Archbishop at CCR conference
Archbishop Jason Gordon called on participants at last weekend’s Catholic Charismatic Renewal’s (CCR) conference to pursue and evangelise millennials.He believed should that generation become disciples, the Church will be renewed from within, because they will bring an energy and vibrancy to the Church that it desperately needs.
The Archbishop gave the opening address Friday, January 4, at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya. This year’s 22nd national conference was themed: Be bold, Be Strong in the Lord.
He cautioned attendees not to chase “petty foolishness”; instead, follow the “heart” of what is required. “What is required of Church is to bring the millennial generation to Christ. And to be able to do that, you and I are going to have to change because they don’t want to hear authority. They want to see people witnessing the truth of the gospel by the way they live their lives.”
Archbishop Gordon observed that millennials are interested in seeing the Church committed to the “big projects” of the day. “They want to see the Church out on the margins working with the poor and working with the people on the peripheries. They want something to commit their lives to that is more than paper Catholicism…and if we are to attract them, we have to become everything that Christ wants us to be as Church,” the Archbishop said.
Reflecting on the evolution of the CCR, Archbishop Gordon said that the birth of the CCR is an answered prayer of Pope Leo XIII and Pope John XXIII for Catholics to start a new relationship with the Holy Spirit and experience it as something to not be afraid of but as a personal friend, counsellor, comforter, guide, leader, and “the one that will allow us all to be bold”.
“The fruit of the CCR is the encounter with the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the CCR is the waking up of the people of God to the dimension of the spirit, renewing them and through them renewing their families, their churches and their nation.”
Archbishop Gordon explained that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is that Catholics, animated by the Spirit, are now willing to participate in the life of the Church in a way that they had not done for centuries.
He gave the example of the “fruit of the Holy Spirit” present in laity taking their role and responsibility in the Church not as collaborators with the bishops and priests but as “co-responsible” for the mission of the Church.
Another example of the Holy Spirit in action was in the formation of prayer groups. Archbishop Gordon observed that the prayer groups, which started in the 1970s locally, “woke up” the Church and Catholics.
“In these prayer groups, people learned to use the gifts of the Spirit to enter into ministry in a very different way. A ministry that had power, a ministry that was alive…. There was a bold missionary spirit,” he said.
The Archbishop commented that out of this “movement” of the Holy Spirit, ecclesial communities were formed. These communities, he said, allowed another dimension of the Spirit’s life in the Church to spring all over the world.
He questioned, if not for Eternal Light community, where would CCR be in T&T today? “Without Aunty Babsie and her leadership in the beginning, where would we have been?” he asked.
In continuing his discourse, Archbishop Gordon commented on the low Church attendance. He mentioned ten years ago, attendance was 17 per cent and last year 14 per cent. “That’s a trend in the wrong direction,” he said.
However, the Archbishop urged those gathered that even in the face of darkness in their lives, family life, the Church and society, to be bold and strong. He hoped that they would use the weekend as an opportunity to open their hearts to become available to God. “Let this weekend be a bootcamp of discipleship,” he urged. – Kaelanne Jordan, email@example.com