LEXINGTON, Ky. (CNS) — Charisma. The dictionary defines it as “a divinely conferred upon power or talent,” and “a force of personality or strength of character that inspires devotion in others.”
At the Cathedral of Christ the King in Lexington, Catholics who are part of a rapidly expanding prayer group find both qualities accurately describe the praise and worship they experience together.
Sister Georgette Andrade is involved with “this healing prayer ministry” full time, she said. She recently retired as the cathedral’s parish secretary, a position she had held for 12 years.
“It is a ministry where we praise and worship the Holy Spirit, with music and words of kindness to others,” Sister Georgette told Cross Roads, newspaper of the Diocese of Lexington.
The prayer group follows the Catholic Way Bible Study, which emphasizes evangelism, discipleship, praise, worship and discussion.
“Everything is Holy Spirit-led; we rely on him to bring into our minds what we need to pray for,” said Sister Georgette, who as a religious renews her vows yearly with Lexington’s bishop.
This includes, she explained, “blessings, the renunciation of all fear and worry, and whatever else the Holy Spirit calls to mind.”
“Whatever else” also can also mean cures.
“I know these (healings) have occurred, because — without giving any names — I was there when they happened,” said Sister Georgette. She noted the example of “a young girl who was very ill with pneumonia, and for whom I went to her hospital room, prayed over her, and laid my hands on her.”
She recalled that “two weeks later, I found out (that) eight hours after I left, she had begun recovering, and gone back to school,” said Sister Georgette.
She firmly believes that “it is important for people to know that Jesus is alive and well on earth, that his kingdom is here; he works through ordinary people to show that healing is possible.”
Joan Root, and her husband, Deacon Paul Root, also are members of the prayer group.
Root explained that “we organized it (the group) out of our Light of the World retreat, which took place last November, but at which no one really talked about forming a group.”
Interested parishioners met with Rebecca Whitney, the cathedral parish’s youth minister, who also functioned as the retreat’s worship leader. What started as a gathering of “just six people,” Root said, has now grown to where we have over 100 people on the active membership list, and anywhere from 25 to 50, perhaps 60 people will show up twice a month.”
She said the group “has evolved into a healing ministry. We are praying and seeing a lot of fruit, and evidence that the Holy Spirit is alive and active today, just as it was nearly 2,000 years ago.”
Her message for Catholics who are struggling with afflictions is that “anytime you pray for healing — and there is a difference between ‘healing’ and ‘cures’ — it takes the Holy Spirit, which manifests itself spiritually, physically and emotionally, because that is the plan.”
Deacon Tim Weinmann described the group’s prayerful attitude as “a trust, a belief that the Holy Spirit is calling us forward, and our job is to answer the call by discovering what our gifts are and then how to use these gifts to show that He is active in our lives.”
“And yes, there have been some healings; people have come to us and experienced some recovery to a certain extent,” said Deacon Weinmann, adding that “look in the news media — they happen every day.”
For group member Samuel Awah, who is originally from the African nation of Ghana, charismatic prayer “has been a lifelong thing, ever since our mother would take all of our family to the gatherings.”
“I was also involved with the charismatic movement at different levels while in college,” he told Cross Roads. “In Ghana it is kind of a need to have them, a common experience, but here not so much.”
What would he say to someone thinking about joining the cathedral’s prayer group?
“Remember that our popes have always recognized the need for us to live and walk in the Holy Spirit,” he said, adding that St. Paul VI “knew this, and that knowledge allowed him to do so, to deepen his relationship with Jesus.”
Quoting Corinthians, he said: “No one can proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord except through the Holy Spirit, that is, by becoming the hands and feet of Jesus.”
“By doing so, by becoming lectors and part of the church, teaching evangelism and casting out demons,” added Awah, “we are able to lift ourselves up during our daily walk with God.”
Glover writes for Cross Roads, newspaper of the Diocese of Lexington.
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