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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
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
"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
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
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
"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
"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]
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
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
"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,'"
"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
"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
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."