The Catholic Charismatic group in Townsville is known as Yona Shalom. For further information about Yona Shalom or to make contact with the group, see their website.
"Proclaiming the power of the Holy Spirit and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ"
How Catholic Charismatic Renewal Began
Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a radical renewal of living faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. Pope John XXIII's prayer in preparation for the Second Vatican Council was: "Renew in our days your miracles as of a second Pentecost." Pope Paul said on 12 October 1966: "If we really love our Church, the main thing we must do is to foster in it an outpouring of the Divine Paraclete, the Holy Spirit."
Catholic Charismatic Renewal began with a few Catholics in the United States who had a deep experience of the Holy Spirit while on a weekend retreat in 1967. They experienced the power of the Spirit and a new, personal relationship with Jesus, and experienced spiritual gifts (see 1 Cor 12) as a reality in their lives as ordinary Catholics. Catholic Charismatic Renewal spread rapidly, coming to Australia in 1969.
What is a Charismatic Prayer Meeting?
A Charismatic prayer meeting consists of a group of people from varying backgrounds who meet regularly (usually weekly) in an atmosphere of love and support for one another in an effort to grow in the knowledge and love of God, and to show this love in their attitude to their neighbour. Each prayer meeting is open to anyone who wants to come. Those who attend are predominantly Catholic, but groups are open to anyone.
St Paul writes about prayer meetings in 1 Cor 14:26:
When you assemble, one has a psalm, another some instruction to give, still another a revelation to share, one speaks in a tongue, another interprets.
The meeting takes place in a relaxed atmosphere where joy and the love of God is emphasised, and where everyone is welcomed. God is praised with enthusiasm.
The Word of God is listened to, and regular teaching instructs and helps people to grow in their life in the Spirit. A leader coordinates different segments of the meeting:
Praise: God is praised in song and prayer for his majesty, his love and his faithfulness, and thanked for his grace in our lives. This praise and thanksgiving may be in words, songs or through the way of praying without words known as 'praying in tongues'.
Prophecy: Someone may speak an exhortation or word of encouragement from God, through the Holy Spirit. The group discerns this word in the light of Scripture and Catholic tradition.
Scripture: Someone may share a brief passage of Scripture.
Teaching: A speaker may give a short talk on one of a variety of subjects aimed at helping us to know God and to lead better Christian lives.
Intercession: There will usually be times of intercession for the needs of the world, the Church, parish and home. Prayer for healing is always available for those who seek it.
Witness: Someone may relate how they have experienced God working in their life, and how God has blessed them and changed.
Throughout, the aim is to be open to the action of God's Spirit in the meeting.
The Experience of the Baptism in the Spirit
Regular 'Life in the Spirit' seminars of about six weeks duration are conducted, during which participants are encouraged to enter into a deeper and more personal relationship with Jesus, and to yield more completely to the power of the Holy Spirit. As a result of this prayer, people experience the loving presence and the enabling power of God in their lives. The experience of God's presence and power should be expected in the life of every follower of Jesus.
This transforming effect is usually referred to as the 'baptism in the Spirit'. It is sometimes called the 'release of the Holy Spirit', or 'a new outpouring on the Holy Spirit.' Bishop Sam Jacobs (USA) describes this grace as 'normative for Christian living.'
Statements by the Popes and Bishops
Recent Popes have repeatedly supported and encouraged the Renewal. On 11 October 1973, Pope Paul VI gave his blessing to CCR leaders who had gathered together from all over the world to attend the International Leaders Conference in Rome. He said that the Renewal fostered:
A deepening desire for personal and communal prayer.
A greater openness to the movement of the Holy Spirit.
A desire for total commitment to Christ.
An accent on the praising of God.
Diligent study of the Scriptures.
Increased community and willingness to be of service to the Church.
Pope John Paul II said to CCR leaders on 14 March 1992:
The emergence of the Renewal following the Second Vatican Council was a particular gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church ... Certainly one of the most important results of this spiritual awakening has been that increased thirst for holiness which is seen in the lives of individuals and in the whole Church.
Cardinal Suenens has described the Renewal as a 'moving of the Holy Spirit', and as 'a high voltage current of Grace which is coursing through the Church.'
International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) is based in Rome and acts as the centre of communications within the worldwide Charismatic Renewal. It also serves as liaison between the Charismatic Renewal and the Vatican. Catholic Charismatic Renewal is active in 130 countries, and is fully supported and encouraged by the Bishops of the Church.
Recent Statements by Pope John Paul II and Bishop Michael Putney
On November 11, 2002, Pope John Paul II in his message on the 35th Anniversary of the Renewal, encouraged those who are involved in the charismatic renewal to be 'living signs of hope, beacons of Christ's good news for the men and women of our time.'
Given the situation, John Paul II stresses the urgency of an 'evangelisation of culture, in order that life may be marked by hope than by fear or scepticism.'
In a written statement of March 2003, Bishop Michael Putney comments:
In the past 30 years, Catholic Charismatic Renewal has proved itself a source of great blessings for the Church. Many people have had their lives and their relationship with Christ transformed by their participation in charismatic prayer groups and charismatic ministry. I am delighted that there is a presence of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the Diocese of Townsville and hope that it would continue to grow and flourish for the sake of the diocese.'
The Bishops of Australia have given their full support to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and have appointed full-time and part-time chaplains and liaison priests.
For More Information
Contact representatives of Catholic Charismatic Renewal within the Townsville Diocese:
Townsville - Trudy Clarke: 0418 726 109