July 3rd, 2007

Skellig Michael Stairway

Theological Notebook: CNS Article on the 40th Anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal

I find that I'm rather surprised to find myself doing a dissertation that is significantly concerned with the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. Sullivan's theological work extended in this direction, to my initial surprise, whereas I had originally been attracted to books of his like Magisterium: Teaching Authority in the Catholic Church, and other such topics more concerned with doctrine, instruction, and questions of truth. But in discovering Sullivan's academic work regarding the Charismatic Renewal, his own involvement in the Renewal from the early 1970s onward, and then his own behind-the-scenes, critical role in the Second Vatican Council's articulation of "the charisms of the faithful" in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, I found myself increasingly drawn into the project from a charismatic angle. Now it is Charisms and Charismatic Renewal that is increasingly his most significant text for my dissertation.

I'm so used to – or more comfortable with? – formal, academic theology that I've also tended to forget, or even to downplay, the role that the charismatic movement had in my own "conversion from apathy," years ago. It was in a charismatic context that I was challenged to take my faith seriously and to actuate what I had been hearing in my Catholic Church as I grew up. Sullivan hoped and I guess still hopes that this is what the Charismatic Renewal had to offer to the Catholic Church: a way to evangelize its own members with the vibrancy of Christian faith in an explicit openness to the experience of the Spirit of God. So this article caught my eye....

Arms and spirits high, charismatic Catholics mark 40 years of praise
By Patricia Zapor
Catholic News Service

SECAUCUS, N.J. (CNS) -- For most organizations, 40 wouldn't be a big anniversary calling for special celebrations. In the Catholic charismatic renewal, however, 40 is taking on biblical importance.

As Bishop Sam G. Jacobs of Houma-Thibodaux, La., pointed out in a keynote address at a June 22-24 Conference of the Charismatic Renewal, the number 40 appears in the Bible nearly 200 times. For 40 years the Israelites wandered in search of the Promised Land; for 40 days Jesus prayed in the desert; Pentecost came 40 days after Jesus' resurrection, he said.

Bishop Jacobs was among several speakers over the weekend who raised the possibility that God might have a similarly dramatic action in mind to mark 40 years of the Catholic charismatic renewal.

"We have a great challenge before us," he said. "These past 40 years have been a time of cleansing and a time of new beginning; a time of preparation and a time of waiting upon the Lord ... a time of renewal and of stirring up frequently of the gifts given to us when hands were laid upon us and the Spirit invoked."

At one of many conferences around the world this year marking the anniversary, about 5,000 people from across the U.S. and Canada gathered at the Meadowlands Exhibition Center to share what they prayed would be a continuing experience of Pentecost for themselves and others: asking to be on fire with the Holy Spirit.

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Saints and Spiritual Masters

Theological Notebook: Incluturation-Mass and Conference for Kateri Tekakwitha


  Catholic News Service PHOTO
 
NATIVE RITUAL
NATIVE RITUAL

Mohawk Marvin Phillips holds up a smudging bowl and feather during an American Indian ritual at the Tekakwitha Conference Mass in Washington June 30. More than 700 Catholics of Indian ancestry attended the liturgy at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

 
This CNS story caught my eye exactly for the "inculturation" issues that are brought up right in the beginning. One tends to hear a certain amount about Archbishop Chaput of Denver as being "conservative," but this is the first time I'd heard that he was an American Indian, or that he was the first Native American archbishop in history. The incorporation of Native American ritual into the Mass in the way described here was really interesting and compelling, I thought, and likely not to be the sort of thing a mere "conservative" would be into, thus reminding me once again how little attention I should pay to people tossing around such labels. I know I reprinted an essay of Chaput's somewhere in the journal regarding the sexual abuse crisis and the way it was playing out in American law that I found rather compelling. This article continues to peak my curiosity about him.

Tekakwitha attendees urged to follow in footsteps of Blessed Kateri
By Jacob Buckenmeyer
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver urged those gathered at the Tekakwitha Conference Mass June 30 in Washington to follow in the footsteps of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and follow Jesus Christ as she did.

"In many Catholic circles today, we speak a great deal about inculturation in the church: the place where the good news of Jesus and our cultures meet," said the archbishop in his homily. "The only true, authentic inculturators are not theologians, or bishops, but the saints."

More than 700 American Indian Catholics gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the Mass and the closing of the 68th annual Tekakwitha Conference, held in the Baltimore Archdiocese.

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, for whom the conference is named, was a member of the Mohawk tribe. She was born to a Christian Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father in 1656 in upstate New York along the Hudson River, and was baptized by a Jesuit missionary in 1676 when she was 20.

She was devoted to prayer and cared for the sick. She died in 1680 at the age of 24. In June 1980, she became the first Native American to beatified.

The Mass included traditional American Indian music with drums and chants. The penitential rite was accompanied by a smudging ceremony where clippings of sage, cedar, sweetgrass and tobacco were burned for purification and healing.

Along with bread and wine, the presentation of the gifts included corn, beans and squash, which are traditional American Indian foods.

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