fTHERThe Flame: July/August, 2008
Dear Readers of The Flame,

My initiation into the Catholic charismatic renewal was not unique. I was invited to a prayer meeting by a peer. A few months later I signed up for a Life in the Spirit weekend at St. Joseph Christian Life Center. A year later I went to a charismatic conference at Notre Dame. The year was 1976.

That conference was an absolutely wonderful event. The theme was “The Kingdom, The Power and The Glory.” My major conference decision was which workshop I was going to attend Saturday afternoon. Our local organizer at Ohio State, Larry, guided me through the decision. He asked me, “Which workshop would you like to attend?” I thought for a moment and said, “I’ll go the Kingdom workshop.” Larry replied, “We already have a number from our group attending that one. Why don’t you pick another.” So I said, “OK. I’ll go to the Power workshop.” Again Larry said, “You know, there are a number from the prayer group signed up for that workshop too.” By this time I am thinking, “Why is he asking me?!” So I said, “OK. I’ll go to the Glory workshop.” This time Larry didn’t protest.

The workshop was wonderful. The presenters, Bob Mumford and Ern Baxter, gave talks on learning to worship the Lord in a wholehearted manner. Their use of scripture and humor were inspiring. However, we did not merely listen to talks. We practiced what we learned. We had a wonderful worship session. It was there that I learned that charismatic classic, “I’m Under the Spout Where the Glory Comes Out.” Would that I stayed under that glory spout, always living in the Spirit!

There is something about the Catholic charismatic renewal and conferences. They seem to go hand in hand. The prayer-filled preparation, the joyful worship times, the charismatically gifted presenters, the palpable faith environment and the love filled fellowship create an atmosphere where the Lord is free to work in the lives of people in new ways. This kind of environment is the opposite of what Jesus encountered when he arrived at his home town of Nazareth. “And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13:58) At a charismatic conference many people encounter the Lord in new ways. Some preachpeople experience healing. Other people receive a new charism or empowerment. Still others are evangelized, surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ for the first time. Almost all participants are refreshed and renewed in their relationship with the Lord.

Catholic Renewal Ministries is sponsoring their Twenty-Sixth Annual conference, Listen to Him, this July 18-19 at Magnificat High School in Rocky River. I encourage all of you to attend. I challenge all of you to bring someone with you. You will be blessed and your guest will probably be eternally grateful to you.

Finally, please pray for the success of this conference. In a world that seems increasingly deaf to the voice of the Lord, pray that all who are involved with this conference truly Listen to Him and be transformed by heeding the Lord.Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Bob Franco