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COVID-19 leads Charismatics group to new world of prayer

Global prayers: Pope Francis arrives at an audience with members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service in Paul VI hall in June 2019. Photo: CNS

A BRISBANE group planning to mark the 50th anniversary of Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the city last weekend had no idea they would end up celebrating it with Pope Francis.

COVID-19 restrictions put paid to celebrations that were to have been held at Bardon but CCR members in Brisbane celebrated with the Pope and people from around the world instead.

They joined the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service’s Pentecost vigil which was broadcast worldwide.

The broadcast included a video message from the Pope.

CCR Bardon leader Len Airey said the celebration was “a marvellous opportunity for Christians around the world to gather together for prayer and to pray for one another and to pray for our world”.

“It was a really significant event,” he said.

“It helps us realise it’s a much bigger picture out there when it comes to people praying.

“When we’re isolated in our small prayer groups and we think, ‘What are we doing? Where are we going?’, I think this opens your mind to the bigger picture that the Lord’s army is wide and broad.

“It was beautiful. We would’ve loved to have celebrated here but I think ‘all things work for good for those who love God’.

“That’s what Paul tells us in (his Letter to the) Romans, so it’s all in the Lord’s hands.”

In his message to the Pentecost vigil, Pope Francis said Christians were called to witness to the Holy Spirit who can renew and heal a world suffering as a result of the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the world “needs our witness to the Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus”.

“Today the world suffers, it is wounded,” he said.

“We live in a very wounded world, which suffers especially in the poorest who are discarded; when all our human securities have disappeared, the world needs us to give it Jesus.”

CCR Brisbane president Audrey Chan-Seow said it was regrettable that COVID-19 had forced the deferral of the CCR anniversary celebration in Brisbane.

“However, the restrictions have given birth to a whole new way of praying using technology to pray, praise and worship the Lord,” she said.

“People from many countries, cultures and languages came together for one-and-a-half hours of prayer, praise and worship.”

Following the Rome celebration, leaders from local charismatic groups – CCR Brisbane, Emmanuel, Couples for Christ, Awaken and Spiritual Association gathered online to pray for Brisbane.

“Prayer groups within the archdiocese have been meeting each week via Zoom to continue the mission of prayer, listening to the Holy Spirit, teaching and interceding for people and the world,” Mrs Chan-Seow said.

“Our job, as Pope Francis has instructed, is to bring this Baptism of the Holy Spirit to every parish.”

Mr Airey paid tribute to one of the founders of CCR Brisbane Fr Vince Hobbs.

“We should acknowledge the part played by Fr Hobbs in opening himself to the influence of the Holy Spirit which paved the way for a further outpouring of the Holy Spirit across Queensland,” he said.

“Thousands of people have experienced a personal relationship with Jesus as a result of the shepherding of Fr Vince.”

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