In a spirited gathering of faith, praise and worship, hundreds of Hispanic Catholics turned out recently for the Diocese’s first-ever Hispanic Charismatic Conference – an event that encouraged attendees to live in the Spirit.
The Charismatic movement is an ecclesial movement in the Church that calls attention to the work of the Holy Spirit and encourages the faithful to be renewed in His gifts.
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal was first introduced in the Diocese of Harrisburg in 1971. Today, the movement has monthly Masses, various prayer groups and seminars, and an annual Day of Renewal here in the Diocese.
On Saturday, July 15, the first-ever Hispanic Charismatic conference on the Diocesan level welcomed hundreds of faithful to the Diocesan Center for a day of prayer, praise, music and presentations focused on the Holy Spirit. Bishop Timothy Senior celebrated Mass to open the conference, and delivered a homily, translated into Spanish by Father Luis Rodriguez, coordinator of the Hispanic Charismatic Renewal and pastor of San Juan Bautista Parish in Lancaster.
The energetic gathering inspired participants to raise their hands and be physically moved by the Spirit during praise and worship. The Ministry of Praise & Adoration choir group – consisting of parishioners from St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Harrisburg, San Juan Bautista Parish in Lancaster, Immaculate Conception in York and Corpus Christi Parish in Chambersburg – led the congregation in dynamic and robust songs giving honor to the Blessed Mother.
“The Charismatic movement helps us to connect among ourselves and with God and the Holy Spirit,” Father Francisco Gordillo told The Witness. The priest, who is the Spiritual Director for the Charismatic Movement of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in Missouri, was the guest speaker at the Diocesan conference.
“The seminars, the congress, the retreats, the formation, the celebrations offer us a whole spectrum of faith, prayer, personal encounter, communion and worship and empower us for the mission of evangelization in the world and the culture,” he said. “Everything we do and celebrate involves us individually, the family, the youth, and the universal Church. I believe one of the positive things about the celebrations and worship is the joy of our celebrations. Everything we do is liturgically connected and helps us to express ourselves, our experiences, our feelings, our thoughts, our relationship with Jesus and His Church.”
During the conference, Father Gordillo offered presentations about the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church, and the Holy Spirit in the lives of the faithful, particularly on what happens when we open our hearts and minds to His promptings.
“We intend to help each person and each family to grow and mature their faith and their relationship with Jesus,” he said of the Charismatic movement. “Prayer, the Blessed Sacrament, the Bible, the Rosary and a profound devotion to Mary are the pillars in each prayer group and every time we gather together. At the same time, we encourage everyone to become an active agent in their community and to contribute to the mission of their local Church, the Diocese and the entire Church. We emphasize our responsibility to help the Church with her mission of evangelization.”
Learn more about the Charismatic movement in the Diocese at aliveinthespirit.net/home.html.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness