Monday, September 30, 2013
Jonathan Martinez - Florida Catholic
DANIA BEACH | "I came here broken, and now I'm healed," Marilyn Zenny exclaimed after attending the recent Catholic Charismatic Conference in Dania Beach.
Zenny, from St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Pembroke Pines, gathered with more than 400 others to celebrate and reinvigorate their faith at the event, held Sept. 20-22 at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel.
How was she healed? "The Lord just took me and said, 'Why are you worrying about your past? Those memories are gone; you're here with me now,'" Zenny said, recalling how her life was impacted during the weekend.
At the core of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is the "grace of Pentecost," also known as baptism in the Holy Spirit. And it includes several kinds of healing, said Mary Horvath, co-director of the archdiocesan Catholic Charismatic Office: spiritual, physical, mental.
"What they take from this service is reaffirming that Jesus is their Lord and Savior," Horvath said. "They then take that to their families, to their friends, to the world, to evangelize, to tell people who Jesus is."
She and husband Jim Horvath, the other co-director, used Luke 4:18 -- "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me" -- as the theme of this year's conference. The verse has also been the inspiration for the Horvaths in running the conferences since 1979.
"The Lord does it; the Lord releases his Spirit within the people," Jim Horvath said. "Through these seminars, the people are empowered with God's Spirit, through this baptism of the Holy Spirit."
This baptism of the spirit is also what many of those at the event said inspired them to attend. Many traveled great distances to be part of the celebration.
"I come every year because there is life here, there is hope and there is joy in Jesus," said Valli Leone, who drove from Key Largo. "I want to be with my family, the body of Christ, people who love the Lord, people who are committed to Jesus Christ."
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal began partly because of a retreat in 1967 attended by a group from Duquesne University. That spark of spiritual baptism spread quickly, first to other universities, then worldwide. To date, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal has touched 238 countries and more than 100 million Catholics.
At the Archdiocese of Miami, the Catholic Charismatic Conference has been held for 32 years. The three-day event consists of praise and worship, talks, liturgy and the healing service.
Clarence Nichols, a parishioner from St Bartholomew Parish in Miramar, was visiting the conference for the 14th time. For him, the healing service has become "a needed tradition."
"I get a renewed spirit; I get to see friends I don't see for a year," said Nichols. "I get to be with Jesus and feel his touch around me and his love. I get refreshed."
A music-filled Mass, with Archbishop Thomas Wenski as the main celebrant, capped the annual conference.
The door to a person's soul passes through the heart, and Pope Francis is reminding us to use that door as we tell others the good news about Jesus Christ, Archbishop Wenski said in his homily. "Evangelization means inviting people to know Jesus, to become his friend, to walk with him.
"Our Christian faith has never been about a bunch of 'noes'; it is fundamentally about a 'yes', a 'yes' to Jesus Christ," the archbishop added. "The 'noes' only make sense in the context of that fundamental 'yes.'"
The Mass ended with the faithful joining in song and dance while playing instruments and praising Jesus with hymns of worship. Several said they felt "rejuvenated" and looked forward to next year's conference.
For Zenny, it can't come soon enough.
"I am on fire and I just thank everyone for this beautiful event," she said. "We need more of these events."
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