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Fifty Years of the Catholic Charismatic Movement: 1967-2017

Marking its 50th Jubilee this year, the Catholic Charismatic movement has come a long way and continues to thrive. Read Transcript

Well, you know it's really interesting that in all four

gospels John the Baptist introduces Jesus not only

as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,

but as the one who will baptize in the Holy Spirit.

So being baptized in the Holy Spirit

is one of the central things that Jesus does.

And thanks be to God there's a growing,

growing awareness of that today in the Catholic church.

NARRATOR: Pope Francis began Pentecost 2017 celebrations

with a prayer and praise vigil at the ancient Circus

Maximus in Rome.

Thousands of Christians from around the world

joined the Pope to mark the 50th Jubilee of the Catholic

Charismatic Renewal.


NARRATOR: The college-aged American pioneers

of the Renewal are now its elders.

And many were in attendance.

In their lifetime the Renewal has sparked a new Pentecost

among Catholics worldwide.

The movement began in 1967, when the gifts of the Holy Spirit

were bestowed upon a group of Duquesne University students

on retreat at the Ark and the Dove.

Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan remember

when friends first told them about the Duquesne outpouring.

My reaction here was pretty negative, and so was Dorothy's.

But we knew these people well.

I mean they were solid, responsible,

Renewal minded Catholics, and they were scholars.

I mean we were all in the intellectual life.

We were all students, or professors in theology,

church history, philosophy.

And so we could see that, even in their faces

there was something changed and different.

And so although, we wanted to discount what they were saying

as sounding a little fringy, we could not

deny the experience we saw they had, had changed them.

And whatever it was I think we came to see we wanted that too.

We wanted more.

We didn't even know what the more was sometimes.

But we wanted more--

more of the Lord, more work to do, more empowerment.

We felt like a lot of things in the world need to be changed,

and that we were the changers.

NARRATOR: Newly married at the time,

Kevin taught theology at St. Mary's College in Indiana.

And Dorothy was a Catholic High School teacher.

Both earned Master's degrees in Theology

from the University of Notre Dame.

After hearing about his colleagues at Duquesne,

Kevin embarked on a six week study of the scriptures,

and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and a bible study

among fellow Catholics.

This was a personal experience of Jesus standing

next to me, which I had never had before.

And it was very powerful.

And it was so changing.

I mean suddenly, even that night, scripture was alive,

my faith was renewed, filled with joy.

NARRATOR: Dorothy received the baptism the next day alone

in a chapel.

It was like the Lord planted a flag in the center of my life

and said, this is permanent.

Hang on to this.

And it changed everything.

NARRATOR: The couple sought out the Full Gospel Businessmen's

Fellowship, an organization with roots

in Pentecostalism, to learn how to use the gifts for ministry.

And I can't imagine how he reacted to this phone call.

"Hi, we're a bunch of Catholics from Notre Dame,

and we've just been baptized the Holy Spirit.

And we would like to find out about the spiritual gifts.

Can you help us?"

NARRATOR: After spending some time with the Full Gospel

Businessmen, the Ranaghan's began to lead meetings

on the Notre Dame campus, and witnessed the gifts

of the Spirit flowing freely.

Well, we had these large prayer meetings--

sometimes 400 people every week.

They were amazing meetings in that we

were all so used new to this.

So we started praying for everybody

if they wanted healing, and quite often we saw healing.

NARRATOR: Just after Easter in 1967,

Catholic students from top American universities

met at Notre Dame to learn more about the Duquesne outpouring.

Ralph Martin, the Notre Dame philosophy graduate,

was a campus ministry leader when

he brought 40 students from Michigan State

to the gathering.

They called it the First International Catholic

Charismatic Conference because there was

one nun from Canada who came.

Later members of the renewal movement

launched ministry enterprises like New Covenant Magazine,

which spread news of the outpouring around the country.

That summer, several Duquesne University students

lived with Lutheran pastor and founding CBN board

member, Harold Bredesen, in his parish home near New York City

to learn street evangelism.

It was like discovering in his school--

in the Holy Spirit School of Harold Bredesen--

what it was to walk in God's providence.

What it meant to evangelize.

And we realized that we had a responsibility not just

to preach the gospel, but to learn how to do well,

and to be effective at it--

not just kind of throwing to people.

NARRATOR: Back in Notre Dame, Catholic priests, nuns,

and lay leaders attended the Renewal meetings while

on campus for continuing education.

When they went home they took this with them.

They went all over the United States.

They went to Australia.

They went to the Philippines.

They went to various countries in Europe.

So I can remember one night being in that room

and hearing a prophecy that I remember this way, fire, fire,

fire, spreading from east to west.

And it went on to talk about what we were experiencing

spreading around the world.

NARRATOR: After the National Catholic Reporter

ran newspaper coverage of the outpouring, Pope Paul VI,

sent Cardinal Suenens of Belgium,

one of the four moderators of Vatican II,

To evaluate what was happening.

The Cardinal met with Ralph Martin

and observed various student groups.

So all my life, he said, I've been

searching for wherever the Holy Spirit's working trying

to understand what's happening.

I came here.

I see the Holy Spirit's working.

I want to do whatever I can to help

you integrate this, and open the whole Catholic church up to it.

And bring you into the very center of things.

NARRATOR: Cardinal Suenens invited Ralph Martin

and his young family to Belgium to help

lead the Renewal in Europe.

By 1975, 10,000 Catholic charismatics

from around the world joined Cardinal Suenens in Rome

for Pentecost.

You're saying to the world and show them

by the radiance of faith that Christ is risen.

NARRATOR: Pope Paul the sixth entered St. Peter's Basilica,

and addressed the movement as a chance for the church.

Right from the very top, sort of this open door

to the Holy Spirit, and it's just kind of

went on from there.

The Renewal also birthed new religious orders

and increased the number of those called into ministry.

In the early 1970s, Father George Montague,

the Pauline Scholar and professor

at St. Mary's University in Texas,

received the baptism in the Holy Spirit

after a nun who had attended the Notre Dame meetings

demonstrated spiritual gifts.

Well, here's the New Testament alive right in front of me.

This is happening.

The Holy Spirit is coming right in front of me.

I had been baptized and confirmed.

I had made religious vows.

I was ordained as a priest.

And so all those things kind of blocked me

a little bit because I don't know what more do I need.

NARRATOR: After 25 years of ministry in the Renewal,

Father Montague along with Father Bob Hogan,

formed Brothers of the Beloved Disciple

to serve in San Antonio, Texas.

The Holy Spirit empowers our ministry through the spiritual

gifts so that God can-- people and can say, wow,

truly God is in your midst.

Truly Jesus is reaching out to me.

NARRATOR: A fruit of their ministry

is Maricela Solis, a widowed retired schoolteacher

from San Antonio, who spent 30 years away from the church.

She says the Renewal led her back to Christ.

And I was so depressed.

And I was so lost.

And I was in such darkness that I knew

I had to go back to the church.

The first thing the Renewal teaches you is God

loves you so much.

You have no idea.

God is your perfect father.

And that was life changing for me.

I finally found a father.

But this connection with the Holy Spirit today,

oh it's real.

Its real.

Is palpable.

NARRATOR: Today more than 120 million Catholics

in 240 countries enjoy life in the spirit.

In February 2017, Fernando Nascimento

traveled from Brazil to the Ark and the Dove

for the 50th anniversary of the historic outpouring.

Celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic


NARRATOR: Fernando's entire family came to Christ

after a word of knowledge and a prayer of deliverance

rescued his alcoholic brother.

So they layed hands on my brother

and he kneeled alcoholic, and he stand up

full of the Holy Spirit.

And this was a wonderful changing.

I saw my brother come in on that evening shining--

really shining.

NARRATOR: Today, the brothers preach the Gospel

all over Brazil.

And Fernando hosts the Brazilian TV show Praise The Lord.

The Lord Jesus through these Renewal

really touched our family.

I don't know where would we be without the Lord Jesus.

NARRATOR: As the pioneers of the movement recall their history,

they anticipate greater Holy Spirit inspired wonders ahead.

From Sister Elena's urgent letters to Pope Leo,

to the 1901 outpouring in Kansas,

to the Azusa Street Revival, to the Duquesne weekend

and beyond--

all of these events declare the gifts of the Holy Spirit

are intended for every generation.

As the spirit works to unite all Christians

to Christ and to each other in order to reach the world.

It's a surprise of the Holy Spirit that's

opening up great new possibilities,

and we don't know what's next.

We have a sense.

I know we have a sense here the Lord's getting

ready to do something big.


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