When we give our lives to Jesus, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we become more like Him.
This fundamental concept served as a guidepost for the participants in the 2023 Diocese of Venice English Catholic Charismatic Renewal two-day “For Such a Time as This” Spiritual Gifts Conference with a concert, June 2-3, 2023, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. The conference fell between the Solemnities of Pentecost (May 28) and the Most Holy Trinity (June 4).
English Charismatic Renewal groups from across the Diocese gathered to share in a day of uplifting talks, encouraging everyone to answer their personal call to holiness. Their goal was to establish, or reestablish, an immediacy of relationship with all three persons of the Holy Trinity, and through inner transformation, affect the whole of the person’s life.
The theme for the day “For Such a Time as This” comes from the writings of keynote speaker (author and musician) Tori Harris, whose book Holy Spirit 101 formed the structure of the conference. The conference offered a time of extraordinary praise and worship, healing prayer, and dynamic teaching. Everyone was encouraged to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit in their life and to share the joy and wonder with others.
The two-day event opened on June 2 in the Parish Hall with a free concert by Harris as she shared inspirational original songs mixed with traditional songs and stories to help the audience be moved by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
The mission of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, with faithfulness to the teachings of the Catholic Church, is to stir into flame the grace of Pentecost. This is accomplished by promoting knowledge of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1831), Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and creating a deepening awareness of the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our daily lives.
Harris said we are each called by the Holy Spirit in different ways, but importantly we must be open to hearing the call in the first place, because we are invited for a special reason.
“The whole point of this (Charismatic Renewal) is to declare Christ’s messianic mission” Harris said. “The Scriptures say that the Messiah will be able to give sight to the blind, raise the dead, and heal the sick. The Messiah alone can do that. Because if you are doing that it is because of the Messiah; the power of the Holy Spirit lives within you. You become a sign of Christ’s messianic mission to the world.”
If a prayer is just for someone to be healed, Harris said that doesn’t go far enough.
“The prayer is for them to be saved. For them to know Jesus. So, boldly proclaim Jesus to anyone that you are praying for,” Harris stressed.
Father Claudio Stewart, Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal Spiritual Advisor and Administrator at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Port Charlotte, led the group in prayer during the opening of the event.
Father Stewart said it is important for the faithful to realize that the saving power of Jesus can heal them physically and, more importantly, spiritually.
The conference in Venice offered a chance for Charismatics to recharge and refocus on their mission, explained Dr. John Gresham, President of the Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
Gresham said the Lord reveals the Glory of His Kingdom and longs for us to know His love which will cast out any fear we have in our heart. “God invites us to share in the anointing of Jesus to do the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. The Holy Spirit brings us into that Communion as co-workers with God.”
For more information about the Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal, please visit www.dvccr.org.