The Flame: September & October, 2006

Dear Readers of The Flame,

I must begin this letter with a thankful look backwards at our recent charismatic conference on August 11-12, 2006. Our “Walk Humbly With Our God” conference was a grace for all who participated. Aggie Neck and Fr. Richard McAlear gave edifying teachings. Bishop Quinn delighted us with his humor. Deacon Dave Pecot, in spite of being a bit under the weather, powerfully called us to surrender to Jesus on Friday evening. The music and singing of the New Christian Minstrels helped us “go within His gates giving thanks; enter His courts with songs of praise.” (Psalm 100:4) I am also for the labors of our healing team, word gift ministry, and especially our conference committee, who meet throughout the year praying and planning for the event. Finally we are grateful for the many other people who made this conference a true vehicle of the Holy Spirit: greeters, liturgical ministers, bookstore workers, the set up crew, the tear down team and everyone else who helped make this gathering successful in the Lord.

However, I want to continue this letter with a look ahead. The international Catholic charismatic renewal and our diocesan charismatic renewal are approaching some significant anniversaries next year. February 2007 will mark the 40th anniversary of the “Duquesne” weekend, the traditional calendar marker of the beginning of the charismatic renewal the Catholic Church. On the local level, Catholic Renewal Ministries will be celebrating its 25th annual charismatic conference in August of 2007. I believe that these upcoming anniversaries be times of great gratitude. “The Lord has done great things for us. We are glad.” (Psalm 126:3) And I also pray that these events would be springboards for the renewal to grow in breadth and depth, as the Lord leads us into greater holiness and evangelistic fruitfulness.

Ken Posavad, the leader of the New Christian Minstrels, will sometimes sing a song that goes like this: Let it rain! Let it rain! Open the floodgates of heaven! Let it rain…(I am not sure if Ken is still singing that song. He lives in Lake County, where about ten inches of rain fell one July day this summer!)

In some ways “let it rain…” captures the essence of charismatic renewal in our day. It is a movement from heaven to earth by the refreshing, life giving presence of the Holy Spirit. The principle leader of the movement is the Holy Spirit. The primary purpose of the movement is to be empowered to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord! The overall plan of the movement is to empower the Church to evangelize the world.

Let us strive to be open to this Holy Rain. The Holy Spirit is the free gift who leads us to make costly sacrifices so as to gain that treasure which is real and lasting. May we never be afraid of getting a little wet, even of being soaked, with this rain!

In His Spirit,

Fr. Bob Franco