The following letter about Ralph Martin’s recent time in Brazil originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ October newsletter.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It’s amazing how many of us associated with Renewal Ministries have been asked to serve in Brazil over the last year or so! In the February 2018 newsletter, Peter wrote about his trip there (to read his account, visit www.RenewalMinistries.net/newsletter). Also, our dear friend Patti Mansfield has been going to Brazil for many years and just recently was there for a retreat for priests. Mary Healy was recently there for a retreat, and I was recently there too!
I would like to tell you about what’s happening in Brazil. There are four national Catholic television networks in Brazil, and I spent most of my time there at one of the networks. Fr. Edward Dougherty (“Fr. Eduardo”), the one who invited me to Brazil, wanted to continue to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the amazing impact it is having there, so he had me appear on a number of his TV programs. In one half-hour interview, he shared the story of his encounter with me many years ago, when another man and I prayed with him in Michigan for baptism in the Holy Spirit.
I also was on a national program that evening, and then he has an all-day program on Sunday, during which I gave three forty-five-minute talks. Fr. Eduardo also arranged for a day in which key leaders from across the country came together and dialogued with me about issues of concern. It was a very worthwhile visit! On another day, we traveled to a nearby diocese that has prayer groups in every single city. The 600 leaders of these prayer groups and little communities came together, and I gave three talks to them. I was very impressed, because so many of them were in their twenties and thirties.
The question I have always had is: With so many good things happening in the Catholic Church in Brazil, why do they keep asking people from Renewal Ministries to come and help them? They gave me this three-part answer:
- They get big crowds, but people are living off a past experience that they want to recreate. They believe Renewal Ministries can help, because we understand the call to holiness and how to make progress in the journey. That is why they are having my book on holiness—The Fulfillment of All Desire—translated, and it should be available in the next few months.
- We have preserved a fervent zeal for God for many years. For many people, their zeal is flagging, and they think we can help us persevere for the long haul.
- There’s a certain polarization going on in the Church in Brazil right now. There’s been a resurgence of liberation theology and a reaction to that by a more traditionalist Catholicism that’s actually closed to renewal. They think that Renewal Ministries has a balanced approach to the real vision of Vatican II and Pope John Paul II.
I returned from Brazil tired, happy, thanking God for all He is doing there, and humbled by the thought that we could make a contribution to what is already such an amazing work of God.