Papal preacher Father Raniero Cantalamessa speaks to SACCRE members (inset) Father Raniero with a SACCRE member. Photos by Carl Ferrao
SINGAPORE – The Holy Spirit works within the Church in two directions: through the Pope and then transmitted to the bishops, priests and laity; and from the charisms of the laity as they contribute to the sanctification of the Church, said Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa to about 160 charismatic prayer leaders on Feb 4.
Singapore Archdiocesan Catholic Charismatic Renewal (SACCRE) members gathered that Thursday afternoon at St. Francis Xavier Major Seminary for Father Cantalamessa’s talk titled “Exercising the ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit”.
In 1980, Pope John Paul II appointed Father Cantalamessa as preacher to the papal household. He preaches in the presence of the pope, cardinals and bishops during Advent and Lent.
The Italian-born Capuchin friar explained that the Holy Spirit’s action is two-fold. On one hand, the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit calls the faithful to holiness and charity. On the other hand, His charismatic action gives the faithful charisms which are “special gifts for the common good”.
Father Cantalamessa advised against emphasising charisms over charity, and highlighted two ways of becoming like Jesus. One way is by appropriation – receiving from Jesus what we lack. “In the Eucharist, when we surrender our weakness, we receive the purity of Jesus,” he said.
The second way is by imitation which is learning from Jesus and following His ways.
SACCRE East District Councillor Philip Kok said that the talk was a good reminder for charismatic renewal prayer leaders that the Holy Spirit is constantly moving in the Church.
Mr Kok was especially struck by Father Cantalamessa’s first-hand experience of the Pentecost.
The Capuchin had related how he had seen a man holding onto the reins of a chariot and Jesus was asking him to give Him the reins of his life. Understanding that he was not in control of his life, Father Cantalamessa surrendered all to the Lord, and left his teaching position as scripture professor to become an itinerant preacher.
City District Councillor Martin Fernandez said that he was inspired by Father Cantalamessa’s humility and obedience to the Spirit because through these qualities the friar was led to his present ministry to be used by the Lord for His work.
SACCRE School of Formation will be inviting speakers in the course of the year. These include charismatic speaker and evangeliser Bob Canton in March, and Emeritus Professor of Spirituality Jesuit theologian Father Bob Faricy for a Pentecost healing seminar and rally in May.
Founder of the Institute for World Evangelisation and Millennium Films International Mario Cappello will speak at an evangelisation seminar in July, and spiritual warfare expert Franciscan Father Elias Valla at a seminar in November.
By Darren Boon
Written with information by Jessica Francisco