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Charismatic conference offers healing, celebration

More than 400 attended annual event

More than 400 people attended the recent archdiocesan Charismatic Conference in Dania Beach.

Photographer: Jonathan Martinez | FC

More than 400 people attended the recent archdiocesan Charismatic Conference in Dania Beach.


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."

Two-year-year-old Liah Aurelien of St Bartholomew and Valli Leone of Key Largo were among hundreds that participated in the 32nd annual Catholic Charismatic Conference.

Photographer: Jonathan Martinez | FC

Two-year-year-old Liah Aurelien of St Bartholomew and Valli Leone of Key Largo were among hundreds that participated in the 32nd annual Catholic Charismatic Conference.

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."

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami was the main celebrant at the recent Catholic Charismatic Conference in Dania Beach.

Photographer: Jonathan Martinez | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami was the main celebrant at the recent Catholic Charismatic Conference in Dania Beach.

"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."

For more information, visit www.miamiccr.com.

Comments from readers

Josephine Gallina - 10/08/2013 05:17 PM
Praise and thankfulness for everyone who shared a piece of their heart,soul and faith with everyone on this beautiful Retreat weekend. Everyone was on fire with the Holy Spirit. I was so thankful to be part of such a beautiful Retreat where we all came together as one to dance,sing, praise and worship Our Lord. "I came to you that I may be filled up again." Indeed I was for Jesus is the deepest desire of my heart. TGBTG !!! Thankful to a special friend Kim for reaching out and extending the invitation to me. God's Blessings to all.
Valli Leone - 10/08/2013 03:37 PM
Thanks so much to our Lord, our Bishop and our Coordinators, Jim and Mary Horvath, for stepping out in faith through the years to provide Conferences like this one, which equip and empower the children of God for the New Evangelization. As instruments of God's love and mercy, we are better fortified to go into the whole world as helpers of the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who fills us with the love, joy, peace and power to DO whatever Jesus tells us. Alleluia! Looking forward to the next one.
Susan Cordell - 10/03/2013 12:45 AM
A wonderful article! We all need to be on fire for the Lord, and to have a personal relationship with Him! The Conference was very good! It strengthened me spiritually to continue my walk with the Lord in serving Him! God bless all of you!

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