The Flame: January & February 2006

Dear Readers of The Flame,

Mr. Colin LaVergne, the liaison for charismatic renewal from the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul, sponsored a unique conference in October of 2005. It was entitled Bishops Speak to the Renewal. The conference was addressed by a number of bishops involved in or supportive of charismatic renewal.

Besides the conference, Colin also wrote to the bishops of the United States , asking them to submit in writing their thoughts about charismatic renewal. He then published these letters and comments without editing in a booklet entitled, appropriately enough, Bishops Speak to the Renewal.

In summary Colin observed that, “a number of bishops have been personally involved in the Renewal and find it to be a great help to their spiritual life and ministry.”

Of course there were some recommendations. These were summarized at the beginning of the booklet. They were:

¨      Youth: Many bishops noted that the renewal needs to find effective ways to pass on the fire of Pentecost to the next generation so that the grace of the renewal does not fade away due to the aging and death of current members. While this is a concern for the whole church, it is especially critical for the renewal. Many of our prayer groups are primarily composed of older people.  

¨      Support by the clergy: Several bishops noted that the renewal would be stronger if priests had a deeper understanding and experience of the renewal. Though time constraints are a problem, the support of the clergy is essential to keep the renewal integrated into the broader church.  

¨      Training of leadership: Bishops were concerned that renewal leaders were not sufficiently formed in Catholic theology and practice. They advocated greater efforts to provide stronger formation, especially as new people take on leadership responsibilities.

¨      Educational outreach to the Church: Bishops thought that the renewal would have a stronger influence in the church if Catholic charismatics found effective ways to educate the church, both laity and clergy, about the renewal. Many have not heard of Baptism in the Spirit.

These recommendations provide the charismatic renewal, both nationally and locally, quite an agenda! I want to ask you charismatics to help me and the General Service Committee to implement these thoughts. Please:

¨      PRAY that the Lord give us wisdom, courage, vision and love as we seek to implement these recommendations.

¨      SHARE with me your ideas and, as you are able, offer your time and talents to the renewal. You can reach me through the website (www.crmweb.org) or by calling my parish (440-934-4227).

God has begun a good work in the Church by allowing us to experience the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit in fresh ways. May He bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6)!

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Bob Franco

PS: In an effort to get more clergy involved, a number of priests will be sharing the traveling mass duties. Our next mass will be on Friday, January 27 at 7:30 PM at St. Michael’s in Independence . Fr. Peter Colletti will be the celebrant.