17 – 20 March 2011 – Fraterna Domus • Sacrofano, Italy
“International Colloquium on the
Baptism in the Holy Spirit – Outpouring of the Holy Spirit”
What will give the Church the impetus to carry out the new evangelization called for by recent popes? What will enkindle in Catholics a burning zeal to proclaim the good news of Christ to the ends of the earth? Nothing other than a new Pentecost—a renewed experience of the “baptism in the Spirit” promised by Jesus in Acts 1:5 and fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. Such was the consensus of participants in an international colloquium on baptism in the Holy Spirit held in Rome March 17-20.
The event, attended by 150 theologians and leaders from 44 countries, was sponsored by International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
The colloquium considered the contemporary experience of baptism in the Spirit from biblical, theological, and pastoral points of view, especially in its relationship to the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. One of the speakers was Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household. He noted that at Pentecost the disciples “were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4), which means they “were filled with the love of God… they had an overwhelming experience of being loved by God.” That alone, he said, explains the unexpected and radical change that took place in them. He added that “Pentecost is the moment when the heart of stone is shattered to bits and its place is taken by the heart of flesh” and “this ‘heart-transplant’ didn’t take place under total anesthesia!” This interpretation of Pentecost, Cantalamessa said, is confirmed in the uncountable number of people today who “describe the moment of their baptism in the Spirit as feeling ‘a torrent of love’ coming down upon them.” He added that the first effect of the Spirit’s coming is “the irresistible urge to proclaim Christ” and the existential “re-discovery of that elementary teaching in the Bible, that Jesus Christ is Lord!”
The preacher noted that in contrast to many other charismatic and prophetic groups in Church history, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal has had a strong ecclesial bent. “It aligned itself with previous renewal movements through the capacity it brought for a change of life, but differed from them in its fidelity to the institutional Church.” He emphasized that credit for this belongs not to the Charismatic Renewal alone but also to the hierarchy, and particularly to the courage of popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Fr. Denis Biju-Duval, a professor at the Pontifical Lateran University, noted that on the day of Pentecost “the Holy Spirit took the initiative to manifest his presence with an interior dynamism that prompted those who received him to glorify God, speak in tongues and announce the good news.” He asked the provocative question, “if confirmation is truly the sacrament of Pentecost for the Christian in the Church, how can it not produce the effects found at the beginning?” Part of the reason, he said, is that the secularized atmosphere of western culture does not favor the integration of faith into a person’s life.
For spiritual growth to take place, “it is necessary that the graces of baptism and confirmation unfold at the level of experience.” He suggested that part of the mission of the Charismatic Renewal is to help bring about a greater appreciation of the experiential dimension of Christian life, especially in preparation for the sacraments of initiation.
Baptism in the Spirit and the Church Fathers
Bishop Michel Santier of Créteil, France, observed that for Justin Martyr, Origen and Cyril of Jerusalem, “baptism in the Spirit” was synonymous with Christian initiation. Many of the Fathers regarded the reception of charisms as integral to the sacraments of initiation. Santier quoted St. Cyril, who urged baptismal candidates, “Let each one prepare himself to receive the divine gift (that is, prophecy),” and St. Hilary of Poitiers, who wrote, “We who have been reborn through the sacrament of baptism experience intense joy when we feel within us the first stirrings of the Holy Spirit. We begin to have insight into the mysteries of faith; we are able to prophesy and speak with wisdom.” Santier noted that the ancient Syriac church, like the Church today, practiced infant baptism and faced the need for a way to “activate” the grace of initiation in adult life. The eighth-century Syriac mystic Joseph Hazzaya, he said, spoke of a “sign by which you will sense that the Spirit received at baptism is at work in you,” and mentioned effects familiar to charismatics today: “a flow of spiritual words” and “a knowledge of two worlds, with joy, jubilation, exultation, glorification, praise, song, hymns and odes.”
Hope for the Downtrodden
Beatriz Spier Vargas, a leader of the Charismatic Renewal in Brazil, shared about the impact of the Renewal in her country. The vicar general of her diocese once remarked to her about a poor, crime-infested neighborhood controlled by drug dealers, “The local authorities, the police and even the Church, we all have tried our best to change that reality, but we have failed. I think the only hope for that place is the Charismatic Renewal.” Spier said she took his words as a challenge and opened a prayer group in that community. Later, a resident who began to attend the prayer meetings shared that she used to think of herself as poor, miserable, and hopeless, “but ever since she had started to come to the prayer meetings, she would look around and see beauty and see the love of the Lord at work in herself and in the lives of her neighbors, and she now felt rich and dignified.” Spier also spoke of a man in the same neighborhood who was a drug dealer and criminal. At the prayer meetings he had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. “He said to us: ‘Every time I come to these prayer meetings I take one more step towards the Lord and away from crime and drugs.’” The man decided to turn himself in to the police because he wanted to pay for his crimes, and is now in prison evangelizing his fellow inmates.
Antidote to the Culture of Narcissism
John Duiker, a Renewal leader in Melbourne, Australia, characterized contemporary western culture as a culture of narcissism, which is “the antithesis of a living reality of Pentecost.” Such a culture, he said, places a huge emphasis on material wealth, physical appearance, the worship of celebrities, fame at any cost, and extreme individualism. It results in shallow and short-term relationships, leaving people beset with isolation, loneliness and an inner emptiness and despair. Duiker noted that through baptism in the Spirit, “the abandonment to Divine Providence, to the will of God, yielding to the Spirit” has a significant part to play in countering these destructive trends. Duiker gave examples of people who were surrendered to the Lord in the midst of difficult circumstances and experienced his providential care. “Baptism in the Spirit, through its rediscovery of the beauty of prayer, the release of the charisms and our dependence on our providential God, has given parents the opportunity to lay hands and pray with their children,” Duiker said. “There have been many times where I have prayed with my children when they have been sick with high fevers, rebuking the fever, and seeing their sickness leave them immediately. Praise God.” Other lay leaders and priests shared about the impact of the Charismatic Renewal in India, Malta, Guatemala, Benin, Cameroon, England and Korea.
Speakers at the event also included Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, Archbishop George Bacouni, Fr. Fidel Oñoro, Fr. Diego Jaramillo, Fr. Peter Hocken, Michelle Moran, Ralph Martin, and Mary Healy. Speakers noted that different terminology is used among different groups in the Renewal. Most of those in the French and Italian-speaking world prefer the term “effusion” or “outpouring” of the Spirit. Those in the English-speaking and Latin American Renewal usually prefer the term “baptism in the Spirit.” Other terms such as “renewal in the Spirit” and “release of the Spirit” are also used. All agreed, however, that these terms refer to the same reality: an experience of the love of God the Father poured into a person’s heart, leading to a transformed life in the lordship of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, and bringing alive the graces of sacramental baptism and confirmation. According to Oreste Pesare, director of ICCRS, the colloquium will be followed by the publication of a document on baptism in the Spirit which will be “an important testimony and a point of reference for the whole Church.”
Report from Gesù Risorto Community
Sacrofano (Roma) 17/20 marzo 2011. Il Consiglio dell’ICCRS (International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services) ha convocato una Commissione di 150 membri del Rinnovamento Carismatico per esaminare insieme il Documento sul “Battesimo nello Spirito-Effusione dello Spirito” che, preparato con cura da esperti teologi e inviato preventivamente a tutti i partecipanti, si arricchirà nella sua stesura definitiva degli apporti più significativi ascoltati. Non potendo citare tutti i relatori in modo particolareggiato, questa cronaca vuole offrire un quadro sintetico dei principali interventi e dello spirito vissuto. L’occasione è di quelle eccezionali: un Colloquium di 4 giorni, nel quale teologi e leaders di varie realtà carismatiche del mondo, convocati e guidati dal Consiglio dell’ICCRS e sotto il patrocinio del Pontificio Consiglio per i Laici, relazionano, fanno il punto, pongono domande, offrono suggerimenti per la stesura finale di un Documento ufficiale sul Battesimo nello Spirito (BnS) o Effusione dello Spirito (EdS), da offrire alla Chiesa.
Un momento storico, dunque, preparato da tempo e con un dispiego di forze e un impegno non indifferenti. Questo è il 3° Colloquium, dopo quello del 2001 incentrato sulla Guarigione e quello del 2008 incentrato sui Carismi, e per prepararlo sono stati consultati più di 30 teologi in tutto il mondo. Ma non è solo per vedere insieme un testo che siamo qui, convenuti dalle Americhe, dall’Oceania, dall’Asia, dall’Africa e naturalmente dall’Europa. Siamo qui perché, insieme, desideriamo capire quello che succede nei vari Paesi riguardo al BnS, quali frutti esso concretamente sta apportando alla Chiesa e al mondo e come poter ri-evangelizzare le persone e le Nazioni scristianizzate del nostro tempo mediante la potenza dello Spirito Santo.
Perché poi è questo che ci sta realmente a cuore. La grazia della Pentecoste non è solo per noi (questo è ovvio!) ma come farla passare oggi, superando le nuove difficoltà e le nuove sfide che sono emerse davanti a noi in questi 45 anni di vita del Rinnovamento Carismatico Cattolico (RCC)? Se, come testimonia uno dei pionieri, “ai nostri tempi” era quasi “semplice, naturale” essere investiti subito dalla grazia dello Spirito, che veniva a soffiare su qualcosa che, sebbene sopito, esisteva, era vitale, oggi invece molte persone conoscono poco o nulla della fede cristiana e per di più hanno spesso assimilato un atteggiamento mentale generalizzato che “decostruisce”. “Evangelizzare gli europei”, ad esempio, è oggi una delle priorità della Chiesa tutta ed è una grande battaglia, che ogni realtà carismatica deve sentire come propria. Il Documento pertanto ha un intento dichiaratamente pastorale, sebbene espresso mediante una rigorosa base teologica.
Aveva cominciato a prepararlo il compianto Vescovo Joe Grech, che ha coordinato e presieduto a lungo la Commissione dottrinale dell’ICCRS, e lo hanno portato a compimento la dottoressa Mary Healy e padre Peter Hocken, che ce ne illustrano linee guida, significati, opportunità. Soprattutto ci spiegano quali ne sono i principali “destinatari”, elemento non secondario da tenere presente sia nella stesura sia nella comprensione del testo. Esso è rivolto in modo particolare ai leaders del RCC e alla Chiesa. A noi perché raccoglierà ed esprimerà il “consenso” dell’unica famiglia del RCC, garantendo così una base comune e una solida formazione; ai nostri Vescovi perché siano aiutati a capire che questa esperienza, lungi dall’essere marginale o elitaria, è radicata nella vita della Chiesa con i suoi indubbi fondamenti biblici e patristici. E, affinché possiamo farci comprendere, siamo noi che dobbiamo acquisire il linguaggio adatto, noi che dobbiamo creare uno strumento valido, che ci garantisca e ci difenda anche dalla cattiva fama che talvolta gli errori dottrinali di alcuni possano averci causato.
La “maturità ecclesiale”, nella quale Papa Giovanni Paolo II ci aveva esortato a crescere, è anche questo: una riflessione teologica che torna a esaminare un “mistero” che ancora deve essere colto appieno, integrando e superando le prime “definizioni” di quanti hanno vissuto questa esperienza agli inizi; e poi un’azione pastorale congiunta, che possa portare a un’integrazione reale di questa grazia dello Spirito nella vita cristiana ordinaria. L’accento è dunque, volutamente, “solo” sul BnS: per esaminare tutti gli aspetti del dono su cui si fonda questa corrente di grazia, per metterne in luce il carattere di novità e distinzione (c’è un “prima” e c’è un “dopo”!) e anche per chiarire le differenti terminologie.
Partiamo da questo ultimo punto. Le definizioni principali che si danno di questa esperienza personale di incontro – immersione – rinnovamento… che ciascuno di noi ha fatto o farà con la Persona dello Spirito Santo, sono: Battesimo nello Spirito ed Effusione dello Spirito. L’affermazione dell’una o dell’altra definizione nei diversi contesti socio-culturali non è casuale: la prima si è affermata maggiormente, ad esempio, laddove l’uso dello stesso termine in altre Confessioni Cristiane ha favorito il riconoscimento di una grazia ecumenica e ha agevolato un dialogo; l’altra, invece, si è affermata soprattutto laddove sarebbero sorti problemi di confusione con il Battesimo sacramentale e dove si intendeva esprimere non solo la ricezione, ma anche che lo Spirito si effonde da colui che l’ha ricevuto. Il “problema” della terminologia, come viene rilevato, è però esso stesso una “grazia”, poiché testimonia la ricchezza dell’esperienza e come ci sia dato di continuare ad apprendere gli uni dagli altri. Inoltre ogni cultura è lasciata libera di usare la propria terminologia o di usarle entrambe. Altro punto di grande rilievo è il recupero dell’importanza dell’“esperienza” personale, segno del recupero di una visione completa dell’uomo, che è fatto di intelletto e sensibilità: non solo l’uno, non solo l’altra.
Come viene sapientemente ribadito, quando una persona vive un incontro vero con il Signore Gesù, nell’azione vera del suo Santo Spirito, tutte le sue componenti sono coinvolte e perciò si tratta sempre di un incontro “intelligente”. Anche se non necessariamente “intellettuale”. Chi riceve la Persona dell’Amore (che viene in noi e crea in noi la capacità di amare!) non può non sentirsi “sopraffatto” da questo amore, che è un sentimento soprannaturale e manda in frantumi ciò che è solo concettuale! E allora il risultato non è solo la proclamazione di una verità dottrinale, ma è prendere la decisione di scegliere Gesù come personale Salvatore e Signore e di lasciarsi “incorporare” a Lui e alla Chiesa. Gli interventi sono bellissimi: aprono il cuore a una comprensione nuova, illuminano di luce nuova il tesoro già custodito in ciascuno di noi. Ascoltiamo che Gesù è il Battezzatore in Spirito Santo e che il BnS è la sua signorìa in noi: la signorìa di Gesù, risorto e atteso.
Questa espressione non viene pertanto dal RCC, ma viene da Gesù stesso. Per i Padri della Chiesa era sinonimo di iniziazione cristiana e l’accoglienza dei carismi ne faceva parte integrante; carismi che, pertanto, non facevano parte della devozione personale, ma della liturgia della Chiesa. La Chiesa di oggi non ne ha meno bisogno. Insieme con Papa Paolo VI, facendo nostra la sua preghiera, sentiamo che essa ha bisogno di una perenne Pentecoste, mentre invece, da più parti, assistiamo a mancanza di fervore, di gioia, di speranza; e anche a sconcerto e diffidenza nei nostri confronti quando, invece di rallegrarsi con noi della nostra gioia, alcuni temono il nostro entusiasmo e ostacolano più o meno direttamente il nostro impegno.
Ora lo scopo del RCC, come viene ribadito ancora una volta, non è che tutti entrino a far parte del Movimento, bensì che tutto possano aprirsi in modo nuovo all’azione dello Spirito Santo, ricevendone in modo anche esperienziale la potenza. La missione che il Signore ci ha donato è di far conoscere questa grazia, capace di rivitalizzare i sacramenti ricevuti, di diffonderla con tutti i mezzi e gli strumenti che Lui ci offrirà, con tutte le opportunità che ci metterà davanti. Le profezie, che nei momenti di preghiera e adorazione lo Spirito continua a donare all’uno o all’altro, ci ripetono in continuazione di non temere, perché Gesù sta aprendo per noi porte nuove: Lui prende possesso di noi e ci manda ad attuare la sua Alleanza nuova con tutti i Popoli. Agata Alberta Avòli Ricci Italy
The European Catholic Charismatic Renewal Info-Letter (Euccril)
In this issue: The ICCRS council invited 150 people from all over the world to participate in a colloquium on Baptism in the Spirit-Outpouring of the Spirit, March 17th -20th 2011. A report of António Casimiro from Portugal.
My impression about the ICCRS Colloquium on the Baptism in the Spirit?Outpouring of the Spirit
The Colloquium was held at The Fraterna Domus in Sacrofano near Rome. The retreat house, situated in a spacious and beautiful surroundings offer good accommodation. About the food, well…it was not Portuguese food, but I cannot complain about it (and I did not go there to eat!).
The material provided was sufficient for the work. We received a document of 71 pages, prepared by the doctrinal commission of ICCRS. According to this document ‘Baptism in the Spirit is an experience of the love of God the Father poured into one’s heart, leading to a transformed life in the lordship of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. This grace brings alive sacramental baptism and confirmation, enkindling evangelistic fervor and equipping a person with charisms for service and mission.’
The teaching content The several presentations were very well chosen, and the speakers were well prepared. I took a lot of notes for my own personal growth and to share here in Portugal.
Speakers and subjects:
- Opening Eucharistic Celebration with a homily given by Archbishop George Bacaouni, Lebanon.
- Introduction to ICCRS Document on ‘Baptism in the Spirit – Outpouring of the Spirit’ by Fr Peter Hocken, Austria and Mary Healy, USA.
- ‘Meaning and Fruits of Baptism in the Spirit / Outpouring of the Spirit’ by Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, Italy.
- ‘Patristic Foundations of Baptism in the Spirit / Outpouring of the Spirit’ by bishop Michel Santier, France.
- ‘Biblical Reflection on Baptism in the Spirit / Outpouring of the Spirit’ by Fr. Fidel Oñoro, Colombia.
- ‘Baptism in the Spirit / Outpouring of the Spirit and the Sacraments of Initiation’ by Ralph Martin, USA.
- A homily in a Eucharistic Celebration by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, Vatican City.
- ‘Baptism in the Spirit / Outpouring of the Spirit and Christian Experience’ by Père Denis Biju-Duval, France.
- ‘Baptism in the Spirit / Outpouring of the Spirit: a question of terminology’, an introduction and discussion led by Fr. Peter Hocken, Austria.
- Panel Discussion (led by Mateo Calisi, Italy) on worldwide pastoral experiences with input from John Duiker (Oceania), Maria Eugenia De Gongora (Spanish America) and Beatriz Vargas (Portuguese America), Constantine Fernandez (Asia), Jude Muscat (Europe), Jean Pliya (Africa), Bruce Yocum (Communities).
- Homily in Eucharistic Celebration by Fr Diego Jaramillo, Colombia. I am now, also waiting for the documentation that ICCRS will publish about this Colloquium.
The discussion contents – I felt that there was a sincere search for the truth rather than an imposition of ideas from above. The subject of the Colloquium needs more time, but it will come in God’s timing. I think that it was also a good idea to make discussion groups based in the common language.
The prayer time – All the prayer times were abundant and deeply lived, with the music ministry choosing the proper music. I felt these times as “very strong” times!
The more important for me – Personally the thing I really cherish from the meeting was the experience of being again immersed in a Catholic environment with people from all over the world in the spirit of true Christian Fellowship in Jesus. As someone said: “unity in the diversity”. And the joy of meeting again the brothers and sisters we knew before! And the joy of knowing new brothers and sisters all looking for the same Life! As I heard many years ago: “Nothing and nobody can stop the Holy Spirit”, coming either through “Baptism” or “Effusion”.
Balanced book – In the end Fr. Peter Hocken explained how the document would be revised according to the various input from the several speakers. Finally it will become a rather balanced book that will be of great help to all in the different parts of the world. I expect that it will be an excellent document that will enable anyone to understand the most central contribution of the charismatic renewal to the Church. Publishing will take some time.
Conference in Rome Studies Baptism in the Spirit - Zenit.org
Pontifical Council for the Laity Sponsors Event
ROME, APRIL 1, 2011 (Zenit.org).-
According to the preacher of the Pontifical Household, the first consequence of a baptism in the Holy Spirit is an overwhelming desire to proclaim Christ. Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said this at an international colloquium on baptism in the Spirit, held March 17-20 in Rome. The event was attended by some 150 theologians and sponsored by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of that dicastery, celebrated the Mass on Friday. Father Cantalamessa, in addition to his address, also led Eucharistic adoration. The colloquium considered the contemporary experience of baptism in the Spirit from biblical, theological and pastoral points of view, especially in its relationship to the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. According to an ICCRS report, Father Cantalamessa noted “that in contrast too many other charismatic and prophetic groups in Church history, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal has had a strong ecclesial bent. It aligned itself with previous renewal movements through the capacity it brought for a change of life, but differed from them in its fidelity to the institutional Church. He emphasized that credit for this belongs not to the Charismatic Renewal alone but also to the hierarchy, and particularly to the courage of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.” Father Denis Biju-Duval, a professor at the Pontifical Lateran University, looked at baptism in the Spirit in relation to the sacrament of confirmation. He lamented “the secularized atmosphere of Western culture [that] does not favor the integration of faith into a person’s life” and thereby restricts the effects of the “sacrament of Pentecost.” The ICCRS report noted his affirmation that for spiritual growth to take place, it is necessary that the graces of baptism and confirmation unfold at the level of experience. Bishop Michel Santier of Créteil, France, spoke about baptism in the Spirit in the writings of the Church Fathers, while Beatriz Spier Vargas, a leader of the Charismatic Renewal in Brazil, shared about the impact of the Renewal in her country. Other lay leaders and priests shared about the impact of the Charismatic Renewal in India, Malta, Guatemala, Benin, Cameroon, England and Korea. According to Oreste Pesare, director of ICCRS, the colloquium will be followed by the publication of a document on baptism in the Spirit.
A personal reflection - Brian Hines, New Zealand
From time to time the Church gathers to consider or clarify certain issues, and usually produces an authoritative statement on its findings, one example being the Council of Nicea AD325 which led to the Nicene Creed. In the same manner the Catholic Charismatic Renewal meets, and in 2001, in conjunction with the Pontifical Council for the Laity, held a Colloquium from which came the “Guidelines on Prayers for Healing”. Anyone involved in healing prayer and especially leaders, should have a copy of these Guidelines and having read them first, use them in much the same way as most households have and use a dictionary at home. We more or less know the spelling and meaning of words, but from time to time we need to “look something up” to keep on the right track. For that matter, all should also have a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) at home and close to hand. Now the CCR has been involved in Baptism in the Holy Spirit from the outset, and the time had come to review the experience and see that we are where the Lord wants us to be in regard to this particular grace. A draft paper (71 pages) “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” was prepared by the Doctrinal Commission of the CCR in consultation with a wide range of authors, and circulated widely prior to the Colloquium. In Rome, 150 invited leaders, (including Brendan, Barbara and I), gathered to pray and discuss the draft, both in small workshops and plenary sessions. Little was found that needed correction – thank you Lord – which was a delight, but some very useful comments were made and well received at the open sessions. This led to the “Chair” commenting that the final document could well reach 100 pages! Happily enough the only point that led to the need for further consultation and review was the actual term “Baptised in the Holy Spirit”. While English speaking people and even Pope Benedict in an address on Pentecost Sunday in 2008, used the term “Baptised in the Holy Spirit” taken from John the Baptist (John 1:33) and Jesus (Act 1:5), the French speaking people, notably the French speaking Africans, used the term “effusion of the Holy Spirit” as they feel this is less likely to cause confusion in relation to the Sacraments of Baptism or Confirmation. Others, particularly the Latin Americans and the Germans, prefer “outpouring of the Holy Spirit”. Those who have been faithful in the Lord’s Service in the Renewal for some time, will find that the finished document generally confirms their experience, and those who are new to the Renewal, will have something to guide their growth. Finally, assuming that the completed document will be approved by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (as was the Healing Guidelines), it will be something that we can share not only amongst ourselves, and with our Liaison Priests, but also with Pastors at large in the wider Church. It is hoped to have the final document published early next year. Brian Hines New Zealand
An Experience to Remember (from Rome with love) - Barbara Hines, New Zealand
In March 2011 in Rome, Brendan Woodnutt, Brian and I were privileged to attend the Colloquium on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (which, by the way, was instigated by the late Bishop Joe Grech, Melbourne), sponsored by the International Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The aim of the Colloquium was to consider the contemporary experience of Baptism in the Spirit from biblical, theological and pastoral points of view, and to produce a comprehensive statement to be made available to the whole Church. The 150 invited leaders included theologians, teachers, and authors – many widely known veterans of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal over its 40 year history, including Fr Rufus Pereira – a recent visitor to Auckland; resulting in a truly mighty meeting of minds and hearts, sharing love and wisdom from all over the world. Representatives from each country were given the opportunity to speak of the experience of the Baptism in the Spirit in their lands. A sense of history and excitement grew as we shared together in workshops (language based), and to the whole assembly. (Translations were available through headphones). The venue was an exquisite Retreat Centre set in beautiful gardens – Fraterna Domus Institute in Sacrofano – an hour’s journey out of Rome in the countryside. We assembled daily in the ‘Church’ (large chapel) for Mass concelebrated by up to 28 Priests, Bishop Michel Santier (France) and on the Friday by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The Colloquium was opened by Michelle Moran (current ICCRS President) and began with a Eucharist followed by the introduction to the document under study by Fr Peter Hocken, Austria and Mary Heeley, USA – both members of the Doctrinal Commission for the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Fr Peter mentioned that the document on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit incorporates the charisms but will not be a comprehensive treatment of the charisms. To the question “Is Baptism in the Holy Spirit for all Christians? Answer “yes, and no” Baptism in the Holy Spirit is available for all Christians, but one does not need to belong to the CCR and there is no requirement to adopt the characteristics of the CCR. Two historical ‘group’ experiences of B in H.Sp included Pentecost, and in Caesarea, to Cornelius and his household. Over the following 3 days, we heard a variety of speakers including Ralph Martin, whose books many of you will have read, and Bruce Yokum (author and prophet) representing the Catholic Fraternaties of Covenant Communities. Musicians and worship leaders, Peter Moran, England and Andrew Cauchi, Malta, led us in anointed praise & worship before each session. One highlight was an hour of Eucharistic Adoration led by Franciscan Fr Raniero Cantamalessa – preacher to the Pope’s household, who also led one of the sessions and emphasized the ecclesial nature of the Charismatic Renewal which, he said, was of relevance to the whole Church. Referring to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Bishop Michel Santier, observed that the Fathers of the Church related the experience clearly to the Sacraments of Initiation, and many of them regarded the reception of charisms as integral to these Sacraments. One evening a time of intercession for Japan following the earthquake was held. Some lively discussion arose surrounding the terminology of Baptism in the Spirit as different cultures shared how they viewed and named the experience. For most English speaking countries it was the Baptism, but in parts of Europe and French-speaking African countries it was the ‘Effusion’. Another was the “Outpouring”. Each was a valid name and some felt that ‘Baptism’ could be confused with Sacramental Baptism and Confirmation. However, it was acknowledged that both Jesus and John the Baptist had used ‘Baptism’ or ‘Baptised’ in the Holy Spirit and it is therefore Scriptural. Some opinion on the ‘outpouring’ conveyed a communal experience rather than an intimate or personal experience. We anticipate that the document will allow for whatever terminology suits a particular country. The experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was re-birthed in the Protestant tradition over 40 years ago, and has swept the whole Christian church – it was initially a ‘Renewal’ which has become a ‘Movement’ as understood by the Holy See. It is considered the largest lay movement in the Church with 200 million followers. A Vatican spokesman sees the greatest future of the church coming from India and Brazil, where the Renewal is strong. Emerging from the discussions over the 4 days came a strong sense that we are called to promote the “Culture of Pentecost” to the world as requested by Pope JPII and our current Pope Benedict. Of particular concern worldwide is the question of the youth of the world and the need to find ways to introduce them to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is hoped that the new document will help to alleviate fears or ignorance of the CCR as it demonstrates how well rooted in Catholic tradition the Renewal is. Prophetic Word from the Colloquium – “Do not be afraid of the darkness. Now that you have seen the light you can withstand the darkness.” Another Word referred to the Lord “Shaking” the earth still more, but we should stand firm and not be afraid. The publication of the ‘findings’ of this Colloquium is eagerly awaited. We look forward to the 50th anniversary celebration of the ICCR in 2017. Barbara Hines New Zealand
ICCRS sponsors Colloquium on baptism in the Holy Spirit - Bob Canton, ICCRS Council Member
By Bob Canton ICCRS Council member for English speaking North America, Central America and Caribbean countries.
“As 44 years have passed since God sovereignly began pouring out his Spirit in a new way, beginning with the Duquesne weekend in 1967, it is a good time for us to come together for in-depth theological reflection on the grace of baptism in the Spirit,” Dr. Mary Healy remarked during her introduction to the Draft Document which was used as a reference point during the Colloquium on the Baptism In The Holy Spirit that was held on March 17-20, 2011 in The Fraterna Domus in Sacrofano, a suburb of Rome. The Colloquium was attended by 150 Bishops, priests, theologians and lay leaders from 44 countries. The attendance of this event was by invitation only and was sponsored by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) in collaboration with the Pontifical Council of the Laity. Dr. Healy, the chairperson of the ICCRS ‘ Doctrinal Commission and a theology professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, outlined the goals of the Colloquium namely, 1. A need to continually foster and deepen the reception of the baptism in the Spirit within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, especially through good formation, 2. Theological reflection is part of the ongoing process of growth in ecclesial maturity, 3. To spread the “culture of Pentecost” and the “ spirituality of Pentecost” throughout the Church. Msgr. Peter Hocken from Austria, who is a member of the Doctrinal Commission, had this to say during his introduction to the Draft Document, “Looking back to the 44 years of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, we can thank the Lord for the deepening understanding of this work of the Holy Spirit. It is my personal conviction that we are dealing with something big and decisive in God’s purposes for the Church.” The ICCRS Doctrinal Commission has been working for the past two years writing this draft on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in response to many requests from all over the world. Each Colloquium participant was furnished a copy of this draft. In his talk on “the Meaning and the Fruits of Baptism in the Spirit,” Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the Pontifical Household, asserted, “If then, baptism in the Spirit, on the lips of Jesus, firstly and most directly indicates Pentecost. The simplest and indeed obligatory way to understand what it means and what are its effects is to consider what happened at Pentecost and what did it bring about in the lives of the apostles and of the nascent Church, and what takes place today in those who have received the baptism in the Spirit and experienced a new Pentecost of their own. “ He further stated, “One of its most striking fruits of the baptism in the Spirit is a new experience of God’s love; for many this is by far the most astonishing and exhilarating thing about its reality. Those who took part in the retreat in which the Charismatic Renewal had its beginning in the Catholic Church told afterwards that there was a moment when they feared they would “not be able to bear the excessive love of God” they were experiencing. “It was” they said, “as though the God of Sinai had come into the room, utterly filling it and us as well.” Pentecost is a moment when the heart of stone is shattered to bits and its place is taken by the heart of flesh, but this “heart-transplant” didn’t take place under total anesthesia!” Towards the end of his presentation, the preacher to the Papal household asked the attendees, “What kind of knowledge of Christ do we see in those who have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit? The most significant fact is their rediscovery of that elementary teaching in the Bible, that Jesus Christ is Lord!” Another Colloquium speaker was Ralph Martin, president of Renewal Ministries and director of graduate theology programs in evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. Speaking on Baptism in the Spirit and the Sacraments of Christian Initiation, Martin noted that one of the most insistent calls of the recent Popes has been a call for a “new Pentecost”. He opined that this continuing papal calls for a New Pentecost seem to flow from two main perceptions; 1. The weakness of the Church and the “collapse of Christendom” or as Pope John Paul 11 put it, the end of Christian society as we once knew it, 2. that what is most needed is a renewal of a personal relationship with God himself, a relationship that “comes alive” in the reality of Pentecost, in both its contemplative and charismatic dimensions.” Speakers at the event noticed that different terminology is used among different groups in the Renewal. Those in the English-speaking Renewal who comprised almost 50% of the entire participants in the Colloquium, prefer the term “baptism in the Spirit,” while most of those in the French and Italian-speaking world usually use the term “effusion” or “outpouring” of the Spirit. Other terms such as “release of the Holy Spirit,” “the renewing with the Holy Spirit” are also used. All agreed, however, that these terms refer to the same reality: a release of the graces received in the Sacraments of initiation and a new outpouring of grace and power. Other speakers included Michelle Moran, Arch. George Bacouni, Bishop Michel Santier, Fr. Fidel Oñoro, Fr. Diego Jaramillo, and Fr. Denis Biju-Duval. Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, celebrated Mass on the second day of the Colloquium. “It is hoped to eventually publish two documents, the revised Colloquium text which will be valuable resource for Bishops and leaders and a slimmer publication which will be of help for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in general,” ICCRS president Michelle Moran stated.
This article was published on the July/August/September 2011 Volume 36 Number 3 of the Pentecost Today magazine.
Colloquium on the Baptism in the Spirit - Michelle Moran, ICCRS President
By Michelle Moran Member of the Sion Community, chairwoman of the English NSC and President of ICCRS.
In 2008 there was an international leaders’ consultation in Fiuggi Italy and one of the main points raised among all the leaders present was the centrality of Baptism in the Holy Spirit as the heart of the Charismatic Renewal. This reflection prompted the ICCRS doctrinal commission to write a text specifically on Baptism in the Holy Spirit. This was also in response to the numerous requests received by ICCRS asking for some theological background to Baptism in the Holy Spirit. In 1998 Blessed John Paul II had encouraged all the movements to ‘grow in ecclesial maturity’ and so after over 40 years of the experience of Baptism in the Holy Spirit, it was felt that the time was right for further theological reflection.
The Heart of the Renewal
This central grace of Charismatic Renewal has been described in a number of ways; such as, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the release of the Holy Spirit or the out-pouring/effusion of the Holy Spirit. Basically, in a clear and deliberate act of surrender, we invite the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives. In this way there is a personal Pentecost where the presence of the Holy Spirit brings alive in new ways the graces of our Baptism and Confirmation. The Holy Spirit not only releases the sacramental graces that have already been received but there is also a new out-pouring of the Spirit to equip us with gifts for service and mission. Through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, people come to know God as a loving and forgiving Father, they enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour as well as becoming aware that they are Temples of the Holy Spirit. From this place of conversion, the word of God becomes more fully ‘alive and active’, there is a deeper call to prayer and worship, a strong realisation of the need to build the community of the Church and a deeper desire to evangelise in the power of the Holy Spirit. So Charismatic Renewal does not just focus upon personal conversion but sees this as a fundamental key to the renewal of the entire Church and to the transformation of the world. Obviously, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal does not have a monopoly of the grace of Pentecost. However, the central goal of the Renewal is to promote ‘Baptism in the Holy Spirit’ as something which is offered to everyone to equip them for the mission of the entire Church.
ICCRS Doctrinal Commission
The colloquium gathered together 150 invited leaders from 43 countries. The main focus was to reflect together upon Baptism in the Holy Spirit as presented in a draft text from the ICCRS doctrinal commission. The initial text, which had already been through a few revisions, had been largely compiled by Dr Mary Healy from USA and Mgr Peter Hocken who now lives in Austria. This was then distributed to a small group of charismatic theologians in the different continents and revisions were made from their comments. The ICCRS doctrinal commission was chaired by Bishop Joe Grech, who died very suddenly last December, so there was the additional challenge of moving ahead with the colloquium, without our chairman. However, as the colloquium was something very dear to Bishop Joe’s heart, we knew that things should continue to move forward. Indeed, it was very appropriate that as part of the opening session we watched a DVD clip of Bishop Joe sharing a testimony about his experience of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. He told that as a young priest he had ‘somewhat reluctantly’ been prayed with by his Parish Priest and as a result his priesthood had been transformed. The testimony was an important reminder that whilst during the colloquium the main focus was theological reflection, this alone is incomplete. Undoubtedly, the most important work of Charismatic Renewal is to keep introducing people to the life changing work of the Holy Spirit which comes through the ‘experience’ of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The text begins by examining the characteristics and fruits of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It highlights twelve specific areas covering firstly, the inner work of the Spirit such as power for sanctification and growth in prayer, scripture and the sacraments. It then focuses on the various charisms and finally, the more external fruits of Baptism in the Holy Spirit such as empowerment for evangelisation and a deeper commitment to engagement in works of mercy and justice. The second part of the text looks at the biblical and patristic foundations of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is of course important for us always to remember that Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a new phenomenon or something which began in the Charismatic Renewal. It is rather a grace of Pentecost which has strongly emerged at different times in the history of the Church. The Charismatic Renewal is a channel of the more recent current of grace being poured out in the Church at this time. However, it is interesting to note that the main features of Baptism in the Holy Spirit as experienced today were also present in the early Church. The final sections of the text highlight the institutional and charismatic dimensions of the Church. They look in a detailed way at some of the theological reflections of Baptism in the Holy Spirit particularly in connection with the sacraments of initiation. These theological issues then naturally flow into important pastoral issues surrounding Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
The Dynamics of the Colloquium
The colloquium provided some very rich reflections, papers were presented by theologians from all over the world including; Fr Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap, Ralph Martin, and Bishop Michel Santier. There was also time given for sharing in groups. These were organised in the different languages. In my small group, we were sharing from the perspectives of USA, Denmark, Belgium, Canada and the Caribbean. The final part of the colloquium involved panel discussions. There were testimonies from all over the world highlighting the different pastoral experiences and fruits of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Maria Eugenia from Guatemala spoke about how Baptism in the Holy Spirit was a way in which marriage and family life was being enriched and renewed. Beatriz Vargas from Brazil spoke about the new empowerment for mission especially among young people working in the Amazon. Reference was also made from Africa and Asia about the increase in vocations and the importance of healing, and reconciliation. Perhaps the most important thing for me at the colloquium was the sense that we are living in a special time of grace and we therefore have the responsibility to receive and share what God is giving us. We need to reflect constantly upon the grace in order to be more open and responsive. Being among people from 43 countries highlighted the international perspective, the universal dimension of Pentecost and Charismatic Renewal. It is so enriching to know that we are only a small part of what God is doing as He continues to pour out his Spirit in every part of the World.
This article was published on the July/August 2011 of the Goodnews magazine.
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) is meeting for a third Colloquium of experts from all over the world to reflect on the doctrine and practice of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in the Church today. Organised by ICCRS under the patronage of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
Attendance at this event is by invitation only
International Colloquium Focused on Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Bishops, priests, theologians and lay leaders from around the world will soon gather in Rome for an International Colloquium on Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The event, sponsored by International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS), in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Laity, will be held March 17-20 at Fraterna Domus in Sacrofano. The Colloquium will consider “Baptism in the Spirit” from biblical, theological, and pastoral points of view, especially in relation to the Sacraments of Initiation and to the new evangelization. The event will be attended by approximately 150 invited leaders from various expressions of Catholic Charismatic Renewal worldwide.
According to Oreste Pesare, ICCRS Director, the colloquium will be followed by the publication of a document on “Baptism in the Spirit” which will be “an important testimony and a point of reference for the whole Church.” As the Catholic Charismatic Renewal approaches its fiftieth anniversary in 2017, Pesare said, “this is an opportunity for mature theological reflection on our experience of the Holy Spirit and his gifts in the context of the wider Church.” One of the Colloquium speakers is Ralph Martin, president of Renewal Ministries and director of graduate theology programs in evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. Martin will speak on the topic of “Baptism in the Spirit and the Sacraments of Initiation.”
Rediscovering the Need for God
Martin further noted that the colloquium is one sign of a growing recognition that the Church needs to turn more ardently to God himself. “Whether it be heart-felt repentance, as recently expressed in the apostolic visitations in Ireland, or Pope Benedict’s recurring calls for a new Pentecost, the challenges of the time are causing us to be aware of our great need for God.” Martin added that the upcoming colloquium is focused precisely on the need for God and how his presence and active role can be better understood and experienced. Mr. Martin noted that the colloquium is concerned not only with the Charismatic Renewal as a movement but with what is of interest to the whole Church, namely, a new Pentecost. The purpose of the Charismatic Renewal, Martin said, is not to get people to “join it,” but to be a witness in the Church to what belongs to the Church: the Holy Spirit and his gifts. Many people who have been baptized and confirmed don’t experience the reality of God, his love, his presence, his action in their lives, Martin said. The biblical meaning of “Baptism in the Spirit” is rooted in the sacraments of Christian initiation. “We are now facing a challenge in the Church of helping many who are already baptized and confirmed to activate the graces of the sacraments.” Martin added that in order to understand what a “new Pentecost” might involve, we need to have a clear understanding of the first Pentecost, and the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to “baptize in the Holy Spirit”, that occurred for the first time—but not for the last time—that day. “It is hard to desire what we don’t know as beautiful, in some way; it is hard to pray for what we don’t understand is essential,” he said. Others speaking at the international event include Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, Archbishop George Bacouni, Bishop Michel Santier, Michelle Moran (ICCRS President), Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Fr. Fidel Oñoro, Fr. Denis Biju-Duval, Fr. Peter Hocken, and Mary Healy.