CCR: Renewing the face of the earth
Michelle Moran reflects on the global impact of Charismatic Renewal 50 years after its birth in the US.
I was once asked what is the purpose of Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
As the renewal is not does not have a human founder, but is rather a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit, the question is perhaps somewhat misplaced.
However, as we are now in our Jubilee year maybe it is appropriate to ask, what are some of the main fruits after 50 years of Charismatic Renewal within the Catholic Church?
Three moves of the Spirit
In Acts chapter 2 there are three moves of the Holy Spirit.
Firstly the wind fills the entire room, so the Holy Spirit descends upon all the community.
This indicates that the grace of Charismatic Renewal is a grace for the whole Church. Certainly, in many parts of the world the CCR has made a significant contribution to the life of the Church.
Secondly, at Pentecost there was what seemed like tongues of fire that fell on each of them. Therefore every person in the Upper Room received a personal Pentecost.
Pope Francis has asked us to 'share with all in the Church the grace of baptism in the Holy Spirit'.
This seems to be gathering a new momentum worldwide and people are looking for new and more effective ways of presenting the transforming message of new life in the Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, they moved out of the Upper Room into the surrounding neighbourhood empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit comes to renew the face of the earth.
Renewing the face of the earth
In essence the Charismatic Renewal is a current of grace renewing and transforming individuals and communities, thus enabling the culture of Pentecost to spread.
This makes a difference in the world in which we live.
It is estimated that there are now 120 million Catholics in 235 countries around the world that identify themselves with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement.
Here are just three examples of the global impact of the grace of Charismatic Renewal:
In Brazil, the Charismatic Renewal have for a number of years had a ministry dedicated to faith and politics. Recently, in the light of the Jubilee, CCR received recognition from the Brazilian Parliament for all the work it has done working with politicians, judges and magistrates.
This is certainly good news in a country where politics and the legal system are so often caught up in scandals and corruption.
In many parts of the world Charismatic Renewal has actively been involved in serving the poor and the marginalised.
In South Korea there is a large community, 'Kkottongnae' (meaning flower village).
They were birthed in the Charismatic Renewal and are dedicated to helping the poorest of the poor. They live out 'love in action'. Pope Francis knows this community very well.
When he had the desire to create more washing facilities for the homeless in the Vatican, he invited religious sisters from Kkottongnae community to come and serve in this ministry. He has specifically requested that for the CCR Jubilee celebrations in June, the sisters should accompany the homeless people to the special events and that they should be seated at the front of the assembly.
In 2014, the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) held an international event in Uganda.
On the first day, the president of the country came to welcome all the international guests. He was particularly pleased to renew his friendship a group of missionaries including sister Miriam Duggan and Fr Ernst Severs, who could be described as pioneers in the Charismatic Renewal.
President Museveni paid tribute to their 'outstanding humanitarian work' especially in the early years of dealing with the HIV crisis in Uganda. He emphasised that their medical care and ' behaviour change' programme had done so much to save the lives of so many in the country.
He emphasised that this had made a real difference to the way in which people were now living.
There are many more stories that could be shared. The challenge is for all of us to continue to live and promote the Culture of Pentecost.
- Michelle Moran is president of ICCRS and a founding member of the Sion Community for Evangelisation, based in Brentwood, Essex.