The Charismatic Prayergroup in the Catholic Cathedral in Stockholm
Presentation and history
The group has been in the parish since 1977. They usually meet once a week, some periods every two weeks. The meeting includes worship, praise, sharing experiences, Bible reading, prayers. The prayer group is like a cell, held together by the relationships of everyday life. We pray for small and large, for the Church's mission in the world, for people in our everyday lives, also personal intercession for those who so desire and come to the group. In 2010, Katolskt Magasin (the Diozese Magazine) did a reportage series about the Catholic Cathedral Parish. Here is a clip from an article about the Prayer Group:
In 1976, Francis Little OSB came from England and led Life in the Spirit seminars in Stockholm. On the day of Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was requested. With were i.a. Benkt Stolpe and Franceska Balingit and Birgitta Björksten. People continued to gather regularly, Franceska Balingit became "the group's mother". Benkt Stolpe, Daniel Adner and Birgitta Björksten visited Capuchin priests in Italy in the 1970s: It was Fabiano, headmaster of the monastery in Loreto, and Pancratio, a famous Italian charismatic priest who stood near Padre Pio. These priests came to Sweden on the initiative of Vera Cedheim.
In the summer of 1977, it was thought that a prayer group should be started in the Cathedral Parish. Birgitta Björksten and Benkt Stolpe took the Capuchin priests with them, called around to different people and gathered a group in the Cathedral. Also from the start was Carin Widenmeyer, who had already been part of a prayer group in Täby and received inspiration from there. She became the leader of the group for many years. Pretty soon Ida Krieger also joined, who together with Karin was a strong support for the group. Ida was also involved in the Schönstadt movement. Domprost J F Koch soon sanctioned the group and gave it the name "Förbönsgruppen" (the Intercessory prayergroup). Among regular visitors were also sisters from the Seraphim Sisters, Sr. Tarsilla was a faithful visitor, as well as from the School Sisters de Notre Dame where Sr. Evelyn, Sr. Olga, Sr. Barbro and Sr. Miriam were among those who came regularly.
The school sisters had been inspired to participate in the Charismatic renewal through Father Liesner SJ from Germany who came to Sweden and gave retreats for the sisters. Bengt Malmgren had been introduced to Charismatic Renewal through the group in Täby and joined the group in the Cathedral in the early 1980s. Bengt became active in AKKS, the Work group for Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church in Sweden. He was invited to a Nordic Catholic charismatic meeting at Mariaholm in Norway in 1983.
At that time, Norway was a driving force in Nordic charismatic co-operation through John Golding. There was also participation from Denmark at the meeting in Mariaholm with Lars Messerschmidt General Viucar at Diozese ofCopehagen. Together with a Nordic group, Bengt Malmgren traveled with Mrs. Maria and Lillemor Hallin to an international Catholic charismatic conference in Rome in 1984. Cardinal Suenens and mother Teresa also participated, as well as the Pentecostal pastor, David de Plessies, who meant a lot to the ecumenism between the Pentecostal movement and the Catholic Church.
When they returned home, Nordic co-operation was continued and in the summer of 1985 the first Nordic Catholic charismatic conference was organized in Stockholm, hosted by the Catholic Cathedral. [Read more about the group's history in this document produced for the bishop's visit to the Cathedral Parish in 2013] After Carin Widenmeyer died in 1998, Bengt Malmgren became leader of the group in the Cathedral.
In 2016, Bola Richards became the leader of the group. Bola Richards was born and raised in The Gambia, graduated with a master's degree in Russia and in 1982 married Maria from Cuba, who also studied technology at the same institute. He came to Sweden in 1984 and has worked in the IT industry, among other things. as a research engineer at the Manne Sieghbahn Institute of Physics, then as a database specialist in the banking, health and insurance industry. Bola talks about his path to the Catholic Church and Charismatic Renewal:
"I retired in July 2021. Maria and I have 2 grown children. My wife was born a Catholic. I grew up as a Methodist but had always been interested in the Catholic faith. & Nbsp; In 1992, I was lucky enough to meet an Opus dei priest in Sweden, Johannes Bernaldo who baptized our son. He patiently taught me the basics of the Catholic faith and admitted me to church in 1996 before baptizing my daughter. Since then, life has never been the same again. I joined the charismatic movement through Pancho Chin A Loi who later became a permanent deacon. He invited me to a prayer meeting in St Eugenia, and Bengt Malmgren invited me to participate in the prayer group at the Catholic Cathedral in Stockholm. It was an experience that changed my prayer life. I went to pray with Bengt's group as often as I could and 5 years ago when Bengt left I became the leader of the group. "