What is the Catholic Charismatic Renewal?

“The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) began at a retreat for college students from Duquesne University at The Ark and The Dove Retreat Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA) in February 1967. The students had spent much of the weekend in prayer, asking God to allow them to experience the grace they received in both baptism and confirmation. The students, that weekend, had a powerful and transforming experience of God, which came to be known as ‘baptism in the Spirit’. The account of the weekend and the experience of the Spirit quickly spread across the college campus, then to other campuses throughout the country.


The charismatic experience soon moved beyond colleges and began to have an impact on regular parishes and other Catholic institutions. Loose organisations and networks were formed. Catholic charismatic conferences began to be held, drawing over 30,000 at Notre Dame campus in South Bend Indiana in the mid 1970’s.

The Renewal caught the attention of the Church, and the leaders of the movement met Pope Paul VI (1975) as well as Pope John Paul II several times. In addition, several of the bishops’ conferences, of various countries, have written pastoral letters of encouragement and support for the movement.


The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is not a single, unified worldwide movement. It does not have a single founder or group of founders as many other movements do. It has no membership lists. It is a highly diverse collection of individuals, groups and activities—covenant communities, prayer groups, schools, small faith sharing groups, renewed parishes, conferences, retreats, and even involvement in various apostolates and ministries—, often quite independent of one another, in different stages and modes of development and with different emphases, that nevertheless share the same fundamental experience and espouse the same general goals.


The common thread for the Movement is the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’. For many people, this new, powerful, and life-transforming outpouring of the Holy Spirit takes place in the context of a specifically designed seminar called ‘Life in the Spirit’, although many have been ‘baptised in the Spirit’ outside of the seminar.

The Growth of the CCR


The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is currently present in more than 200 countries and has touched the lives of over 120,000,000 Catholics. In some countries the number of participants seems to have diminished in recent years, while in other places the number continue to rise at an amazing rate.

The Five Objectives of the CCR

To foster mature and continuous personal conversion to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

To foster a decisive personal receptivity to the person, presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. These two spiritual graces are often experienced together in what is called in different parts of the world a baptism in the Holy Spirit, or a release of the Holy Spirit, or a renewal of the Holy Spirit. They are most often understood as a personal acceptance of the graces of Christian initiation and as an empowering for personal Christian service in the Church and in the world.

To foster the reception and use of the spiritual gifts (charismata) not only in the CCR but also in the broader Church. These gifts, ordinary and extraordinary are abundantly found among laity, religious and clergy. Their proper understanding and use in harmony with other elements of the Church life is a source of strength for Christians on their journey towards holiness and in the carrying out of their mission.

To foster the work of evangelization in the power of the Holy Spirit, including the evangelization of the unchurched, the re-evangelization of nominal Christians, the evangelization of culture and social structures. CCR especially promotes sharing in the Church’s mission by proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed, and by bearing witness to Jesus Christ through personal testimony and through those works of faith and justice to which each one is called.

To foster the ongoing growth in holiness through the proper integration of these charismatic emphases with the full life of the Church. This is accomplished through participation in a rich sacramental and liturgical life, and appreciation of the tradition of Catholic prayer and spirituality, and ongoing formation in Catholic doctrine. This is guided by the Church’s Magisterium, and participation in the pastoral plan of the Church..

What Does the CCR Do?

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