On Sunday, June 1, Pope Francis met with more than 50,000 Catholic charismatics in Rome’s Olympic Stadium. The event was organized by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships.
Dear Pope Francis admitted he was not always comfortable with charismatics, in particular with the way they prayed. Yet, amidst the 50,000, he knelt onstage as they prayed for over him by singing in tongues. To see a video of this, click here.
He had admitted before every one: “In the early years of the charismatic renewal in Buenos Aires, I did not have much love for charismatics…I said of them: They seem like a samba school.”
He later came to realize how many fruits the Charismatic renewal bore in the Catholic Church. Finally Pope Francis invited the crowd, which included charismatics from 55 countries, to come to St. Peter’s Square for Pentecost in 2017 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movement. The Catholic charismatic movement began during a retreat held in 1967 with students and staff from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.
“I expect all of you, charismatics from around the world, to celebrate your great jubilee with the pope at Pentecost 2017 in St. Peter’s Square,” the Pope said.
He also underlined the fact that the movement was begun by the Holy Spirit as “a current of grace in the church and for the church.” He urged that charismatic groups not try to organize everything or create a bureaucracy that attempts to tame the Holy Spirit. There is always a temptation “to become ‘controllers’ of the grace of God” – it is a danger, the Pope said. “Be dispensers of God’s grace, not controllers. Don’t be the Holy Spirit’s customs agents.”
He also went on to encourage the people to go back to their roots in their love for Scripture. In the early years of the Emmanuel Community brothers and sisters, with Bible in hand, would go out into the streets of Paris and evangelize through Scripture. Has this been lost? From the beginning, the Pope said, charismatics were known for their love of and familiarity with the Scriptures; the Pope asked those who lost the habit of carrying their Bible with them everywhere to “return to this first love; always have the word of God in your pocket or purse.”
Let us heed our Holy Father’s words and go back to the Word that nourishes our mind and souls. Let us carry Scripture not only in our hearts but in our “pockets and purse”!
See you in Rome 2017!!!
Taken from CNS article online entitled “Pope, at charismatic rally in stadium, invites them to Vatican in 2017.” by Cindy Wooden. You can read the article by clicking here.