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Martinez (RHS): “Without ‘spirituality’ we would be making a false start”

Interviewed by SIR, the president of Renewal in the Holy Spirit provides an overview of the Movement's 43rd National Convocation and its future projects, with a series of major events planned for the coming months

(Foto Siciliani-Gennari/SIR)

“A new season of intense activity and commitment for evangelisation, formation, mission and Christian witness – the four ‘cornerstones’ that distinguish the life and work of RHSM – lies ahead”, Salvatore Martinez, president of Renewal in the Holy Spirit (RHS) told SIR, commenting on the 43rd National Convocation of the Movement, offering a snapshot of its future plans, marked by a  number of major events planned for the coming months.

Commenting on post-pandemic “rebirth”, Mr. Martinez points out: “‘A new heart. A new spirit’ (Ez. 36:26), the prophetic theme of the Convocation, interprets our times and delves into the existence of a new generation of believers, generated by the coronavirus. Indeed, as past tragedies and revolutions have shown, the scope of the Day After must be not inferior to that of unexpected and overwhelming events.”

Mr President, the closing session of the 43rd National Convocation saw the participation of 1,300 Cenacles, Groups and Communities gathered online. What are your impressions?

Extremely positive, for we were awaited by the Holy Spirit. He summoned us to resume our new life with a missionary and community spirit, after a time of restricted freedom.

No one experienced the Convocation in isolation. Over 57,000 people from every diocese in Italy and from 21 other world countries were involved in intense experiences of unity in faith and fraternity in love in their homes, in the venues of Cenacles, Groups and Communities.

More than 500 communities managed to create a Convocation site, as if they were in Rimini’s exhibition halls, thanks to the dedication of many leaders and animators, each of whom represented the “face” of immense joy spread by the Holy Spirit. Significant adhesion was also registered in terms of “digital conversion”: the website https://rinnovamento.org/registered approximately 370,000 page visits, with online ‘stands’ and formation and evangelisation initiatives in Italy and abroad that will resume in the summer. Over 14,000 brothers and sisters accessed the RHS digital platform for the first time.

This event – preceded by a New Life in the Spirit online seminar -, held in Rome’s headquarters, with the participation of the National Service Committee and the National RHS Council, as well as in the various communities, was organised to encourage a community “rebirth” after the harshest months of the health emergency. Mission accomplished?

The 43rd Convocation was yet another “pastoral challenge” for our ecclesial conscience, initiated on the occasion of the 44th National Conference of Animators, held at the end of 2020, revolving around two central tenets dear to Pope Francis and set out in his latest encyclical, namely social charity and fraternity. These two words must be experienced, interpreted and borne witness to in the community. If not, we will fail to be consistent with the Christian community after Pentecost, disciples of an event that requires to be made manifest and incorporated into history.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, I consistently argued that no virus, no economic and social crisis is beyond spiritual- and ultimately social, cultural and anthropological – solutions.

Therefore,

without “spirituality” we would be making a false start.

Insofar as we embrace the boundless love of God for humanity in the personal experience of the outpouring of the Spirit, the resumption of our social life is and will be spiritual. The sub-theme of the Convocation, “Let us restart with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit!”, with a historic “Online seminar on New Life in the Spirit” during the Pentecost Novena, attracted thousands of people.

The movement of the Spirit is always purposeful, or it would not be “from God”;

and while the coronavirus has distanced us physically and stalled community life, today we can confidently rely on the numerous signs of rebirth, newness and charismatic graces poured out by God in abundance for our own good, for the common good.

The “Burning Bush”, presided over by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, and the prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit were widely attended. Can the “new heart” characterising these two eventful days be truly “perceived”?

“A new heart. A new spirit” (Ez. 36:26), the prophetic theme of the Convocation, interprets our times and delves into the existence of a new generation of believers, generated by the coronavirus. Indeed, as past tragedies and revolutions have shown, the scope of the Day After must be not inferior to that of unexpected and overwhelming events.

Our proposal is a “heartgnosis”, i.e. the knowledge of the heart, to discern God’s love within us and in history, in the heart of the world.

This was done with the expert contribution of speakers, clergy, inspiring witnesses, animators and leaders who enabled us to “see and hear”, as at Pentecost, the work of the Holy Spirit. In presiding over the Eucharistic adoration with Burning Bush charism animation for consolation, healing and deliverance, Cardinal Comastri pointed out that although we are in different places, “we are united in our prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and thus our love for Jesus becomes so strong that it spreads throughout the world as a veritable Church that goes forth.”

Over the course of the four sessions, events planned for the coming months were also presented…

A new season of intense activity and commitment to evangelisation, formation, mission and Christian witness – the four ‘cornerstones’ that distinguish the life and work of RHSM – lies ahead.

The National Schools of Formation are scheduled for the summer and the fall at regional level ( approximately 30, from July through September): “Charismatic Holidays for Young People” (July 25-31 in Cupramarittima) and, “Charismatic Holiday for Families” (August 1-7 and 8-14) in Loreto; the Ecumenical New Life Seminar (August 6-8), the Charism Spiritual Animation School (August 17-22) in Rome followed by the launch of the first National Team of Charism Formators (August 26-29); a national pilgrimage to the Holy Land at the end of August and the traditional national pilgrimage of families (September 11). Finally, let us not forget our focus on the land of Moldova, the venue of our 3rd National Convocation (25-26 September) and the traditional national retreat for priests, deacons and men and women religious, in Assisi and online from Rome (November 16-20 ).

Pentecost is the gift of the Holy Spirit: those who embrace Him are bestowed with ‘dynamis’, a dynamic power that allows for no standstill and brings us forth.

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