The Holy Spirit Institute is a ministry of Charismatic Renewal Services of the Archdiocese of Boston. In the Fall of 2016 it is sponsoring a three-session teaching series called Fire Within The Church.
One object of the Institute is to model good practices for people to bring back to their prayer groups. Accordingly, every session begins with a lively time of sung and spoken praise. This flows into a time of intercessory prayer where people pair up and pray for each-other's needs.
The October 22 morning presentation by Vin Cerasuolo focused on clarifying that Boston's Charismatic prayer groups are part of the whole church in a well organized support organization. This was presented to expand the vision of prayer groups beyond their weekly group gathering to be aware of the following resources.
There is an International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) office in Rome which falls under the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Laity. The www.iccrs.org web site content was projected on a large screen so that all could see how ICCRS comprises groups and nationalities through-out the world. Also the many resources available from this web site were described.
We next were shown the National Service Committee organization which fosters and organizes Charismatic Renewal in the United States. Their http://www.nsc-chariscenter.org web site identifies NSC Members as well as large support group membership. In addition it provides a newsletter and listing of major renewal events in the United States.
In the Boston Archdiocese, Charismatic Renewal Services of Boston (CRSB) is the organization that all Catholic charismatic groups of various ethnic backgrounds fall under. It is briefly identified on the Archdiocese web site at www.bostoncatholic.org/CCRS.aspx. However, for current information about charismatic activities in the Boston area you should go to the CRSB web site which is being newly constructed: www.crsboston.com.
The organization of CRSB was explained and copies for its Constitution were handed out so members could better understand how their prayer groups are expected and privileged to operate. It was noted that four of the CRSB Service Committee members were present in the current HSIB course. Charismatic prayer groups must be part of CRSB to operate within the Boston Archdiocese.
After a brief lunch period, presentations focussed on challenges facing the Church today. First a long series of heresies were described. Most of us were surprised to find that these are still present in various sects today, even though early Church councils and teaching condemned them.
The concept that Tradition guides our discernment in dealing with all faith situations. Vin emphasized this is "capital T" Tradition meaning: If you want Jesus guidance ask him. If not available ask his friends who knew him well: the apostles. If they are not available , ask their delegated followers which were first defined as apostles, evangelists, and pastors who were the early Church fathers. All basic Catholic doctrine we follow today was discerned by them in the first few hundred years of the Church.
Another source of challenge and concern to Catholics is the deluge of common attacks on Catholics by media and secular practices. Copies of documents attacking Catholics, including a United States Government report denying religious freedom to Catholics were handed out to the class participants.
The final source of challenge faced by Catholics is our own attitudes. The group discussed their thoughts and interactions with themselves, their families, the Church, and people in their daily environments.