Earlier this month, those involved with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal from around the world gathered in Rome with Pope Francis to celebrate the organization's 50th anniversary. Below, Catholic Charismatic Renewal Council of Toronto (CCRC) Chairperson, Mary Cruz Guzman, shares about the movement and its work in the Archdiocese of Toronto. With contributions from Fr. Ben St. Croix, CCRC's Liasion to the Cardinal.
1. What is the Catholic Charismatic Renewal?
The Charismatic renewal is essentially a rediscovery among ordinary Catholics of the event of Pentecost in the early Church. On that day, the apostles and many lay people were caught up in an experience that changed their lives in powerful ways and gave them a new courage to share their faith far and wide, even in the face of great opposition. Many that have attended prayer groups and gone through Life in the Spirit Seminars (120+ million worldwide) have given testimony to experiencing similar things, for instance a deeper experience of God in prayer and deeper desire to pray as well. Many find the scriptures come alive in a new way. They begin to love God and serve Him with greater devotion. There are countless blessings besides the prayer groups themselves that have come from this awakening of Pentecost which Pope Francis is calling "a current of grace" for our time, including many of the movements in the Church.
Prompted by the Holy Spirit and faithful to the teachings of Catholic Church in harmony with the local pastoral programs, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Council (CCRC) facilitates, educates and promotes activities and resources that foster the growth and development of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal throughout the GTA.
2. Tell us about the work and events of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Council (CCRC) of Toronto
CCRC is committed to support English and ethnic prayer groups and prayer communities in the Archdiocese of Toronto. Through our events, our objective is to ensure we live under the Lordship of Jesus by building unity, promoting charity, deepening spirituality and fostering evangelization and formation.
This includes Life in the Spirit Seminars for parishes and other institutions, formation retreats, workshops and seminars, evangelization, workshops, monthly Adoration and fostering adult, youth and children's ministries.
Our two major annual evangelization events are "Christ the King Rally" and the "Cradle of Hope."
Members of CCRC pray at St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica
3. What exactly is being celebrated this summer with the Golden Jubilee conference?
We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in our Church. On February 17, 1967, 25 students from the University of Duquesne, in Pittsburgh, were at a retreat where they experienced an extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
CCRC Toronto is joining in the worldwide celebrations to commemorate of this powerful movement of the Holy Spirit, spreading as wildfire throughout the Catholic Church.
4. How has the charismatic movement made a difference in your own life or of people who you know?
Through Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal awakens our Baptismal promises, bringing the experience of living in the Spirit and perpetual Pentecost.
This experience results in a deepened prayer life, a deeper relationship with Christ, a thirst for the word of God, renewed devotion and active participation in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. It creates in us a desire to work in our own personal conversion and sanctification.
5. Pope Francis has spoken of the Charismatic Renewal as a "current of grace" for the whole Church. How do you see that this movement can be of help to the Church going forward from here?
This "current of grace" is for everyone. It is a call to action to share the Gospel with others. The Charismatic Renewal brings restoration and transformation and invites us to live our identity as children of God while experiencing daily renewal and answering our call to discipleship.