On Sunday 5 June, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) celebrated the Feast of Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church. It was an inspiring and faith-filled experience with many attending from across Sydney and beyond.
Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes, has for many years been the home for this annual celebration until COVID sent us into a two-year break.
Prior to the start of the celebration, volunteers from Prayer Groups and Communities, greeters, readers, and others gathered in prayer that the Holy Spirit would fall afresh on each and every person present.
The Church was alive with expectation as the gathering commenced with a time of Prayer and Praise led by the “United in Love Group Ministry”. At the commencement of Mass, the celebrants were introduced by Anne Marie Gattenby, chairperson of the NSW Catholic Charismatic Renewal: Fr Brian Steele MGL, the Sydney CCR Chaplain, Fr Hugh Thomas CssR and Fr Clifford D’Souza, representing the OLQP parish community.
Fr Brian, the main celebrant, recalled in the Penitential Rite how Jesus addressed those who had doubts and were unbelievers, as he did with Thomas, the Apostle saying, “Doubt no longer but believe.” This word of encouragement permeated the Eucharistic Celebration. He also noted the Gospel reference to be John 20:22 – this very year!
He reminded us of how Jesus is calling us “to receive the Holy Spirit” and how in Scripture we read of “breath” and “ruah” (Hebrew), while in Genesis 1:2 the “breath” and “wind” of God hovering and breathing over the chaos of darkness, speaks light…. and light comes. God speaks light and breath into the chaos and the darkness in people’s lives.
In Genesis 2:7, God breathed into man’s nostrils and man became a living being. Is God breathing into your nostrils, speaking life into you so that you become alive and full of life in the Spirit, asked Fr Brian. Again, In Ezekiel. 37:5-14, God breathes life into dry bones bringing them to life. Is He doing the same with our dry bones? Then, finally, in John 20:19-23 Jesus invites his disciples to receive the Holy Spirit as he breathes on them…. “Doubt no longer but believe!”
At the conclusion of Mass, Fr Brian carried the Blessed Sacrament through the Church blessing each and all present.
Jesus was surely “breathing” upon them, ministering in a powerfully anointed and personal way, his healing and renewing love that each may no longer doubt, but believe. This was followed by Prayer Ministry and the day concluded with Benediction.
Sr Margaret Scully and Neville Fernandes are part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal community.