by Fr. Joe Landi, Editor of the San Francisco Charismatics  

About Fr. Landi Out of the World and Into the Kingdom--His journey to priesthood by Rissa Singson.


Dear Diary... It happened in Boston in the native quarter...begins the song Alice Ghostly sang in New Faces of 1952. For some reason, for which I have no logical explanation, the song—tune and words— pops into mind every time I think about or go to Boston.

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It was at the Association of Diocesan Liaisons Annual Retreat which happened in Boston, not in the native quarter, rather in Andover, a pricey suburb of hi-tech companies and large, new, similarly looking homes with equally large green lawns. On the road to the Franciscan Retreat House, homes seemed to be plopped every-which-way on the rolling country side, cunningly intertwined among the trees as if placed there by some giant moments before.

The recently renovated Franciscan Retreat House at one time housed their Seminary. It is an oasis of tranquillity—an ideal setting for a retreat and for the spiritual rejuvenation the liaisons receive and need to facilitate the Charismatic Renewal.

The renewal we serve is still in its infancy. While many churches in South America are totally "charismatic", the phenomenon of charismatic worship—joyous celebrations of Scripture, Eucharist, music and praying in tongues, is just beginning to be experienced in North America as the Charismatic Renewal is being accepted into the mainstream of the Church. For example, the first and biggest is the Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston with a huge new building which houses the Diocesan Charismatic Renewal offices. It contains an auditorium-church which seats 3,000. It services the spiritual needs of Charismatics from parishes throughout the region. On the Sunday I attended Mass there, about 2500 people came out in a blinding rain storm and street flooding. As one person told me, "I come every Sunday. This is where the Holy Spirit invigorates me! A little rain isn‘t going to keep me from Mass."

The Companions of the Cross, based in Ottawa, Ontario, will assume responsibility for the Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston shortly. A key component of the Companions vision is that members live, pray and as much as possible, work communally. While still a "public association of the faithful"—under Archbishop Marcel Gervasis of Ottawa, they are on the brink of becoming an independent "society of apostolic life." As such they will have their own constitution and the freedom to determine their own members’ pastoral assignments.

Terry Donohue, one of the former members of Rejoice! Ministries, San Rafael, is a Fourth Year Seminarian with the Companions. He met Companions founder, Father Bob Bedard, at a charismatic conference. Donahue was attracted by the far-from–secret ingredients of the Companions’ vision—Mary, the Eucharist, community, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and obedience to the teaching authority of the Church. It has grown from an informal support group for four young seminarians just 14 years ago into a vigorous, dedicated community with 21 priest and 39 postulants.

Another example of a charismatic parish is in Manchester, N.H., at Sainte-Marie Parish, established 1898. Fr. Marc Montminy, the former Charismatic Liaison for the Archdiocese of Boston is now the pastor. He took a sleepy parish slipping slowly into closure and turned it into a beacon for the Archdiocese to follow.

Their Mission Statement: God’s call to our community today remains the same: proclaim Jesus Christ in word and deed. They live out their statement by maintaining a retreat center, out-reach programs of evangelization and family life, a separate RCIA program, on-going scripture study, a book store, a St. Vincent DePaul Store, a fulltime youth minister with their own center , a child care center and a credit union—the first one formed in the United States and still going strong, St. Mary’s Bank Credit Union.

Fr. Marc’s secret is his charismatic way of welcoming new parishioners. Newcomers are invited to a monthly introductory evening hosted by him. One does not register by phone at his parish. At the session, he explains what it means to be a member of their church community and newcomers are asked to participate in some ministry for the parish. Doing good to him means more than being good. Doing good means reaching out to others in a compassionate Christ-like love to make the community a better place for all. "Some do not want to be involved and go elsewhere. But those who stay have energized this parish and the community," says Fr. Marc the tenth pastor of Ste. Marie. "We’re not for everyone. We are not a spectator church."

Fr. Marc’s charismatic personality is responsible for the new direction of Ste. Marie. New groups such as the Men of St. Joseph, Women of Mary and over 60 other groups have resulted in the involvement of hundreds of parishioners covering every stage of life from preschool to the elderly. Ste. Marie was highlighted as a model parish for evangelization in a chapter from the book "John Paul II and the New Evangelization". Ste. Marie is now known as a community of welcome and hospitality. It hosts seminars, workshops, tent revivals, concerts and has music groups at their Masses designed to make people "sing out for joy to the Lord." Their CD, Catch the Spirit, is a joy to the ear.

Every Mass should be a joyous celebration of singing out to the Lord for all of the good things he has given us—especially of himself in the Eucharist and in his voice heard within the power of his words to live by. If that isn’t enough to shout for joy, I don’t know what is...

Fr. Joe Landi is a Parochial Vicar at St. Cecilia Parish, San Francisco, the Archbishop's Liaison to the Charismatic Renewal, the Editor of the San Francisco Charismatics, and Board Chair of Sierra Point Credit Union, South San Francisco, serving the community, parochial and government schools in San Mateo County, and the Charismatic Renewal. Visit him at the Halo on the Internet,

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