Between 2-4 November, the “Called, Transformed and Sent” event took place in Rome, where 3,000 people from different continents from various charismatic realities gathered together. Dr Maria Heath was there, and encountered people on fire with the Gospel, including Pope Francis and Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa.
I was in Rome for the elections to the International Service of Communion. We had 2 days where coordinators of the CNSCs in each country and representatives of communities and ministries represented at a continental level gathered to pray, grow in communion and to take part in the elections. It is always a blessing to gather with other leaders and hear what the Spirit is doing across the world.
During that time, we had a number of teachings. For me, a highlight was Bishop Peter Smith, who shared his testimony and reminded us that we are called to have ‘holy boldness’ in our lives as missionary disciples. We now have a newly elected International Service of Communion.
We are very grateful to all those who have served over the last 4 years on the International Service of Communion, which was made up of people appointed by the Dicastery. They have laid a solid foundation for Catholic Charismatic Renewal, to continue to grow and flourish across the world-and to be a gift not just for a few, but for the whole Church.
‘Jesus has already won the victory’
Following this election, many of us stayed in Rome and were joined by 2500 people from CCR, many of whom had taken part in the CHARIS formation programme over the last year.
This formation time was focused on the theme of ‘Called, Transformed and Sent’. The praise and worship was amazing and we had some outstanding teachings.
Matt Lozano of the Unbound ministry gave a very profound input. One thing he said which has really stayed with me is that many people around the world worry about the influence of evil, forgetting that Jesus has already won the victory.
We need to remember who we are and who the Father is-then we can operate out of a place of faith, rather than fear. He also reminded us that the most common foothold that we give to the enemy is actually unforgiveness.
Parishes need to embrace their missionary calling
Another thing which stayed with me is a quote from Pepe Prado Flores on evangelisation: “Jesus didn’t give us a bell to call people in, but sandals to go out.” This resonates deeply with me and acts as a reminder to all of us that we need to go with the Gospel, not wait for people to come to our churches.
Fr. James Mallon and Fr. Pat Collins also took up the theme of evangelisation, reminding us that parishes need to embrace that missionary calling rather than remain in a maintenance mode.
Nicky Gumbel spoke about using Alpha as a tool to help us in this task and the importance of creativity. Michelle Moran gave an inspiring teaching on leadership, reminding us of the need to be servant leaders full of vision. The event ended with Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa and Pope Francis speaking to us. I encourage you to watch these on YouTube below.
Meeting faith-filled people
Finally, it was great to be in the midst of so many faith-filled people. It was good to meet those from England and Wales, including representatives from Sion community, the Metanoia project and New Dawn.
It was also good to catch up friends from across the world, as well as meeting so many amazing people on fire with the love of God, and wanting to see the world changed with the Gospel.
Finally, many of the speakers encouraged us to think about what we will be doing as we head towards 2033. We want all people in the world to have had a chance to hear the Gospel. So my question to you is an echo of Pope Francis’ question: what will you do?
Dr Maria Heath