Lucknow Service Team of the National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services
THE CHURCH NEEDS A NEW PENTECOST!
PopeJohn XXIII surprised everyone by announcing the Vatican Council II in January, 1959 and officially convoking it on 25th December, 1961 with the exhortation to all faithful to pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit: “renew Your wonders in this day, as by a new Pentecost.” The prayer has been answered in a spectacular way with the gift of about fifty ecclesial renewal movements inculding the Catholic Charismatic Renewal that started after the Council.
The new Pentecost in the Catholic Church was experienced in 1967 in Pittsburg, USA. The CCR worldwide celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2007. A growth from zero to 120 million Catholic Charismatics in 235 countries in about 40 years is something remarkable. With 12% of Catholics as part of it, there has never been a movemnet that has impacted so deeply the lives of so many Christians in so short a span of time.
Renewal movement for the whole Church
Renewal movement initiated by the Holy Spiirt in the Church are meant for renewal of the whole Church, for instance, the Monastic movement that started in the fourth century helped all the people of God to grow into deeper spiritual life. The Dominican and Franciscan movements refreshed the thirteenth century Church to rededicate itself to live the values of the Gospel in simplicity and deep personal union with God. The Liturgical Movement that started later helped the Second Vatican Council to usher in liturgical renewal in the whole Church, espicially to bring the Holy Mass to the faithful.
It is to be noted that after renewing the whole Church, these renewal movements ceased to be separate entities and got integrated into the whole Chruch for the benfit of believers. Therefore, the Charismatic Renewal started by the Holy Spirit in the Church more than 40 years ago also is ‘like yeast that a women took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened” (Lk.13:21). To what extent has the Renewal succeeded to be leaven to the whole Church? Commenting on this, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap, Papal Preacher, theologian and charismatic leader, pointed out: “it is with infinite sadness that I see that the Charismatic Renewal has ended up confined to one part of the Church only, and regarded by the rest as something alien that they feel fully justified in keeping well clear of it.”
Eternal Pentecost needed
In the end of the 19th century, Blessed Elena Guerra, founder of the Oblate Sisters of the Holy Spirit called upon the Church continually to come back to the Cenacle, the Upper Room: “Pentecost is not over. In fact it is continually going on in every time and in every place, because the Holy Spirit desired to give Himself to all men and all who want Him can always receive Him, so we do not have to envy the Apostles and the first believers; we only have to dispose ourselves like them to receive Him well, and He will come to us as He did to them.” The pentecost that took place 2000 years ago was not ‘the full and final’ outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Pentecost is an ongoing experience and we should start praying fervently and look forward expectantly for a New Pentecost!
Pope Paul VI called for eternal Pentecost merely five years after the Catholic Pentecostal movement had started. During the General Audience on November 29, 1972 the Pope stated: “More than once we have asked ourselves what the greatest needs of the Chruch are,... what is primary and ultimate need of our beloved and holy Church?” His own answer turned out to be a very prophetic exhortation: “We must say it with holy fear because, as you know, this concerns the mystery of the Church, her life: This need is the Spirit, ... the Church needs her eternal Pentecost; she needs fire in her heart, words on her lips, a glace that is prophetic.” The Holy Father again made this exhortation in an article in L’Osservatore Romano: “ More than ever, the Church and the world need the miracle of Pentecost to be continued in history.”
Pope John Paul II said during his address at the Pentecost Vigil on May 29th 2004: “Thanks to the Charismatic Movement, many Christians have discovered Pentecost as a loving and present reality in their daily life. I desire that the spirituality of Pentecost be spread in the Church, as a renewed thrust of prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation.” Pope Benedict XVI concluded his homely at the final Mass of the World Youth Day in Sydney in July , 2008 with the prayer: ‘Through the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, may this 23rd World Youth Day be experienced as a new upper room, from which all of us, burning with the fire of love of the Holy Spirit, go forth to proclaim the Risen Christ and to draw every heart to Him.”
Let us all go into the Cenacle!
Blessed Elena appealed to Pope Leo XII, “Holy Father, call the faithful to the Cenacle without delay! Imitating Saint Peter who goes ahead to make ready the Upper Room,
Let us all go into the Cenacle! “Let us turn to the Holy Spirit so that the Holy Spirit may turn to us.” The Church must continually come back to the Cenacle, the upper room, to be enlightened again and become a buring bush, as it was on the day of Pentecost. For Pentecost is not a one off event. The Church needs a permanent Pentecost. More than ever, the Church and the world need the miracle of Pentecost to be continued today. Everywhere the trumpet is being sounded about the need for the people of God to return to the upper room in intence worship, adoration and intercession. We are being called to awaken from slumber and be empowered anew by the Holy Spirit. Let us once again become pasionate adorers of the Lord and powerful instruments of intercession for the Church and the world.
NOVENA OF PENTECOST is a liturgical novena, as it was constituted through a Papal Decree and inserted in the Encyclical by Pope Leo XIII Divinum Illud Manus May 9, 1897. recommending this special prayer to Catholics at the Feast of Pentecost, Pope Leo XIII, wrote: “We decree and command that throughout the whole Catholic Church, this year and in every subsiquent year, a Novena shall take place before the feast of Pentecost, in all parish churches, and also, if the local Ordinaries fit, in other churches and oratories.”
The mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the twentieth century was an outcome of this renewed devotion to the holy Spirit introduced in the Church. Once again in recent years in many countries in Europe, groups and National Service Committees have started promoting Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit. The “Burning Bush’ Pentecost Novena - an initiative to help the people of God to return to the upper room in adoration and intercession - promoted by Ms Kim Catherine-Marie Kollins is becoming very popular in different parts of the world. As a preparation for the fortieth anniversary of the CCR , the National Service Committee of Brazil brought out a project for the revival of the spiritualily of Pentecost called, “Celebrating Pentecost” which includes a novena to the Holy Spirit. I have been sensing considerable burden that the Holy Spirit is calling the whole Church to return anew to the Upper Room in prayer and expectation for a new Pentecost!
The Church is the bride of the Holy Spirit. Fr Francis Martin wrote, “The Church is the bride, and she shows to the world that her spouse is alive by living by His power and receiving life from Him. There is a danger in our day that the Church will look more like a widow, alone and without resources except those possessed by any human organization.” The bride has every right to look forward expectantly for the bridegroom . When Pope Paul VI spoke at the official launch of Cardinal Suenen’s book, A New Pentecost, he departed from his prepared text to add these words; “How wonderful it would be if the Lord would again pour out the charisms in increased abundance, in order to make the church fruitful, beaufiful and marvelous and to enable it to win the attention and astonishment of the profane and secularized world.”
ICCRS Project: Operation Upper Room
With this objective in view the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) has launched Operation Upper Room: ‘Pentecost of the Nations - For a New Culture of Pentecost’ as a priority project. It is an appeal to National Service Teams / National Service Committees across the world to observce 10 days prior to Pentecost as Pentecost preparation inviting people of God to return to the ‘Upper Room of Jesusalem’ in one heart and in constant prayer (Acts 1:12-14). In response to this appeal, the National Service Team in India has drawn up a plan to “Celebrate Pentecost” consisting of two parts.
Part I comprises of Solemn Novena with 9 days of prayer as preparation for Pentecost. It could include a variety of Upper Room events organised by the Regional Service Teams, Regional Coordinators, Prayer Groupss, Retreat Centres and Communities. The Events may include praise and worship, teaching on the Holy Spirit, testimonies, Eucharistic Celebration, Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit and other selected activities in the evening. It could also include 3-day Pentecost Tridum.
PartII is Pentecost Day Celebration in a unique way testifying under the power of the Holy Spirit to the culture of Pentecost. It could include teaching on Pentecost, testimonies, praise and worship, Eucharistic Celebration and solemn invocation for infilling of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost Vigil or on the Feast of Pentecost.
May the words of Pope Paul VI inspire and press us into action: ‘The Church needs her eternal Pentecost; she needs fire in her heart, words on her lips and a glance that is prophetic.” I appeal to all regions and parishes to take up the project, ‘Celebrate Pentecost’ with utmost urgency in order that we may soon experience a New Pentecost!
National Service Team of the CCR in India
1st January 2009
Annual Report 2008-2009
Praise the Lord!
It is with great joy that we present before you the annual report of the Lucknow Service Team of the National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, hereinafter know as ‘LST’.
The LST is affiliated to the National body – NCCRS and is recognised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, of which Most Rev. Dr. Valerian D’Souza as the National Episcopal Advisor.
In Ecclesiastical Regions of India where the Renewal movement is slow or unorganized a Regional Pastoral Team (RPT) has been formed to promote the CCR. Agra is the second region in India where a RPT has been formed. Rev. Fr. Anil Dev IMS is the Chairman and Mr Adrian Michael is the Secretary, the LST has been formed as a consequence to this effort.
The LST has no juridical authority over the Charismatic groups in the diocese, its role is ‘pastoring and guiding of the renewal’ it operates under the authority and with the mandate of the Bishop (Most Rev. Dr. Gerald John Mathias), with the sole aim of ensuring the unity of the prayer groups, and to serve as liaison within the diocese. The role of the LST is to foster the growth of the Charismatic Renewal, dispel misunderstandings about the Charismatic gifts, expression of praise, baptism in the spirit so that a welcoming attitude may be adopted in order to truly fulfill the vocation of the Renewal movement.
The LST was elected on 16th September 2008, and has since then been conducting Combined Charismatic Worship Services every three months in the Holy Redeemer Church, Alambagh Lucknow. Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Lobo the Diocesan Director of Apostolate for Evangelization and Proclamation is our Spiritual Advisor.
Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Lobo has informed us that this is for the first time during 35 years of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement in India that our Diocesan Charismatic group has been officially organized, affiliated and recognised by the National team in a spirit of unity of the Church in India. Mrs. Seema Mathews of Holy Redeemer Church is the first officially elected Chairperson of this team.
Immediately on formation of the LST Mr Adrian Michael led a delegation from Lucknow to participated in the VI North India Hindi Convention at Bhopal from 9 -11 November 2007. The Praise and Worship booklets for the convention were printed by us and the money collected by the NST towards sale of these booklets was our contribution towards the event. Further we participated in the group praise and worship and made audio CD’s especially for the convention which was sold through the NST counter.
During the past one year our combined worship services have been attended by close to 3200 people. We are humbled by the response the Renewal Movement is getting from believers and un-believers alike.
Pentecost Sunday is a very special day for Charismatic Christians. His Excellency Bp. Gerald John Mathias celebrated the Holy Eucharist for the group in the Holy Redeemer Church along with our Spiritual Advisor & Diocesan Director of Apostolate for Evangelization and Proclamation Rev Fr. Alphonsus Lobo, Diocesan Director of Apostolate for faith formation Rev. Fr. Alwyn Moras, Rev. Fr. John Noronha and Rev. Fr. Jeevan Paul.
Lucknow Diocese is celebrating the year of the Word of God January to December 2008. Since the primary role of the LST is to support all pastoral programmes of the Bishop through the renewal the LST with the objective of encourage Bible reading in families, selected Bible passages for daily reflection and circulated it among the laity. To ensure that this was fulfilled a Bible quiz was conducted every three months and attractive gifts in the form of scriptural books and hampers of daily need items were distributed worth Rs. 4000/- The winners received their prizes from the Bishop. Mr Adrian Michael organized these gifts through his personal contacts.
Approximately 400 ‘Prem Sandesh” (New Testaments) in Hindi were sold at highly subsided price of Rs. 5/- These New Testaments were sold to promote Bible reading to coincided with the year of the Word of God as an extension programme. Mr Adrian Michael arranged for these bibles from Bible Society of India.
To support the Diocesan Mission Congress (Yesu Katha Satsang) the LST organized a two day Evangelization Group Satsang in the Audrey Fanthome hall. Our Diocesan group leader Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Lobo invited Bro. James D’Rozario from Calcutta as the resource person. This Satsang was attended by over 400 people from all walks of life and faiths. A love offering was taken to meet the incidental expenses like hire of P.A. system, generator, electricity and sanitation. Rent for the hall was exempted as a very special gesture by the All India Anglo Indian Associations Lucknow branch which permitted us the use of the hall on both day on free of cost basis for which we thank Mr P. Lewis.
The LST has been instrumental is promoting the formation of three prayer groups in the local city parishes during the year and now we have seven prayer groups attached to the LST. The Core group Member from SGPGIMS Mr. M. K. Anthony along with his team was instrumental in organizing a retreat by the Potta Father’s (Rev. Fr. Bobby Thomas V.C) in the St. John Mary Vianney Church during March 2008, which was attended by close to 1200 people.
An LST newsletter ‘Renewal News Roundup’ is printed and circulated in-house on a quarterly basis; Miss Valerie Campus and Mr Austin Morris edit and arrange this newsletter. The National Newsletter ‘Charisindia’ is also widely circulated.
To meet the expenses of the LST a love offering is taken every quarter, a bank account has not yet been opened since the mandatory minimum balance of Rs. 5000/- to open an account has not been available with the team at any time during the year. However the money collected is immediately counted in the presence of the gathering and accounts are presented by the treasurer.
So far the love offering (money) has been used regularly to meet the expenses for the fellowship meal after every meeting, however during the last meeting no fellowship meal was provided. The LST has a cash in hand credit balance of Rs.2756/-.
To celebrate our first anniversary a Praise and Worship devotional service was held in the St Joseph’s Cathedral hall on 09 November 2008 attended by 77 members of the LST from various city parish prayer groups. This service concluded by a solemn Eucharistic Celebration offered for the intensions of the LST by our Bishop, Rev. Fr. Leo D’Souza who was also present joined him in offering this Mass.
The Diocesan Director of Apostolate for Social Communication Rev. Fr. Donald H.R. De Souza has provided the LST with space on the diocesan website under the link ‘diocesan associations’ which may be accessed at the following website link www.catholicdiocese-lucknow.com
Due to our affiliation to the National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (NCCRS) we have nominated / elected members on the following national/ regional teams.
National Catholic Charismatic Leaders Council
Mr Adrian Michael & Mrs Seema Mathews : members
Regional Pastoral Team of the National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services Mr Adrian Michael : Regional Secretary.
The LST seeks the intercessory prayers of all the Diocesan intercessory groups and people of goodwill so that the work for His kingdom may be done with zeal, humility and obedience.
LUCKNOW SERVICE TEAM
The National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services is represented in our diocese by a service team that was elected out of 73 representatives from various parishes of Lucknow dioceses, on 16th September 2007 under the spiritual guidance of Rev. Father Alphonsus Lobo, the Diocesan Apostolic Director for Evangelization & Proclamation, in the presence of Mr. Adrian Michael, Secretary of the National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services – Regional Pastoral Team for Uttar Pradesh and Uttra Khand in accordance with the statutes of the NCCRS.
The LST comprises of 2 ex-officio members a Spiritual advisor & an NCCRS- RPT coordinator, an elected Chairperson, Vice-Chairman, and four other core group members.
The working team consist of twelve members who are prayer group leaders working under the guidance of the spiritual director and as per the statutes of the NCCRS in accordance with NCCRS statutes art.16
The LST shall serve as an extended arm for setting up Charismatic prayer groups in various parishes, colonies and cities.
The LST shall serve as an information centre for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and for all those who wish to know about it.
SCHEDULE OF CHARISMATIC PRAYER MEETINGS LUCKNOW CITY
Day of the week
St. Joseph's Cathedral Chapel
Mrs. Marian Burn
Ashayana / LDA Colony
Mr Austin Morris
Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences
Mr M. K. Anthony
B-4 , Indira Nagar
Mr Adrian Michael
Holy Redeemer Church
Rev. Fr. A. Lobo
Our lady of Graces Church
Miss Valerie Campos
Telibagh / Sadar
7:30 to 9:00 pm
UP COMING CHARISMATIC PRAYER SERVICES ALL ARE WELCOME
10th May SUNDAY
Holy Redeemer Church,
Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Lobo
10.30 a.m. – 2.00 p.m.
Quarterly Worship& Healing Service followed by Fellowship lunch
St. Joseph's Cathedral,
10.30 a.m. – 2.00 p.m
Worship Service /Reflections on the Philip course
The LST meets in the Holy Redeemer Church Parlor from 4.30 p.m. for prayers, discussions and counseling.
Exposition of the blessed sacrament and Charismatic Praise, worship and healing service in the Holy Redeemer Church 5.30 p.m. onwards.