Pope Francis and CCR: Five Years of Grace

Author: Charles Whitehead

Picture: Flickr

Pope Francis and CCR: Five Years of Grace

Five years on from the election of Pope Francis, Charles Whitehead tracks the support given by the "charismatic Pope" for CCR.

Since 1967, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) has always enjoyed the quiet approval of successive Popes, but for the first time we have, in Francis, a Pope who is happy to openly identify himself as part of this Renewal.

His involvement began as a bishop in Buenos Aires, culminating in his appointment as spiritual advisor to the CCR in Argentina.

In marked contrast to his first encounter, when he likened it to "a school of Samba", he took time to properly understand what CCR was all about.

This resulted in an open apology for his initial reaction and his personal involvement in what he came to see as a life-transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

Elected Pope in 2013, he soon began to promote CCR throughout the Church.

A Tremendous Encouragement

When the Pope publicly voices his personal commitment to the CCR, it gives tremendous encouragement to everyone who is trying to establish parish prayer groups, Life in the Spirit Seminars, evangelisation ministries and more.

In June 2014, my wife, Sue, and I were present in Rome when he met 50,000 charismatics in the Olympic Stadium.

After enthusiastically singing "Vive Jesus El Senor", he said: "When I celebrated Holy Mass in Buenos Aires with the CCR, after the consecration and a few seconds of adoration in tongues, we sang this song with so much joy and power as you did today. Thank you - I felt at home! This meeting gives me so much joy. You, Charismatic Renewal, have received a great gift from the Lord. You were born of the Spirit as a current of grace in the Church. This is your definition - a current of grace! Charismatic Renewal is a great force at the service of the proclamation of the Gospel in the joy of the Holy Spirit.”

Conversion, Witness and Unity

He went on to explain what he expected from the CCR:

1. Conversion to the life-changing love of Jesus.

2.Sharing the grace of Baptism in the Holy Spirit with all in the Church.

3. Evangelising with the Word of God, which proclaims that Jesus is alive and loves all people.

4. Witnessing to spiritual ecumenism with all those brothers and sisters of other churches and Christian communities who believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, remembering that the CCR is ecumenical by its very nature.

5. Being close to the poor and needy, touching in their lives the flesh of Jesus.

6. Seeking unity in the CCR because unity comes with the Spirit and is born of the unity of the Trinity.

Going from Strength to Strength

In 2017, at the Pentecost celebration of the great jubilee of the CCR, Pope Francis publicly thanked the CCR: " Thank you, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, for what you have given to the Church in these fifty years! The Church counts on your fidelity to the Word, on your availability for service, and on your witness of life transformed by the Spirit! Share with all in the Church Baptism in the Holy Spirit, praise the Lord without a break, walk together with Christians of different Churches and Christian communities in prayer and in action for the neediest. Serve the poorest and the sick; this is what the Church and the Pope expect from you, Charismatic Renewal. Thank you!"

Watch Pope Francis join the CCR in praise and worship in Rome in June 2017:

With the public support of Pope Francis, the CCR can go from strength to strength.

It rests with each of us to give Pope Francis every reason to continue his support and encouragement.

  • Charles Whitehead is a life member of the NSC (National Service Committee), the principal co-ordinating organisation of the CCR in England.

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