Baptism in the Holy Spirit

at the Heart of the Church!

Patti Mansfield speaks with Doug Keck about 
The Beginning of Charismatic Renewal
Exploring the Roots of Charismatic Renewal

1967-2017 Fifty Years of the 
Catholic Charismatic Renewal with Ralph Martin
History of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal
The modern Catholic Charismatic Renewal as it exists today is the outgrowth of a retreat held in February 1967 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Many of the faculty and students present experienced a movement of God’s Spirit called being “baptized in the Holy Spirit.”
Interestingly, on Saturday of the retreat, the plumbing in the house (called “The Ark and the Dove”) stopped working and participants decided to end the gathering, but not before celebrating the birthdays of several of the attendees. During this celebration, people began to feel drawn to the campus chapel. As they entered, one by one they walked into a profound atmosphere they described as “God’s glory,” where their bodies trembled, some cried, some were filled with an inexpressible joy manifested by laughing, and all fell to their knees praying in surrender to God’s will. They found themselves prostrate on the floor, with their shoes off. Then…the water again began running to the retreat house!
This dramatic movement of the Holy Spirit called the participants into a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, as they experienced God’s love in a profound, personal way. This “fire” quickly spread to graduate students and professors at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and others serving in campus ministry in Lansing, Michigan. It continued to spread so that, as of this date, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal exists in over 238 countries in the world, having touched over 120 million Catholics in its 50-year existence. The movement, recognized by the Church, has been affirmed by Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict, and Francis.
In addition to calling one to a deep relationship with Jesus Christ, another hallmark of the Catholic Charismatic movement is the manifestation of the charisms or gifts of the Holy Spirit, including praying in tongues, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and healing. These are signs that follow the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” (experienced at Duquesne; also see I Cor 12:14). This non-sacramental “baptism” is seen as releasing the gifts which were given during sacramental baptism. 
Many identify the baptism in the Spirit with John the Baptist’s reference to Jesus, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16). To foster this experience, those from the original retreat compiled a seven-week teaching and prayer series called “Life in the Spirit Seminar”, which continues this day throughout the world. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish held this seminar in 2016.
As the Holy Spirit is encountered in this “baptism,” one discovers a deeper prayer life, greater appreciation of the Mass and of the sacraments of the church, devotion to the Blessed Mother (who was with the Apostles at Pentecost), a call to evangelism, and scripture reading becomes more alive in their lives. For more information, see the diocesan article: 
by Rev. Francis J. Karwacki, Liaison for the Charismatic Renewal for the Diocese of Harrisburg. Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Mount Carmel.
Quotes About the Catholic Charismatic Renewal
“I am convinced that this (Charismatic) movement is a very important component of the entire renewal of the Church… This was my own spiritual initiation, so I can understand all these charisms. They are all part of the richness of the Lord. I am convinced that this movement is a sign of his action.” Pope (now Saint) John Paul II
“You, Charismatic Renewal, have received a great grace from the Lord. You were born of the will of the Spirit as a current of grace IN the Church and FOR the Church. This is your definition: a current of grace.” Pope Francis
“The Holy Spirit can make people uncomfortable. Newness always makes us fearful.” Pope Francis

Additional Comments by Fr. Frank...

Baptism in the Spirit in the Church today?

    The gift of Baptism in the Spirit and its transformation of many lives since the emergence of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 1967 are reason for great joy and thanksgiving to God it states in a new document entitled "Baptism in the Holy Spirit" soon to be published by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service in Rome.

     This Outpouring of the Spirit (the term preferred by French-speaking countries) is at the heart of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. 


What are some of the key assertions of the document?

     One can see in these developments part of the heavenly answer to the prayer that Pope John XXIII asked all Catholics to pray during the Second Vatican Council, Lord, renew your wonders in this our day as by a new Pentecost. (p 75)

     Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an encounter with the living God, a life-transforming experience of the love of God the Father poured into one’s heart by the Holy Spirit, received through a total surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ (p 9), a correction to the breakdown of an awareness of God’s presence that is leading humanity to lose our bearings, the breakdown of the family and the assaults on human dignity that John Paul II described as the culture of death. (p 7)

     Baptism in the Holy Spirit experienced on the personal level within the context of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our day is rooted in God’s promises to His people to pour out my Spirit (Ez 39:29) and in Jesus’ mission to baptize you with the Holy Spirit. (Mk 1:7-8)

     The coming of the Holy Spirit not something imperceptible but a visible, unmistakable response. (p 28)

     In the post-biblical Patristic era experience of the Holy Spirit was regarded as integral to the sacraments of initiation. (p 38)

     The experience of the Spirit is not a vague religious experience or a spiritual high. It is an experience of the reality of the gospel. (p 32)

     The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and in the sacraments of initiation and the renewing or releasing of the Spirit already given is accompanied by charisms given for service and mission. They are not in themselves a measure of holiness (p 33) but the exercising of a charism must itself be an act of love. (p 34)

     Several [Patristic] Fathers speak of the charisms as a normal accompaniment to the rite of Christian initiation. (p 40)

     To be baptized in the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the love that eternally flows between Father and Son in the Holy Trinity, a love that changes a person at the deepest level of his or her being and makes one capable of loving God in return. (p 48)

     From its nature as a yielding to the Spirit of God, baptism in the Spirit cannot be made dependent on a particular sign of its reception. (p 49)

     The purpose of the document, as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal moves toward our 50th Jubilee, is to offer both theological reflections on the meaning of Baptism in the Spirit and pastoral guidelines for overseeing the reception and living out of this grace among the faithful, both as individuals and in groups.

(p 7)

     As the conclusion points out, Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI have called and prayed for a new Pentecost for the Church and for humanity in the third millenium.  (p 75)


What is the key to this new Pentecost? 

    Today I would like to extend this invitation to everyone. Let us rediscover dear brothers and sisters, the beauty of being baptized in the Holy Spirit; let us be aware again of our baptism and our confirmation, sources of grace that are always present. Let us ask the Virgin Mary to obtain a renewed Pentecost for the Church again today, a Pentecost that will spread in everyone the joy of living and witnessing to the Gospel. (Pope Benedict XVI Regina Caeli, May 2008) (p 4).

     Come Holy Spirit and kindle in us the fire of your love and power. Lord Jesus, baptize us anew in the Holy Spirit so that we might be empowered witnesses of the New Evangelization in our day.