Tag: Peter Herbeck

A Trip Through the Land of Saints and Martyrs

 

The Voice in the Desert Community in Krakow, Poland, created vibrant worship paintings.

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” – Gerard Manley Hopkins

By Bruce Rooke

After two weeks in the land of saints and martyrs, we touched back down in Detroit.

Peter and Debbie Herbeck, and my wife Julia, and I had hopped through Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, engaging with different leaders and covenant communities; sharing Word, prayer, and Pentecost with students and believers; and immersing ourselves in the deep living history of faith these countries hold.

When you come back from a mission trip, it can be like carrying a candle. You hope the fragile light of those smiles doesn’t flicker out in the rush of your returning and the demands of your to-do lists.

Fortunately, we carried back a bonfire.

The Spirit is strong here. Strong enough to break the iron bars of a dark Nazi cell in Auschwitz and outlast another forty-five-plus years of Communism. But what you remember—what stays with you after you walk the horrors of Birkenau or kneel before the blood-stained cassock of St. John Paul the Great—is not the weight of the crosses, but the resolute joy of St. Maximillian Kolbe and the Holy Father’s echo of the angels: “Do not be afraid!” And even though the people here are now facing many of the same challenges that we face in the West, there is longing for a God who is stronger than their fears, a God who dreams big.

Budapest, Hungary

Julia and I got a head start on some of those dreams by going to Budapest first, where we spent a wonderful time with Country Coordinator Deacon Zoli Kunsabo and his wife, Panni, at their “Only One” homeless shelter. The place resounded with transformed and transforming lives, and one chorus was heard over and over: “There was just something different about this place than all of the other shelters.” Deacon Zoli and Panni continue to dream big with God, as they pray with energetic excitement (as only Hungarians, like my wife, can!) for what God has next for them and their community.

Podolínec, Slovakia

After picking up Peter and Debbie, we drove with Bohuš Živčák, country coordinator for Eastern Europe, and another community member, Marek, to Podolínec, Slovakia, where we stayed in a 375-year-old Redemptorist monastery that once served as a concentration camp for hundreds of religious during the Communist oppression. There is a great sense of peace and welcome here.

The same can be said for The River of Life community that makes its home here. Founded by Bohuš and Redemptorist Fr. Michal Zamkovský, it continues to gather in and renew more and more lives. We had the honor of being with them at their amazing new community center that operates like a loving invitation to the abundant life. Children of all ages play together in the large outdoor space (without mobile phones or boredom!), and inside, the worship and deep prayer is somehow both public and personal. But as its name testifies, The River of Life is more than a reservoir, as it now flows out beyond its walls to love the ones He loves: from a nearby Catholic school, where a number of members are teachers (and where Debbie and Peter elevated and challenged both high school students and faculty), to the far reaches of Nairobi, Kenya, where they are now building new relationships in mission.

Kraków, Poland

After a Lord’s Day hike in the High Tatras, following in the bootsteps of John Paul II, we moved on (with aching legs) to Kraków, Poland. We took in the majesty of the John Paul II Sanctuary and its breathtaking mosaics, then went “next door” to kneel before the relics of St. Faustina within the Shrine of The Divine Mercy, bathing our prayers in the red and white rays emanating from the heart of the Merciful Jesus. We were with members of The Voice in The Desert, a vibrant young Charismatic Catholic community in the heart of Kraków. Later that evening, we joined in their bi-weekly open meeting, where 150 young people and families (leaving their shoes at the door!) worship and pray and dance and, yes, even paint their way through the night. Hungry for experienced teaching, they sat rapt as Peter passionately showed them their place in the history of the Charismatic Renewal. The Spirit was especially strong in the hearts of men there, as Peter and Bohuš called them to stand as chosen sons, stop cowering in their hidden sins, and seek the freedom and power that they have in Christ. The Heart of Christ beats loudly in this community, as evidenced by their radical hospitality and the many times the image of a heart is portrayed in the paintings they create, real-time, throughout the worship.

Bialystock, Poland

A six-hour train ride then took us to our last stop: Bialystok, Poland, and the Pentecost Life in Freedom conference. Beautifully hosted by the Ezechiasz (Hezekiah) Covenant Community, Peter and Debbie inspired the 300-400 people who gathered, in talk after talk (after talk!) that we are free to live large in Christ because we are chosen, we are saved, and we are sent sons and daughters of The King. Julia and I were privileged to share the testimony of our marriage, which proves, yet again, “jakże w spaniały jest nasz Bóg” (How Great Is Our God). The Spirit descended in the many prayer sessions we had throughout, from praying over the young people there, to the Charismatic call of Father George during Mass, to the many private Unbound and healing prayers that we had the honor of experiencing throughout the weekend.

Behind it all towered a twenty-foot-tall image of St. Faustina’s Merciful Jesus that served as the backdrop for the stage. As we stood dwarfed before it, its size seemed to capture perfectly how we felt throughout this trip: Our God is one very big God indeed.

This article originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ November newsletter, which you can view here.

Are These Prophetic ‘End Times’?

Image Credit

This article originally appeared in the National Catholic Register. You can view it here.

By Judy Roberts

Under the sobering headline, “A Time of Judgment and Purification,” Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Renewal Ministries published a decades-old message in its July newsletter that seemed eerily timely.

“My Church is desperately in need of this judgment,” the message said in part. “They have continued in an adulterous relationship with the spirit of the world. They are not only infected with sin, but they teach sin, embrace sin, dismiss sin. Their leadership has been unable to handle this.”

First spoken by the late Franciscan Father Michael Scanlan and published in the former New Covenant magazine in 1980, those words are considered a prophecy by Renewal Ministries, which grew out of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement. The prophecy of Father Scanlan, who served as president of Franciscan University of Steubenville from 1974 to 2000, is one of several received years ago by leaders of the movement that have continued to resonate as events have unfolded in the Church and the world.

But such messages are not isolated or even rare. They are among many that have been spoken or written in the modern age, leading some to believe the world is in or entering the “end times” referred to in Scripture.

Indeed, several popes, including more recently St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, have spoken compellingly along these lines, as have the visionaries of Fatima and other Marian apparition sites and scores of ordinary people who receive visions or locutions and discern them through their spiritual directors, sometimes sharing them online.

In fact, Catholics who follow such messages were less surprised than many by the recent revelations about the clergy sexual-abuse scandal and the Church’s failure to deal with it.

Mark Mallett, a Canadian author, blogger and evangelist who sees his role as one of watching, praying and listening to what God is saying to the Church, said he believes the Church was warned of the sexual-abuse crisis in general terms partly through the messages at Fatima that spoke of how Russia would spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church if Mary’s requests were not heeded.

“The ‘errors’ of Russia, which find their genesis in the Enlightenment period,” Mallett said in an email interview, “include all the ‘isms’ that infected the nations since 1917: communism, socialism, radical feminism, modernism, individualism, moral relativism. In this sense, the sexual perversion being exposed today is symptomatic of a culture that has long lost its moral boundaries, thereby putting ‘the very future of the world … at stake,’ as Pope Benedict warned the Curia in 2010.”

Still, Mallett said, when God speaks through prophecy, it is not to predict the future, but, as then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote in 2000 in his theological commentary on the Fatima message, “to explain the will of God for the present, and therefore show the right path to take for the future.”

Role of Prophecy

Father Joseph Esper, a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit and author of several books dealing with prophetic messages, said in the Old Testament, God raised up prophets as a kind of back channel of communication to the people because those who made up the religious establishment of the day were not doing what they were called to do.

“When religious leaders are fulfilling their duties, prophets, especially in the form of private revelation, are not really needed,” he said. “The fact that there has been much alleged private revelation over the last few centuries indicates that, sometimes, leaders of the Church have fallen short.”

Father Esper said in such cases, God uses prophecy to warn, prepare and encourage people, but never to introduce new doctrine and only to elaborate on Church teaching or give practical information or advice on how to put that teaching into practice.

Messages can be for an entire nation, a group of people, the Church itself or individuals, he said. Often, when warning of dire things to come, prophecy is conditional, meaning that if people take the message seriously and change their ways, chastisements can be mitigated or prevented.

Peter Herbeck, vice president and director of missions for Renewal Ministries, said prophetic messages can show the broad lines of what may be coming, given Scripture says that the Lord “reveals his secret counsel to his servants the prophets.”

Continue reading here.

A Severe Mercy: Our Time of Visitation

Image Credit

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I’m writing to share with you a few thoughts as a follow up to Ralph Martin’s excellent and courageous letter Dear Troubled Catholics, regarding the current crisis in the Church.

Ralph wrote that this current crisis, precipitated by the revelation of Cardinal McCarrick’s moral failures and the failure of leadership in the Church to prevent his rise to prominence, could be a “tipping point” for the Church. He sees in it a possibility for genuine repentance and change for the Church.

I perceive in this crisis—both here in the United States and around the world—an opportunity, given us by our Lord. I believe we are experiencing the discipline of the Lord; it is a severe mercy, a judgment upon the Church that is meant to lead to deep, thorough repentance, healing, and reformation. It’s an opportunity that demands a response from all of us, beginning with the leadership of the Church. If we cooperate with Jesus, with obedient and repentant hearts and total honesty and transparency in the fear of the Lord, Jesus will lead us out of this terrible crisis. If we fail to respond to this time of purification, I believe the Church in America will be severely weakened, the decline we’re witnessing in the Church will escalate, and the flock will scatter.

While on mission in Uganda in 2016, the Lord spoke to me about what we are now living through. Our team from Renewal Ministries was leading a week-long retreat for about 350 priests and bishops from five east-African countries. One morning during daily Mass, right after Communion, I sensed the Lord telling me to get out my journal and to write down the following: “The days ahead will be marked by growing chaos and confusion. I am coming to purify my Church. I am about to bring down the idols that hold my people in bondage; I will expose the hypocrisy of the mighty and the strong, both in the Church and in the world.”

Watching the mighty fall in the past few years—Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer, Al Franken, and now former Cardinal McCarrick (now Archbishop McCarrick) and other cardinals and bishops—has been sobering. These revelations are meant to lead all of us to repentance and to instill in us a healthy fear of the Lord. The Captain of the Armies of Heaven, Jesus, the Lord, is purifying His Church and exposing the emptiness and hypocrisy of the world. Scripture tells us that the Lord disciplines those whom He loves.

It’s important for us to understand Jesus’ intent. He doesn’t come to humiliate or destroy; He comes to save. St. Peter tells us that judgment begins with the house of God. Jesus is purifying His Church for the sake of the salvation of the world. The Church is the hope of the world, the sacrament of salvation, the light of the world. When the Church is trapped in sin, her light goes dim and her salt goes flat.

Today, the Church is infected with deep strongholds of sin that are crippling her life and witness. In the period leading up to the Dallas Charter in 2002, Jesus began to expose the horrific corruption of homosexual sins of pedophilia and ephebophilia (sexual attraction to pubescent boys) among the clergy, and the cover up by some of the hierarchy of these crimes. Eighty-one percent of the victims were adolescent males.

Steps were taken at the time to respond to the crisis with the Dallas Charter and the “zero tolerance” policy instituted throughout the Church in the United States. The Charter was a start, but lacked complete honesty and transparency. The efforts by the bishops left the dishonest impression that the primary problem the Church was facing in this crisis was pedophilia and not ephebophilia. This allowed them to deflect attention from the fact that active homosexuality among the clergy was the primary source of the problem.

What’s clear from the revelations about Archbishop McCarrick is that the repentance in 2002 did not go deep enough. There was a cover up, a strategic decision to hide the bigger problem of active homosexuality among the clergy, including some of the hierarchy.

What we are seeing is the means to which Jesus will go to purify His Church. The wound of sin in this area is deeper than most of our brothers in the hierarchy are willing to acknowledge or to confront. But the Lord will not relent.

In the letter to the Church in Ephesus in the Book of Revelation, Jesus tells the leaders of the Church the following:

“I have this against you, that you abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (Rv 2:4-5).

Jesus warned the leaders of the Church that even though they had done many things right, they had lost their first love. He then gave them a three-step process to make things right: remember, repent, and act. They were to remember the place from which they had fallen, to repent, and then do the works they had done at first. In this crisis, this is a good guide for all of us, especially our leaders.

Jesus is calling our leaders to remember the purity and holiness to which they have been called, and to make a thorough examination of their lives before Him. They must then act decisively, with zeal and determination, to bring to light all that is hidden in darkness. They must remember that this severe mercy is an act of love that calls for total obedience to the Lord, knowing, “those whom I love I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent” (Rv 3:19).

Just as in Ephesus, so it will be with the Church in America, if we don’t respond wholeheartedly, with complete honesty. If the Church refuses to expose the truth, and in the fear of the Lord to cooperate with Him in this hour of purification, He will “come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

That is what I believe is at stake at this time for the Church in America. To “remove your lampstand” means, in the words of Victorinus of Petovium, to “disperse the congregation.”[i] The Church in many parts of the United States is already in decline. If we as a Church do not cooperate fully with the Lord at this time of visitation, the decline will escalate dramatically.

Cooperation means that policies, good public relations, the advice of lawyers, and the like are not enough. Just looking to the future is not enough. Positive platitudes are not enough. What is needed is action to root out systemic habit patterns of sin, to expose strongholds of sin to the full light of day.

This kind of stronghold of sin will not go away. It will keep producing like a deadly virus in the body or like a festering wound that has only been tended to on the surface. The infection will keep spreading. To date, the words of Jeremiah are a fitting description of the response of the bishops to this serious problem: “They have treated the wound of my people carelessly” (Jer 6:14).

The bishops can no longer continue to treat this wound carelessly; it has to be cut out, to the root. That means having to confront the fear that holds them back. To address this problem head on and to take appropriate action will likely cause serious disruption in the Church for a time, and serious pushback from forces in and outside the Church. There is no easy way forward; it will require great courage.

There is a way out of this: follow Jesus, obey Him. He will give all of us what we need. It’s time to awaken the graces of our confirmation, fortitude that is “prepared to suffer injury and, if need be, death for the truth and for the realization of justice.”[ii] And a healthy fear of the Lord to overcome the fear of men that so often leads to inaction and weak, foolish responses in the face of serious sin. “The man who fears the Lord will not be fainthearted” (Sir 34:14).

We have nothing to fear if we put all our hope in Him. It’s not our job to secure all the potential consequences that may transpire from a radical response to Jesus at this time. Our job is to obey and to entrust everything to His mercy and love, and to the protection and intercession of Our Lady.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12). Even in the greatest darkness, we can walk in the Light.

[i] Peter Williamson, Revelation: Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015), 62.

[ii] Josef Pieper, A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart, (San Fransisco: Ignatius Press, 1991), 11.

Thinking Straight

Have you ever felt like your mind was under siege? It happened to me this morning. I woke up, as I typically do, about 5:45 a.m. Morning light began to break through the window with the promise of a beautiful summer day. As I lay there, the thought of large tuition payments for my high school and college kids went through my mind, accompanied by a general feeling of anxiety about finances, the economy, and the health of my 401k. Then, without any intention on my part, I began to think about a project I had worked on that didn’t go as well as I had hoped. Within seconds my mind was gripped with thoughts of discouragement, a touch of self-loathing and feelings of failure. All of that happened within minutes after waking and before I even put one foot on the floor! I felt so crummy I didn’t even want to get out of bed.

Life is a battle, spiritual combat. That is a biblical truth that all of us can understand because we’ve experienced it. At one time or another we’ve all had moments where we have felt under siege. The front line of the spiritual battle is the mind. Winning that battle is the key to winning the war we all wage against the world, the flesh, and the devil…

St. Paul understood the fundamental realities at work in this spiritual combat. His teaching flowed from a mind touched by the Holy Spirit. By the power of the Spirit he was able to see the battle lines. He knew, by personal experience what it meant to live with a “renewed mind.” The Lord enlightened his mind; he was awakened from darkness and brought into the light. He knew that by the presence of the Spirit he had acquired a fresh, new spiritual way of thinking. That new way of thinking led him into an entirely new way of living.

From that position St. Paul confidently and with extraordinary insight helps us to see the fundamental battle that is unfolding within each one of us. He challenges each of us,

“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” (Rom 12:2)

…In the first chapter of his letter to the Romans, St. Paul gives a dramatic description of the battle in our minds. The source of our struggle is our willingness to “suppress the truth.”

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.” (Romans 1:18–21)

The willingness to suppress the truth is a way of describing the fallen condition of our minds. There is within each one of us, a tendency to resist the truth. And according to St. Paul, it is the truth about God. We resist God because we are “enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6:6) Sin is a power at work within the human heart set against God and his purposes in our lives.

To “acknowledge God” here means to not only acknowledge in some way that God exists, but to acknowledge him as my Creator, my God, to whom I owe complete loyalty, trust and obedience. The “truth about God” is that he is God and that I am a creature, radically dependent upon him. My entire reason for being, my identity, purpose and destiny come from him. He is the source of my existence and my origin; I belong to him. He is the center of reality itself.

The human heart, enslaved to sin wants to suppress God’s claim over us, his total sovereignty, and our radical dependence upon him. We want to replace God with something else more to our liking. The indictment St. Paul lays at our feet is that our refusal to acknowledge God is the result of a deliberate decision. Because God has revealed himself in the “things that have been made,” man is “without excuse.” We are not innocent; we choose to ignore what God has revealed. That decision on our part is the ultimate expression of slavery, of “futile” and “darkened” thinking. What could be a greater expression of futility than to deny the existence of the One from whom I am given existence?

Again, St. Paul helps us understand the root of our problem: “they exchanged truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” (Rom 1:25) We prefer to “worship and serve the creature.” We would rather live a lie than give to God what belongs to him. Our fallen nature, our weakened will, what Scripture refers to as “the flesh,” is programmed for idolatry.

Idolatry keeps me in control by denying God’s unique claim on me as his creature. Each one of us, created in God’s image and likeness, is made to worship and serve God. In order to escape that duty to God we pretend we don’t know God, or claim that he cannot be known or that he does not exist. Creation, which speaks so eloquently of God’s “invisible nature” and “his eternal power and deity,” is rendered mute by our choice.

We choose to construct a reality void of God. We reason that if God is out of the picture, we can live in whatever way we choose. We are responsible to no one and are at liberty to define the meaning of our lives in whatever way we desire. We believe that in order to be free, God has to go!

This is man’s wisdom. How desperate is our condition? “Claiming to be wise, they became fools!” (Rom 1:22) Our wisdom is utter foolishness. The drive for radical autonomy, our attempt to have life on our own terms, has cut us off from the only source of life and truth. So desperate is our condition that we deny the infinite and expect to find life, meaning, happiness and fulfillment in what is finite: they “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.” (Rom 1:23)

Only a fool would worship and serve that which is less than himself.

 


This article is an excerpt from Peter Herbeck’s booklet Thinking Straight. In this booklet Peter uses the teaching of St. Paul to provide insight into the fundamental battle that is unfolding within each one of us. In Romans 12:2, St. Paul challenges each of us: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” This powerful and practical booklet can help us undergo a deep and lasting transformation of our minds, and be led victoriously into an entirely new way of living.

Order booklet»

Renewal Ministries’ Mission Values

Image3
Country Coordinators and Renewal Ministries’ staff at last year’s annual meeting.

This article originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ March 2017 newsletter. We are posting it now in honor of the country coordinators who are gathering again this week for their annual meeting. Please keep them in your prayers!

Dear Friends,

In early fall each year, we host a meeting of our Renewal Ministries Country Coordinators. They’re the group of talented and highly dedicated brothers and sisters you read about regularly in our newsletter. They lead the nearly forty international, short-term missions we are able to do each year, thanks to your generous support and prayers.

When we gather for our annual meeting, we often take time to answer a set of key questions about who we are and what Renewal Ministries’ missions are called to do. As part of that process, we take time to look back at our beginnings and to remember what the Lord did to bring us all together. We do this so that we can remember the Lord’s faithfulness and give Him thanks. But we also do it to keep our mission—what we do and why we do it—clear in our minds.

Last year, we took some time to answer the question, “What is it that we value?” That is, what are the distinct values that shape our mission? The conversation we had was clarifying and inspiring. When we finished our discussion, someone suggested that I share some of these values with you, our extended Renewal Ministries family, so you can better understand not only what we do, but why we do what we do the way we do it.

The following are some of the key values we discussed:

 The Apostolate of the Laity

Simply put, this means that we believe what the Second Vatican Council and recent popes have consistently communicated to us: every baptized person is personally called by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be directly engaged in the mission of the Church.

“With the Council the hour of the laity truly struck, and many lay faithful, men and women, more clearly understood their Christian vocation, which by its very nature is a vocation to the apostolate” (John Paul II, Apostolicam actuositatem, 2; emphasis mine).

“Since the entire People of God is a people which has been ‘sent,’ the Synod reaffirmed that ‘the mission of proclaiming the word of God is the task of all of the disciples of Jesus Christ based on their Baptism’” (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini).

“In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples . . . Every Christian is chal­lenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 120).

In a fundamental way, our work is informed by these words. We seek to help identify, equip, and deploy lay leaders who share this conviction and are eager to work in complementarity with clergy and religious to respond to the call of the New Evangelization.

Apostolic Covering

By apostolic covering, we mean working under the authority of the local bishop in whatever country we are serving. We’re convinced that Jesus established a visible church, and that through apostolic succession, He has passed down His authority to the bishops to govern and shepherd their dioceses. The bishop carries the first responsibility for the evangelization of the people within his diocese. We bring our teams only at the invitation and under the blessing of the bishop; we consider it a great gift to serve under right authority and to receive the protection it brings. Our goal is not to build up Renewal Ministries, but to help the bishop, clergy, and lay leaders of the diocese equip their people for the work of ministry.

The Power of the Preached Word

We believe the Lord has called us to preach and to teach His word as the starting point of all our missionary work. We hold it as a value, because we want to constantly remind one another to trust in the words of Jesus and the apostles, and to resist the temptation to “preach ourselves” or “to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word” (2 Cor 4:5,2). Our earnest prayer is that the message we preach would not be “in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit in power” (2 Cor 4:4).

We’re convinced that the Gospel “is the power of God for salvation” (Rom 1:16), that God’s Word “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb 4:12), that “faith comes through hearing, and what is heard is the word of God” (Rom 10:17). This is the only Word that awakens faith, heals, saves, and sets captives free.

With Pope Francis, we affirm that “there can be no true evangelization without the explicit proclamation of Jesus as Lord,” and without “the primacy of the procla­mation of Jesus Christ in all evangelizing work” (Evangelii Gaudium, 110)

And finally, we go to the ends of the earth confident that “the proclamation of and witness to the Gospel are the first service that Christians can render to every person and to the entire human race” (Benedict XVI, Address to the Participants of the International Conference on the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Conciliar Decree “Ad Gentes,” March 11, 2006; emphasis mine).

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

We believe that we are “living in a privileged moment in the Holy Spirit” (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75), when the Church has been led by the Holy Spirit to “the providential rediscovery of her charismatic dimension,” which is “co-essential as it were to the Church’s constitution” and which contributes “to the life, renewal, and sanctification of God’s People” (John Paul II, Meeting with Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, May 30, 1998).

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the fundamental grace of renewal in our time; it is a renewal of baptismal graces and the experience of a New Pentecost. Pope Francis describes it as “a current of grace in the Church and for the Church” (Address to the 37th National Convocation of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit, June 1, 2014). We believe it’s the grace of a New Pentecost that is meant to energize and empower a whole New Evangelization in our time. It’s a grace not just for a few, but is meant for all. Pope Francis made that abundantly clear when said, “I expect you to share with everyone in the Church the grace of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit” (ibid).

This grace of renewal is fundamental to who we are at Renewal Ministries. Without this “current of grace” there would be no Renewal Ministries. We strive to follow the exhortations of the recent popes, who have discerned the work of the Holy Spirit in our time, and who’ve challenged us to help others open themselves to this grace:

“Be open to Christ, welcome the Spirit, so that a new Pentecost can take place in every community! A new humanity, a joyful one, will arise from your midst; you will again experience the saving power of the Lord and ‘what was spoken to you by the Lord’ will be fulfilled” (John Paul II, “Address to the Bishops of Latin America,” L’Osservatore Romana, October 21, 1992, p. 10, sec. 30).

The Calling and Gifting of Our International Partners

Since our very first mission to Lithuania in the early 1990s, it has been our great privilege to work closely with inspiring clergy, religious, and lay leaders from around the world. We have seen and experienced firsthand the call and gifting the Lord has placed on their lives. We value the gift they have been to us, and the irreplaceable role they play in leading the work of renewal and evangelization in their respective countries.

We respect the leadership, discernment, and responsibility they carry as the primary evangelists of their own countries. To that end, we see our collaboration with them as a work of solidarity in the Lord, a “communion in mission.” Our goal is not to get them to be at the service of our vision, but to accompany them as they respond to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the vision He has placed on their hearts.

These are just some of the values we work hard to keep front and center in our work. Please pray for our brothers and sisters around the world and for our continued collaboration in the years ahead. And, if you ever feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit to join us in mission, please don’t hesitate to call us, at 734-662-1730, ext. 132.