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CCR Turns 50: Celebrating With Pope Francis

Author: Ann Drozdziak

Picture: Pixabay

CCR Turns 50: Celebrating With Pope Francis

Ann Drozdziak shares an unforgettable experience of joining thousands of pilgrims for the CCR Golden Jubilee Pentecost celebration in Rome.

I joined thousands of pilgrims from 128 countries in Rome for the Golden Jubilee CCR Pentecost celebration, where the focus of Pope Francis’ message was unity and ecumenism.

Having travelled from Manchester with my husband and other pilgrims, it was a truly international and blessed time.

The two main Golden Jubilee celebrations took place at the Circus Maximus. This ancient venue is the size of six football pitches.

On Friday 2 June, a collective aim of praising and thanking God for 50 years of blessings, aided by a blessed music ministry, from a variety of nations, helped create a wonderful atmosphere of unity and gratitude. 

Although thousands of individuals were present, there was a distinctive family feel to the celebrations, along with lots of prayer, singing and dancing.

Celebrating In The Sunshine

It felt like the Holy Spirit was hovering over both the speakers and the crowds, drawing us together and encouraging us to listen well.

We were overwhelmed by the number of people gathered. What a sight to see so many from so many, often distant, parts of the world gathered together to celebrate in the sunshine. This gave me a deeper understanding of the meaning of the Catholic/Universal Church.

I often found myself wondering about fellow pilgrims: “In what way did He call you? What graces, like me, have you received from His wonderful love to keep you faithful over the years?”

On Saturday, the day of the Pentecost Vigil Service with Pope Francis, the crowd had by now increased to over 50,000 people.

It was fascinating to look behind you, as far as the eye could see, and see people gathered to praise and thank God.

Before Pope Francis spoke, we heard messages from a positively ecumenical group: Pastors from both the Italian Evangelical Church and the American Pentecostal Church, as well as papal preacher, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa.

Current Of Grace

The Pope then called us to be a "reconciled diversity" when we share the current of grace which is the Charismatic Renewal with other denominations and faiths.

Pope Francis reminded us that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for all in the Church and called us to remind others of this in the Church, along with the power of prayer and praise.

He encouraged us, in our walk with other Christians, to serve the poor and sick. 

He spoke with such love, wisdom and discernment that I felt hearts and minds would be touched deeply by his challenging words.

As this wonderful celebration ended, we had a great sense of God’s blessing, joy, peace and gratitude. We also did not want the praise and thanksgiving to finish.

As we left the stadium, we shared how well organised and graced the whole event had been.

Sense Of Unity

On our way back to the hotel, a sense of unity was again palpable as we encountered groups from the jubilee celebration, recognisable by their distinctive red hats and yellow scarfs, singing as they walked and inviting us to join them.

We were so aware of having been present at something very special.

Let us pray we can receive the graces and face the challenges of the next 50 years of Charismatic Renewal.  Praise God!

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