"Come To Me" Healing Day

Author: Kristina Cooper

Picture: Emily Newton

"Come To Me" Healing Day

Kristina Cooper reports on a recent event at St George’s cathedral organised by the newly formed Southwark Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion.

Neither fear of COVID nor the havoc on the rail system on 19 February stopped huge numbers streaming to the Day of Healing at St George’s cathedral, organised by the Southwark Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion (CDSC). It was the first event to be organised by the new team. The existing Southwark Diocesan  service team has been  recently expanded to include other ministries and networks in the diocese which have their roots in charismatic renewal.

These include representatives from Jesus Youth, All Nations Catholic Charismatic prayer groups, Jesus Risorto, Divine Retreat Centre, Mothers Prayers and Parish Evangelisation Cells. The participation of these extra groups, serving in different ways helping with the music ministry, welcoming, stewarding, refreshments and praying for healing, made the smooth running of the day possible given such large numbers.

Fr Joseph Edattu VC, the director of the Divine Retreat Centre, in Ramsgate, was also the main celebrant and homilist at the final Mass. Fr Joseph has a huge online ministry which has developed since COVID began and the retreat centre could no longer hold retreats.  The centre’s daily evening service including Mass, adoration and the rosary, now attracts 40,000 people from all over the world.

A Packed Cathedral

Over 670 people registered for the event  and it was the fullest the cathedral had been since  lockdown began, according to Fr Francis, the acting dean. The whole day, was live streamed resulting in a further 2000 people watching the event online shortly afterwards .

The theme of the day was “Come to Me”. Although advertised as a day of healing, the message from all the speakers was to come to Jesus himself, rather than simply asking for healing for a specific ailment.

As Fr Joseph Edattu VC said in his homily at the final Mass: “If you come just for physical healing, your knee might be healed this week, but there will be something wrong with your back next week. If you come for Jesus, he will be with you all the time.” After communion Fr Joseph had various words of knowledge for healing for the congregation. Even people watching online reported receiving special graces.

CCR-A Special Grace For Christian Unity

Pope Francis has given the CCR a special role in building Christian unity, so it was significant that one of the main speakers was Rev John Ryeland, an Anglican, who is the director of the Christian Healing Mission. He shared his experiences in training people to pray in parishes for healing and motivated those present to go out and be agents of healing in their communities because they had Christ within them.

Meanwhile Alice Hall, a lay missionary from the Sion Community, spoke about the Unbound ministry of deliverance and how people can be liberated from their hurts and destructive behaviour.  

Five priests were also on hand, and there were queues of people wanting confession, showing the desire of people for such ministry. So many came that, even though some of the priests spent 3 hours in the confessional, not all those who wanted it managed to received the sacrament.

A Wonderful Blend Of The Charismatic And Traditional

The day was a wonderful blend of traditional Catholic practice and the charismatic. Rev Neil Philipson, a Southwark deacon who led the Eucharistic healing service in the afternoon, walked up and down at the foot of the sanctuary blessing people individually with the Lord in the monstrance.

He commented: “There was so much respect and faith in the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. You could see in people’s eyes the love they had for the Lord. Some were sobbing or holding up photos of their loved ones on their phones.

"They had come not just for themselves but brought others in their hearts with them. I remember one person lifting up a photo on their phone of someone in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of them. It was very moving for me personally.  I felt it was a great privilege to be bringing them the Lord in this way.”

Healing Prayer-And A New Healing Ministry?

There was also an opportunity for the laying on of hands and healing prayer by 11 teams of people in the Lady chapel of the cathedral. Although some were experienced in this ministry, for others it was the first time they had prayed for others in this way.

Neil said: “The lines of people just kept coming and coming. There was so much hurt and suffering. Many had lost spouses during the lockdown. I would have loved to have spent more time with each one but we could only pray for about 5 minutes or so. But I know everyone who came forward was blessed in some way.”

Neil hopes that the day will be the beginning of a diocesan healing ministry, which might be able to bring this charism to parishes in the diocese. The Southwark CDSC’s  next project in conjunction with the Southwark Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis will be the running of the  Life in the Spirit Seminars online in the Eastertide period, which they ran very successfully for the first time last Easter-tide.

Last year, because of COVID restrictions, the seminars were online, but this year, although the plan is to have most of the talks on line, a retreat day on Pentecost Saturday led by Fr Paschal Uche has been planned at Aylesford priory on Pentecost Saturday. Look out for more details coming.

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