ROME — Some 30,000 followers of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal will be in Rome this week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movement with meetings and Mass, culminating in a prayer vigil led by Pope Francis in the Circus Maximus.
The May 31-June 4 jubilee is being organized by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships.
The celebrations are capped on each end by events with Pope Francis, starting with the Wednesday general audience and ending with Mass in St. Peter’s Square for Pentecost.
On the vigil of Pentecost, the Pope will address participants during an ecumenical prayer vigil.
Organizers told journalists Tuesday that they expect participants to hail from some 220 countries around the world. Of these, around 300 are evangelical or Pentecostal leaders.
There will also be 600 priests and 50 bishops present.
The program includes meetings, symposia and workshops in locations across Rome, including testimony by some of the witnesses of the early years of the Charismatic Renewal.
Other smaller events throughout will include Eucharistic adoration, concerts, conferences and street evangelization. Mass on Friday will be said by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.
Salvatore Martinez, president of Italy’s Catholic charismatic association, told journalists May 30 that the Golden Jubilee is a sign of communion, unity and charity.
“The Pope urges us to be protagonists of history and to make these charisms a dynamism of love for men of our time,” he said. “Spiritual ecumenism will be the culminating moment, the heart of this spiritual celebration.”
Pope Francis met with members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at Roman gatherings in 2014 and 2015.
Speaking June 1, 2014, the Pope voiced hope that both evangelical and Catholic charismatic groups would share the same office as a sign of ecumenism.
His attendance for two consecutive years at the Catholic charismatic movement’s “Renewal With the Spirit” convocation and his planned participation during this year’s Golden Jubilee celebration show his attention to charismatic movements as a means to foster an ecumenical path and dialogue.
At his May 31 audience, Francis said:
“Brothers and sisters, [with] the coming feast of Pentecost — which is the birthday of the Church — we find ourselves together in prayer, with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and of us. And the gift of the Holy Spirit makes us abound in hope.”