholics have experienced a new effusion of the Holy Spirit," he said. "Therefore, they have the task and privilege of being 'clothed with capacity' to be 'sent to evangelize.' ... Let us pray to the Spirit so that our response will be affirmative."

Calisi emphasized that the gifts of the Spirit are "instruments for evangelization."

"Signs, miracles, wonders and healings are the strongest and most powerful testimon[ies] that the Holy Spirit gives to the Word of the Gospel for the conversion of the incredulous," he said.

"Through the teaching of the early Church, Charismatic Renewal has learned to appreciate the use of charisms to evangelize," Calisi continued. "The Church today has the same power of Jesus and of the New Testament Church to preach, heal and cast out demons."

He added: "The doctrine of the Church and the experience of Charismatic Renewal in its more than 30 years of life reveal to us a beautiful teaching: If Christians do not use the gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit, the latter [charisms] will die."

ZE04061120

 

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