30 May 2017
Ecclesial movements

Card. Farrell: “An anniversary to look ahead and walk together!”

The Charismatic Renewal turns fifty. Celebrations in Rome with Pope Francis

Pope Francis personally invited the worldwide Catholic Charismatic Renewal to Rome for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the birth of this current of grace in the Catholic Church. “I am waiting for all of you, charismatics the world over, to celebrate with the Pope your great jubilee on the feast of Pentecost 2017 in Saint Peter’s Square!”, he said on June 1st, 2014, at the annual meeting of the Renewal in the Spirit in Rome.

Founded during a weekend retreat by young students and professors at the University of Duquesne, Pittsburgh, in February 1967, after a strong experience known as “baptism in the Holy Spirit” or “outpouring of the Holy Spirit,” the movement spread rapidly throughout the world, thanks to prayer groups, alliance communities, schools of evangelization, and ministries. Needing coordination, this multifaceted reality, with its different expressions, created, in the 1990s, the two organizations that today, directly advised by Pope Francis, have prepared this event: the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships and the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, recognized by the then Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Moreover, the Holy Father himself suggested giving an ecumenical character to the event of the Jubilee with the participation of three hundred members of the Gospel and Pentecostal churches: “The Charismatic Renewal was ecumenical from the beginning, and therefore it will be an ecumenical celebration in this sense,” said Pope Francis, answering a question about this Golden Jubilee during his return flight from Sweden last January.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, also sees several important motives in these celebrations: “Recalling the grace received with this experience, which has helped hundreds of thousands of people to live with renewed faith in daily life. It’s not just a question of devotion…”. This commemoration also allows us to see those things for which it is necessary to ask for forgiveness; consequently, the Mass that the Prefect of the Dicastery will celebrate at the Circus Maximus, on Friday evening, June 2nd, will accentuate the penitential act and reconciliation.

“After fifty years of history, the Renewal must also recognize things that it needs to forgive, and this attitude is also a grace. The aim is to walk together, to look ahead with the intention of living unity, communion, in response to Jesus’ invitation so that ‘all may be one.’ One with those who live different experiences, one with the pastors of the Church, one with the Holy Father. United to bear witness to the work of the Spirit, who always surpasses us.”

Approximately thirty thousand people from over a hundred countries around the world, who are part of this current of grace and its various expressions, will meet on the weekend of Pentecost, starting on Wednesday, May 31st, in different parts of Rome with prayer meetings, symposia and workshops, Eucharistic celebrations, and special events for young people, priests, and families.

The anniversary celebrations will be opened at the General Audience with the Holy Father on Wednesday morning. The Friday Mass at Circus Maximus, presided by Cardinal Farrell, will prepare all the participants for the next day’s vigil, a long afternoon of prayer, testimonies and music, as they wait for Pope Francis to arrive. The event will end on Pentecost Sunday with the Mass at St. Peter’s Square.

Among the side events, there will be an artistic exhibition on Pentecost in the Basilica of St. Anastasia, at the Circus Maximus, and another one on the witnesses of sanctity in the Charismatic Renewal in the church of Trinità dei Monti.