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Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Sweden. Newsletter June 2024
Bengt Malmgren
/ Categories: CCR

Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Sweden. Newsletter June 2024

by Bengt Malmgren

Hello, here is a newsletter with some reading for the summer.

In this letter: Life in the Spirit Seminaries in ecumenical cooperation Catholic Cathedral – Sta. Clara Church, Second Vatican Council and Charismatic Renewal are both expressions of the Holy Spirit's work in our time, Pentecost of the Movements with confirmation in the Catholic Cathedral, The Christian Sacraments of Initiation and  Baptism of the Spirit, Blessed Elena Guerra – The Apostle of the Holy Spirit to be canonized this summer, Invitation to an online meeting with all charismatic groups and contact persons in the Nordic countries on August 13th, CHARIS needs your support.

 

 

Life in the Spirit Seminaries in ecumenical cooperation Catholic Cathedral – S:t Clara Church (Lutheran) has been held during the spring semester.

The prayergroup in the Catholic Cathedral, in collaboration with St Clara, has held Life in the Spirit seminars that took place between Easter and Pentecost. There were about 40 participants, both catholics and protestants, and it was much appreciated. The assessment from the leaders team is that we should continue and expand the ecumenical cooperation.

The seminars are an aid for a deeper surrender to Christ and the Church and for a renewed life in the Holy Spirit, asking for a renewed outpouring of the life of the Holy Spirit on the participants and for all the charismatic gifts God has prepared for us.

As material, a participant booklet, Nytt liv I Anden (New Life in the Spirit), was used, which has a clear focus on the relationship with God, the helping Spirit and Jesus' righteousness for us. It also shows the discipleship, the importance of church and Christian brothers and sisters to share the walk with. In addition, a guide for the leadership team in Swedish was used, which is a revised version of the material produced in the United States in the 1970s in the Catholic charismatic community Sword of the Spirit, where Steve Clark and Ralph Martin were leading figures.  Stephen B. Clark is the author of The Life in the Spirit Seminars Team Manual which has been used here in Sweden for many years. The participant booklet was translated into Swedish by AKKS already in the 1980s.

 

 

The Second Vatican Council and the Charismatic Renewal are both expressions of the work of the Holy Spirit in our time.

In recent years, there has been a lot of criticism, both of the Second Vatican Council and of the Charismatic Renewal. In a video from Renewal ministries, 11/2 hours long, Ralph Martin, Mary Healy, Peter Herbeck and Pete Burak explain why both the Second Vatican Council and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal are expressions of the Holy Spirit's work in our time.

The first part is about the Second Vatican Council, why it was necessary to have a council, the meaning of an "ecumenical council" where the world's bishops meet together with the pope, which is the church's highest decision-making authoritative body. The Council's interpretation and the abuse, not least liturgical, that have occurred after the Council are also discussed. The participants agreed that abuse had occurred, but that the solution to it is not to back down and return to what was before the Council. The Charismatic Renewal began in the years after the end of the Council and can be seen in many ways as one of the answers to the renewal that the Council brought about.

Dr. Ralph Martin was originally part of the group in Pittsburgh, USA, where the Charismatic Renewal began, and then was called by Cardinal Suenens, whom Pope Paul VI had appointed as Episcopal Advisor to the Renewal in order to build up the organization in Europe for the Vatican's contact with the Charismatic Renewal (ICO,  which then became ICCRO, then ICCRS and now CHARIS).  He is now the president of Renewal Ministries.

Dr. Mary Healy is from Hungary, well-known Catholic theologian and international speaker, member of the Pontifical Bible Commission, and professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

Dr. Peter Herbeck is also a well-known speaker and author in the field of renewal for many years.

The conversation is led by Pete Burak at Renewal ministries. Enjoy, here is the link: https://youtu.be/0eO93ghw8Mg?si=q0_9CMLwRY7bNy0S

As bonus you get this article by Dr. Daniel Klimek: [The Spirituality of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal: Separating Facts from Fiction]

 

 

Pentecost of the Movements with confirmation in the Catholic Cathedral.

Bishop Anders Arborelius led the traditional Pentecostal Vigil together with the Movements in the Church in the Catholic Cathedral. There were ten people who were accepted into the full communion of the Catholic Church and at the same time received the sacrament of confirmation. They had been prepared for a year through a course led by deacon Sten Cedergren. Afterwards, there was a reception in the Cathedral Hall with the movements and the newly confirmed. Bengt Malmgren, as a representative of the movements, welcomed everyone, he said, among other things:

"Pentecost is the feast of the Holy Spirit. The Acts of the Apostles describe the coming of the Spirit as a life-changing experience of the real presence of the risen Lord and of the Holy Spirit who gives power and life to Christians to bear witness to the gospel. Receiving this grace that Jesus calls being "baptized in the Holy Spirit" is just as relevant today as in the early church.

It has become a tradition for the bishop to celebrate Pentecost together with the movements in the church...  It is an extra joy that today we also get to welcome a group of friends in the full communion of the Catholic Church who have just been confirmed. [Applause]

The Second Vatican Council emphasized that spiritual graces are also effective in our time as an outflow of the grace given through baptism and confirmation. The diversity of movements in the Church represents different ways of responding to this grace, but one does not have to be part of a movement to receive and live in the new life of the Spirit. All are called to seek holiness and bear witness to Christ where they live and work, and we wish that the full life and gifts of the Spirit may be poured out abundantly upon you newly confirmed and upon all of us to power and help in our continued walk as Christians. Holy Spirit come upon us!"

Several representatives of different movements then talked about what is current in each movement. [Read more about the movements in the church on the diocese's website]

 

The Christian sacraments of initiation and the baptism of the Spirit.

Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist are counted as the Christian sacraments of initiation. Baptism is common to all Christians. The Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Spirit is conveyed through baptism and confirmation. Why, then, is there a need to pray further for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and for the spiritual graces? We need to constantly pray for more of the life of the Holy Spirit that was given through the sacraments to be manifested in us.  In the book of Acts, it is described how an expected consequence of the baptism in water was that the person was transformed in a tangible way and endowed with various gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, etc. But it is far from obvious today.  Even in the early church it is described that water baptism and manifestation of the gifts did not always coincide. When Paul met some who had been baptized with John's baptism, he asked if they had also received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2 ff). -"We have not even heard that there is any Holy Spirit", they answered. When Paul then laid his hands on them, "the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied" (Acts 19:6).

The baptism in the Spirit refers to a life-changing experience of the real presence of the risen Lord and of the Holy Spirit and His charismatic gifts. It releases the power and effectiveness of the fundamental grace given in baptism and confirmation so that it bears fruit and one is equipped with power to serve and evangelize.

Pope Francis said at the inauguration of CHARIS in 2019 that he wished for the Charismatic Renewal "to share the baptism of the Holy Spirit with everyone in the whole Church. That is the grace you have received. Share it! Don't keep it to yourselves!"

In this way, the Charismatic Renewal is the promoter of a grace that belongs to the whole Church. Cardinal Suenens once said that the goal of renewal is to make itself unnecessary as the whole Church is renewed by the grace of Pentecost. More teaching is needed about the life of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual graces. Especially in connection with confirmation, it should be possible to offer proven programs for this, such as Life in the Spirit seminars, which have been successfully given within the Charismatic Renewal and which Pope Francis has also called for.

The idea that the full life of the Spirit and the gifts of grace are intended for all baptized are also at the center of the synodal process that the Catholic Church is currently undergoing, this as a corrective to a narrowly understood clericalism where priests and religious people sustain the church whereas "laymen" are only laymen. In a [reflection material commissioned for the Synod of Bishops in October], an in-depth group appointed by the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm writes:

” … there is a lack of programme and impetus on the part of the clergy to manage their mission of guiding and enthusing catholics to receive the fullness of the Gospel, including the new life in the Spirit and the spiritual gifts (cf. Lumen Gentium 12).

The full life in the Spirit - what is usually called "Baptism in the Holy Spirit" has not been invented by Pentecostals but belongs to the Christian initiation as testified by the New Testament and the teachers of the early Church. All four Gospels present Jesus as the one who "baptizes with the Holy Spirit." When the gifts of the Spirit are sought and tested, it gives the Christian faithful the power to create the community that the church is meant to be...

The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith's document, Iuvenescit Ecclesia (2016), was addressed to the bishops as a basis for their contact with the new spiritual movements. Bishops, without over-idealizing, need to become aware of the importance of the movements and take greater responsibility for guidance and include them in the overall strategy of Church evangelization...

Sacrament and dogma are important but lose their vitality if the fullness of the Gospel with the full life of the Spirit is not also received and alive in each person. Awareness of the relationship between the hierarchical/sacramental and charismatic dimensions of the Church needs to be strengthened so that more focus can be directed towards the full life in the Spirit and the gifts in education for both priests and laity. Not least in confirmation teaching, this should be done with the offer of programs, such as Life in the Spirit seminars..."

 

Blessed Elena Guerra – The apostle of the Holy Spirit will be canonized this summer.

Elena Guerra (1835-1914) was an Italian nun who had a strong devotion to the Holy Spirit and wrote a dozen letters to Pope Leo XIII urging him to call upon all Catholics to invoke the Holy Spirit in prayer. John XXIII beatified Elena Guerra in 1959 and before the opening of the Second Vatican Council, he prayed, "Divine Spirit, renew your wonders in our time as in a new Pentecost." Pope Francis has approved a new miraculous healing at her intercession, and she will now be canonized.  Elena wrote:

"Pentecost is not over. In fact, it takes place continuously in every time and in every place, because the Holy Spirit desired to give Himself to all people, and anyone who desires can always receive Him.  We need not, therefore, envy the apostles and the early Christians; we only need to make ourselves ready to receive the Holy Spirit, and He will come to us as He came to them."

Pope Leo heeded Elena's call and he published three documents on the Holy Spirit, including a letter in which he invited the entire Church to pray a novena to the Holy Spirit for Pentecost in 1895 and the encyclical Divinum Illud Munus in 1897.  On New Year's 1901, he prayed for the whole church the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus and inaugurated the 20th century as the century of the Holy Spirit. [Read more about Blessed Elena Guerra and the canonization here] [Read more about Elena Guerra and the developments during the 20th century that led to the emergence of Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church and the significance of renewal for ecumenism]

Current developments in Charismatic Renewal internationally, in the Nordic countries and in Sweden.

CHARIS
CHARIS was founded 2019 and falls under the Dicastery of the Family, the Laity and Life and is regulated by specific statutes. The reason was that Pope Francis wanted to steer, promote and contribute to the nurturing of the diversity of groups and activities that the Charismatic Renewal constitutes.

 At the foundation of CHARIS in Rome, the Pope said that he wished in particular for three things from the Charismatic renewal:

  1. to share the baptism of the Holy Spirit with everyone in the whole Church. “That is the grace you have received. Share it! Don't keep it to yourselves”, he said."
  2. Second, to "serve the unity of the body of Christ, the Church, the community of the Christian faithful. This is very important, because the Holy Spirit brings about unity, but also diversity. The person of the Holy Spirit is interesting: through the charisms he creates the greatest diversity, but then he harmonizes the charisms into unity."
  3. Third, to serve the poorest and those with the greatest need, physically or spiritually, i.e., to highlight the social dimension of the gospel.

 The statutes of CHARIS stipulate that there shall be an international council, or so-called service of communion consisting of representatives of the Charismatic Renewal from all continents, then there shall be corresponding services of communion at the continental level and at the national level.

The European Service of Communion has been established since 2021, and we are now in the process of establishing a Service of Communion at the Nordic level. Since the Catholic Church and with it also the Catholic Charismatic renewal is quite small in the Nordic countries, we have decided, in consultation with our contact person in the European service community Tony Lauris and our contact person at the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm, the Bishop's Vicar for Evangelization msgr Andres Bernar, not to form service communities for each individual nation, but a common one for the countries covered by the Nordic Bishops' Conference. CHARIS NORDIC SERVICE OF COMMUNION. Our plan is for this Nordic Service of Communion to be consolidated at an internet meeting on 13 August. All groups and communities that define themselves as charismatic are welcome to join.  Right now there is an interim coordinator, Ludwig Gelot from Järfälla, who together with me is preparing the meeting. [See more details on how to register your group on CHARIS Nordic website] [CHARIS, international website]

 The idea is that the services of communion are to encompass the whole diversity of expressions of Charismatic renewal in the country, not to be governing but to serve and coordinate.

 In Sweden today, the Charismatic Renewal consists of parish-based prayer groups, international communities and contact persons in various places where there are no prayer groups yet.

 Another way of working is more focused on Catholics within the parishes, where retreats are given on a traditional Catholic basis with invited charismatic priests. A lay group with roots in India has supported bringing in e.g. Dominic Valanamanal from India, he has held retreats in the Catholic Cathedral and in Visby, among other places, and more retreats are planned. A retreat is planned in Järfälla in June with the Indian priest F James Manjackal from the Francis de Sales Missionary Society."  Read more: http://karismatiskfornyelse.se

 

Invitation to an online meeting with all charismatic groups and contact persons in the Nordic countries on 13 August at 19:00.

All groups that define themselves as charismatic (Catholic Charismatic Renewal) are invited to a digital meeting on Zoom where we will form CHARIS Nordic and appoint a coordinator. Even if you do not have a prayer group in your area yet, but act as a contact person and want to take responsibility for promoting the renewal, you are welcome to sign up. For more information, see the section on CHARIS earlier in this letter. You register your group or yourself as a contact person on CHARIS Nordic's interim website [link here]. After that, you will receive the link to join the meeting well in advance of the meeting.

 

 

CHARIS needs your support.

CHARIS depends on your support to spread the baptism of the Holy Spirit throughout the Church, to promote the unity of the body of Christ and to serve the poor. [Link to how to donate here]

The statutes of CHARIS state that "CHARIS is maintained through voluntary donations and financial contributions from the various realities and individuals involved in the Catholic Charismatic renewal throughout the world. Other possible sources of support are surpluses from events, conferences, courses, books and multimedia material, etc."

Feel free to consider making a donation, or why not become a monthly donor. You also support CHARIS by buying books or taking part in the great course and conference offerings that are available digitally, e.g. [CHARIS Formation Program], a high-quality course of two semesters that we encourage all leaders and contact persons within the Charismatic Renewal to complete, or to take part in the entire fine [conference CALLED, TRANSFOMED, LATE] held in the Vatican in the autumn of 2023 with f Raniero Cantalamessa and many well-known international speakers as well as an audience with Pope Francis.

 

I wish everyone a blessed summer!
/Bengt Malmgren

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