Charismatic Conference: Meditate on the life of Jesus

COLUMBIA—Participants at the annual South Carolina Catholic Charismatic Conference learned that people can overcome crises and difficulties and be transformed by meditating on the life of Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit into their lives.
The event was held Oct. 21-23 at Our Lady of the Hills Church in Columbia. The theme was “More of You Lord in My Life.” About 200 people from the diocese plus Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Vermont attended.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated Mass with four priests on the opening night, and the rest of the weekend included group prayer, music, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and opportunities to receive the sacrament of reconciliation and pray the rosary. Father Dan Papineau, parochial vicar at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville, celebrated Mass on Oct. 22.
The keynote speaker was Patti Gallagher Mansfield, an author and teacher who serves in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans with her husband, Al. She speaks at conferences and retreats around the world.
She talked about her experience as a student in 1967 at the “Duquesne Weekend,” a retreat at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University that marked the beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. A cradle Catholic, she said she had never experienced the love and power of the Holy Spirit until that weekend.
“I realized I had never fully surrendered my life to Christ,” she said. “I could never have dreamed that this little group of 25 students in a little retreat house in the hills of Pittsburgh would have such an impact on the ecclesial history of the church.”
Since 1967, an estimated 120 million Catholics in 200 countries have participated in the Charismatic Renewal.
Mansfield said Blessed John Paul II’s 2001 apostolic letter, “Novo Millennio Ineunte,” offers a guide for living a holy life because it urges the faithful to “contemplate the face of God” and center their lives on Christ.
“To contemplate is to look with love,” she said. “We can contemplate the face of Jesus, the face of the Son, the face of the man of sorrows, and the face of the one who is risen.”
Catholics can become closer to Christ by focusing on how he humbled himself to be born as a human child in a stable, she continued.
“Jesus became like us in every way except sin,” she said. “Let this Christmas be fresh for you … use it as a time to look at the baby in the manger in his humbleness and say how grateful you are that he humbled himself for you.”
People can learn how to better deal with suffering by contemplating the suffering of Jesus, and find joy in contemplating His resurrection through the Eucharist, Mansfield said.
True holiness comes only when we surrender our selfishness and allow Jesus to take over, she added.
“The call of the Gospel is for us to vacate the throne in our lives and to allow Jesus to take it up, for Him to be the master, the lord and king, while we put ourselves at His feet,” she said.
Participants said the weekend gave them a chance to focus on the Holy Spirit and learn how to be better Catholics.
Rosaleen Bartsch, a member of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Spartanburg, has attended charismatic events for 35 years.
“I loved it from the start because of the love and support and the prayer that lifted your spirit so much,” Barsch said. “I also had a hunger for the Scriptures because the movement puts that foremost.”