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.


SPIRITUALITY OF PENTECOST MUST SPREAD THROUGH THE CHURCH

 

VATICAN CITY, MAY 29, 2004 (VIS) – This evening in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope presided at the celebration of the first Vespers of the Solemnity of Pentecost. Faithful from parishes, associations and ecclesial groups participated in the ceremony, as did members of Movements for Renewal in the Spirit, at the special invitation of the Holy Father.

 

  The Holy Father also greeted numerous young people who were participating in a prayer vigil at Lednica, Poland, and were connected to St, Peter’s Square through a radio and television link: “I pray with you, my dear friends, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. May the Consoler, the Holy Spirit, fill you with the love of Christ, to Whom you entrust your future.”

 

  Having addressed himself especially to members of Renewal in the Spirit, “one of the various expressions of the great family of the Catholic charismatic movement,” he said: “Thanks to the charismatic movement many Christians – men and women, children and adults – have rediscovered Pentecost as a living reality in their daily lives. It is my hope that the spirituality of Pentecost may spread through the Church as a renewed impetus of prayer, of sanctity, of communion and of announcement.”

 

  The Pope encouraged “the initiative known as the ‘Burning Bush,’ promoted by Renewal in the Spirit. It involves incessant adoration, day and night, before the Most Holy Sacrament; an invitation to the faithful to ‘return to the Cenacle’ so that, united in contemplation of the Eucharistic Mystery, they may intercede for the full unity of Christians and for the conversion of sinners. It is my heartfelt wish that this initiative may conduct many people to rediscover the gifts of the Spirit that have their source in the Pentecost.”

 

  “This evening’s celebration,” he continued, “reminds me of the memorable meeting with ecclesial groups and new communities on the vigil of Pentecost six years ago. That was an extraordinary epiphany of the unity of the Church, in the richness and variety of charisms which the Holy Spirit lavishly donates.” And the Pope repeated the words he used on that occasion: “Ecclesial movements and new communities are a ‘providential response’ – one ‘activated by the Holy Spirit’ – to the modern-day question of new evangelization, for which ‘mature Christian personalities’ and ‘living Christian communities’ are necessary.”

 

  “For this reason,” he concluded, “I also say to you: ‘Open yourselves meekly to the gifts of the Holy Spirit! Accept with gratitude and obedience the gifts that the Spirit does not cease to give! Do not forget that each charism is given for the common good, in other words for the benefit of the entire Church!’”

HML/VESPERS PENTECOST/…                                             VIS 040531 (450)

REGINA COELI: FOR A RENEWAL OF THE PRODIGIES OF PENTECOST

VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2004 (VIS) – “The Church today celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost, recalling the prodigious effusion of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles in the Cenacle,” said John Paul II to the numerous pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Regina Coeli.

 

  “Animated by the fire of the Spirit, the Apostles left the Cenacle and began to speak of Christ, Who died and rose again, to the faithful who had come to Jerusalem from all places, and each heard them speak in his own language.”

 

 

  With Pentecost … was born the Church: the mystical body of Christ distributed around the world. The Church is made up of men and women of all races and cultures, united in faith and love for the Most Holy Trinity as a sign and instrument of the unity of the entire human race. Shaped by the Spirit to conform to Christ, new man, believers become His witnesses, sowers of hope, agents of mercy and peace.”

 

  The Pope concluded by invoking the maternal intercession of Mary “that the prodigies of Pentecost may be renewed in the Church and that all men and women may welcome the joyous news of salvation.”

ANG/PENTECOST/…                                                                  VIS 040531 (210)

 

Evangelization and the Power of Pentecost


Interview With the Coordinator of a Charismatic Renewal Group

VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2004 (Zenit.org).- On the eve of Pentecost, 15,000 members of the Italian branch of Catholic Charismatic Renewal attended the vespers in St. Peter's Square, where John Paul II appealed for a rediscovery of the person and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

To learn more about this theme, ZENIT interviewed Salvatore Martinez, national coordinator of the branch known as Renewal in the Spirit.

Q: What does Pentecost represent for Renewal in the Spirit?

Martinez: Renewal in the Spirit intends to be an eloquent sign of the inexhaustible wonder of Pentecost and of the reawakening of faith in the charisms of the Spirit, an admonition so that the Church will rediscover the physiological structure of Christian life which is, by its nature, a life in the Holy Spirit.

Since it arose, Renewal in the Spirit seems to be the fulfillment of the bold prophetical hopes formulated by John XXIII, at the opening of Vatican II.

There are two salient stages: in the first instance, the affirmation of the "current of grace," of a spirituality supported by the communal experience of charisms, image of a Church that loves to be "in the Cenacle," to "speak to God about the world," and "outside the Cenacle," to "speak to the world about God"; progressively, the affirmation of the notion of "ecclesial movement," in a growing apostolic commitment, of communion with pastors, of permanent formation that renders manifest the new life in the Spirit in the "lay charismatic ministries" activated in the Church and in the world.

Q: What is the Spirit for you?

Martinez: Without the Spirit, evangelization is like a stagnant river, charity like fire without heat, the Word something indeclinable, the Eucharist an impenetrable mystery, the other will never be a neighbor, the world a hell, paradise a forgotten reality, the Church a mother without love.

In my personal experience, I have seen thousands of sinners return to God, persons sick in body and soul restored to health; men and women who had lost their human dignity and wandered without hope through thousands of poverties find again the joy of living and of calling themselves "sons, daughters of God."

The Spirit does this and much more in those who are docile to his power, according to Jesus' promises.

This power was manifested in the life of the apostles and is manifested in the life of every believer by the free and unforeseeable initiative of the Spirit. This is why we speak of "Pentecostal, charismatic effusion of the Spirit" together with the programmed and effective effusions of the Spirit in the sacraments of Christian life.

Q: Renewal in the Spirit is a movement that has more than 80 million followers in the world. In what way did you plan to communicate and witness to the Spirit of God among people? What plan of life do you propose?

Martinez: The effusion of the Spirit represents the founding experience of the specific charismatic spirituality of Renewal in the Spirit. It is the "unleashed charism," the specific experience of Renewal in the Spirit.

John Paul II defines it as [a] "cause of an ever more profound experience of the presence of Christ."

The effusion of the Spirit makes present and reactivates our baptism, unleashing the Holy Spirit. It is a call to permanent conversion, as on the day of the Pentecostal descent of the Spirit in Jerusalem.

It is a new awareness of the Lordship of Jesus in our life, that Jesus who is Lord, and only through the Spirit can he be loved, adored, proclaimed, witnessed and shared.

We owe to Paul VI the first, convinced, immediate and "prophetic" recognition of the role of Renewal in the Spirit in the Church and in the world.

In 1975 he said: "The Renewal must rejuvenate the world, it must give it a spirituality, a soul. It will be an opportunity for the Church if you were to cry out to the world the glory of the God of Pentecost."

We are grateful to John Paul II for having stimulated Renewal in the Spirit to become -- as he told us from the first audience in 1980 "a hope for the world," an advance guard of witnesses of the "new evangelization" in docility to the Spirit.

The incidence of John Paul II's pontificate, his constant concerns addressed to us, were the boldest impetus to the ecclesial maturation of Renewal in the Spirit.

Since 1998, we receive annually a signed letter from the Supreme Pontiff on the occasion of the greatest event organized by us, in Rimini: an ecumenical congress in which an average of 25,000 people participate: many cardinals and bishops; more than 600 priests and religious; 5,000 family households; more than 600 volunteers; and an animation ministry made up of more than 120 people, between singers and instrumentalists.

A clear demonstration of the notion of "people of God" so dear to Vatican II which in Rimini sees the interaction of institutions and charisms in a truly unique style for the world and with spiritual returns that are truly unique.

Q: Is it enough to entrust oneself to the Lord to live more humanly?

Martinez: Thousands of baptized people do not experience the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

The Spirit was given to us by Jesus as the Paraclete, that is, "He who is called to be next to us." Yet many Christians not only do no avail themselves of his amiable company, but actually do not invoke him, do not seek him, do not entrust to him the direction of their lives.

Meanwhile, as a result, it is very obvious to see signs of the "absence" of the Holy Spirit: disintegration of family life, the decrease in vocations, the indifference toward so many poverties in our time, the weakening of the testimony of Christians, which is to be found in a weak and sterile life in the Spirit.

One who opens to the Spirit, and through prayer rediscovers the primacy of the interior life and the beauty of intimacy with God, sees his own natural aspirations transformed into hope. The human and rational interpretations of reality are revivified in the faith. Human love is regenerated in charity.

The human quest for justice is sublimated in the commitment to build the Kingdom of God on earth.

Q: What role does prayer play in your spiritual proposal?

Martinez: The experience of the prayer of praise and intercession made "in the Spirit" is a central dimension of Pentecost, as Paul VI already affirmed in 1964.

Prayer is our very soul before God. The more it is surrendered, "gripped by the Spirit," the more it experiences the "praiseworthy madness" of David before the ark of the covenant, or, as John Paul II has reminded us in Number 33 of "Novo Millennio Ineunte," of "ardent devotion, until the heart truly 'falls in love.'"

On the occasion of the special audience for our 30th anniversary in 2002, we received a special instruction from the Pope: to become a "school of prayer" in the Church, in a special way by making the prayer of praise loved, a form of prayer that renders glory to God for what he is, even before for what he does.
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