Charismatic Catholics arrive in Rome for Spirit-filled week

ROME — Streaming into Rome from the four corners of the globe this week are thousands of people with high expectations of what they call “a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit” at this weekend’s Pentecost celebration.

Normally that wouldn’t be news. But this year the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) is celebrating its fiftieth Jubilee, and therefore especially hopes for “special graces,” as one of its organizers, Michelle Moran, puts it.

Some 30,000 people from 130 countries are in town for four days of high-octane praise and adoration prayers and liturgies, as well as workshops, testimonies, healings, and not a few invocations of the Holy Spirit.

The events culminate in a vigil in the Circus Maximus with Pope Francis on Saturday evening, and Pentecost Mass in St Peter’s Square on Sunday.

The Jubilee marks 50 years since the so-called “Duquesne weekend,” when a group of professors and students from the university of Duquesne 15 miles north of Pittsburgh had a series of ecstatic experiences following a three-day retreat focussed on the Acts of the Apostles, including praying in tongues and healings.

According to New Orleans-based author and speaker Patti Gallagher Mansfield, one of those present at the Duquesne weekend, this “baptism in the Spirit” is understood as a three-fold phenomenon: A release of the graces of baptism and confirmation which lie dormant because of people’s lack of faith and “expectation”; a new coming of the Spirit to equip the Church for a new mission; and a special eschatological grace to unite Christians of different denominations.

At the request of Francis, who points to the ecumenical birth of the CCR, there will be around 5,000 evangelicals and Pentecostals who form part of CCR communities worldwide present at this week’s celebrations.

Duquesne was the moment when what had been an exclusively Pentecostal phenomenon — accepted with difficulty by Protestant churches —  began to enter the…

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