Feature News

'It's a joy to praise God'

More than 600 gather for 27th annual Catholic charismatic conference for Hispanics

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Blanca Morales - Florida Catholic

Brayden Franks shows off his first prayer book, which he bought at the conference, where vendors of Catholic material sold books, rosaries and other religious goods.

A participant at the Hispanic charismatic conference visits the Blessed Sacrament during a break in the program.
MIAMI - Forty-four years ago, a group of college students at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Penn., experienced a powerful and transforming renewal in their spirituality. They likened this experience to Pentecost, for like the apostles, they received the Holy Spirit in an exceptional way.

They called this experience the Charismatic Renewal in reference to the charismata, or spiritual gifts, made evident in their prayer and worship.

In the decades following the 1967 Duquesne retreat, the Charismatic Renewal spread from campus to campus, then from parish to parish within the country. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is now present in 238 countries.

Prayer team member Yolanda Rojas prays for a participant at the conference.
It is roughly estimated that 100 million Catholics worldwide have had a charismatic experience through the Renewal. There is no official tally as to the numbers of individuals and groups that grow continually through covenant communities, small faith-sharing groups, parish groups, retreats and conferences.

In Miami, the Hispanic Charismatic Renewal hosted its 27th conference on June 4-5 at the James L. Knight Center. The conference consisted of a healing service, Eucharistic procession, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and Mass.

The conference drew about 600 people, who came to hear talks by Father Yader Centeno, Father Pablo A. Hernandez, Father Guillermo Campuzano, and Deacon Manny Canovaca, who is the spiritual director of the Hispanic Charismatic Renewal in Miami.

The Renewal here is divided into eight geographic zones in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and charismatic parish groups are divided into these zones.

Virginia Nunez, of St Edward Parish in Pembroke Pines, said she has not missed a single conference since 1984. “There’s nothing like it,” she said.

Virginia Nunez of St. Edward Parish in Pembroke Pines shakes a maraca to the beat of the music.
At the heart of charismatic spirituality is the “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” also referred to as the “grace of Pentecost.” Baptism in the Holy Spirit refers to Christian initiation (conversion) as well as the reawakening or renewal of Christian experience.

Baptism in the Spirit makes Christ known and loved, establishing a deeper relationship with all three persons of the Trinity and giving the Christian a conscious awareness of God’s power and presence.

“I like how you feel when you come here,” said conference participant Cary Franks, who came for the first time last year. “I like the spirituality. It makes me feel closer to God.”

“The Holy Spirit is what moves the Church,” said Celia Casanueva of Santa Barbara Parish in Hialeah, who has also been coming to the conferences since they started. “It’s great, because it’s a joy to praise God.”

A row of banners represents each of the different Hispanic charismatic groups within the Archdiocese of Miami.

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