The Promise is to You

From Springtime to Summer in the Church

By Christy Whiting, Upper Room Director

Pittsburgh is not only the birthplace of the modern Catholic charismatic renewal, but it is where three rivers—the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela—come together. It proved to be a symbolic location for the National Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR)’s Jubilee Conference. There, an estimated 6,000 people gathered, including many Filipinos, Hispanics, and Haitians.

The song “Days of Elijah” was played on the first evening before Mass. I happened to be walking, then, by a long wall of windows overlooking the Allegheny, just in time to see the sunset. As the song proclaimed, “Behold He comes, riding on the clouds, shining like the sun…” the clouds sailed in, lit up with golden and pink flames of sunlight.

Below, a boat named “Queen” sailed the river, reminding me of our Blessed Mother Mary, who had, in the conference introduction, just been proclaimed as having a key role in helping us live “full of grace” in the “current of grace” that is the CCR. There, where the trinity of rivers came together under the blazing sunset, creation itself proclaimed that Jesus is Lord over our conference and over the Renewal.

“This current is 50 years young!” Fr. Dave Pivonka declared in his opening homily. And indeed, the rest of the conference was focused on recognizing who we are as the Renewal, where we are right now, and how the Holy Spirit is leading us into the future.

Damian Stayne, Msgr. Joseph Malagreca, and several other speakers, without having coordinated in advance, used the story of Joshua leading the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land to illustrate what the Holy Spirit is doing today.

Through the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 1967 and since, God has led us out of captivity to things of this world, into the freedom of being sons and daughters of God. We have had a generation of “Moses” figures who have taught us how to receive baptism in the Holy Spirit and to use the charismatic gifts. We have come far, but there is still much further to go.

Now a new generation of “Joshua” figures needs to claim the Promised Land, to destroy the works of darkness in our world and to establish God’s kingdom of light.

Over the past few years there has been a “quickening,” a dramatic increase in manifestations of God’s power. Approximately 1,000 people reported being healed at our Friday night healing service alone, and signs like this are happening all around the world. These miracles are not happening for their own sakes, but to point us to Jesus.

At Pentecost, the apostles proclaimed “the mighty acts of God” in a multitude of languages (Acts 2:11). By announcing these mighty acts and identifying Jesus as God, the people who heard the apostles were converted. That is the role of signs and wonders for us today as well.

As one speaker said, “We need to move from Acts 2 (Pentecost) to Acts 4 (where the apostles responded to persecution by praying for boldness and continuing to proclaim Jesus to those who persecuted them).”

God has not stopped pouring out the gifts of the Holy Spirit. To the contrary, He seems to be pouring them out more abundantly. This is not just for the “charismatic superstars,” but for all who believe (Acts 2:39). We must not ignore our own calling to bring God’s light to the world through the charisms He gives us.

Generation Moses and Generation Joshua need each other. Joshua needed to be taught by Moses, and Moses needed Joshua to lead the younger men in battle while Moses interceded for them (Ex 17:8-13). We need to work together with humility and unity to usher in God’s power.

It is by God’s power alone that we can conquer the culture of death around us and bring resurrection. We need to put aside our complacency, fear, excuses, and hesitation, because people around us are dying. Literally dying. If the original Duquesne retreatants had not shared their stories, where would we be? If we do not share the power of the Holy Spirit with those around us, where will they be?

The Eucharist is the source and summit of all Christian life. Mass, prayer, praise & worship, fellowship, teachings, service using our charisms: all of these are essential components of living in the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to rediscover them and allow the Lord to take us to new depths.

On Saturday evening, we symbolically responded to this and to the whole call of the conference by processing through a tunnel lined with walls of flowing water under the Convocation Center, out into downtown Pittsburgh, across a bridge over the Allegheny, and to a park where we worshiped the Blessed Sacrament.


God is calling us to take the land. He is making it possible, provided that we cooperate with Him. This is a new season, a season of fruitfulness. We are moving from the “springtime” of evangelization into the summer!

I invite you to pray about how He wants you to respond. There are prophetic words from the conference here for you to take to prayer as well.

For a link to order recordings of the conference talks, click here.

Whether you are a Moses or a Joshua, we encourage you to come to Upper Room regularly to grow in love with Jesus and in the charisms of the Holy Spirit!

Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
-Eph 3:20-21

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