By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T

YARDLEY – For Gloria Coyne, the way to the Father and the Son is through the Spirit. “When I pray in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit takes over,” said Coyne, who is the archdiocesan liaison to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which held its annual conference at the Valley Forge Convention Center April 18.

“The whole point of life,” she said, “is seeking God, and with the help of the Holy Spirit it happens automatically.”

“One may attend Mass simply out of a sense of obligation, but with the Holy Spirit, one wants to go to Mass,” she said. “I don’t understand how you can function without that help.”

Born Gloria Gambino and now 56, she has been a member of St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish, Yardley, for most of her life. Married to Joseph Coyne for 26 years, she partnered with her husband in a business that computerized doctors’ offices, which they sold. They now run a medical records business for doctors. “We started on a shoestring and everything I’ve learned in business I’ve been able to use in God’s work,” she said.

In her parish that means being an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and serving on the parish council; on the archdiocesan level she served on the advisory council for The Catholic Standard & Times and on the executive board of the Stewards of St. John Neumann.

Always deeply drawn to Eucharistic Adoration, she became interested in the Charismatic Renewal about a decade ago. During a brief period when she and her husband were living in the Scottsdale, Ariz., area, she worked on a local Eucharistic Congress as part of the Millennium Jubilee celebration and also participated in a charismatic prayer group. She fell in love with the movement.

Now that she is back in the Philadelphia area, she prays with Holy Trinity prayer group in Morrisville. She also goes to different areas to explain Charismatic Renewal to others, especially young adults, clearing up any misconceptions of the movement people might have and assuring them it is based on the Scriptures and sanctioned by the Church.

Coyne, who serves on the National Advisory Council for Renewal, estimates there are about 100 to 110 charismatic prayer groups in the Archdiocese, probably more in the suburbs than the city, and the number is growing, especially with the influx of Hispanics to the area.

“The movement as a whole brings the person into the work of the Church that needs to be done,” she said.

Through the Charismatic Renewal, “I see people getting more involved. The gift of the Holy Spirit given to them at confirmation is activated,” she said.

One practical way this has been put to use is through focused prayer for religious vocations.

“We pray for vocations every week, and I understand there have been six or seven vocations gotten through that. Charismatic is not the only way, but it is a way the Holy Spirit calls people into vocations,” she said.

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.