Pope Francis & Bob Canton
April 2, 2014
Pope Benedict XVI
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican's Secretary of State & Bob Canton
POWER TOOLS FOR EVANGELIZATION
By Bob Canton, ICCRS Council Member
"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."- Matt. 28:18-20.
The disciples went out as commanded by Jesus and proclaimed the Good News with signs and wonders following them, and the world was never the same again.
By virtue of our baptism, and as members of the Mystical body of Christ, we are called by the Lord to spread the gospel to everyone around us. The Documents of the Vatican Council 2 under the Decree of the Apostolate of Lay People, Chapter 2, state, "The apostolate of the Church, therefore, and of each of its members, aims primarily at announcing to the world by word and action the message of Christ and communicating to it the grace of Christ."
Why we ought to evangelize?
The National Conference of Catholic Bishops(NCCB) in the United States enumerates the following answers to this question as contained in the booklet, "Go and Make Disciples."
- We must evangelize because the Lord Jesus commanded us to do so.
- We must evangelize because people must be brought to the salvation that Jesus the Lord offers in and through the Church.
- Jesus commanded us to evangelize in order to bring enlightenment and lift people from error.
- The Lord gave us the message that is unique. Knowing Christ Jesus and belonging to his church is not the same as believing anything else and belonging to any other community.
- We must evangelize to show our love for every person, whatever his or her situation, language, physical, mental, or social condition. Because we have experienced the love of Christ, we want to share it.
Power Tools for Evangelization: In order to get the job done, the Lord has furnished us with basic and powerful tools that are readily available to us. This list is by no means exhaustive, but I believe they are necessary elements in the works of evangelization. These are:
- The presence of the Holy Spirit
- The intercession of Mary, the mother of God and the mother of the mystical body of Christ
- The use of charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit
The presence of the Holy Spirit: Before ascending into heaven, Jesus told his disciples, " But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." -Act.1:8. At Pentecost, when the disciples received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they received power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Consequently, they were transformed from being fearful to becoming fearless and powerful evangelizers. The baptism of the Holy Spirit enabled them to walk in the spiritual realm where they were led by the Spirit, controlled by the Spirit, filled by the Spirit and guided by the Spirit. There were able to do the works of Jesus such as raising the dead to life, making the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear and setting free those who were oppressed by the devil. In John 14:12, Jesus says, "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father."
In his encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul V1 states, that "evangelization will never be possible without the action of the Holy Spirit." He further stated, "It is the Holy Spirit who, today just as at the beginning of the Church, acts in every evangelizer who allows himself to be possessed and led by him. The Holy Spirit places on his lips the words which he could not find by himself, and at the same time, the Holy Spirit predisposes the soul of the hearer to be open and receptive to the Good News and to the Kingdom being proclaimed." -(EN 75). Invoking the Holy Spirit to empower us so that we will become effective soul-winners for God's Kingdom should be every Christian's priority.
The Intercession of Mary the mother of God and the mother of the Mystical Body of Christ: Mary, the mediatrix of all graces, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, is an evangelizer par excellence. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 973, we find these words," "By pronouncing her "fiat" at the Annunciation and giving her consent to the Incarnation, Mary was already collaborating with the whole work her Son was to accomplish. She is the mother wherever He is savior and head of the Mystical Body." Her "Yes" to the Lord and her faith and trust in him make her a model evangelizer." When they ran short of wine during the wedding feast at Cana, Mary told the servers to "do whatever he tells you to do."-John 2:3. In order for us to become powerful proclaimers of the gospel, we should take to heart her instructions; to be obedient to Jesus by doing what he tells us to do. It is also wise for us to invoke her intercession for us to accomplish the tasks that the Lord has assigned us to do. After all, she is our "mother" and she is "full of grace." The Catechisms of the Catholic Church 968, states, "Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. "In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in Savior's work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason, she is a mother to us in the order of grace."
The Charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit: St. Paul describes the following charismatic gifts as mentioned in 1 Cor.12: 8-10, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. These gifts are the ingredients for a powerful and effective work of evangelization. The Catechisms of the Catholic Church 798, states that "Charisms are "special graces," by which the Holy Spirit makes the faithful fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church." The charisms are not just "natural abilities" but gifts given by the Holy Spirit to each person as he wills. There are other lists of gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4, Romans 12, and 1 Peter 4. Surely, the charisms or spiritual gifts manifest the transcendence of God. In Healing Crusades in Thailand and Malaysia not too long ago which I had the privilege to conduct, the manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as word of knowledge, prophecy, healings, miracles, tongues, word of wisdom were very visible. Some people walked from wheelchairs, deaf people were able to hear, tumors and abnormal growths disappeared, some blind people regained their sights, and other healings such as emotional and spiritual healings and healings of relationships took place. Afterwards, some non-Christians came up to us asking to be baptized as Roman Catholics because they had witnessed the power and presence of Jesus in their midst. They came to believe in the preaching that Jesus is true God and true man who died for our sins, who rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God. They came to believe that Jesus is the healer and that he is still healing until now.
Jesus says, in John 14:11, " Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe because of the works themselves."
These spiritual gifts are not only applicable during Healing Crusades or Healing Services, or prayer meetings, but they can also be used in the market place, in the work place, at home or wherever there are human interactions. The Vatican Council 2 documents on the Decree of the Apostolate of Lay People, Section 3, assert, "From the reception of these charisms, even the most ordinary ones, there arises each of the faithful the right and the duty of exercising them in the Church and in the world for the good of men and development of the Church, of exercising the freedom of the Holy Spirit who "breathes where he wills."
Prayer: What is prayer? Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God , according to the Catechisms of the Catholic Church. Prayer is the key that opens the door to God's power. In Matt.7:8-11, Jesus says, "For everyone who asks, receives, and for the one who seeks, finds, and the one who knocks, the door will be opened." "Then call on me in time of distress, I will rescue you and you will honor me"- Psalm 50:15.
One of the most powerful weapons to use for evangelization is prayer. Prayer can bring down the power of the evil one and is a vehicle for a victorious Christian life. "They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint."-Is.40:31.
Prayers should not only be directed to the Lord for our own personal needs but also to those who don't know the Lord. St. Paul, in Eph. 6:18-19, writes, "With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones." I will never forget the experience I had one day when I was interviewed live on a TV Christian program in the San Francisco Bay area. I was interviewed regarding the ministry of healing and deliverance when the interviewer had asked me to pray for the viewers live. Without hesitation, I prayed in tongues and I invoked the Holy Spirit to manifest his presence. Then I started to receive words of knowledge on healings and prophecies for certain individuals who were watching the program. I also took the opportunity to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. At the conclusion of the program, many viewers called in the TV station to report healings that they had experienced and to confirm the prophecies given.
Other power tools for evangelization: Include the sacraments of the church, living the Word of God or living the gospel, personal witness, and Christian unity.
As baptized Catholics, we have all these power tools for evangelization at our disposal. God the Father has already blessed us in Christ Jesus with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, according to the scriptures. So let's start harvesting souls for the Kingdom of God right now!
International Colloquium on the Ministry of Deliverance
by Michele Moran
In recent years ICCRS has organized theological colloquiums on prayer for healing (2001), the charisms of the Holy Spirit (2008), and baptism in the Holy Spirit (2011). In April 2014 the fourth colloquium was held in Rome, on the topic of deliverance ministry.
The choice of this topic came from a number of questions that were being sent to ICCRS about deliverance ministry. These were both theological and pastoral in nature. We recognised that there are cultural factors that have to be taken into consideration and that in some parts of the world guidelines are already in place from the local Bishops' conference. Therefore, it was decided to bring together a small international group of invited theologians and practitioners who are experienced in this ministry, to gain some insight together as to what should be the basic contents of a small ICCRS book on this topic.
So from 3rd-6th of April around 30 participants gathered in Rome. Dr Mary Healy, the chair of the ICCRS Doctrinal Commission, began by presenting a general overview. She looked at the context of where we find ourselves as a Church in a world that is witnessing a rapid de-Christianization.
She presented a brief overview of deliverance in Scripture, in the early Church, and among later theologians.
Participants from each of the continents shared their perspectives on deliverance ministry. Whilst there were some obvious cultural variations, there were also marked similarities. It was noted that even among clergy, there are some who are reluctant to believe in the reality of the devil. Conversely, sometimes in CCR there are people who have a tendency to overemphasise the devil and his power. We highlighted the need for this ministry to grow and develop and for people to receive adequate training and supervision.
An exorcist from the diocese of Rome gave an overview of the history of the development of the Rite of Exorcism and the difference between exorcism and deliverance ministry. Damian Stayne shared from his own experience about the role of lay people in deliverance ministry. Neal Lozano, the founder of the 'unbound' model of deliverance ministry, spoke about the relationship between deliverance and inner healing. The final part of our colloquium was to agree together the main topics that should form the basis of a future publication.
ICCRS Council Meeting 2013
How many were the graces we received during the past Council Meeting of ICCRS, held in Bethlehem last November 18-23, 2013, just after the wonderful Prophetic Consultation that we lived with about 160 leaders from every part of the world (see ICCRS NL I/2014).
The first day was completely dedicated to a special encounter that we called ICCRS Large Council Meeting, including members of the ICCRS Continental Sub Committees: AFSCI (ICCRS Sub Committee for Africa), ESCI (ICCRS Sub Committee for Europe) and ISAO (ICCRS Sub Committee for Asia and Oceania). On that day we were also blessed by the presence of one of our Bishops, friend of ICCRS, and by the presence of the 'official' collaborators of ICCRS in the area of 'Formation', 'Doctrinal Commission' and 'University of the Holy Spirit'.
This one day meeting was the occasion to present to all our Continental Sub Committee members the 'vision' of ICCRS regarding our service offered to the Charismatic Renewal within the Catholic Church. Time was also dedicated to 'dream' together about the developments of the formation of the leaders in CCR and the call to unity among the various streams and realities in CCR (groups, communities, schools of evangelization, ministries, etc.). Both these aspects are at the front line among the pastoral activities of ICCRS especially looking at the great challenge of the upcoming Jubilee of the Renewal in 2017, that will see all our Movement together in celebrating 50 years of life in the Catholic Church.
The proper ICCRS Council Meeting started with the official
welcoming of Fr. Wojciech Nowacki, new councilor for Eastern
Europe. Key topics in our agenda were:
I. Reflections on the Bethlehem Prophetic Consultation;
II. President's report on her worldwide ministry;
III. The necessity to stabilize our finances;
IV. Administration matters;
V. ICCRS Formation activities and the 'University of the Holy Spirit' project developments;
VI. The upcoming events, such as the 'Colloquium on the Ministry of Deliverance' and the 'Great Gathering of the CCR Family in Africa' in 2014, the 'Worldwide Priests' Retreat' in 2015, and the setting up of an Organizing Committee for the 2017 CCR Jubilee;
VII. The Council has also placed a high priority on the project 'Pentecost of the Nations', as an answer to the call of the Lord for all the Renewal to promote the Pentecost novena and the celebration of the Holy Spirit all over the world
Another important area of attention about ICCRS mandate that took considerable time in our Council Meeting was the review of our Committees and Sub Committees, and finally the elections for a new three year term. Elections for four councilors took place: Michelle Moran has been re-elected for a third term as President; Jude Muscat has been re-elected for a second term as councilor for Southern Europe; Bob Canton has been re-elected for a third term as councilor for English speaking Central and North America and Caribbean; Br. James Shin has been re-elected for a third term as councilor for Southern Asia. ICCRS Council has a clear understanding of how great the challenges are before us. For this we ask all our readers to accompany us in our mission with a strong and continuous intercessory prayer. All for the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Great Gathering of the CCR Family
"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:4) Kampala, Uganda · 30 June – 6 July 2014
The Great Gathering of the CCR Family is a huge ICCRS celebration as part of the journey towards the CCR Golden Jubilee. The event will be held in Uganda, bringing together delegates from all the five continents of the world to Africa for the first time, to pray and seek the Lord for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Renewal and the Church worldwide. This event is organised by ICCRS in collaboration with the Uganda Episcopal Conference, Uganda Catholic Charismatic Renewal (UCCR), and the African Sub-committee of ICCRS (AFSCI).
The Pan African Congress of Renewal leaders and the 2nd World Youth Meeting of CCR will take place within the given days. A special workshop for priests will be also offered during the event. Find all the details on the website of CCR Uganda: www.ccruganda.org.