By FATHER GUYMA NOEL, Special To The Bulletin | Published October 28, 2010
The Atlanta Catholic Charismatic Renewal (ACCR) community came together at St. Lawrence Church in August for its first congress. The event was called a “first of its kind” because it was the first time Catholics of various cultures came together to implore God for the grace of a new Pentecost of unity.
The conference, entitled “A Call to Unity: Father, Make Us One,” opened Friday, Aug. 27, with Mass celebrated by Bishop Luis R. Zarama. His primary message was a spiritual boost for all present—he said that “allowing the body of Christ to touch our tongue is important so that we can let the presence of Christ in the Eucharist transform us.”
On Saturday, Msgr. Joseph Malagreca, of the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y., was the keynote speaker and celebrant for the Saturday morning Mass. During the day, he addressed the gathering in four languages—English, Spanish, Haitian Creole and French—simultaneously. He spoke on the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, focusing on how unity is essential to let the stream of grace from God flow through the church and the renewal today.
Msgr. Malagreca told attendees, “As we are diverse in cultures, in generations and in spiritualities, we are one just as the Father, the Son and the Spirit are one: unity within the prayer groups, unity within the ministries, unity within the Renewal and unity within the church.”
According to Msgr. Malagreca, the Charismatic Renewal is not a movement apart from the church, but a movement at the heart of the church. He said, “We are a sign of Christ when we work together in leadership, when prayer groups network with other prayer groups, and when we are in union with our parish and the archdiocese.”
One important aspect of this conference was the multicultural aspect: attendees were American, Spanish, Haitian, Jamaican, Trinidadian, Brazilian, Nigerian, Ivorian and Togolese—all were praising together.
The whole focus of this first charismatic congress was to let grace carry participants in a new direction and to raise the questions of how to welcome people of other cultures, races or nationalities and how to cooperate and share the faith together.
At the end of the conference, the chaplet of the Divine Mercy was said in different languages, followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Father Guyma Noel is the liaison for the ACCR.