Fr James Mallon (FJM): We want to thank you for your support and we are going to ask you to continue to pray for us; to pray for us in the weeks and months ahead as we continue to see how best to respond to this call of God. But before we continue there's a particular thing that regretfully I have to acknowledge, and kind of make a public confession of…When I introduced the countries yesterday morning I left one out. So please (kneeling) humbly forgive me because, let's hear it from the people from the United Kingdom (cheers).
Dan O'Rourke then had some housekeeping announcements and a long introduction to the main speaker for the evening, Peter Herbeck. The short version is that Peter is on staff with the team at Renewal Ministries and has been married for 30 years, with 4 children and 4 grandchildren and that he has a special gift for recounting stories about the things he has seen God do. The video-clip that was shown was an even better introduction to him.
This is the link for that video-clip about how Renewal Ministries started, and some of the things it has done. It goes for a little over 3 minutes. https://youtu.be/NEwH_emDAso
Here's the transcript for that video-clip (but the visuals will tell you so much more):
Sr Ann Shields SGL: We got a phone call from the Holy Father John Paul.
Ralph Martin: I remember giving him a copy of my latest book at the time. He took the book and he said, 'You know, I've read it already'. I almost became speechless.
SrAS: Then he turned to Ralph and he said, 'Ralph, tell me, what is the Spirit saying to the Church?
RM: I think what the Spirit is saying to the Church is 'Jesus'. We just stood there for a couple of minutes saying the name of Jesus, and it was just a very, very special moment of communion with the Lord and communion with the Pope and just proclaiming the name of Jesus together.
SrAS: We just began to pray. We'd get together every week and just pray and say, 'Lord, will You help us? Will You lead us?' And that's when we got the sense of the first countries we should go to.
Peter Herbeck: So here we were in the basement of a house here in Ann Arbor. Sr Ann gets the sense we're supposed to go to Lithuania. We don't know anybody there. Two weeks later the bishop of the cultural centre of the country calls us and says, 'Would you come and help me?' And what we had heard prophetically from folks who prayed for us said. Don't. Only go through the doors that God is going to open for you. He will open doors for you. It started with Lithuania, and then it went to Slovakia, and then it went to Hungary, and then it went to Ukraine and now it's 40 countries around the world. Clearly God's calling us. What are we going to do? So we formed an organisation, Renewal Ministries. That's how it happened.
RM: The Holy Spirit is alive and well. He's active today. When people call out to Jesus and call out to the Holy Spirit, He's going to do things.
PH: The hour of the laity has struck. The Spirit seizes us, lays hold of us, and see that's exactly what we experience, and as he said, it's happening all over the place.
SrAS: What does God want from us, His sons and daughters? How are we called to live in this generation? In this time and all the challenges that we're certainly beginning to face?
RM: We're living in quite a time of conflict and decision. It is for such a time as this that we've been called to do what we're doing. I hope that Renewal Ministries can help people make the decision that they're going to be friends of Jesus Christ and they're going to be loyal to Him even in the midst of tremendous oppression and difficulties.
PH: It's now. It's time. This is it. We didn't come together to create a religious organisation so we could have jobs. I mean Renewal Ministries is just the form, it's the way we do it. But what it's all about is what's burning in us. It's what God has put in to us. It's what the Holy Spirit has given to us. And we want to give it away to other people, and we've seen it pass like a contagion to people all over the world, to countries all over the world. And just like the Word said, He brought people to us with that same fire, with that same exact conviction burning them and we've joined forces together, and that's why we've been able to do the work so broadly across the world, because the Lord has given other people to run with us.
RM: We use all different kinds of means and methods to secure the message. But the message, which is, 'God is', that's what we're about. That's what we do on radio, that's what we do on television, that's what we do in our conferences, the seminars, the clergy convocations, and the classrooms at the seminary and all over the world.
(Here ends the video-clip transcript.)
Dan: Join me in welcoming Peter Herbeck.
Peter Herbeck: Well good evening everybody. What a delight to be able to be here with you tonight friends. This has been for me an amazing couple of days. I think today for me, besides the testimonies which were clearly the highlight for me, one of the things I learned today, I learned about my friend Fr James. Because people ask me about him. What's he like? And I try to describe him. But between Laurie and Fr James, it was very succinct what they said this morning, did you get it? He's a progressive weirdo. That's what I took from this morning.
What Father asked me to do tonight is to talk about the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke chapter 24: where Luke tells us that Jesus told the apostles that He was going to clothe them with power. What I'd like to do tonight is talk a bit about that passage and then apply that passage to what we are seeing here these last 2 days. Because what's happening here is something I think is very prophetic for the Church. I think we're experiencing the realisation of the very thing that Luke was telling us Jesus spoke in Luke chapter 24, verses 44-49.
Now, setting the scene: This is the first time Jesus appears to the apostles after His resurrection. The apostles are hunkered down. The apostles are troubled, they're confused. They've been destabilised by what happened a week earlier. Some of them had a certain amount of faith that that was the way it was supposed to go. Others are wondering if the entire project, the hope that was in their heart in Christ was for nought. Jesus appears to them. And He says this: Then He said to them 'These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled' then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, 'Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness for sins should be preached in His name to all the nations beginning from Jerusalem. You are My witnesses to these things and behold I send the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.'
We've all heard that passage many times, right? But think about the situation. The first thing Jesus did when He spoke to them in Luke's account, is He understood where they were, understood the confusion, the destabilisation, probably the anxiety and fear that was there – and what does He say to them? 'Everything that happened went exactly according to plan'. According to the Scriptures, the Messiah must die, suffer and die, and rise again on the third day. Everything went according to plan. Now, this is what it was all for. All this happened so that repentance and forgiveness of sins could be preached to all nations. You are witnesses to these things. And I'm going to send you, but you have to wait until you receive power. This is important.
I think this is something of what we are seeing here, a kind of renewal of the very promise that Jesus spoke about in the Gospel: You shall receive power. Pope John Paul II once said, when Jesus talked about receiving power He said what the Holy Spirit does, the promise of the Father when He comes, He released power and that power creates movement. He said, so you know that someone has received that grace of the Holy Spirit when they begin to move into God's purpose and God's plan for them.
So what's God's purpose and plan? The Catechism and the Council laid out it very clearly for us. What's God's fundamental plan, if you could reduce it for us? Universal call to holiness and universal call to mission. The universal call to holiness is what? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbour as yourself. The universal call to mission is what? Go make disciples of all nations. So the Holy Father reminds us, the Holy Spirit is given to us to move us into the fundamental call for which we were made and the Church was born, to bring about holiness and mission. Right? Holiness and mission. We've been given power to grow and to do. Say it with me: to grow and to go; to grow in holiness and to go make disciples of all nations.
Pope Francis reminded us. He said Pentecost, the day the Church was born, friends, never forget he said friends, when the Church was born, it was born on the move. As soon as the Holy Spirit came, John Paul II said, the Spirit stirred the deepest energies of the apostles, the 'splankna', and then thrust them out into the marketplace.
What have we been seeing happening in the testimonies the last 2 days? Every single person encounters Christ. And where did they describe the encounter? What was the difference making experience for them? The Holy Spirit weekend. Right?
The whole reason this parish exists and the great prophetic witness they are to each and every one of us, is to bring about an opportunity for that experience to happen. For people to be able, for just a moment in time, to be present, to hear the story of Jesus - and to give the Spirit permission, to give the Spirit an opportunity. Because the fundamental mission of the Holy Spirit, the special mission of the Spirit, is to reveal to every human heart the glory and the majesty of Jesus. Amen? Amen. The glory and the majesty of Jesus.
Every single person who testified the last 2 days talked about how they were touched by love and they fell in love with Christ. Only Jesus can do that. Chris got up here earlier and he said, he had a hundred questions for his friend and what did this friend say? How did she have one answer? You've got to go to Alpha. You've got to go to Alpha why? Because the person we all know what that heart is seeking, the answer they're looking for is Jesus, is a person. Not just to have all their questions answered, but to literally meet Jesus. And so here you have people, ordinary Catholic people, who also have been touched by Christ. They know what that person is looking for, because they had been looking for Him. So just trust me, come. Just trust me, come. What you want, is you want to meet Him, and time and time again we heard it.
Now Pope Francis puts it this way. Instead of talking about a movement, he said what we are experiencing in our time is a special grace of the Holy Spirit, and he said that special grace is like a current. He said it's the current of God's Spirit and the key is to plug into the current.
The testimonies were a tremendous witness to that. One person came and got touched, and what happened? They extended it to another, and they extended it to another. Gemma. How many of you are still thinking about Gemma's testimony? I'm tracking her down. We're going to give a big conference in Toronto in March. She's got to talk about her story there, because that girl has been launched, hasn't she? You talk about movement, did you see her eyes? Did you see the conviction that that girl had? She stood up here and she's on fire for God. She not only met the Lord, but man she got the whole ball of wax, and she ends up bringing her whole family- and then she moves to Toronto and she's evangelising her peers in Toronto. Movement. Power. Current of Grace.
Why does it happen here? It happens here because there are people here who know how to set up an environment to help bring people in, and they have great expectation. They know it's not them. All of this is an excuse to make that connection happen. And I was touched so much watching her. She had so much fire and conviction.
It reminded me of when I was a young guy. When I was about 20. I actually came to the Lord when I was about 19 and I went to college. I was at a college seminary for a period of time, and between my first and second year I lived in an apartment with one of my buddies from high school – a guy who played American football. He was a really big guy. He had a very large head. Everyone called him buffalo head, he didn't mind that. He was just a big thick offensive lineman. He was an academic all American football player. And I was excited to move into an apartment with him, because I wanted to share the Gospel with him.
So the first night we came together we had to go to the grocery store, because we had nothing in the cupboard. And I can still see him pushing this cart, probably the first time he pushed a cart, 2 guys walking down the aisle. 'Hey Doug', and I started telling him some of the things God's been doing in my life, and he didn't pay any attention to me at all. And so after a few minutes I said, 'Hey Doug, how are you doing with your faith? Are you still going to church?' He was raised Catholic. He looked at me and goes, 'I don't want to talk about it'. He's big, so I said OK. He made it clear he didn't want to talk about it.
So throughout the summer I was praying for him. He has a class. I had a class. We lived in this tiny little apartment. Then one night about the middle of summer, about 11 o'clock and we're about to turn out the lights, go to bed. And the beds were in this little hallway between these two rooms. So they're kind of close to each other, and I flip off the light and lay down and I'm going to do a little night prayer before I go to bed. And after a few minutes I hear Doug say to me, 'Hey Pete'. I said, 'What?' 'Turn on the light'. I said, 'What for?' 'Turn on the light'. So I flip on the light. I said, 'What's up?' And he sits up in bed and looks at me and he goes, 'Is the devil real?' Huh, that's kind of a wild question. 'Yeah, why?' 'Is he real?' I said, 'Yeah'. He said, 'OK', and he laid back down. I turn out the light. I'm thinking, that's weird. A few minutes later, he said again, 'Pete, turn the light back on'. And so I flipped the light on, and he said, 'I'm going to ask you again, is the devil real?' And I said, 'Yeah, the devil's real, why?' 'Because I think there's something wrong with me, I think I'm being hassled'. I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'Well you know over the last couple of months I've been thinking, I've been feeling very depressed and thinking a lot about suicide'. Now I never would have known that, because here's Doug, an academic all American football player who looks like he's got it all going for himself. And here I am 20 years old, having no experience whatsoever in a situation like this. I remember the thought going through my mind, I wish there was an adult here now who could help us, for a minute, that there was a grown-up anywhere to do to. And I said, 'Doug, look, I don't know if it's the devil, but it sounds like it could be, but I do know this, we were baptized and Jesus Christ has conquered the power of the devil, and if we pray, we've got the power, we can drive him out.'
So here we are in this apartment, and I was totally surprised. He's sitting there. He sits at the edge of the bed in his pyjamas, and says, 'OK, let's pray'. He's got this look on his face. I didn't know what I was doing, because I had never done it before in my whole life. I had never prayed with anyone. And I came up to him, and I said 'Doug, just think about Jesus and I'll pray'. And so, he's closing his eyes and I put my hand on his head. And I was trying to think of what to pray and so I just said, 'Jesus, You conquered the devil, and You're stronger than the devil, and in Your Name Jesus I take authority over anything that's beating up my friend'. And I'm just standing there. Inside I'm thinking, 'Get him Lord, get him now, get him, get him, while he's here, get him'. And I'm just waiting and after a few minutes I lean over and I look at him and I say, 'Hey Doug, is anything happening?' He looks up at me and he says – this is no joke, this is exactly what happened – he looks at me and does, 'You don't see it?' I go, 'I don’t see what?' 'You don’t see the light?' 'No, I don't see any light'. He goes, 'Come on, you don't see the light?' I said, 'I don't see any light Doug. What do you mean?' He goes, 'As soon as you started praying in Jesus' Name this light, this light just came through me. It's here, I can feel it and see it'. I said, 'Great, I don't see a thing'.
He gets up and he goes into the other room and we had this chest where we stored stuff in, and he flips it open and throws out magazines we shouldn't have had and things like that in there. And he reaches down and he pulls out a bible that his mum gave him when he went to college. And he sits down on the bed, and I'm watching this big oaf of a guy, and he starts paging through the bible and he starts reading bible passages. As he is turning page to page and he gets to the great 'For God so loved the world' he goes, 'Listen to this Pete: For God so loved the world He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him…' and he goes, 'This is unbelievable!' I go, 'I've been trying to tell you that all summer, man, and you never listened to me one time'. (laughter) He then, he's so overcome, he gets on his knees in our apartment, he raises his hands and he starts shouting, 'God You're amazing! God, I love You!' I'm thinking, 'Doug, be quiet'. It's like 11:30 at night. That's all we need, some guy to walk in and see us in our pyjamas and he's on his knees holding the bible, screaming. That guy would say, 'What are these guys smoking in here?'
So he's literally in that position and he gets up on the bed and he's paging through scripture and I start praying like, 'OK God, this is great, this is like the stuff I've read about in books and stuff, this is really good', and I said, 'Lord, what can I do Lord? What should I do? And I felt like the Lord said to me, 'Wash his feet'. I said, 'What else would you like me to do?' (laughter) Seriously. So I'm thinking I'm being melodramatic, like this is just me, and I'm so excited about the moment I'm kind of going overboard, but I felt like the Lord say, 'Do it'. Doug's praying on the bed, and I go and I'm opening our cupboard. We had one pan. This is literally, one cake pan, and I got the cake pan and I went to the sink and I put water in it and I got a towel and I put it on my shoulder. And I went over to Doug, and he's sitting on the bed, he's got his eyes closed, he's been reading the bible. And I kneel down in front of him and I put the pan down and I said, 'Hey Doug' and he goes, 'What are you doing?' And I said, 'Doug, I'm supposed to wash your feet' (laughter) And he goes, he looks at me totally straight and does, 'Do it, Do it, Yeah, Do it'. This is no joke, and I'm looking down at triple Z feet and I feel myself blushing. Like we're the only ones in the room, and I'm totally red, I feel so stupid, you know? And he's got tears coming down his cheeks, OK, and it was crazy. So we were done. I dried his feet with the dish towel and Doug gets up and he says, 'Pete, do you realise how important this is?' And he fell on his knees, he just got on his knees and he said, 'Pete, the most important thing in human history is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ'. He said, 'I see the Cross at the centre of everything.' This is no joke. He's actually saying this to me. It's like the Holy Spirit is revealing to Doug a revelation that is coming to this guy right in our apartment, on the floor, and so I kneel down and we're praying.
We prayed for a long time. We started praying for friends and family, and it was literally like 12:30 at night. And I said, 'Hey Doug, this has been awesome, but I got to go to bed'. And he goes, 'OK'. So we go to bed. I'm laying down. I turn off the light and I'm just thinking, 'Lord, thank You so much', and I'm starting to doze and all of a sudden Doug goes, 'Pete, turn the light back on'. And I said, 'No, Doug, I'm not'. He goes, 'Dude, turn it on'. I say 'OK, I'll turn it on'. So I turned the light on. He goes, 'We're supposed to go over to the football stadium and pray right now'. I said, 'Come on, I've got to work in the morning.' It's about 12:30. He says, 'No'. So we get out of bed. He puts his jeans on and we go over to the 50 yard line at the football stadium on the field. And the dorm where some of the football players, his friends, live. We're supposed to pray for them. So here we stood, 12:45 at night, two guys standing praying towards the hall at the university where the football players live, saying, 'Lord, get those guys. Lord, bless those guys. Lord, save those guys, sober them up, do whatever it takes Lord to win them'. We were there. We prayed. We started singing (laughter….he nods his head). We actually started dancing – but not together. No, not together. We laid down on the field and looked up at the stars in the sky, and we were there literally friends, till the sun came up in the morning. We went to Mass, went back to the apartment, I called in sick, and I went to bed. (laughter).
About 6 years ago I was speaking at a men's conference in Northern Illinois university, and I gave my talk and I went to my book table, and I'm kind of wrapping things up and I look, and who comes walking down the hall? Buffalo head. Right? And he comes walking up and he goes, 'Hey, Herbs', I said, 'Hey Doug, how are you doing man?' He goes, 'I'm fine. I'm fine'. He said, 'You got a minute?' 'I've got to head to the airport, to O'Hare'. He goes, 'Can I give you a ride?' I said, 'Sure'. So I get in the car. We get in the car, he puts the keys in the ignition and he looks at me and he goes, 'Do you remember that night?' Just like that. I said, 'How could I forget it?' He said, 'Pete, a week hasn't gone by in my life that I don't think about that night' and he said, 'It's been a part of me my whole life, and since that time it totally changed and transformed me'.
The reason I tell the story, not just because it's so goofy, it's so unusual, but because I was 20/21, I didn't really know much about anything yet, but I had met Jesus, I had been touched by the power of the Holy Spirit, and friends I think back now in that moment when Doug started sharing the problems that he was having, and I felt I had a moment where I felt there was nothing I could do about it, like, what do I do? And then I thought, maybe pray. And in my mind I'm going, 'Pray?' What's that going to do?' What do you expect to have happen? What do you know about this stuff? And like feelings of inadequacy, or I was in over my head. Do you have them? Moments like these? Yeah, a couple of us have, that's good. I don't feel alone. Seriously. And this is where the power of God…You are clothed with power, you've been baptised, you've been confirmed, Jesus Christ the Lord lives in you. And He's given you His Holy Spirit and it's through the power of the Spirit of God that the kingdom is extended, one heart to the next.
Listening to the witnesses that we heard, yesterday and today, ordinary people encountering Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, and suddenly they're praying over each other. Who were the two guys? Mike and Alan. These guys coming together and now they're saying not only would I not have gone to a meeting like that, not only I would never let anybody pray with me, I could never imagine myself being in that situation. And now these guys have been delivered and released, are now bringing that same grace to these men in their parishes. Isn't that beautiful? (clapping) I mean the current of grace, it's the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is a woman named Mary Hagar, and a deacon Michael Thoennes, they live in Minneapolis St Paul. They came to an evangelisation school we did about 10 years go in Ann Arbor, and we talked about the kerygma. At the end of it she stood up, she's about mid-60s, she said, 'I've been a DRE (Director of Religious Education) for 28 years. I've led every program any parish could possibly run', and she listed them all. She said this to the whole class. 'And it dawned on me for the first time: in 28 years I don't think I've led one person into relationship with Jesus Christ'. And she said, 'I think I know why. Because everything we do presumes this person or these people have met Jesus'. She said, 'I got it all backwards. I wrote everything in the parish, from cradle to grave, I wrote every program for our parish. I'm going to go home and talk to the pastor'. She said, 'I'm going to tell him, let's tear up every course we wrote, and let's start over. And let's have as the goal of every course, whether it's confirmation prep or marriage prep or whatever, to meet the Lord Jesus Christ, to have an encounter with Jesus'. (clapping)
So she goes home. Two very ordinary people. If you saw them they wouldn't wow you at all, but they wow me now. She goes home and meets with her pastor. It’s the first time he's a pastor of a parish. She said, 'Let's tear everything up', and of course he was afraid, right? And so he called the archbishop and said 'Here's this proposal, and Mary wants to do this. What do you think?' And the archbishop knew Mary and said, 'Just relax, no problem. Go ahead and do it'. So they re-wrote everything.
She comes back 5 years later. I had very little contact with her. She came back to the same course. I said, 'Mary, what are you doing here?' 'We came back to get another shot in the arm'. I said, 'What happened?' She pulls out a binder with 500 individual testimonies in it. She had DVDs she brought me, DVDs of truck drivers in the parish weeping, talking about their experience on Alpha. They went back and said, 'We need to introduce people to Jesus'. And the priest said, 'How do we do that? What should we do?' So they looked around, they searched for different vehicles and well, this Alpha thing… So they did Alpha.
She stood up in front of this new class and she said, '5 years ago I was here and I came just after our parish fund raiser. At the time we had 2 parishes that are related to each other, we had a Catholic school that had to close because we didn't have enough people in it. We tried to get Eucharistic adoration 24/7, we couldn't get that to happen, and we had about 10 to 15 people going to Mass each day, and we were literally managing decline is what we were doing'. And she said, 'I'm here to tell you right now we just won the bronze medallion in the diocese, for our elementary school is completely full, we have a waiting list to get into the school. We have Eucharistic adoration 24/7. We've got almost 200 people gone through Alpha who are now on service teams with us. And the thing that Father really notices: 5 years ago we raised $25,000, this year we raised $100,000. And Father learned something: converted people give money' (clapping) They are now mentoring 25 parishes in the Minnesota-Iowa area, it's called CORE Ministries.
I called them a couple of weeks ago and said, 'How's it going?' 'They've put 1500 people thought Alpha', she said. 'We've got about 250 people who are engaged in mission, helping us build other parishes and mentor other parishes'. Ordinary people. And I said, 'How did it go?' She said, 'The crazy thing is nobody believes it when you tell them how simple it is. They just don't believe it. All we are is environmental architects', she said, 'We set up this opportunity and we invite people, in the kind of way that Laurie described this morning. 'I was loved, and nobody judged me, and they welcomed me and they loved me' – and they met the Lord. Amen? Amen.
This parish is a sign for us. The Lord is responding and helping us with the challenges that we are facing. It's a Caleb moment, like the pastor said. How many of you have experienced over the last few years of your life and ministry what he was saying about the 10 that said it just ain't going to work? Most of us are tempted to experience that same thing. And what we need to do and what we need to hear is not, 'Wow, Fr James is Superman', you know, I mean if he was in our parish, sure it would work. Did you hear what he said today? Wasn't it revealing, listening to them about their relationship? It was so great to hear about the push back on Fr James. That made my weekend. It was so good.
Look, we don't know everything, but what we do know is that we're called, and that the One who is calling us is faithful, and that He has the power to accomplish all that we can ask or imagine. And so they take that step of St Peter out of the boat, and they decide to live right here (balancing precariously on one foot). Friends, this is where the power of God gets released. Not when we're sitting in the boat, but when by His command we step out and we just decide, we're going to live the kind of faith that you spell R.I.S.K, a faith that will risk because we know the One who has called us is faithful.
That current of grace is already present in your parishes in various ways. But the Lord wants to ratchet up the voltage a little bit. He wants you to know that He has clothed you with power and is making you a conduit of this grace to be released in your parish, and to help your people come into that experience of the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Amen? Amen.
How many of you think we're facing new challenges in our culture? How many of you think the wheels are falling off around us? We are in an intense battle, aren't we? Pope Benedict XVI characterised our time like this: He said, 'Today the faith is in danger of dying out in vast areas of the world, like a flame which no longer has fuel'. He said, 'What we are witnessing is humanity is pushing God from the human horizon' and he said, 'As God is pushed from the human horizon, the light that is in God, what happens? Darkness begins to settle on the human mind and the human heart', and then he reads it perfectly – he says, 'As a result humanity is losing its bearings'. Do you see that? We don't even know what a family is anymore. We don't even know what sexuality is about. We are incredibly confused, our culture, and it is getting more and more confused all the time because people have pushed the light away. And what is God doing in the midst of it? He's pouring out His Holy Spirit, the answer friends to the dilemma of the time we are living in. Pope John Paul II said, 'You are the answer, the Spirit of Christ Jesus risen in glory in your heart is the answer to the moment that we're living in. So be the light of the world, and be the salt of the earth.' Amen? Amen.
We're going to take a few minutes to pray tonight, maybe a bit longer than we've had the last few sessions, and what I want to do first is to sing. Let's stand. We are going to ask the Holy Spirit to come and to lead us in our prayer. I want to begin with a song, to give us a moment to open our hearts, stretch out our hands, and open our hearts to the King, using this song as a prayer to invite Him again to pour out His Holy Spirit on us.
(If you want to join in with this time of prayer it begins at 1 hour 20 mins into the recording https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I5nJ8T3QKE )
(Song: Lord, I need You)
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defence, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
Where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defence, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
When I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defence, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
You're my one defence, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defence, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
Songwriters: Christy Nockels / Daniel Carson / Jesse Reeves / Kristian Stanfill / Matt Maher
PH: As we were beginning to pray, Cilla had a sense from the Lord that she wanted to share with you
Cilla: The Lord gave me this sense that there were some people here tonight who feel like a well, but inside they feel like this well is deep and nearly empty. There's a little bit of water inside, but just very little. And when people are coming to the well they can't really draw any water. And I felt the Lord remind me of the picture that Fr James shared of the pump with the water pouring out, and then the picture of the church filling up with water and the water pouring out the windows. And I feel that God is saying to some of you who feel empty and nearly dry, tonight He wants to fill you. He wants to fill you with that life giving water, so that out of you streams of living water will flow and the thirsty will come and there is plenty of water to give.
PH: If any of you feel like that word is for you, would you mind raising your hands? Because we'd like to pray with you. Get them up high so people can see them, don't be shy. If people round them would be willing to lay their hands on them and pray for them for a moment as we ask the Holy Spirit to come. And those of you with your hands up, if you'd like to pray with me:
Lord Jesus Christ, You are my Lord, You are my God. Lord, come. Pour out Your Spirit upon me again. Lord, I am empty, I feel empty. Lord fill me, fill me.
Come Holy Spirit. Blessed be Your name Lord. We ask You to release the power of Your kingdom on our brothers and sisters. Come Holy Spirit.
(repeat of the song, 'Lord, I need You')
Let's pray together. Join me. Lord Jesus Christ, You are my Lord and my God. I love You Lord. I ask You Jesus to release the power of Your kingdom in my life in a new way. Pour out Your Holy Spirit. Send Your anointing. Release the power of Your kingdom. Come Holy Spirit.
Let's wait on the Lord together, just to be in His presence and to receive from Him. He's here. He loves you. He knows you by name.
Some of you are experiencing the Lord just touching you or filling you in some way. If you do, just raise your hand wherever you are, and sense His presence working in you and beginning to fill you with His Holy Spirit. I feel on my heart the Lord saying:
Receive My power. I'm with you. I am with you. I have called you. I've called you by name and I have anointed you. Receive My power.
(repeat of the song, 'Lord, I need You')
Receive His grace. Receive His power. He's here, welcome Him. Say Yes to the anointing He wants to give you. Pope John Paul II said, 'Pray for a rain of charisms'. At this moment, let's pray together, let's ask the Lord to send more of His charisms upon us, to give us the grace of a new Pentecost on us, and on your parishes back home. Give the Lord permission. Invite Him to work in you in a new way. Lord we stand with John Paul II and with Pope Francis who exhort us to cry out to You for a rain of charisms. Lord Jesus Christ, we stand with You tonight, and we ask You Lord to pour out Your gifts upon us anew. Lord, send us more apostles and prophets and evangelists and pastors and teachers, gifts of hospitality and leadership, gifts of prophecy and teaching, gifts of tongues and new ways of praying. Lord, new freedom in the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit. Come Lord.
(song: 'Holy Spirit You are welcome here')
He inhabits the praises of His people. One of the things to look for, and the Lord wants to help you as you go home, is to help teach your people how to cry out to God. To help them, give them permission to be able to open their hearts to Him and to welcome Him. It's a sign of the presence of the Spirit, because the Spirit within us cries out 'Come Lord Jesus Come', and that is in their hearts. Cry out to God and to welcome Him in your homes, in your parish, in your ministry.
One of the things we want to do tonight was to ask the priests who were here and you brought your people with you, if you would be willing to let your brothers and sisters lay hands on you tonight and pray and to bless you. If you'd like to, pastors, just raise your hand, put them up so your people can see them, and we'd just like to pray with you. Feel free to join in, and ask the Lord to come and to bless these men whom you love.
Lord Jesus send Your power. Lord bless them, anoint them. Release Your power Lord. Let these brothers and sisters be a conduit of grace, a current of grace. Come Holy Spirit. Lord refresh our brothers. Lord drive away all fear and renew their strength tonight. Let them be Joshua and Caleb when they go home. Let them be men that say Yes, Yes, Yes, God is able. He can establish more here. He can break out His kingdom here in our parish.
Brothers as you're receiving prayer, any feelings of self-limitation, fear of discouragement, loneliness, just give them to the Lord. He knows you. In the presence of these people incarnate right here, He's loving you and speaking to you. He is saying, 'My sons, I have called you, I have named you, I have anointed you, and I promise I am with you always until the end of the age'.
Lord, we pray for a release of Your Spirit in a new and a fresh way in our brothers. Renew their strength. Come Holy God. Brothers, know that you're loved, that God loves you. These brothers and sisters love you, and you are not alone. Lord, we ask that you would forge these teams together. Help us. Come Holy Spirit. Lord we thank You for these men. We thank You for the gift of the priesthood. We thank You for how everyone of us has been loved and cared for and ministered to by priests since we were little kids. Men who have heard our confessions, consoled us when we were sick or dying. Thank You for the word they brought to us in the scripture. Thank You for Your call on their lives. Lord we lift them up to You and we say thank you tonight. Amen.
Now turn to somebody next to you and say, 'God is good' and give them a hug. You guys are glowing now, there's a glow here. Amen. Praise the Lord. Your faces look different. (clapping)
Something hit me earlier today and it's still in my gut, it's a kind of 'splankna' moment for me, and I'm going to give it to you. Say it with me, 'Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom', repeat, 'Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom'. It is time for the Catholic Church to be free, for brothers and sisters to rise up in love and mercy in the power of the Spirit without fear in the courage and freedom of the sons and daughters of God. Amen? Amen.
I want to drive out the enemy, who has tried to drive us down, to drive us in the back, to silence us. Amen? So with me right now, we're going to take authority over that spirit that always tries to steal our freedom. Amen? Say it with me: Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of Your Name, in the power of Your Blood, I cast out every spirit of fear, of timidity, of discouragement, and I receive the freedom of the Spirit, the freedom of the sons and daughters of God. Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Amen. Amen. Amen.
Did you know that the Church has an infinite capacity for regeneration? Did you know that? Did you know that the Church has right now all the power, every resource it needs, to conquer every enemy strategy the enemy brings against Her. Amen? Amen. Because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Right now many people in our countries are scared, aren't they? Because it is so strange what's going on, right? People are frightened, and lots of Catholics are frightened and confused, right? They don’t know what you know. What you know is that Jesus Christ is Lord and that Jesus Christ is enough. The reason we have strength in us that are stronger than the world is that Jesus Christ reigns in glory at the right hand of the Father. Amen? Amen. And He's given you a share in His glory. Amen. It's in you. The thing the devil is so afraid of is if we start waking up, if the Church starts waking up to what it's got – if we cast aside our idols and our lukewarmness and we wake up to Jesus Christ like that 17 year old girl that was here with her game face on. If we receive that Spirit, and the freedom, look out, we are actually the answer for United States, for Canada, and for the world. Right? Jesus Christ is what they are all looking for (clapping). He's it.
We prayed with our brother from Pittsburgh? Are there any other protestant or non-Catholic brothers and sisters we can pray with? Put up your hand if you're here. Get them up nice and high. Would you be willing to come up here, so that we can pray with you?
(around 15% of the participants responded to this)
When Father was interviewing Pastor Lee a few minutes ago, it was another very important sign that we can't miss of the grace that's present here. It's the Holy Spirit who brings us together. The Holy Spirit wants unity. He wants to bring us together. Amen.
You brothers and sisters, just receive. We are going to ask God's blessing upon you because we love you. We thank you for your Yes to Jesus. Come Holy Spirit. Let's sing again 'Holy Spirit you are welcome here' as we pray for them, just a united prayer of our hearts for you, and for God's blessing on you. (Song)
Lord Jesus we ask You to bless these brothers and sisters, with the power of Your Spirit bless them. Lord we cry out for the broken body of Christ. We cry out that You bring unity in this hour, in this critical hour in the Church. Lord, mend our hearts together. Release the power of Your kingdom. Lord forgive us for how our division hinders our witness, our witness to Your glory, Your majesty, Your love and Your power. Lord we don't want it anymore. We can't do it on our own power. Come and heal and unite, mend us together with one voice in this confused world, where we can say together Your name Jesus, we can say Jesus to the world united. Brothers and sisters, we love you. We thank you for being here. We thank you for the witness that you've been to us in so many ways; your faithfulness to preaching the Gospel. We pray tonight with united voice that the Lord would bless you, your lives, your families, your ministries, with a double portion of His grace, in power, for His glory, for the glory of His great name. In Jesus' holy name we pray. Amen. Amen.
Let's pray for the St Benedict's team. Amen? (clapping) Could the St Benedict's team come up here? The whole team that's here serving, not just the leadership team, everybody, and the staff. This is a big family. Amen. Let's thank the Lord for them (clapping) This is Jesus. This is what happens when we sinful broken people decide to be honest about who they are, even weirdos, and just give the Lord permission to reign. Amen. Look at all of you. This is amazing. Let's extend our hands, brothers and sisters, over them, and pray God's blessing on them.
(Song: Holy Spirit You are welcome here)
I can say on behalf of everybody who is here, thank you. Thank you for your Yes to Jesus. Thank you for your sacrifice and your love. You know, your little community is starting to touch the whole world because you are saying Yes to Him. We want to thank you. We have all been touched immensely this weekend. God is using you, He's commissioned you, He's empowered you, He's anointed you. He's given His authority to you because He wants to wield you like a sword. He wants to set captives free all around the world. You gave Him permission. What you have done this weekend is just beginning. This is not the end or a climax but a beginning of a move of God in you, if you just keep saying Yes. Amen? Amen.
I have to say a special honour to the women, because in these testimonies it started with a woman, right? It started with a woman, yeah. Amen. You are so special. God bless you brothers and sisters (clapping)
Dan O'Rourke: This is the St Benedict family all crushed up around the stage and we were all so excited to have all of you 600 people come and visit us. And like any proper family gathering where we've invited extended family from countries and from cities all over the world, we wanted to take some photos of our gathering. So we had our teams going around taking some pictures and shooting some video of the last 2 days and we've put it together in lightning fast speed so that we can have a chance to watch some of what we experienced.
(The video is 6.18 minutes long, https://youtu.be/ZxAuyuElKUM or search 'Divine Renovation Afterglow Video'. It contains snippets from the workshops, so it's well worth viewing.)
Father James Mallon: I said at the beginning that we didn't know who was crazier, us for doing the conference, or you for coming, but actually there were a number of people who were even crazier than that. The guest speakers here at this conference who came from far away…basically I called them and said, 'Hey, how would you like to come and speak at a conference that we don't know if anyone will come at, and pay your own way, and not get paid for it?' and they all said Yes. (clapping) We have a gift for you, a special Nova Scotia crystal Christmas ornament with the DR16 logo engraved on it. Thank you so much. (clapping)
There are 2 final people I wish to say thank you to, who put in an incredible amount of hours, Anne Marie Sime and Elizabeth Randell, who dealt with many of you over this last year. I think these 2 women spoke and emailed personally to almost every one of you over the last year. These women were sometimes working from 5am in the morning till 11 o'clock at night, working very passionately to make this a success. I also want to thank Louise and the organising committee that at the very beginning got things going. There's so many more to thank, you know who you are. Thank you so much. (clapping)
Our closing hymn is a kind of unofficial DR16 theme song, 'Open up the heavens', and that's what it's all about.
Open up the heavens
We want to see you
Open up the floodgates
A mighty river
Flowing from your heart
Filling every part of our praise (chorus of the song written by Meredith Andrews)
Below is a print friendly version, which has had some extra editing. it runs to 12 x A4 pages.'