Tag: Brazil

‘Saudades’: Brazilians Embrace Renewal

This article originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ May 2019 newsletter.

At the National Formation Conference for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Brazil, attendees each received a sheaf of wheat as they entered. Later, the young people went through the crowd of fifteen thousand, collecting all the wheat in baskets, and then placing them at the feet of Jesus, to emphasize that Pentecost in the Old Testament was a harvest festival as well as a time to celebrate the giving of the law on Sinai. Our Pentecost is meant to bring in a harvest of souls by the power of the Spirit.

By Patti Mansfield

Patti Mansfield

“Patti, I have a great feeling that you will be in my country one day.” These words were scrawled on a postcard from Rio sent to me by a Brazilian Jesuit in 1971. They proved to be prophetic! Since 1994, I have been to Brazil more than twenty-five times. I am in love with Brazil and her people, and I can understand their word “Saudades.”  It means: “I’m missing and loving you!”

Why do I love Brazil? I love the way Brazilians have embraced and lived the baptism in the Spirit with enthusiasm and joy. There are twelve million Brazilians who are baptized in the Holy Spirit. I remember hearing Archbishop Alberto Taveira tell thousands of university students, “You are called to be apostles of the baptism in the Spirit.” There it is! Baptism in the Spirit: front and center! Eight hundred vibrant communities have borne tremendous spiritual fruit and priestly vocations. Then there are the 14,000 prayer groups under the leadership of the Charismatic Renewal of Brazil (RCC).

The baptism in the Spirit has overflowed in works of prayer and formation; intercession; evangelization; care for the poor; ministry to children; outreach to university students, lawyers, judges, and politicians; twenty-four-hour Catholic Charismatic radio and television; publications; and more.

One of the things I love the most is the way Mary is honored in Brazil, especially Our Lady of Aparecida, their patroness. The Brazilians have set to music the Prayer of Consecration, “O my Queen, O my Mother, I give myself entirely to you.” I have never been to an event of the Renewal in Brazil where Our Lady was not honored and welcomed. I believe that this integration of Mary and the Holy Spirit is the secret of their fruitfulness, and we would do well to learn from them!

Speaking of Aparecida, I was called there suddenly in July 2018, to replace Sr. Briege McKenna at a retreat for priests. Aparecida is the town where Our Lady appeared about three hundred years ago, and it is the spiritual heart of Brazil. There were over two hundred priests; the average age was about thirty eight! Some men had just been ordained and about a third of the priests were new to the Charismatic Renewal. I was there just after the abuse scandal broke in the States, and I wanted to do something to strengthen the priesthood. By the grace of God, I was able to minister personally through the charismatic gift of revelation to each man. I’ve been used in this charism before, but never with the speed and accuracy that I experienced during those days. It was an increase and acceleration of grace because the times we’re living in call for it!

And that leads me to the prophetic word I received my last day with the priests:

“Brazil will lead the world in this new move of My Spirit which is coming. As you yield to Me, as you praise Me, as you look to Me, I will greatly increase your numbers. I will open doors that until now have been shut. I will give you an “entrée” to people who up to now have been closed. You will be amazed at the way the fire spreads. As in the beginning, in the first Pentecost, my Spirit will use you with great power. Be careful. Make sure to keep yourself very humble and to acknowledge that it is My power using you and not any force of persuasion of your own. Break your pride. Break your egoism. And you will see what the power of My Spirit can do. Remain humble, looking at Me and watch what I, the Lord your God, will do.”

Two months later, I was back in Brazil for a conference for six thousand teens at the Sanctuary of the Mother of God in Sao Paolo, home of my dear friend Fr. Marcelo Rossi, whose vocation was born in the Charismatic Renewal. His nearly twenty-five years of priesthood have been spent lifting up the Lord Jesus Christ through his celebration of the Eucharist (over six thousand people come to Mass at 6 a.m.), his music, and his books. He is followed by close to ten million people daily on the Internet and is one of the best-known priests in Brazil. What a joy to call the youth “to love Jesus as He has never been loved before!”

Katia Roldi Zavaris, president of the National Council of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Brazil, then invited me to the National Formation Conference in January of this year at Cancao Nova, in the largest covered stadium in Latin America. Brazil is celebrating fifty years of Charismatic Renewal in their country. For me, Katia is a living example of what Saint John Paul II meant when he spoke about “the feminine genius”the particular way a woman can exercise leadership with maternal grace. When Katia assumed the presidency, this event drew four thousand leaders and very few priests. This year, there were fifteen thousand leaders (most under the age of thirty-five), three hundred seminarians, and 180 priests, along with many bishops.

The leadership council began the celebration by processing in with an open Bible over their hearts to signal the commitment to reading and obeying the Word of God. Katia had been deeply impressed by the prophetic word I received at Circus Maximus in the presence of Pope Francis on June 3, 2017. In one of her talks, she referred to that prophecy:

“Lift up your eyes and see, that the fields are white for harvest. And if you would obey me, and if you would obey the prompting of my Spirit, you will yet see, infinitely more than you can ask or imagine. You will yet see the power of my Spirit descend upon the human race. I tell you, the fields are white for harvest, but I need your obedience, I need your docility, I need your faith, and you will yet see marvels that will astound you, infinitely more than you can ask or imagine, for the glory of my name.”

The fields are white! As people entered, each one received a sheaf of wheat. After Katia’s presentation, the young people went through the crowd of fifteen thousand, collecting all the wheat in baskets, which were then placed at the feet of Jesus. Katia made the point that Pentecost in the Old Testament was a harvest festival as well as a time to celebrate the giving of the law on Sinai. Our Pentecost is meant to bring in a harvest of souls by the power of the Spirit.

My travel companion received a prophetic word for the Brazilian leaders, knowing nothing about my prophecy to the priests last July. The similarities are striking!

“I am sending a new and greater wave of My Spirit upon you. Greater things will you do in My Spirit. All that you have seen and experienced has been a foretaste of My Spirit with you. As I release this new wave upon you, there will be increase . . . exponential increase of numbers . . . increase in My gifts and power. As you love My Mother and remain low in humility, I will bring more! You, My people of Brazil, will be a light, a witness to the world of the new and fresh outpouring of My Spirit. They will look upon you and hunger and thirst for My Spirit to come in new ways. You will bring My Spirit to the world.”

Amen!  Let it be!

Patti Gallagher Mansfield was a participant in the historic Duquesne Weekend that marked the beginning of the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. From the first days of the Renewal, she has served in leadership through her teaching, writing and pastoral ministry.  Patti has ministered at conferences and retreats for laity and priests around the world.  For the past fifty years, she has proclaimed the grace of the baptism in the Spirit on all five continents. 

She has authored As By A New Pentecost: Golden Jubilee Edition,Proclaim the Joy of the Gospel, and Everyday Holiness. She also is a frequent guest on The Choices We Face.

Patti is married to Al Mansfield, Director of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans, Louisiana, and together they serve as liaisons to the Archbishop of New Orleans on behalf of the Renewal.  They have four adult children and eleven grandchildren.  In the Jubilee Year 2000, the Mansfields were awarded the Papal Medal, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For the Church and the Pope), by Saint John Paul II.

Catholic Church Experiences Renewal in Brazil

While in Brazil, Ralph gave three talks to leaders of prayer groups and communities.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

‘The Renewal is Alive and Well in Brazil!’

 

Mary speaks before large crowd CROPPED
Ten thousand seats sold out for the CCR National Leaders’ Formation Conference in Brazil, at which Dr. Mary Healy spoke last weekend. She said, “There was a special grace on the conference.”

I was in Brazil last weekend for the national leaders’ formation conference of the Charismatic Renewal. The Renewal is alive and well in Brazil! Although this gathering was only for leaders, the 10,000 seats were already sold out last October. There was a special grace on the conference this year, as we were celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

The conference was held in Aparecida, the spiritual heart of the country. There stands the second-largest church in the world: the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida, named for a small statue that was found by three fishermen in a river in 1717. The convention center was right next to the basilica, and we were able to celebrate Mass there on Friday.

The Charismatic Renewal in Brazil is the most organized, intentional, and forward-looking that I have seen anywhere in the world. There were fifteen series of workshops, which people attend based on the ministry they are involved in (for instance, intercession, healing and deliverance, preaching, youth ministry, priests, political involvement, renewal of universities, etc.). At the workshops, they receive really solid formation and practical instruction. They all know the story of the Duquesne Weekend in 1967, which launched the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and the earlier story of Blessed Elena Guerra and Pope Leo XIII, which is linked to the origins of the Pentecostal revival in the early twentieth century.

Archbishop Alberto Taveira, the episcopal advisor for the Renewal, celebrated Mass and was present for most of the conference. About 130 priests participated, including two who are nationally known and loved, Fr. Jonas Abib and Fr. Ed Dougherty, both of whom have founded Charismatic TV networks that reach tens of millions of viewers. Fr. Jonas told the story of how Fr. Ed, as a young American Jesuit missionary, was prayed over for baptism in the Spirit and brought the Renewal to Brazil in 1969. Another American priest, Fr. Bob Di Grandis, played a key role in teaching the Brazilians how to exercise the charisms.

Fr. Jonas Abib is the celebrant, in the middle, and next to him on the right is Fr. Ed Dougherty.
Fr. Jonas Abib, the celebrant, is pictured in the middle; next to him on the right is Fr. Ed Dougherty.

Beautiful talks were also given by Katia Zavaris, the leader of the Renewal in Brazil, and by Cyril John, a dear brother from the Charismatic Renewal in India, who has a gift for teaching about Spirit-led intercessory prayer.

I led two main sessions and four workshops. Being in Brazil, and anywhere in Latin America, means learning to “go with the flow.” There were lots of jokes about “Brazil time.” You might be told you have an hour for your talk, but then as you are about to begin, they say, “You have an hour and a half, then time for questions.” Or as you walk onstage, “Right after your talk, you’re going to lead the time of adoration with the priest.”

In many ways, I experienced the Lord making much of my little. During the time of Adoration, I led people in renouncing various obstacles to the Holy Spirit’s work in us, including unbelief, fear, and a sense of unworthiness. Although I usually spend the most time on unforgiveness, somehow I forgot to cover it, except for the briefest mention. Later that day, a young man came up to me and said, “Thank you! What you said about forgiveness changed my life. I was so angry at my father, because for most of my life he was absent and lived far away. But through you, God told me I had to forgive him, and it has opened me in a new way to the Holy Spirit.” Amazing!

During my talk for the healing and deliverance workshop, I used as an example from my book on healing: “What would you think of a doctor who, upon diagnosing a patient with cancer, says to him, ‘Sorry, I’m not going to treat you because it’s better that you simply accept this cross in your life. Offer it up.’ Of course, such a doctor would be fired on the spot.” This time, for some reason, instead of “cancer” I said “lung cancer.” Afterward, a woman in the front row told me, with tears in her eyes, that she had lung cancer, and right before the talk had asked others to pray over her for both physical and spiritual healing. During the talk, she felt a burning sensation in the area where the tumor was, and she felt that she had been healed. (She is now awaiting confirmation of that from a doctor.)

Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida.
We celebrated Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida.

After the talk, the leader asked me to lead healing prayer. We only had fifteen minutes, so I led the quickest time of healing prayer I’ve ever done. But a long line of people came up to testify to healing. One woman said she had been hearing impaired for thirty years, so she generally could hear only fifty percent of the talks, but she was so longing to go home and share what she heard with her prayer group that she was begging, “Lord, please do something about this.” Now her hearing was completely clear! A young man said he’d had severe back pain for years, which was now completely gone. He bent down to show everyone how he could now touch his toes, pain free. Two women who had been unable to kneel knelt down in front of everyone, praising God.

For my second main session, “Return to the Upper Room,” instead of giving a talk, I led everyone in a time of repentance and in prayer for a new release of the Holy Spirit and his gifts. We then had a time of actual practice in using the gifts, including tongues and interpretation, prophecy, words of knowledge, and healing. It was wonderful to see many people who had never used these gifts, and who in some cases were nervous, coming up on stage to speak powerfully anointed words. There were some very specific words of knowledge about healing, and afterward hundreds of people waved their hands to testify to being healed.

At the end God gave me a prophetic word for the Renewal in Brazil, that He is calling them to transform the nation—not by their power, but by His. Then as I was rushing out to head to the airport, a young man stopped me to say he had seen fire over the whole crowd as I was speaking. Glory to God for all He is doing in Brazil!