Put God in the driver’s seat, speaker says at charismatic conference

COLUMBIA—People of faith can accomplish great things if they are willing to put God at the very center of their lives.

Father Joseph Romanoski issued that challenge to participants at the annual South Carolina Catholic Charismatic Conference Oct. 25-27 at Our Lady of the Hills Church in Columbia.

Father Romanoski, administrator at Blessed Sacrament Church in Charleston, spoke Oct. 26 about how the Holy Spirit can help people use their talents to spread the Gospel. That only happens, he said, when someone commits to completely turn their life over to God.

“The key is to think about where God is relative to our lives,” he said. “We can use the metaphor of a car. Is God in the trunk, in the back seat, is He a passenger? There’s a popular saying that ‘God is my co-pilot,’ but He should really be in the driver’s seat.”

Father Romanoski described how hectic lives prevent people from turning everything over to God because personal desires become more important. Fasting, acts of charity, penance and prayer can help put the focus back on what matters, he said.

“Prayer is much more than reciting words,” he said. “It’s having a conversation with God and listening to God. We need to allow Him to speak with us instead of trying to talk over Him. We also need to be open to Scripture, to allowing it to resonate inside of us.”

When someone surrenders completely, they allow God room to reveal the special gifts that are every person’s inheritance, the priest said. These gifts come forth through the Holy Spirit and can include everything from a talent for languages to a knack for listening to others. Some people are guided to lead prayer groups, share their knowledge of the Gospel through teaching or show their faith through acts of Christian hospitality.

He encouraged anyone who doesn’t understand the Holy Spirit to begin by reading the account of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles.

“Pray constantly and fervently that you will always use the gifts given to you,” he urged. “You may be the only Gospel someone ever gets to hear. Be open to proclaiming it!”

About 150 people spent the weekend attending Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praise and worship sessions and healing services. Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated the opening Mass on Oct. 25. The conference is sponsored by South Carolina Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services.

For more photos, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6UdpkYEWoI

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