‘A Beautiful Grace to Serve’
Alicia Hartle, Pentecost Today USA’s current executive director, was at the 2019 Pentecost launch of CHARIS (Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service), when Pope Francis exhorted participants to bring baptism in the Holy Spirit to the whole Church, build unity in the body of Christ, and serve the poor. When Alicia first heard the commission, later adopted as the mission of Pentecost Today USA (formerly the US Catholic Charismatic Renewal’s National Service Committee, or NSC) she immediately knew it was the Lord’s call in her life. She wept: “Lord, You gave these desires to me as the deepest desires of my heart when I was a child.”
Since childhood, Alicia had been very involved in parish ministry and in later years with many different Catholic and Christian ministries, because she said “yes” whenever a Christian organization expressed a need. Alicia explained, “It was a beautiful grace to serve.”
With her spiritual director’s encouragement, Alicia took a nine-month sabbatical for discernment that bore tremendous fruit. Alicia had found success working in the corporate world but always had a zeal to be in full-time ministry. For years, she had served the NSC as a council and then board member. During her sabbatical, Alicia had conversations with the NSC chairman of the board in which the Lord gave her “a fullness of vision” that led to her stepping into the full-time role of executive director.
Alicia explained, “The Lord has cultivated an increasing desire in me to share the consuming fire of Life in the Spirit with those who are hungry . . . and to see the glory of the Lord resurrecting others as He has resurrected me.”
What Alicia most appreciates about her work is seeing radical receptivity—like the fiat of Mary—in the hearts and the lives of those who have fully embraced the grace and the fire of the Holy Spirit. She explained,
“It’s extraordinary. Every board and council member, volunteer, and donor I talk to shares a witness of the impact of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Last year, a donor shared with me that he was a coal miner who attended a conference without knowing what he was going to—and that he was delivered from chronic pain from illness and did not get sick again for thirty years. He went on to become a physicist. His encounter with the Holy Spirit inspired his decision to follow the Lord, attend daily Mass, pray the Office of Readings, and make two daily holy hours—basically live a monastic life. There is a deep, contemplative, and Charismatic fullness of life for every Christian, for every Catholic, and I’m so humbled to share it. I’m humbled to serve the Lord in this work of the Holy Spirit.”
Pentecost Today USA
Pentecost Today USA aids the work of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal within the US through four main areas of events, communications, resources, and Renewal support.
One key resource the organization provides is a website database that allows people to share or find prayer meetings, events, and more in different regions and various languages. You can access the database at www.pentecosttodayusa.org/database.
With a commitment to reaching and raising up younger generations while bringing baptism in the Holy Spirit to the whole Church, the organization recently launched a phone app and a podcast. In 2024, Pentecost Today USA will launch the Renewal Fellows Program, a nine-month graduate program.
Alicia said one of the greatest needs she sees is for master’s level study of the Holy Spirit. She currently knows of no “authentically Catholic Charismatic” graduate program in the world that focuses on the study of the Holy Spirit. She explained that for the Renewal Fellows Program, “ongoing program development is fueled by collaboration of scholars, theologians, Renewal leaders, institutions, and ministries from across the nation and around the world. The content built at a master’s level will serve as the strong foundation for future pastoral and theological materials developed with and for each part of the Renewal and Church we serve.”
The first in-person National Leaders’ Meeting since 2019 will take place this year. The event, called Jesus 2023, will run from Oct. 20-22 in Kansas City, Kansas. While designed for Renewal and Church Leaders, Jesus 2023 “is open to everyone,” said Alicia. “There is an urgency that we see in the world and in the Church—and even in the Renewal—to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
She added that there is a special invitation for Renewal and Church leaders to bring a younger Joshua or two with them to share the grace of being raised up, connected, and equipped as a Renewal leader.
Alicia invites people thirsting for more of the Holy Spirit in their lives and ministry to make a pilgrimage to Kansas City for Jesus 2023. “My experiences at the National Leaders Meetings have always been powerful—like stepping into Niagara Falls, with oceans of the Holy Spirit being poured out,” she said.
The venue is the Savior Pastoral Center—less than an hour from Topeka, Kansas, where an outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred on Jan. 1, 1901, within twenty-four hours of Pope Leo XIII consecrating the Twentieth Century to the Holy Spirit by praying Veni, Creator Spiritus on behalf of all Christians. Also, at the Kansas City Conference in 1977, more than fifty-thousand people experienced the Lord in a profound way—including Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, who later became preacher to the papal household.
According to Alicia, many who attended the 1977 Kansas City Charismatic Renewal Conference testify to witnessing miracles and being cut to the heart by the prophetic word proclaimed by Ralph Martin. In fact, Ralph is giving the opening talk at Jesus 2023—an exhortation titled, The Body of My Son is Broken. This theme hearkens back to his 1977 prophecy:
“Come before me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit for the body of my Son is broken. Come before me with tears and mourning for the body of my Son is broken. The light is dim, my people are scattered—the body of my Son is broken. I gave all I had in the Body and Blood of my Son. It spilled on the earth. The body of my Son is broken. Turn from the sins of your fathers and walk in the ways of my Son. Return to the plan of your father. Return to the purpose of your God. The body of my Son is broken.”
Jesus 2023 also will include a penance and healing service, around-the-clock praise and worship, intercession, a time of witness, and more. Saturday will include a prophetic intercession and worship workshop followed by a street evangelization workshop and a chance for participants to go out and invite people to join the evening session.
Additionally, Jesus 2023 will feature the launch of Holy Spirit 2033, a nine-year novena to the Holy Spirit leading up to the two-thousandth anniversary of Pentecost. The novena will feature a three-year focus on prayer and action for a new and ongoing Pentecost in the Renewal, the Church, and the world. Holy Spirit 2033 will include the novena prayer, national collaboratives to fuel fellowship among those bringing baptism in the Holy Spirit to the whole Church, and prayer walking the territory including participants’ homes, neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces.
Alicia Hartle serves as executive director of Pentecost Today USA (the National Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the US) and is a founding member of an ecumenical household, The Oakland Prayer Group, Abba’s House, Unbound Pittsburgh-Greensburg, and Catholic Women’s Fellowship ministries. Born into the fire of Renewal in the Pittsburgh area, she has worked in ministry and business development on local, national, and international levels. Knowing God and making Him known are her greatest passions.
Learn more about Pentecost Today USA and Jesus 2023 at www.pentecosttodayusa.org.