International News

Local Parishioner in Rome For Charismatics Jubilee

By Cruz-Teresa Rosero

This is the logo for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal to be held in Rome May 31 to June 4. (CNS/courtesy Catholic Charismatic Renewal)
Pope Francis prays as he attends a Pentecost vigil marking the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the Circus Maximus in Rome June 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis speaks during a Pentecost vigil marking the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the Circus Maximus in Rome June 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Dancers perform during the worldwide jubilee gathering marking the 50th anniversary of the Catholic charismatic renewal at the Circus Maximus in Rome June 2. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis celebrates Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 4. In attendance were thousands of people celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Catholic charismatic renewal. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

ROME – The musical notes of “¡Vive Jesús, el Señor!” sung by Pope Francis with about 70,000 Charismatics on the Vigil of Pentecost, spread in the open sky of the Circus Maximus of Rome.

We were in Rome to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Charismatic Movement.

“We are here, as in an open-air Cenacle,” said the Holy Father. “At this place, during the persecutions, many Christians were martyred. Today there are more martyrs than before,” referring to Christians of other confessions. “It is the ecumenism of blood.”

At this “open-air cenacle,” the Circus Maximus, we had two nights of praise and prayer. In the first night, we heard several testimonies, including those of David Megan and Patty Manfield with whom the Renewal began, followed by the celebration of the Holy Mass.

On the second night, we had the visit of the Holy Father and representatives of other Christian Churches.

Each evening, we had tears of repentance, joy and gratitude. Flags from 120 countries waved; hands raised proclaiming with one voice that Jesus is the Lord. The previous hours waiting in the sun to pass through security didn’t matter anymore. The sun had burned our skin, but had also inflamed our hearts with the fire of the Holy Spirit.

As part of the five-day Jubilee celebration, the two previous nights we attended Mass at the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, and the other at the Cathedral St. John of Lateran. Both nights the churches closed when they reached the limit of people. Those who remained outside continued singing and praising the Lord just like the ones inside.

Pentecost Sunday was the culmination of the Jubilee celebration. At 6:30 a.m. we walked to St. Peter’s Square to line up, pass security and get a seat a short distance from where the Holy Father would celebrate the liturgy. Around 80,000 people participated. The Presence of the Lord filled the square.

In his homily, the Holy Father warned us against the temptation to seek diversity without unity; and unity without diversity. The first occurs when we seek to stand out, when we form parties. The second occurs when unity becomes uniformity, where everyone has to do everything together and in the same way, always thinking alike.

The Charismatic world shone in Rome. The red caps and yellow handkerchiefs with the Jubilee logo identified every charismatic at any part of the city, whether attending a workshop or related activity, or simply shopping or visiting historical places. On several occasions, we met and embraced friends from other countries or the States.

To start a new beginning, we reflect on the words of our pope: “I wish you a time of reflection, of remembrance of your origins, a time to leave behind all the things added by the self and transform them into listening and joyful welcome of the action of the Holy Spirit.

“Share with all in the Church the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, praise the Lord ceaselessly, walk together with Christians of different churches and Christian communities in prayer and in action for those most in need.

“Thank you, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, for what you have given the Church in these 50 years! The Church counts on you, on your fidelity to the Spirit, on your willingness to the Service, and your witness of lives transformed by the Holy Spirit.”

Rosero is a member of St. Nicholas of Tolentine parish, Jamaica.