The spirit is alive at St. Charles Borromeo Church

The spirit is alive at St. Charles Borromeo

PROVIDENCE —The late Father John Randall, the longtime pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, envisioned a day when pilgrims from all over the world would flock to the South Side church to experience the energy of the Holy Spirit as it manifests itself in the people of this charismatic parish.
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At Pentecost, the liturgical feast which marks the conclusion of the Easter season, parishioners here go forth with a special zeal as they invoke the Holy Spirit to touch them and those they hold sacred, imbuing all with the gifts of wisdom and knowledge.
Jose Rodriguez says he is grateful for the spiritual support he receives through the prayers he offers regularly at his church.
“We’ve been through a lot of difficulty in a number of different ways and have faced a lot of challenges,” says Rodriguez, who attended a novena to the Holy Spirit Sunday night at St. Charles with his wife Narcisa as a way of giving thanks for the divine help they have been given.
“I feel like our lives have changed. The Holy Spirit is keeping me above water.”
Rodriguez says that in the last two months, coinciding with the time that he volunteered to help with preparations for Mass and services at the parish when the person who ordinarily takes care of those areas was out, he experienced “something special,” and believes the Holy Spirit is working to protect his family.
He said they were about to lose their home to foreclosure.
“Suddenly, they needed help at church, and I was not used to helping at the altar,” he said.
He worried that he could not maintain a required kneeling posture for an extended period of time during a service.
“I prayed that I would be able to make it, and I felt great support after that.”
That day, he said he felt his heart tremble and since then, circumstances in their lives have changed from bad to good.
“I feel a stronger love for God and a new life,” his wife Narcisa said.
The couple joined about 150 fellow parishioners and others, some of whom traveled from the far reaches of the diocese to attend the novena.
For the nine days leading up to Pentecost, which will be celebrated on Sunday, the parish hosts a nightly novena, filled with vibrant music and spontaneous dances of joy as the faithful call upon the Holy Spirit to enlighten their minds and fill them with strength.
“When we pray, we try to imitate the primitive church,” said Father Jaime Garcia, pastor of St. Charles.
“The novena was inspired by Father John Randall. He was very open to charismatic renewal for many years.”
Last year’s novena was to be Father Randall’s last. Ailing, but determined, he prayed through the entire night with the flock, but went into the hospital a few days later and died.
“He died happy,” said Father Garcia, who noted it was Father Randall who had prayed for his vocation to the priesthood.
Father Garcia had volunteered at the parish since 1986 as he worked as a manager in the jewelry industry. He was ordained to the priesthood four years ago.
Over the course of the nine days, those who gather ask the Lord for the gift of the Holy Spirit and pray for different aspects of the church and its followers.
On Sunday, they prayed for those who govern the church — the bishops and pastors — as well as for additional laborers to enter the vineyard in service.
Lizaldo Vargas, 36, is currently discerning a vocation to the priesthood, and enjoys access to the prayerful observance of Jesus offered at his parish day or night.
“It’s a blessing having 24/7 adoration,” he said. “You can grow here,” he said.
Vargas said he is very much looking forward to the annual all night vigil that will be held at St. Charles this Saturday, beginning at 10 p.m. and lasting until 6 a.m. on the feast of Pentecost.
The vigil will feature testimonials from those who say the Holy Spirit has worked through them to achieve goodness, and all will pray the rosary.
Father Garcia and Deacon Jose Rico will lead the congregation in prayer through the night, including the parish’s active Legion of Mary, as they do for the entire nine nights of the novena.
“The world needs revival, these are tough times we are living in,” says Father Garcia.   http://www.thericatholic.com/

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