Mumbai Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) | History


Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR)

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal began at a retreat for college students at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in February 1967. The students had spent much of the weekend in prayer, asking God to allow them to experience the grace of both baptism and confirmation. The students, that weekend, had a powerful and transforming experience of God, which came to be known as 'baptism in the Spirit'. The account of the weekend and the experience of the Spirit quickly spread across the college campus, then to other campuses throughout the country.
The Charismatic experience soon moved beyond colleges and began to have an impact on regular parishes and other Catholic institutions. Loose organizations and networks were formed. Catholic charismatic conferences began to be held, drawing large number of the faithful. The common thread for the Movement is the 'baptism of the Holy Spirit'. For many people, this new, powerful, and life-transforming outpouring of the Holy Spirit takes place in the context of a specifically designed seminar called 'Life in the Spirit', although many have been 'baptised in the Spirit' outside of the seminar.

The Renewal caught the attention of the Church, and the leaders of the movement met Pope Paul VI in 1975. In order to serve needs for communication, co-operation and coordination, a council and an international office were set up in 1978 under the auspices of Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens, named by Pope Paul VI as his Episcopal Advisor to the renewal on the international level. The council was established first in Brussels and later in Rome. On 23rd May 1984, Pope John Paul II named Bishop Paul J. Cords to succeed Cardinal Suenens as his representative to the Council. In 1993, this organization was recognized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity with a new name ICCRS.

In India it all began when the Lord used Minoo and Luz Maria Engineer to ignite the first spark of the Charsmatic Renewal in Mumbai, in February 1972. Later , the first official prayer group started from humble beginnings in an “upper room” on St. Leo’s Road in Bandra- the house of a the Medical Mission Sisters-and thereafter spread across the country. In the early years , the CCR received a great impetus through the ministry of a Penteecostal couple in Bandra, Alan and Eileen Vincent. However, it was the Lord Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit, the sole founder of the Charasmatic Renewal Movement  who began to spread the fire all across the country using various human instruments along the way.
The first Bombay Service Team (BST) was elected around August 1973 and existed for just a year or so, it was the second team formed around June 1974 with Fr. Hillary SJ as its first Chairman that gave the CCR more stable organization. With Bombay giving the major thrust to other states. The CCR soon began to spread to the other parts of the country. A National Office was started in Bombay in 1974, which was moved to Bangalore in 1984 and then to Delhi in 2001. It organized the first National Convention in Bombay and started publishing the national magazine Charisindia. In 1977, a National Service Team was elected by the First National Leaders Conference held in Bangalore attended by leaders of the then-existing charismatic gourps. Fr. Fio Mascarenhas SJ, was the first Chairman and Archbishop Arulappa of Hyderabad its first Episcopal Advisor.

In October, 1980 Fr. Gino Henriques, CSsR of Bangalore was elected Chairman. In 1984 Bishop Valerian D'Souza of Pune was appointed Episcopal Advisor. In 1988, Fr. A. J. Thamburaj, SJ of Chennai was chosen Chairman of the NST. In 1993 again Fr. Fio became the Chairman and Bishop Gali Bali of Guntur succeed Bishop Valerian as Episcopal Advisor. Thereafter, Bishop Valerian D'Souza was once again appointed the Episcopal Advisor. Mr. Cyril John of Delhi was elected Chairman of NST in 2001, who became the first layperson to hold the office of Chairman. He was re-elected for two more terms till 2010, when Prof. Constantine B. Fernandez, a veteran CCR leader from Quilon, Kerala was elected the next Chairman.Today we have Fr. Jose Anchanickal as the Chairman of the National Service Team of the CCR in India.

Youth United For Chirst (YU4C)

The Youth Ministry of the NCCRS is not a new idea. Such an initiative was in operation as early as in 1980’s. Then it was known as the National Youth Pastoral Team (NYPT). This was a central team in which faith formation, leadership training, prayer life, Word of God, Sacramental life and commitment were given priorities and the youth were being formed. They in turn worked in the regions and brought up many more youth and they were responsible for organizing a national level Youth Convention in 1989.

In May 1996, a National Youth Consultation took place in Cochin wherein youth leaders from different parts of the country participated together with their pastors and animators. In that consultation, it was decided to start a Youth Council to have a wider base, both in participation and outlook and thus the National Catholic Charismatic Youth Council (NCCYC) was formed. The NCCYC tried to coordinate the regional youth initiatives in the Charismatic Renewal and in the process was responsible for organizing three National Youth Conventions, viz. in October 2002 in Bangalore, December 2005 in Chennai and December 2008 in Mumbai.

Youth ministries were formed in some of the prominent regions in India like The Torchbearers for Christ in Mumbai (1978), Hosanna Youth in Bangalore, Youth for Christ in Delhi, Young Christian Shepherds in Goa, etc., However, the National Service Team has been sensing for quite some time the need for a national level youth ministry that is networked throughout the country. The NCCYC, with its mandate for service and promotion of the Renewal among the youth, was not actually intended to establish itself as a ministry or to set up its branches in the regions. Subsequently after consultations with the youth representatives from the regions, the NCCYC came up with a proposal for starting a national youth ministry with a common name acceptable to all regions.

After prayer and discernment during two meetings of the NST and consultation with the chairpersons and regional contact persons and coordinators of NCCYC who were present at Nagpur for the Conference of Directors of Retreat Centers and Teams from 1 to 5 December 2008, it was decided to start Youth United for Christ as the youth ministry of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in India. This ministry was officially launched at the inaugural session of KAIROS 2008, the National Youth Convention in Mumbai held from 27 to 29 December, 2008.