Say Amen: meet the Charismatic Catholics

Turns out, there’s a growing wave of them in Florida — which surprises quite a few non-Catholics:

Most of the 300 or so in the room ignored the folding chairs and stood, swaying side to side, hands lifted in praise.

They sang the lyrics projected onto a wall above them, “Holy Spirit, come with your fire.” Others prayed aloud their own petitions, many of them in tongues. A few cried, a few danced and one woman proclaimed a prophetic message, which brought a momentary hush to the room.

It looked like a typical Pentecostal meeting, but there were some unusual elements, like nuns in habits, worshipers crossing themselves and the scattered utterances of “Hail Mary.”

And if nothing else, the location was a dead give away that this wasn’t the usual charismatic gathering: St. Catherine Catholic Church in Orange Park.

Even some of those present admitted to surprise at finding Catholics – known for their formal liturgy – worshiping so expressively.

“The Holy Spirit works in crazy ways,” Georgia Gill, a Jacksonville surgeon who converted to Catholicism in 2007, said after a recent service. “I didn’t know this existed in the Catholic Church.”

Not only does it exist, but the Catholic charismatic renewal, as it’s known, is entrenched in Catholicism worldwide, experts say. The movement that began in 1968 has been largely embraced by the Vatican and its far-flung jurisdictions, including the Jacksonville-based Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine.

And waves of Hispanics accustomed to such spirited worship in their native lands have added to its ranks.

Check out the rest.

"I think I would have been happier had the CDF handled the nuns the way ..."

Vatican challenges “interpretation” of cardinal’s remarks ..."
"Blaming "Islamics" for this is like blaming the Pope for the Holocaust Denial of Hutton ..."

One killed, 44 injured in Catholic ..."
"It smacks to me of hyper-sensitivity, a veiled spiritual and intellectual pride, with regards to ..."

Pope Francis: “A Christian who complains, ..."
"Oh, no, we never change our mind, and we always agree, even on points of ..."

Vatican challenges “interpretation” of cardinal’s remarks ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

8 responses to “Say Amen: meet the Charismatic Catholics”

  1. Greg: you are bringing up some really fascinating memories I though I had lost.

    The Catholic Charismatic Renewal has existed here in the Midwest for over 35 years. Rumor has it that the first recorded manifestations of the Holy Spirit in modern times here in America was at a Campus Ministry gathering at Duquesne University — a RC institution in Pittsburgh. A few short years later, Pope Paul VI welcomed several hundred-thousand of them from all over the world to St. Peter’s Square.

    My own experience with those folks starts shortly after I was ordained in 1978 — the year of the three Popes. The CC Renewal in my diocese selected the parish I was assigned to as the site of their Pentecost Celebration that year. I was asked by my pastor to be their contact person and “go-fer.” My coordination with their planning team got me invited to the be the “deacon of the Gospel.” Close to 800 folks (in a church that only seats 600); banners representing thirty or so local prayer groups; a young priest celebrant who — when so prompted — “sang-high-opera” in tongues. Absolutely amazing!

    Now, I do not consider myself charismatic — on the strictest sense — because I have never been prompted by the Spirit to “speak in tongues,” but for many years after that Pentecost Mass, the local charismatic prayer groups would invite be to be a “Minister of Healing” at their local gatherings.

    During those same years, I had two children attending the local public high school and I took an assertive role in their religious formation. That meant taking both to one of those Healing Masses. (If the “Extraordinary Form” would have been allowed and available in my area at that time, I would have taken them there as well).

  2. “I do not consider myself charismatic — on the strictest sense — because I have never been prompted by the Spirit to “speak in tongues,””

    you do not need to speak in tongues to be a charismatic. I’m a charismatic and I know people that do not speak in tongues and yet they are charismatic.

    I can’t even begin to explain the wonderful blessings that the charismatic movement has brought to my life or other people’s lives. My faith experience and my relationship with God has become more personal. Not everyone is called to this movement. But for those of us who are, it’s been a real blessing.

  3. Ah the charismatic component of the RCC. A couple of observations from North of the border:

    1) We do have a Catholic Charismatic Organization for the Archdiocese of Toronto and they hold 3-4 events a year. Recently they had their Christ the King Rally in November, at my alma mater high school (to my disappointment, but then again they have the luxury who they rent space to.). I glanced at the photos they took of the event, and sadly the only youth visible in the picture were the “Youth Skit” members and a couple of odd bodies. Everyone else had to be 40 years old and beyond. On the bright side they know well what Eucharistic Benediction and Adoration is!

    2) Personal experience: One of my friends got myself and another person we know to come out to a concert held by some Indian Catholic rock group that is comprized of a few families. The person who asked us met two of the bands’ members through a prayer group. This wasn’t a Mass but an event outside. This event is contradictory to the event in 1) as the people present as this event was almost all youth from high school to university. The charismatic stuff was definitely present there as many of them were waving their arms and dancing at key intervals. There was even a division in the two halfs of the concert where one of the speakers (some non-ordined person) was saying a number of New Testament lines. In the end we did it to support our friends’ band and the band’s concert revenue (profit) will go towards some Catholic outreach in India, but we had issues with some of their lyrics of the songs and many of the songs seemed Protestant or Evangelical in nature. The only one I didn’t mind was “Here I am to Worship” (Sonic Flood) . Clearly it wasn’t for us and we aren’t of the Charismatic mindset.

  4. the first recorded manifestations of the Holy Spirit in modern times here in America was at a Campus Ministry gathering at Duquesne University

    Doesn’t Azusa Street predate this by 60 years? Or isn’t 1906 modern times?

  5. My friend Moonshadow:

    You are absolutely correct and maybe I should have qualified that by insisting more I was talking about a manifestation of the Charismatic gifts in a positively identifiable Roman Catholic setting. The Azusa Street setting absolutely predates Duquesne — by over 65 years — but it was hardly Roman Catholic.

    You might also like to know that while the Duquesne Campus Ministry incident is broadly acclaimed the first manifestation of the Charismatic gifts in a Roman Catholic setting, that title does not go unchallenged.

    At approximately the same time, similar manifestations appeared at both Notre Dame and Dayton — two other Midwestern universities that are thoroughly Roman Catholic.

    Of course, times do change. Neither Dayton nor Duquesne have strong voices in this movement at the present time. Notre Dame was the identifiable base of the Ministry of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the United States for many years into the 1980’s and 1990’s. If there is such a Nationally accepted Roman Catholic location today, I would think that Franciscan University at Steubenville (in Ohio) would be high on the list.

  6. St. Paul sums up my view of the charismatic Catholic movement.

    I give thanks to God that I speak in tongues more than any of you, but in the church I would rather speak five words with my mind, so as to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

    (1 Cor. 14:18-19)

  7. I appreciate your answer, Deacon Norb: one of my brothers attended UD and the other, Steubenville. Fine schools.

  8. RP Burke

    your view is incorrect, since the charismatic movement is not based in the gift of tongues. That gift is just 1 of the many gifts God gives. And there’s a misconception that the charismatic movement is all about people speaking in tongues. That’s NOT the case. As I said, many charismatics do NOT have that gift, and it’s fine. They have other gifts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.