Charismatic conference brings youth and adults together in praise

MILLIS -- Nearly 200 people attended the Generation to Generation (G2G) Conference Nov. 4 at the Glen Ellen Country Club.

The conference, co-sponsored by St. Brendan Parish in Bellingham and the Charismatic Renewal Services for the Archdiocese of Boston was the first of its kind and aimed at “bringing youth and adults together to praise the Lord.”

The idea arose when leaders of the parish youth group attended the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference in Chicago earlier this year. They were so impressed with the people they met there, that they returned to St. Brendan’s with enlivened spirit and an idea. They began planning the G2G Conference, filled with conviction that the youth and the members of the Charismatic Renewal Movement could learn a lot from each other.

“Our hope is that our youth will gain the wisdom of people who have been working for so many years,” said Cheryl Duran, director of St. Brendan’s Youth Program, “and that those who have been working will be encouraged.”

Over the course of the day, participants took part in praise and worship, listened to talks, went to confession, and attended an evening Mass. Speakers included Father John Gordon, director of the Pre-Theologate Program at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, as well as Father Matt Williams, Dan Dorion, and Lorrain Farganon.

Engaging, high-energy music, an open and free atmosphere, and eucharistic adoration are all key components of Charismatic Renewal Worship. Vincent Cerasuolo, director of Charismatic Renewal Services for the Archdiocese of Boston, explained the mission of the movement as a “call to great love.”

He said, “The Holy Spirit wants to let everyone know that God is calling them to a great love affair that begins now when we take a step in His direction and will go on until eternity.”

Cheryl Duran used an analogy to elucidate the movement’s purpose.

“Charismatic Renewal,” she explained, “is best described as living the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Think of a glass of chocolate milk, where the chocolate has sunk to the bottom. The chocolate is there, but it needs to mix up a bit to flow through the milk. [Like this] the Holy Spirit flows through all the decisions of your daily life. Sometimes it needs to be shaken up a bit.”

Cerasuolo added, “The Holy Spirit is alive in all believers. Charismatic Renewal is the reality of being led by the Holy Spirit.”

The youth involved found their expectations surpassed by the enthusiasm and vitality of older generations. Kimberly Wright, a parishioner and member of St. Brendan’s youth group said, “In general, the biggest surprise is to see adults worshiping God in a way other than Mass.”

The spirit was high on Saturday, as Catholics of all ages answered the call to sing, dance, and raise their hands in prayer. This spontaneous response mirrors the call to follow Jesus, because in life, Cerusuolo explained, “Jesus is the music, and when you hear the music you need to dance.”