CCR Jubilee Pilgrimage

Testimonies from the Pilgrimage to Rome for the 50th Jubilee of Catholic Charismatic Renewal (1967-2017)


A reflection from the CCR Jubilee Pilgrimage

By Rob and Kathy Hoy

Rob: One of the key messages for me was the importance of doing things in the power of the Holy Spirit. After speaking to people from other communities and hearing what God is doing in other Communities in Australia and the world, I have a sense we need to recapture the power of the Holy Spirit poured out on Emmanuel many years ago. I feel we have yet to see the power of the Holy Spirit being fully released in Emmanuel and need to find ways to operate more fully in the gifts of the Holy Spirit as a Charismatic Community.

I for one have experienced a new boldness in stepping out and using the spiritual gifts since being baptised in the Holy Spirit in 1980. For many reasons my openness and use of these gifts has waxed and waned over those years.

During this pilgrimage, I experienced a sense of belonging and connectedness on several levels.

1. A sense of belonging to the universal Church and CCR in all its vibrant flavours and colours

2. A strong sense of being connected and belonging to the Communities and prayer groups in Australia that I pilgrimaged with in Assisi, Rome and the Holy Land.

3.   A belonging and connectedness to those who have gone before us in faith - e.g. Moses, John the Baptist, the Apostles, Paul, Jesus and Mary - when I stood where they once stood, prayed where they once prayed and reflected on their lives and where they are buried and what that means for me.

The other aspect that was really encouraging was that Pope Francis said ecumenism is not an option for us and we must actively work towards unity.

Kathy:  There were three different aspects of the pilgrimage for me.

First, a 3-day stay in Assisi.  I enjoyed spending time at the birth places of Saints Francis and Clare and learning more about them.  This is where I joined the other Australian pilgrims who would journey with me.  I was inspired by the stories of other pilgrims, especially of how they came to be on the pilgrimage (and their difficulties leading up to), not planned, but a strong urge to go and how they were getting so much out of it.

Then, onto Rome for the CCR Golden Jubilee celebrations.  I have a fond, memorable image of the 'red hat army' swirling throughout Rome - with one common intent and experiencing the current of grace.  I was inspired by Charles Whitehead and Anglican Bishop Sean Larkin who spoke together at one of the workshops on fostering spiritual ecumenism.  I had a particular sense that 'the seed of ecumenism has been watered'.

And then finally onto Israel and Jordan.  I was particularly interested in the geography/landscape and being 'in the place' at the significant holy sites.  I wish I could do it all again, but in slow motion to ponder and reflect.

What did I hear God saying to me?  It's not about me.  Be alert for opportunities to Intercede. My intercession radar was certainly very 'active'. At the beginning of the trip, I felt led to pray for all the people I have ever known by that name (of the holy site, church, basilica).  For example, Francis, Clare, John, Peter, Paul, Elijah etc.  I have continued to do that at home, selecting a name each day randomly. 


Frank & Christine's Pilgrimage – Italy 2017 

In the lead up to our departure we were convicted that the Lord wanted us to pray that His purposes would be achieved in this event.  We shared this and urged others to join us in praying for the veil to be lifted from the faithful of every denomination that we would all receive a revelation of the glory of God and that the whole church would be unified in a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  The Lord was certainly faithful and we believe the He has advanced this goal.

Assisi was such a treat – a breath of the spirit of freedom and renewal breathed into the church through Sts Francis and Clare 800 years ago. The heartfelt word in St Damiano's was “Rebuild my church” - just as much needed now as in their time.

Rome of course was a real focus. At the Australian gathering, Christine proclaimed a prophetic word that the Lord was taking the skin off our hearts and would use us to be His light and bring His fire to the nation.  From there the struggle intensified.  Frank became very ill the next day with acute bronchitis and fever resulting in 2 trips to hospital emergency – the second by ambulance after he collapsed on the way home from dinner.  We turned this to prayer and felt the closeness to the Lord in His suffering for the church.  It led to a dramatic sign when Christine was sent “through the blue doors” by a hostile doctor.  She ended up in a deserted area and sent Frank an SMS plea: “I’ve been sent through the blue doors”.  Quite eerily this text arrived twice on Frank's phone at five past the hour, every hour day and night for the next five days until she prayed before a miraculous statue of Mary offering her Son to the world, in the little church next to the convent where we stayed in Venice.  We could only conclude that Jesus wants us to call on the support of our mother, Mary, in our mission to take Him to the world.

There were many great personal experiences, such as visiting Frank's ancestral home in the Valtellina [in the north, near the Swiss border where we experienced natural beauty and the love and generosity of family members we were meeting for the first time.

For Christine there were many moments of encountering the history and the creative genius of many generations living and portraying the life of the Christ in their art – from the Sistine Chapel to the inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci.  Beyond it all though was the steady presence of our Father in heaven calling us to go beyond the external and be present to our Life in the Spirit. This came to a climax in prayer before the Holy Shroud in Turin.  This is a place of faith without fanfare. The Shroud is not on display but kept in a side altar where the faithful can kneel and pray in silence. In her meditation, the Lord drew her attention not to the evidence of the sufferings of Jesus but to His resurrection which left the scorch marks.  It is the image which captures an instant in time where death became Life and everything changed.  This is our Shroud because we are all baptised into the Christ's death, burial and resurrection.  The Lord said, “This is the shadow of your fallen humanity.  I want you from this time on to live in my resurrection.”  This put all the trials of the pilgrimage into perspective.  We are called to live in freedom from our circumstances.  Through the faith of Jesus alive in us we are called to go beyond the circumstance into the inevitable outcome of His faithfulness, the abundance of Life.  We can testify to this in all the experiences of our four week pilgrimage - too many to mention here.

A reflection from the CCR Jubilee Pilgrimage

By Mary Andryk

Some 30 odd years ago after reading the Bible cover to cover, I realised I wanted (what my heart wanted) was what the Jewish people had, a personal relationship with God, so I decided to immerse myself in the Jewish faith and culture. God nurtured me where I was at, and led me to Emmanuel at its time of praising God in a Jewish way- after all Jesus and Mary were devout Jew's too.

Now years later, I have been feeling lost and alone, wondering if Emmanuel was still where I was called to be. I prayed for the Lord to show me where I belonged.

In the fullness of God's timing (not mine) the opportunity came to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land with CCR and Fr Steve Fletcher from MGL, a dream come true. God really is a God of surprises. I thought I would fall in love with Israel but a strange thing happened, I felt like a stranger. About the 3rd day (the church was not on the itinerary), we went to mass at St Peter's in Tiberius and entered by the side door. We all went WOW! It was a simple small chapel, yet felt special. Fr Steve's homily felt like it was for me, then he said "ask the Lord why He called you on this pilgrimage at this time and what does He want to say to you now”. After mass as we were leaving, Andre, one of the Pilgrims with whom I shared a little of my background, came and said "you must see this" . We went out the front doors and there was a huge circular carved sandstone monument from the people of Poland, and there together were the two towns my parents came from, Warsaw and Poznan. I was amazed. Peter was my husband's name (he really was a fisherman) now Warsaw and Poznan. Fr Steve said “it’s all about family for you today, isn't it?” A light bulb moment. My parents and husband, now all deceased, family is where I came from, Emmanuel, CCR, is where I am home now. I felt a sense of really belonging which I hadn't felt in a long time.

After visiting the Wailing wall, which was to be a highlight for me, I realised I am healed of the yearning for Israel and its people, though still respecting them as God's chosen people, as it is written in scriptures.

I now feel I accept who I really am and where I belong.

Thank you Abba God and Jesus for answering my prayers. (it didn't happen overnight, but it did happen). 

A reflection from the CCR Jubilee Pilgrimage

By Beth Davies 

There were so many moments of impact for me.  I loved the gatherings in St John Lateran, hearing Patti Mansfield share her word about pushing more ardently into prayer and into the Holy Spirit and encouraging us all to pursue, with fervour, a greater intimacy with God through surrendered worship and personal prayer.  The Youth gathering at St John Lateran was also a great time of fellowship and beautiful worship.

A truly important moment in the Spirit was the Australian Gathering at Saint Anastasia's where all the Australia pilgrims from communities and prayer groups came together as one to worship and hear word preached.  It was very powerful, there were some important prophetic words and prophetic actions for us as charismatic Catholics from Australia.  I feel most important was when an Archbishop from (look I can't remember) came to briefly address us - he had come directly from the opening Mass at Saint Maria Maggorie and was clearly under an anointing that had started at that gathering.  He spoke briefly with warmth about his own experiences in the Renewal and then lead us in a very anointed time of worship. Im not even sure what the Lord did in that time but it has impacted me greatly and made me long even more for true abandoned worship that presses in to Jesus Christ - and that this worship is available for Catholics and what’s more is still allowed!

The event that I feel was most impactful for me was the ecumenical gathering at the Circus Maximus - the Vigil of Pentecost with Pope Francis, Pastor Traettino and Raniero Cantalamessa.  For me the word of unity of "reconciled diversity" among all christians, among all those who declare that Jesus is Lord was so incredible and needed.

While I saw many amazing sights and learnt countless new things - the PEOPLE were so key to the experience. The chance to fellowship and worship with our brothers and sisters from other communities and prayer groups from across Australia was invaluable.  I was so encouraged by their aliveness and freedom of movement in the Spirit and their maturity in moving in the supernatural.  I meet some indispensable people who I want to make part of my journey to Christ, most especially the crew from Servants of Jesus and some of the amazing people from CCR.

The urgent and unavoidable call that echoes in my heart on my return is our need as Catholics and members of Emmanuel to break down the walls to demolish boundaries.  It not just nice and peaceful to be more open and work with other Christians and Catholics from other Charismatic groups, its vital.  Other Christians have essential things that we need to learn from and embrace - we need to be in ministry with them - as often as possible.  Catholics from other communities and groups are vital to our survival they have wisdom and life and vibrancy in the Spirit that we urgently need and we need to be family with them.

I went on this pilgrimage wondering if there really was a place for me in the Catholic Church - if I was welcome anymore - I came back realising that there is room and there is a place what's needed is boldness and prayer. 

A reflection from the CCR Jubilee Pilgrimage

By Kat Paine 

I had gone ‘on pilgrimage’ without really thinking about it. When I signed up, it just seemed like something I should do. I was fortunate to attend the CCR events in Rome, followed by a pilgrimage through Greece and Turkey following the footsteps of St. Paul. The trip was simply amazing. There were too many ‘God’ moments for me to write about them all.

Before I went away, the Lord had me on an interesting journey, He had spent the last year tearing me down and building me back up. I could recognise these signs that He was preparing my heart for the future. Specifically, I felt like He was re-engaging me in the vision of discipleship and evangelisation.

In Rome, I was blessed by the sense of community with both members of Emmanuel, other communities (and other young people) in the fraternity and in the wider Catholic church. When sitting in the Australian gathering and the youth gathering, I got this sense that belonging to this community of Catholics, is where the Lord was calling me to be at this time. This was later affirmed during my pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey with other members of CCR. Despite being strangers, we were also family.

The teachings in Rome were incredible. I was inspired by an Australian bishop’s testimony and when he led us in prayer, it affirmed that sense of community that we in the wider Australian church are called to. At the youth gathering, we listened to a teaching by an American priest and his message was simple: we needed to live life empowered by the Holy Spirit. And who could go past Pope Francis at the Pentecost vigil who shared a stage with a Pentecost pastor and encouraged unity amongst all churches and declared that the Holy Spirit was a current of grace belonged to all people.

I was so privileged to follow the footsteps of St. Paul (and often St. John) through Greece and Turkey. To be where those early disciples were and be amongst the places where they converted entire cities and peoples by the sheer power of the Holy Spirit and the gospel message was an extremely powerful experience. This experience inspired me to be a disciple. And I am so excited for what the Lord has in store.