Like one great song of praise to God and with one’s soul rejoicing – this was how the International Convention of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement began and ended. It was convened with the aim of “questioning ourselves about the challenges posed by maturity and how to be a blessing one for the other”. The Convention was held at the Mariapolis Center of Castelgandolfo, from September 18-30.
The participants – over 1,000 – came from 72 different countries all over the world, carrying with them their typical charismatic enthusiasm.
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa who guided the retreat, spoke about the demanding challenge of sanctity faced by the Charismatic Renewal Movement, in the light of John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter “Novo Millenio Ineunte”. The Pontifical House preacher also answered a series of questions regarding faithfulness to the Spirit and institutionalization, highlighting the profound change which Charismatic Renewal continues to operate in the lives of many people:
“I see the same effects in a large number of people, a radical change which – naturally – needs to be nurtured by the Sacraments and the Magisterium so that it may reach the perfection of Christian life. I have seen changed persons; right here we listened to the experience of a couple who were coming from a desperate, broken and lost life and who now live a saintly married life which shines forth in such a fascinating way.
“The same thing can be said of our priests and married people. There is no denying that all this is the work of the Holy Spirit. My wish is that this grace may be shared by all, that the Church may not see Charismatic Renewal as an island of some people who are particularly inclined to emotionalism, but who see that this is a norm for Christian life. Jesus wanted his life, that life which he gave up on the Cross for us, to be lived in the Spirit.”
“Twelve days of blessings”was the promising theme of the meeting, which took place in a climate of deep spiritual communion, such that one could almost touch what the convention wished to express: that in Christ Our Lord and Savior, Love took form in our midst. The greatest blessing is that which is put into life in the “spirituality of communion” which the Pope encourages so much, as well as Chiara Lubich, one of the guest speakers of the Convention.
Prof. Andrea Riccardi, founder of St. Egidio Community shared the experience of love which is translated into aid for the poor.