Members of the Singapore contingent at the Pentecost Mass in St Peter’s Square.

By Gerard Francisco

It was truly an awesome Pentecost experience to witness brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world – different nationalities, races and languages – gathering at St Peter’s Square as one Body of Christ, said Ms Wendy Tan.

She was one of the 120 or so Singapore delegates who travelled to Rome for the May 31-June 4 Golden Jubilee celebration of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

The Singapore Catholic Charismatic Renewal (SACCRE), in collaboration with International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, organised delegates from different prayer groups in Singapore to attend the celebration.

“I felt very grateful to God for this grace-filled moment to be in Rome and being so privileged to sit so close to the Holy Father, the shepherd of the Holy Catholic Church,” said Ms Tan. It was truly an amazing and unforgettable experience, she added.

Another participant, Ms Wendy Cheong, said that as she waited for the Pentecost Mass with Pope Francis to begin, “I was filled with excitement and awe. During Mass, it was like a foretaste of how a banquet in heaven would be like. I felt a sense of peace and joy.”

Mr Frankie Tan said he felt “unity” as he “witnessed people from all parts of the world coming together to participate in the Eucharist.

“Truly, it is only with the Holy Spirit that all of us, regardless of nationalities, cultures, languages and even differences can be present there that day, as it is the same spirit that brought about and formed the Church!”

The five-day-long programme comprised a general audience with Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square, prayer meetings, Eucharistic adoration, a theological symposium, workshops, Eucharistic celebrations, a worldwide Jubilee Charismatic gathering, the Pentecost Vigil and a final gathering to celebrate Pentecost.

The celebrations were jointly organised by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and the Catholic Fraternity of Covenant Communities. The purpose was not to simply celebrate an occasion but to re-look God’s purpose for releasing this “current of grace” into the Catholic Church 50 years ago.

Upon the invitation from Pope Francis, more than 30,000 Catholic Charismatics from 127 different countries were present to commemorate the celebration.

The pope reminded participants that the Holy Spirit brings hope to all of creation. Filled with this hope, they can become consolers in the image of the Paraclete. This will enable them to be advocates, helpers and bringers of comfort to others.

At the theological symposium, Fr Raneirio Cantalamessa, preacher of the Papal Household, said that the Catholic Charismatic Renewal “enables Catholic theology to come alive”. At the same time there is a need for the renewal to be rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

During the Pentecost vigil, Ms Michelle Moran, president of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, said, “We are here to thank God for all that He has given us in the last 50 years. Let this be a time to move forward in a new way in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Members of the Singapore contingent at the Pentecost Mass in St Peter’s Square.

Pope Francis said that the Catholic Charismatic Renewal was started by God as a perpetual current of grace. It was born ecumenical. The Holy Spirit created this unity among Christians of all denominations. The early Church grew because of unity. Everyone has different charisms which can complement each other.

He exhorted all participants to move forward with greater strength and unity.

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal began in 1967 at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Michigan, where Catholic university students who went for a weekend retreat at the Ark and Dove Retreat House experienced a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Mr David Mangan and Ms Patti Mansfield, who were present at the Duquesne weekend retreat, led a prayer for the baptism in the Holy Spirit to continue the work of the New Evangelisation.

The atmosphere was electrifying with people of different nations expressing their praises in one common language, in the gift of tongues. 

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