By Zulema Moret | Photography by Eric Tank
In his Apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis invites us to a movement of ‘going out’, a movement that God had made explicit in his call to Abraham to go out to the new land (Gn 12,1-3), and to the prophet Jeremiah who told him “Wherever I send you, you will go” (Jr 1,7). This exhortation becomes present in Jesus and is present in the challenges of the evangelizing mission of the Church. Thus, we are all called to this new missionary “exit” (EG, 19). This outgoing Church, this missionary Church, is made up of the community of missionary disciples who, in the words of Pope Francis, ‘first’, are involved, accompany, bear fruit and celebrate.
A COMMUNITY IN ‘EXIT’
As true apostles of Christ, the communities are organized, and it is a process of formation in the faith, in the hope that leads each person to embrace Christ fully. Among the objectives or missions that the apostolic groups cover, we can include: remember and expand the message of Jesus, promote the knowledge of this message, educate in the Holy Scriptures, accompany people and families in their spiritual search, to be closer to your faith.
This experience of Jesus in the life of each believer will result in a training to live in community, in an active presence in society, witnessing the work and the word of Jesus, with his own life. In this way the believer is formed to live according to the Gospel, with all the challenges that this entails, in ‘being a Church’ and living in community, in participating in a committed way of the mission of the Church and of committing oneself to Christ, and to his active missionary action and transformed into the community to which he belongs.
The apostolic groups prefigure those communities ‘in exit’ and in movement, which approach the peripheries and echo the demands of the people, their needs, exercising personal prayer, returning to the Scriptures with updated re-readings and getting involved in the wealth of multicultural communities.
A RENEWAL IN THE ‘SPIRIT’ AND FROM THE ‘SPIRIT’
In our Catholic community of Grand Rapids, it draws attention, attracts and summons the intense and permanent action of the Charismatic Renewal groups for their multiple ministries and their ‘exit’ to the communities, carrying the joy of the Gospel, revitalizing their Word in praises, preaching, prayers and fruitful ministries. We have had the opportunity to talk with some of their leaders, to share their testimonies of faith and their goals as servants of the Kingdom.
CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE CHARISMATIC RENEWAL TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OF GRAND RAPIDS
Arturo Cervantes, regional representative of seven states, explains that among the contributions of the Charismatic Renewal we can recognize “that of being instruments of evangelization attracting many people to a personal encounter with Jesus, so that they in turn open themselves to the action of the Holy Spirit, recognizing his baptismal call, to be authentic missionary disciples, using the charisms that the same Spirit gives them to serve in their parishes, communities being aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and responding to the universal call to holiness ” .
It is interesting to recognize how the renewal is shown as a Church that goes out to the peripheries, responding in action, as Pope Francis says in his exhortation. Antonio Temaj, coordinator of the diocesan “Timón Committee” tells us that “it is one of the functions of groups (cells) and their coordinators, to go in search of the needy, listen to them, and recognize their needs, to see what we can do to help”.
On the other hand, Pope Francis insists on his exhortation to expand our ecumenical vision, recognize a multicultural Church, a global community, fostering interreligious dialogue. Faced with that call, Antonio Temaj, explains that “we are open to other denominations, we have been administering the praise and we have shared several meetings with them”. In relation to this topic, we listen carefully to the testimony of Nallely Díaz, servant of the prayer circle “Siempre en Pentecostés”, who explains that “in the Parish of San Francisco Xavier and the Virgin of Guadalupe we have shared with the Pentecostal Church the Rite of the ashes during Easter visiting our respective parishes. On one occasion we visited their parish and they also visited ours”.
Arturo Cervantes comments: “The pastor and his community attended, visited our parish with some of its members, and we have promoted the exchange of communication and socialization. What the Charismatic Renewal teaches us is that we open ourselves to all who invoke the Lord and look for those brothers who have left the Church”.
SOME ‘SERVERS’ IN ACTION, IN PERMANENT COMMITMENT AND SERVICE
The Charismatic Renewal is characterized by the process of formation in relation to the commitment to the call of Jesus. Antonio Temaj says: “They are given a formation and they are made aware of the commitment of each one to Jesus, and we all understand that it is not enough to be leaders, because there is a lot to do”. Arturo Cervantes adds: “Every leader has a kerygma and experience it in an initiation retreat called Retreat of Life in the Spirit, in a sequence of growths from 1 to 6. After this course of growth, he can be called, if he wants to, to serve and be a servant. Gradually, they are given different training to learn and grow in leadership. In response to the question about the role of women in the Renewal and its organization, Nallely gives her testimony: “In the example of our Mother Mary in dedication and service, women can serve in all ministries, such as the imposition of hands, preaching, intercession, singing and music, teaching, etc.”
THE PRESENCE OF JESUS IN OUR LIVES…
From this personal encounter with Jesus, which has marked their lives and strengthened their vocations, Arturo Cervantes invites readers to “give themselves the opportunity to experience the kerygmatic or initiation retreat, so they can experience the presence of Jesus in their lives “, Antonio Temaj, for his part, urges them to” open themselves to our Lord Jesus to hear the voice of God in their lives “and reminds them that for this” it is important to have good availability. ” To conclude, Nayelli Díaz invites the entire Hispanic community to “come to one of the prayer groups in the different parishes where they meet to have a more intimate relationship with Our Lord, learn through his Word and prayer and experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. “