"Alive with the Spirit"


arrangement ©1996 by Split Infinity Music

An Introduction to ....

The Spiritan Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group Guelph

Meets at 8:00 pm Wednesdays at Sacred Heart Church, corner Alice and Huron St., Guelph.
Healing Mass at 8.00 pm, last Wednesday of month

PRAYER GROUP

Who and what are we? Our name says it all. We are a group that comes together to give praise and thanks to God. As one of our songs puts it, "We come together to sing God's praise-alleluia!" This is our basic purpose -as indeed it is for every human who, in the words of St. Ignatius Loyola, "is created to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord." This also is the purpose of the great central act of our religion, The Eucharistic Liturgy to offer "this sacrifice of praise." We gather on Wednesdays to celebrate the great work of our salvation "filled with the Spirit, addressing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all (our) hearts, always and in everything giving thanks to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 5:18 ff)

The regular communal praise and thanksgiving knits us together in the Lord, into a Christian community of love and service of one another and of the world in which we live. Of high importance in our group is our prayer ministry, which includes praying with or over those who come to seek spiritual or physical or inner healing at our hands. "Declare your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may find healing." (James 5:16).

Prayer Requests received are prayed for during the week.

In our fellowship-in-the-Lord, we support one another in many other ways; in simple friendship, in instruction and sharing, in encouragement and brotherly correction if need be--"in the Holy Spirit, in sincere love with the message of truth and power of God" (2Cor. 6:6 f) Our support goes beyond the confines or our group to serve others in need, according to our means and the dictates of discerning love. "Everyone must give according to what he has inwardly decided: not sadly, not grudgingly, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7). -We are, therefore, not just a prayer group but a service group as well.

CHARISMATIC

In our prayer together and in our personal lives, we expressly seek the gifts (in Greek, charismata) that the Father has lavished upon His people through the reconciliation effected by the Blood of Jesus Christ. The gift of Jesus from the Father is the Holy Spirit. "His first Gift to those who believe, to complete His work on earth and bring us the fullness of grace" (Euch. Prayer IV). As the Spirit is Himself the very personification of divine love, this first and fundamental Gift to us is, in effect, "the love of God poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rom. 5:5), that same love (Greek, agape) which St. Paul describes so beautifully in 1 Cor. 13. Transformation in the Holy Spirit is what Jesus explained to Nicodemus (John 3)

Along with this basic gift of love, the gifts or charisms which the Holy Spirit bestows are not so much for ones own spiritual growth, but to bring fruit, growth, strengthening, healing of the Christian community. The best known of such gifts is found in 1 Cor. 12:7 ff., but there are other charisms mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament, that are given, some to one person, some to another, according to need. "To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good... But it is the one and the same Spirit who produces all these gifts, distributing them to each as He wills" (1 Cor. 7:11). As charismatic Christians, we take to heart Paul's injunction to 'seek eagerly after love: and set your hearts on the spiritual gifts' (1 Cor. 14.1).

CATHOLIC

Yes, but not in the sense that our prayer group is "for Catholics only". Though our membership is predominantly Roman Catholic we also have members who are Christians of other denominations whose presence with us we greatly cherish. We are enriched by their exuberant faith in the Lord Jesus and their infectious enthusiasm for the written Word of God. -Also, we are happy to be able to provide an opportunity for charismatic prayer and praise to any Christian who may not have such an opportunity in their own congregations. At times the grace of God brings to us people who are looking for God yet know very little of Christianity. They all are most welcome.

We are Catholic in our origins. We started as a meeting of a small group of lay persons with the late Father John Mattice in St. Joseph's rectory. For a while later on, the meetings were held under the guidance of Fr. Locky Flanagan, CSSp (a Father of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, or known as a SPIRITAN priest, for short), at Holy Rosary Parish. We thought that Spiritan was an appropriate name for a charismatic prayer group . We are happy to bear this name in recognition of the support and encouragement given to us by the Spiritan Fathers at Holy Rosary. Then, since January 1978, we have been meeting in the (basement) hall of St. Joseph's Church on Paisley Road. Our spiritual directors have been Catholic.

While as a group we are guided in doctrinal matters by the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, obviously there is no question of imposing specifically Catholic doctrines on non-Catholic members. In authority, we acknowledge our Shepherds of "all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made (them) the overseers" (Acts 20:28). We are mindful of the admonition of Scripture to 'obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over you as men who must render an account. So act that they may fulfill their task with joy, not with sorrow, for that would be harmful to you" (Heb. 13:17). May a mighty fire of Holy Spirit burn in them. We still hear the call of prayer of Pope John XXIII to, "Renew in our own days your wonders as of a new Pentecost." Genuine spiritual renewal in the church is His Holy Spirit, the soul and life-giving principle of His Body the Church. When that Spirit came down upon the Apostles and their companions in the Upper Room, the Church was born. We pray for renewal in our deanery, diocese, province, country and the whole world. For evangelization, Christian unity and the great Jubilee with John Paul II, and with St. Paul we pray:

"Glory be to Him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to Him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever." AMEN! (Eph 3:20f)

[Adapted and expanded version of original document written by Fr. Mike Shields (SJ), Ignatius College in the late 1970's when he was Spiritual Director of the Spiritan Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group.]


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