About 200 people from charismatic groups, renewal expressions and parish ministries gathered together with leaders from the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) and ICCRS Sub-committee for Asia-Oceania (ISAO) for a forum on Building Communities for New Evangelisation.
The forum, organised by the Singapore Archdiocesan Catholic Charismatic Renewal (SACCRE), was held at the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre on March 16.
According to SACCRE chairperson Jessica Francisco, it was a follow-up to the forum on new evangelisation in November last year in which communities of disciples were emphasised.
In the main address, ICCRS president Michelle Moran shared that in her many years of work in evangelisation, she has come to know friends from Charismatic communities who have been evangelising through different means such as parish cell group systems, the media, the liturgy and working with politicians.
She stressed that “evangelisation is not new for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, it’s in our DNA, it’s part of who we are”. She also reiterated what she had said at a rally the previous night, that a Pentecost person is one “who refuses to stay in the room gathered in prayer but on the power and the anointing and the equipping of the Holy Spirit, go forth from that place”.
ICCRS vice-president Cyril John spoke about the powerful movement of the Holy Spirit in the Middle East where the Catholic Charismatic Renewal played a major role in bringing together the different communities of many nationalities through various conferences. He highlighted the vibrancy of the Church in the Middle East which has been a witness to the local populations despite the difficulties the Church faces.
ICCRS councillor, Kkottongnae Br James Shin from South Korea then gave a presentation of his Religious community’s mission to the poor, abandoned and sick people in Korea and in about 10 branches at other countries. He testified that the Religious and laity who took care of the poor were evangelised by them for in their difficulties, the poor knew the suffering Christ.
Another ICCRS councillor, Mrs Ann Brereton from Australia, explained how ISAO took the vision of reaching out to the ends of the world and made contact with the Pacific Islands, which was challenging because of their remoteness and lack of technology. She gave a testimony of how she was able to reach out to some islands because her husband had work projects there.
At the question and answer session, the four ICCRS leaders elaborated on mission and community especially on how to discern the concrete things to do in the communities. Fr Erbin Fernandez, Episcopal Vicar for New Evangelisation gave the homily at the Mass celebrated by Fr Jose Anchanickal from India, saying that catechesis cannot be the work of just a few but the responsibility of the entire parish community and exhorted the participants to play an active role.
Ms Linda Law from the Aflame! Charismatic Prayer Community said she learnt that “evangelisation starts from our own conversion and commitment to the Lord. If this takes place, the rest follows.”