Charismatic Meeting Gifts Youths With Spiritual Inspiration, SolidarityJuly 27, 2006
"I laughed and laughed for three days, even though there was nothing (to laugh at)," Mary Kim Ji-seon told UCA News on July 23, the last day of the Holy Spirit Conference of World Youth 2006.
"I think that is the power of the Holy Spirit, making us happy and filling us with laughter," added the young Catholic from South Korea's Suwon diocese.
For Emajane Tamon, a participant from the Philippines, the experience was "a good chance to revive the Spirit in my heart." She told UCA News she felt the Holy Spirit in a deeper than usual way during the July 21-23 conference as she prayed, sang and shared "with many friends from all over the world."
The conference, whose theme was "As By A New Pentecost," brought together about 1,500 Catholics aged 18-35 at Kkottongne (flower village) in Eumseong, 100 kilometers southeast of Seoul. Kkottongne is a social-welfare facility for disabled and elderly people founded by Father John Oh Woong-jin of Korea.
According to one organizer, the recent international charismatic meeting was the first one organized anywhere just for young Catholics worldwide. The official, who asked not to be named, told UCA News on July 24 that the meeting aimed to revitalize the charismatic renewal movement among young people.
About 1,000 participants were from Korea, while the rest came from 25 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Uganda and the United States.
Church leaders who also attended included Archbishop Barry James Hickey of Perth, Australia; Auxiliary Bishop Theotonius Gomes of Dhaka, Bangladesh; Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi, India; Bishop Jesse Mercado of Paranaque, Philippines; and Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm, Sweden.
The first two days were devoted to presentations by Patti Mansfield, leader of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the United States; Mario Capello, founder of the International Catholic Programme of Evangelization (ICPE), and Father Oh.
The attendees also took part in praise-and-worship sessions and heard fellow participants give testimony about how God had been working in their lives.
Mansfield spoke about experiencing the Holy Spirit, and when she urged the young participants to pray in tongues, a charismatic gift, the conference hall reverberated with musical sounds and cries.
Cyril John, who chairs the National Service Team of the Catholic charismatic renewal in India, told the participants that the pentecostal or charismatic movement is the biggest spiritual renewal in the history of Christianity.
"A growth from zero to 120 million Catholic charismatics in 235 countries in about 40 years, and more than 400 million in other churches and Christian communities in 100 years is something remarkable," the Indian man said.
According to John, there have been three distinct outpourings of the Holy Spirit among Christians during the last 100 years. The first in 1906 affected 65 million people. The second outpouring, starting in 1950, touched 175 million and gave birth to the Catholic charismatic movement in 1967. John said the third one in 1981 reached 295 million people from various denominations.
"Pentecost is an ongoing experience," he explained, "and we should start praying fervently and look forward expectantly for a new Pentecost."
The conference's last day was open to the public, and another 1,500 people, mostly Korean senior citizens and housewives, joined the assembly.
What was miraculous about the conference for one Korean participant, who declined to be named, was not the manifestation of charismatic gifts. "I saw a miracle stronger than that," she said. "It was us, people of different races, cultures and languages being united as one in the name of God."
She said she was deeply inspired by how passionately the participants wanted to "know much more about God," and that is why the conference will remain "an unforgettable moment in my life."
Brother James Shin Sang-hyun, superior of the Kkottongne Brothers of Jesus congregation and chairperson of the organizing committee, told UCA News: "The young people are the future of our Church. We should bring them up through the Holy Spirit and accomplish the renewal of the Church."
The organizing committee official cited earlier pointed out, "After evaluating this conference, we hope to hold such a conference biannually with help from the Rome-based International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services."
The event was organized by the Kkottongne Religious Charismatic Prayer Committee, and sponsored by the Association for Charismatic Renewal of Korean Catholic Youth, the ICPE and Korean Youth Charismatic Renewal, a charismatic prayer group of Korean Americans in southern California, United States.
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN(www.ucanews.com)