Born of the Holy Spirit and launched from a college retreat in 1967 near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal has proud roots of its own in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and continues to establish its legacy here.

Father Raymund Reyes, archdiocesan vicar for clergy, is Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone’s liaison to Catholic Charismatic Renewal of the archdiocese. Father Reyes first became part of the charismatic movement in the Philippines a few years after his ordination to the priesthood in 1988. He said it was an effort to improve ministry to the faithful there many of whom were members of charismatic prayer groups. A Catholic Charismatic Renewal “Life in the Spirit Seminar” was his first step.

“These seminars were aimed to look closely at one’s personal relationship with Christ by understanding the action of the Holy Spirit in one’s life,” Father Reyes said. The weekly talks “helped me understand better why many were attracted and engaged in this fast growing church movement at that time.”

When he came to the archdiocese in 1998, Father Reyes discovered Filipino charismatic prayer groups established in many parishes and found a warm welcome.

“I was invited to attend and speak at the different charismatic prayer groups as well as to the Holy Spirit Conference that was organized and held annually by the CCR of the archdiocese,” he said.

Father Reyes attended the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Rome May 31 through June 4 which included Pentecost Sunday. Two dozen charismatic faithful from the archdiocese joined him on the pilgrimage. More than 30,000 people attended from around the world.

“It was uplifting to hear Pope Francis refer to the CCR as the ‘current of grace’ that has been helping the church promote the proclamation that Jesus is alive and he loves all especially the poor and the needy,” Father Reyes said.

Deacon Ernie von Emster of St. Charles Parish, San Carlos, has been part of the renewal in the archdiocese since the 1980s.

“Many years ago I was longing for a more intimate relationship with my God and he led me to the charismatic renewal where I have been learning to come to a rich relationship with God through the Holy Spirit,” Deacon von Emster said. It was in a “Life in the Spirit” seminar that he “discovered the life and power of the Holy Spirit.” He and others subsequently established a charismatic prayer group at St. Charles. “We learned as we grew in the spirit and our lives were enriched and greatly changed,” he said. Deacon von Emster serves as an associate liaison for communication on the CCR board.

CCR treasurer John Murphy, a St. Gregory, San Mateo, parishioner, has been part of the renewal since its beginnings in the archdiocese. The now retired teacher’s curiosity about the Holy Spirit led him to it in 1974. “God the father and God the son made sense to me but the Holy Spirit was hard for me to grasp,” Murphy said. On the vigil of Pentecost he attended a prayer meeting and Mass with the John the Baptist Community at the University of San Francisco.

Murphy said CCR has “seen many changes throughout its history” and that it came to USF in 1971. Today CCR in the archdiocese includes some 700 members.

 Full story at Catholic San Francisco.