Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will serve as principal celebrant of a Mass to mark the 50th anniversary of the New Jersey Catholic Charismatic Renewal State Conference Sept. 23 at 11 a.m. in St. Mary Parish, Middletown. The Mass will be one of the events to occur during the two-day event which begins Sept. 22 and includes praise and worship, teachings, healing prayer, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and keynote speakers.
Father Jeffrey Kegley, pastor of St. Mary Parish and liaison to the CCR, quoted the current pontiff as he stressed the importance of the charismatic renewal.
“In the words of Pope Francis, 'There is a current of grace flowing into the Church by the charismatics,'” Father Kegley said. “In these 50 years, those who have become involved with this are alive in their faith. They have a great charism for the evangelization of and bringing Jesus Christ to others. It flows into their lives and the lives of the Church.”
The conference is slated for Sept. 22 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and Sept. 23 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Speakers include Father Kegley; Father John Large, parochial vicar in St. Thomas More Parish, Manalapan; Father John Gordon and Sister Lucy Lukasiewicz.
Father Gordon, ordained in 1988, currently serves as the Coordinator of the Archdiocese of Newark Office for Evangelization and Coordinator of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal for the archdiocese. He is the former Director of the Pre-theologate program in Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio, and has served on the National Service Committee. Father Gordon has served as parochial vicar in several Newark Archdiocesan parishes including Sacred Heart, Bloomfield, and Holy Family, Nutley, and also served as chaplain in St. Joseph Regional High School, Montvale.
Father Gordon has been involved with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in local, regional, national and international ways since 1975. He is a member of the Fraternity of Priests in New Jersey, praying and sharing with them for more than 25 years.
Sister Lucy was raised as one of four children on a farm in Farwell, Nebraska. Caring clergy during her Catholic schooling, parents who worked lovingly in their parish church and a grandmother who exemplified the Christian life nurtured the faith in the young woman. At age 17, she began to hear of and experience charismatic prayer meetings and Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and came to the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ order, professing her first vows at age 19. Sister Lucy had served as superior general of her order for six years.
Debbie Gaudino, executive director of the diocesan Catholic Conference Renewal, believes the conference will be a time for reflection on the organization’s long history and accomplishments.
“Looking back over the 50 years, we’re celebrating what the renewal has been able to do to help people toward encountering Jesus and leading people into a deeper encounter,” Gaudino said.
Registration for the conference is $25 which includes breakfast and lunch on Saturday.
To register for the conference, see www.dotccr.org or call St. Mary Parish at 732-671-0071 x 222. St. Mary Parish is located at 19 Cherry Tree Farm Road, Middletown.