Life in the Spirit
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a worldwide movement that started in the United States in February of 1967 at a retreat that students from Duquesne University attended. During the retreat, some of the attendees had a powerful experience of God infilling their very being with His presence and changed their life. This movement has been openly supported by the Catholic Church.
Jesus promised to send His Holy Spirit to His followers. His disciples experienced the presence and power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. There was a dramatic change in them. They received charisms (1st Corinthians 12:4-11) and were empowered to evangelize others.
During the second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII, the Bishops and laity prayed for a spiritual renewal of all Catholics in these words, “Renew your wonders in our time, as though a new Pentecost.”
Pope Paul VI addressing the participants at the international conference of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Rome said, “The Church and the world need more than ever that the miracle of Pentecost should continue in history.”
In 1979 Pope John Paul II speaking to the Council of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service said, “I am convinced that this movement is a sign of the Spirit’s action…a very important component in the total renewal of the Church.” At First Vespers of Pentecost on May 29, 2004, he called for the “spirituality of Pentecost” to be spread in the Church “as a renewed incentive to prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation.”
Pope Benedict XVI often speaks of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. In a speech in 2008 he said, “this power, the grace of the Spirit, is not something we can merit or achieve, but only receive as pure gift. God’s love can only unleash its power when it is allowed to change us from within.”
Realizing that those who were coming to prayer groups in the beginning years of this Movement to receive the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” needed some formation in their Christian life, The Word of God, a Christian community in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the early 1970’s developed a course called The Life in the Spirit Seminars. Over the last forty some years, millions of people have opened themselves to experiencing the release of the spiritual gifts they received in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation (Isaiah 11:1-2 and 1st Corinthians 12:4-11). This seminar is usually done over seven consecutive weeks or on a weekend. It presents the central truths of the Gospel: God’s Love, Salvation, The New Life, Receiving God’s Gift, Praying for Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Growth and Transformation in Christ. There is also a workbook for the participants to use daily. Both the manual and workbook can be obtained through Chariscenter USA at www.nsc-chariscenter.org.
Another manual for the Life in the Spirit Seminar is Wind and Fire written by Arlene Apone. It is based on the scripture readings from Easter to Pentecost. There are both a team manual and participants workbook for Wind and Fire. They can be obtained through the Detroit Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org.