Last weekend marked 50 years since a student retreat at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh became the spark that ignited the Roman Catholic charismatic movement.
It has been a great move of God that has spread throughout the world. In some ways, it’s the greatest grass-roots ecumenical movement in history because it brought together both Protestants and Catholics under the power of the Holy Spirit.
If you know anything about me, you know I love to study history. Over the years, we have done many stories when a ministry or movement marked an anniversary. I am writing about this anniversary because I want to bring focus to it. Later this year, we will write about it in Charisma magazine. I am trying to obtain an interview with Pope Francis about the Catholic charismatic movement, and hopefully we will receive approval for it soon. That will be a major interview and you won’t want to miss it.
Other media have cited this important anniversary. I enjoyed doing the research and reading these articles.
For example, The Catholic Sun did a great interview with Patti Gallagher Mansfield, who is one of the students who attended the retreat back in 1967. She probably has done more than anyone else to document exactly what happened that historic weekend and has been a liaison for the charismatic movement in the five decades since. You can read that interview here.
Of course, Charisma has written about this over the years, When we celebrated our own 40th anniversary in 2015, I wrote a Strang Report about how the Holy Spirit continues to remain alive in Catholics worldwide. Both this article and this one appeared in separate issues of Charisma magazine in 1977.
In 2012, during the 45th anniversary of the Duquesne retreat, we posted this dynamic article online that reported more than 120 million Catholics in 238 countries had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. A lot of these trends about the renewal representing Hispanics, Filipinos and non-whites—also the graying of the renewal—still exist today.
In doing research for this Strang Report, I came across some other interesting articles that I urge you to read. In January, we covered the death of Fr. Mike Scanlan, a major leader in the Catholic charismatic renewal. CBN also wrote about the movement in this article. There are websites such as this one and this one that are dedicated to the 50th anniversary or “Golden Jubiliee” of the Catholic charismatic movement.
To me, one of the most significant things about the renewal is that it came when we least expected it and perhaps needed it most.
The 1960s were very difficult times. Many of you might remember there was an anti-war movement, a drug culture among the young and a war between Israel and the Arab nations. Yet, in 1967, God started a movement that swept the world, brought millions to understand the power of the Holy Spirit and re-energized the faith of many who had become lukewarm.
There are many things about our culture today that remind us of the 1960s—especially the shift to the left and growing immorality. We greatly need a spiritual revival—which has been prophesied by some respected prophets.
Let’s pray that God will send a mighty move of His Holy Spirit again. Pray that the renewal will again be renewed.