Charismatic Renewal Leaders Convene

1,000 from Around the World Meet to Reflect on Holiness

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 22, 2003 ( Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Papal Household preacher, is giving a spiritual retreat on holiness to a thousand leaders of Catholic Charismatic Renewal from 72 countries.

The retreat started last Saturday and runs until Thursday at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome. The retreat, in the Mariapolis Center, was preceded by two days of reflection on the present state of Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the challenges it faces.

Charismatic Renewal arose in the U.S. university world in 1967. The movement spread rapidly around the world, reflected in the rediscovery of the faith and the action of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. Recognized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the movement has 120 million Catholic followers.

Over a 12-day period, participants will attend meetings and go on pilgrimages around Italy. Cardinal James Stafford and Bishop Stanislaw Rylko, president and secretary, respectively, of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, are among those joining in the meetings.

Also expected to attend are guests of other Church entities, such as Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, and Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio. Members of Christian denominations are also expected.

Commenting on the challenges facing Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Oreste Pesare, director of the Vatican-based International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office (, said that «ecclesial maturity does not necessarily mean institutionalization.»

«Speaking of ecclesial maturity, John Paul II said that he wants the laity and, therefore, among them Charismatic Renewal, to give fruits of unity and commitment. He does not mention structures at all,» he added.

«Structure, institutionalization, should be a necessary fruit of the a movement’s growth, of course, but it must not be harmful to the movement’s principal call or, as in our case, to a current of grace,» he said.

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