Building the Church Charism by Charism

Congress Studying History of Holy Spirit

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ROME, APRIL 3, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Leaders of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal have gathered experts in Rome to discuss charisms and their role in the Church.



A congress that began today and ends Sunday brought together bishops, theologians and lay leaders to reflect on the doctrine and practice of charisms in the Church today.

The International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, based in the Vatican, and the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, based in Bari, Italy, collaborated with the Pontifical Council for Laity in organizing the event.

According to a communiqué from the Vatican-based organization, the congress aims to go in-depth into the teaching of the Church on charisms and how they have been exercised throughout history, from the apostolic times to the present, and especially in the charismatic renewal movement.

Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for Laity, introduced the event. Other bishops and leaders of the charismatic organizations will also offer contributions. Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household, will offer a reflection on the Fathers of the Church.

Oreste Pesare, executive director of the offices of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, said, "To speak of charisms does not mean to speak only of miraculous works. […] The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly reminds us, 'Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world.' [CCC 799]"

In this sense, he added, the Catholic charismatic renewal desires "that all of the realities of the Catholic Church return to a full awareness of the essential role of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers, and the beauty of the rediscovery of the gifts of the Spirit -- the charisms -- that permit us to live as sons of God in an extraordinary way for the good of the whole Church."