May 31 to June 4, 2017 saw over 50,000 Catholics, Pentecostals and evangelicals from over 130 nations unite together to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal which began in 1967.
Empowered21 Global Council members, Glenn Burris (Foursquare Church International) who is the co-chair of the E21 Evangelist Commission, Nick Hall (PULSE), Sammy Rodriguez (NHCLC), Vinson Synan (Oral Roberts University), David Wells (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada) and Dr. William M. Wilson, (the Oral Roberts University president and E21 co-chair), all participated in the celebration representing the global Spirit-empowered movement.
The Golden Celebration was a blessed and significant event," said Dr. Wilson. "The large rally on Saturday at Circus Maximus focused clearly on Jesus as Lord. The Holy Spirit was present in a tangible way. It was an exceptional, history-making day."
Ten of thousands of believers attended the ecumenical gathering that included testimonies, music and sermons. Synan, who was present at the earliest stages of the renewal, spoke on Friday of the celebration and noted that every part of the celebration overflowed with enthusiastic crowds.
Pope Francis explained that the event 50 years ago was not the work of an institution but a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit.
"Fifty years of Catholic Charismatic Renewal. A current of grace of the Spirit! And, why a current of grace? Because it has neither a founder, nor statutes nor organs of governance," said Pope Francis.
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal began at a college retreat at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1967. The students prayed for and received a powerful and transforming experience of grace through baptism in the Spirit. The experience then spread from there to other college campuses and to parishes around the world. It is estimated to have influenced over 150 million Catholics worldwide.
"It was an honor to be part of the platform party at the Prayer and Praise Celebration," said David Wells who also serves as vice-chair of the Pentecostal World Fellowship. "It was amazing to look out over the crowds of tens of thousands as they took part in this inspiring, Spirit-empowered celebration of Pentecost."
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