CHARIS reflects the Church’s understanding of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal as a “current of grace” which is diverse and creative.  Pope Francis initiated the creation of CHARIS to better enable this current of grace to better reach everyone and everywhere in the world and to remain open to the continued guidance of the Holy Spirit and the care of the Church.

A new stage of this journey is beginning. A stage marked by communion between all the members of the charismatic family, in which the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested for the good of the entire Church. A presence that makes each one equal, since each has been born of the same Spirit: great and small, old and young, engaged on the worldwide or local levels, all form a whole that is always greater than the part.” – Pope Francis.

There are two important elements of the identity of CHARIS:

1. Service. Jesus stated, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). CHARIS is not about governance but in serving the Lord, the Church, and the work of the Holy Spirit in this wonderful current of grace.  Service in Christ means giving, even sacrificially, without any expectation of recognition or reward.  It means putting aside our own desires and interests and giving of ourselves to what the Holy Spirit invites us.   

2. Communion.  This is a focus on unity, not uniformity.  CHARIS is called to reflect a unity in its diversity.  We reflect this in the many ways and entities that have emerged in this current grace.  We are called to be a people with God as our Father, Jesus as our brother, and made brothers and sisters by the Holy Spirit.  Unity in diversity is a great sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus challenges his disciples, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35).

P. Awi Mello, the Secretary to the Dicastery at the time of the establishment of CHARIS described these two elements in very practical ways.  He observed:

CHARIS, because it is not a structure of government (nor of power), necessarily places the accent on diversity: communion of diverse realities. All expressions – prayer groups, communities, schools of evangelization, mass media, large and small, with pontifical or diocesan recognition – all with the same right to be served and the same duty to serve humanity and the whole world. All with the duty to respect the “Spirit that blows where it wants and how it wants”.

He continues:

CHARIS is a service of communion. Its mission is to “extend the tent”, that is, to help all charismatics feel “inside” this current of grace. Communion is unity in diversity! It is not uniformity. As I used to say when I was a youth minister, communion is a “fruit salad”, not a “fruit milk shake”. In the fruit salad, each fruit keeps its flavor, its context, its form, and each one contributes to the whole with what is proper to it. In the “fruit milk shake”, the flavor of each thing is not well identified. We start to discuss “I think there’s pear”; the other one says, “No it’s apple” or even “it looks like there’s banana”. Uniformity kills originality. Think of the diversity of the apostles (Peter and Paul were almost like water and oil!). Think of the diversity of the Churches founded by them. Nevertheless, all sought to live in communion with the Mother Church of Jerusalem (and then with the Church of Rome).

P. Cantalamessa, the preacher to the papal household and the first ecclesiastical assistant to CHARIS emphasized this in his teaching and exhortation at the launch of CHARIS in Rome in 2019:

“I believe at this point it is clear why we say that the Charismatic Renewal is a current of grace for the whole Church. All that the word of God has revealed to us about the new life in Christ—a life lived according to the law of the Spirit, a life as sons and daughters of God, and a life under the Lordship of Christ—is nothing but the substance of Christian life and holiness. It is our baptismal life actualized in fullness, that is, not only thought and believed but lived and presented, and not only to a few privileged souls but to all the holy people of God. For millions of believers of different Christian Churches the baptism in the Spirit has been the door to such splendors of the Christian life.

May we always seek to grow in reflecting and living out authentic service and communion in CHARIS.  One of the Church Fathers reported that others were saying of the early Christians, “See how they love one another”!  May this always be true of us.

Veni Creator Spiritus!


Monsignor Peter Leslie Smith
CHARIS Ecclesiastical Assistant

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