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 2022 Diocese of Venice English Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference which was held Jan. 15, at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers.
The Conference brought together English Charismatic Renewal groups from across the Diocese to share in a day of uplifting talks, encouraging everyone to answer their personal call to holiness.
The theme for the day “Come, and You Will See,” comes from the Gospel of John (1:37-39). In the passage we learned that the disciples knew who Jesus was as a man and prophet, but they did not know the true Jesus, Son of God the Father. They decided to take the path to stay with the Lord.
This message is important, not just for Charismatics, but for all, said Bishop Frank J. Dewane, during a Mass at the conclusion of the Conference.
“They came to this Conference to listen to the Lord in their life, and to fill their hearts, minds and souls with the Holy Spirit and hear the call that the Holy Spirit has for them,” Bishop Dewane said. “We all need to listen to the charism, the call in our own life.”
Father Anthony Lukka, Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal Spiritual Advisor and Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice, led the group in prayer several times throughout the day.
Father Lukka repeatedly stressed the importance for the faithful to realize that the saving power of Jesus will heal them from pain and suffering, physically or spiritually.
“The only thing that is required of us is to ask Jesus to bring healing into our lives,” he said. “It is by His wounds; you have been healed. It was on the cross where Jesus suffered and shed His Precious Blood that we are all healed of our sins. That healing should permeate who you are in your life.”
Renee Marazon, President of the Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal, said that on a daily basis 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. “Speak to Jesus; talk to Jesus, he wants you to be His best friend. Talk to Him and listen to His voice.”
Dr. John Gresham, recently retired Director of the Diocese of Venice Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation, spoke about the way we should be healed through all prayer and through the generosity and love of the Holy Spirit. 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.”
Before Mass, the Conference concluded with a presentation from participants on the successful introduction of the Alpha Catholic Course at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral. This 12-week course is a way to reintroduce the faithful through group encounters and discussions is done at a smaller group level and is structured to help people feel comfortable talking about their faith and welcome in the Church beyond the pews on Sunday.
Marazon explained how the program started small and has grown exponentially and created a sense of community at the Parish that was lacking in the past.
One attendee said participating in the Alpha course was a spiritual gift where his faith in Jesus jumped. “We learn that God meets us where we are.”
For more information about the Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal or how to start an Alpha Catholic Course at your Parish, please visit www.dvccr.org or email Renee Marazon at firstname.lastname@example.org.