November 9, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Evangelization, the art of helping people to encounter the person of Jesus Christ, is a basic duty of the people of God, says an international leader of the Charismatic Renewal.

"We evangelize because Jesus told us to. We evangelize because the Church says it is our duty," Michelle Moran, president of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, told participants at a recent conference. "We evangelize because the world needs Jesus Christ."

Moran, who led New Evangelization conferences in Calgary and Edmonton, said more and more the Church is beginning to resemble a state-of-the-art swimming pool with just a few swimmers. "So we are faced with a challenge."

Quoting from Pope Paul VI's Evangelization in the Modern World, she said the Church exists to evangelize. "If we believe that, we certainly got a problem because our Church so often rather than being a people of God on the move is like a sleeping giant."

Some 200 people attended the Oct. 24-25 conference at Mary Help of Christians Chinese Church. There was praise and worship throughout both days. Catholic Renewal Services of Edmonton organized the event.

Moran said if the Lord were to return today he would ask for an account of how we live his Gospel.

"So we have a responsibility. We can't seat along with our brothers and sisters every Sunday and say, 'Oh, we didn't know there was more to this Gospel.'"

Charismatic Catholics can't use such excuses because they have already been touched by the Lord.

"We are privileged people, we are blessed people. We can sing the praises of God and so we have the duty and the responsibility to play our part as missionary disciples helping this sleeping giant of the Church to arise."

In her presentation, Moran, who lives in England and works at the Charismatic Renewal Office in Rome, told stories of biblical characters whose lives were transformed by meeting Jesus. She said charismatic Catholics are like those characters and should do more to help others meet the Lord.

FOLLOW THE LORD

"(Like the fishermen on the shores of Lake Galilee) we said 'yes' to following Jesus," she said. "We left our boats and we left our nets to follow the Lord and he is still at work making us into the disciples he wants us to be. Each of us in this room is a unique disciple. Each one of us in this room has a unique mission."

Moran noted Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation The Joy of the Gospel invited Christians everywhere to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

"Why does the pope say that? Because he recognizes that our Church is often a sleeping giant," she stated. "He is calling us to stand alongside our brothers and sisters and support them in such a way that the Lord can reach out to them.

"We have a responsibility to allow the Lord to take us deeper in our encounter with him and we have a responsibility to enable our brothers and sisters in our parishes and neighbourhoods to come to a place where they can, in their way, in their time, come to a place of encounter with Jesus Christ."

Pope Francis has been speaking a lot to the Charismatic Renewal in recent times. Last year he spoke to 50,000 charismatics in the Olympic Stadium in Rome, and last June he spoke to charismatic priests from around the world.

According Moran, when the pope first met the Charismatic Renewal as Archbishop of Buenos Aires he didn't like them. Seeing them dance and speak in tongues with their hands up in the air, "He thought they were a sort of samba school," related Moran. "He was seeing the superficial thing."

However, during the Third Worldwide Priests' Retreat in Rome in June, the pope admitted publicly that he had changed his mind about the Charismatic Renewal "because of the good that these people do."

"I was wrong," he told the priests, thanking them for shepherding the people in the grace of the Charismatic Renewal and calling them to run Life in the Spirit seminars in their parishes.

"To do this job, we need to start thinking in new ways, Moran told her audience. "We can't do the Life in the Spirit Seminars in the way we did them 20 or 30 year ago. How do we make them more accessible to people today?"

Moran noted the same people keep attending the Life in the Spirit seminar year after year. She urged her audience to stop "recycling people," saying people should be considered trained leaders after the first seminar.

TAKE IT TO THE STREETS

Rather than taking the same seminar over and over again, they should be out in the field evangelizing and growing in other areas.

In the year 2000 there were 120 million people worldwide "who could testify to having a life-changing experience through the power of the Holy Spirit because they had encountered the Charismatic Renewal," according to Moran.