The Year in Review

by Fr. Joe Landi

No, we are not closing off 1997 early, this "year in review" is about the past year with the Charismatic Renewal in the San Francisco Archdiocese.

It was September 1996 when Archbishop Levada appointed me as his Liaison to head the Charismatic Renewal and also appointed, for the first time, an Associate Liaison to the Filipino Community, Norma Calip, and an Associate Liaison to the Hispanic Community, Carlos Merlo. The Board of Directors was also increased from seven to twelve members, thereby forming a broader parish representation.

The most obvious change has been this newsletter growing from four to sixteen pages, from 1000 to 4000 copies monthly and becoming nearly self-supporting financially with the addition of advertisers. In prior years, this newsletter was the major expense for the renewal. Now with a change of format, it is a major teaching vehicle, with resources for scripture study, news, prayer, and articles to foster spiritual development. Interest in the newsletter has grown beyond our prayer group members. In the twelve parishes where we have been testing interest, we have received an overwhelming favorable response to our format. So much so, that we are actively seeking increased advertising income to pay to increase to 20,000 copies each month starting January 1998. While there are expenses—we have purchased the computer equipment and software, we have no paid staff—from design, layout and mailing to soliciting advertising—all volunteers. It is our intent to keep advertising rates low and to continue operating with the charisms of the Holy Spirit given to volunteers.

None of our Spirit-filled programs are subsidized by the Archdiocesan Annual Appeal. We are supported totally by collections at First Friday Masses, donations from the Friends of the Renewal, and the Friends of the Good News. This past year income increased 57%. This allowed us to subsidize our annual meeting, a weekend retreat for Board Members, and 107 prayer group leaders at fifteen training session—Seminars of Spiritual Enlightenment. They were sponsored under the direction of the School of Pastoral Leadership. They are designed to develop the charisms given the leaders while helping them with the spiritual direction needed to be effective leaders. Additional Seminars will be given again starting in January 1998.

A Speakers Bureau was formed, bringing together in one place all the speaker resources within the Archdiocese. Now prayer group leaders have a ready place to find competent Catholic teaching for their weekly meetings. The list includes lay, religious and clerics known for their Charismatic orientation. While the list was published and furnished to each prayer group leader, English-speaking leaders can also call the Renewal Hot-line, (415) 564-PRAY, for referrals. This past year we have added a line for Spanish-speaking Charismatics, (650) 367-7134, to provide information on programs for Spanish speaking Catholic Charismatics.

Following the Pope’s lead in Ecumenism, we have formed with several Protestant Evangelical Churches, an organization, Christians at Prayer—to plan and promote gatherings in prayer and praise. In addition to my attending a Prayer Summit with 250 Protestant Ministers, we held our first ecumenical CAP event on the eve of the Epiphany with leaders and parishioners from seven Protestant Churches. The second was held at the Vigil of Pentecost. Twenty leaders and parishioners gathered with us for a near capacity crowd at St. Cecilia’s Church. Most stayed after the nearly three-hour service for fellowship. Those two events are planned for the coming year, too. In addition, we are working closely with the Graham Crusade with many prayer groups praying weekly for the success of the Crusade.

Hispanic Prayer Groups have shown a solidarity in participating in several Archdiocesan-wide gatherings under the direction of Carlos Merlo. A Congreso held at Redwood High School in March and a Congreso held in connection with the University of San Francisco and the St. Ignatius Institute in July brought together the Spanish-speaking prayer communities and attracted several thousand participants. Both were two-day events. Others are scheduled for next year.

The Filipino Prayer Groups sponsored numerous Life in the Spirit Seminars, Healing Services, and First Friday Masses. With ten Charismatic music groups, the Filipino Charismatic community is the musical back-bone of all Charismatic Renewal sponsored gatherings. They have revitalized our First Friday Masses of the Sacred Heart, which moves each month to a different parish having a prayer group. Attendance at First Friday Masses is up and include many parishioners from the hosting parish. For some it is their first experience at a "Charismatic" Mass.

Under the direction of Norma Calip, and in connection with Letty Ramos, the Filipino Catholic Charismatic Council (FCCC), the umbrella organization of the Filipino Charismatics in the Bay Area, we will hold the first regional Charismatic Conference on October 3, 4, and 5, 1997, at the South San Francisco Conference Center.

As part of the preparation for the Great Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul II has asked the Church to focus on the role and the charisms of the Holy Spirit. We are doing our part. We marvel at what the Holy Spirit has given us in return.

Web-Site note: If you are interested in attending a Charismatic First Friday Mass, call our Spirit Line (415) 564-PRAY for the date, time, and location of the next First Friday Mass of the Sacred Heart..

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