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Pope tells priests: run Life in the Spirit courses

Author: Goodnews Magazine

Photo: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

Pope tells priests: run Life in the Spirit courses

In Rome this summer Pope Francis told 1,000 priests to share Baptism in the Spirit with their congregations.

Addressing a worldwide retreat for clergy at St John Lateran Church in Rome, the Pope reminded his audience of priests and bishops from 90 countries that they were dispensers of grace, and could never love or forgive too much.

“Speaking of dispensers of grace, I ask each and all of you that as part of the current of grace of Charismatic Renewal you organise seminars of Life in the Spirit in your parishes and seminaries, schools, in neighborhoods, to share Baptism in the Spirit,” said Francis.

“It is catechesis. It is catechesis that produces, by the work of the Holy Spirit, the personal encounter with Jesus who changes our life.”

The weeklong retreat in June, organised by International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) and the Catholic Fraternity, also featured talks by Cardinal Peter Turkson, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa and Patti Mansfield, one of the American students whose experience of the Holy Spirit in the 1960s set the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement in motion.

1,000 priests pray in tongues

ICCRS president Michelle Moran said: “During the prayer for Baptism in the Spirit, some of the bishops were called to the front to bless the priests. The atmosphere was totally anointed. As I looked out at the 1,000 priests praying in tongues with their hands raised, it was as if the Lord was saying ‘this is my Church’.”

Among those present were 12 priests from the UK, including two from Scotland, and five from Ireland.

“It was an amazing experience to hear a thousand priests praising God in tongues,” said Fr Pat Lynch of the Ceili Community in Ireland.

“It must have rocked the foundations of hell.”

Fr James Evans from Northampton diocese said that his parish had recently run The Gift - which has received an Apostolic Blessing from Pope Francis - and as a newcomer to Charismatic Renewal he found that the retreat in Rome served as his own Life in the Spirit seminar.

“We will see where the Holy Spirit guides and takes us in the parish,” he added.

Fr Victor Vella of Southwark diocese said that it was “the best retreat in my 29 years as a priest”.

“The message that I took away with me was the more [of God's love we have], the more effective our ministry will be,” said Vella.

“This comes from prayer and the spiritual anointing of the Holy Spirit. We can only be effective if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. The highlight for me was the Saturday evening, which the whole retreat built up to, when we prayed for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

“I believe I received the gift of tongues, which I have wanted for a long time. It was a very powerful and moving occasion. I saw priests who had never waved their hands before, lifting them up.”

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