For the Vigil of Pentecost, next Saturday, May 30, 2020, CHARIS (Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service) is organizing an ecumenical prayer, which will gather Christians worldwide on the social networks to pray to the Holy Spirit. Jean-Luc Moens, CHARIS’ Moderator, presents the event to Zenit’s readers. “In Italian, we will be on TV2000 streaming, in Arabic on TV Noursat, in Portuguese on channel Cancao Nova, etc.,” he says.
Married, father of a family, Jean-Luc Moens is Belgian. A mathematician by formation, he has worked for 30 years at the service of evangelization in the Emmanuel Community. He was appointed moderator of CHARIS at Pentecost 2019.
The Vigil was prepared by five evenings of prayer and teaching that can be found on YouTube, that of May 25 is found here. It gathered some 5,000 French-speaking people of four Continents with Father Etienne Veto, member of the Chemin Neuf Community and of CHARIS International, and Corinne Lafitte, Evangelical laywoman exercising an international ministry of praise.
–Q: Why hold an event for Pentecost`?
–Moens: The Catholic Charismatic Renewal has the custom of meeting in all the countries of the world at the moment of Pentecost, to pray to the Holy Spirit and to listen to Him. Pentecost is the feast par excellence of the Holy Spirit. It is the feast where we see how the Holy Spirit transformed the Apostles, shut in the Cenacle, into intrepid missionaries who would go all the way to giving their lives for Christ. Pentecost is also the feast of the Church’s birth. It is thanks to the grace of the Holy Spirit’s action that the Good News began to be proclaimed, that new believers gathered and the primitive Church was formed.
Some have compared the experience of “Baptism in the Spirit”* to a personal Pentecost. This irruption of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life, transforms him profoundly, to become a true disciple. It is why Pentecost has always been a privileged moment for members of Charismatic Renewal.
–Q: Why have an event diffused on the social networks?
–Moens: Because we can’t gather together physically! Today we are in a period of crisis without precedent because of the virus, which has confined a great part of the world’s population at home, which has harmed the economy of many countries, which has closed churches, which has terrible consequences for the poor and the most destitute, and which hinders us from coming together physically in a great number to pray in our dioceses or our countries. Therefore, we won’t be able to get together as usual in large numbers in our churches. However, we can still be even more numerous thanks to the social media, as we have seen since the start of the pandemic, through numerous prayer initiatives, including ecumenical prayer throughout the world.
–Q: Are you going to pray for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic?
–Moens: We have prayed for that already for a long time. The objective of our Pentecost Vigil is to praise the Lord and to ask Him for this new Pentecost, this new effusion of the Spirit on the Church and on the world, of which our Pope has often spoken about and for which he prays. We are in need more than ever of a new Pentecost for our world. In this moment, when we see well that many things are going to change after the crisis we are going through, it is imperative to ask for the Holy Spirit, to pray to Him to guide us, to guide our leaders so that we can build together a civilization of love, respectful of nature, in peace and in respect of the dignity of all, in particular, of the poorest.
–Q: In what language will the Vigil unfold?
–Moens: In a great number of languages! There will be the official languages of CHARIS, English, Italian, French, Portuguese and Spanish, but also Tagalog. Soussou, Swahili, Arabic, Russian, and others. Moreover, the event will be broadcast on different YouTube channels with translations in English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Spanish, Hungarian . . . All the details are on our site www.charis,ingernational.
–Q: In what does CHARIS consist?
–Moens: CHARIS (Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service) is the new service that Pope Francis wished to put in place for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the Church. The Pope considers the Renewal, which is characterized by the experience of an effusion of the Holy Spirit, as a “current of grace of the Holy Spirit” for the whole Church. And he has asked many times to share this grace of “Baptism in the Spirit,” to work for Christian unity and to promote the service of the poor. CHARIS was born officially at Pentecost 2019 in the course of a gathering at Rome in the presence of the Pope.
*Or “effusion of the Holy Spirit.”