Catholic Charismatic Renewal in HUNGARY
Jesus Christ, as he promised, sent the Holy Spirit to his people so that they could make testimony about him, the one who resurrected, and to talk about the gospel! The Holy Spirit leads to the basic experience of Christianity, to decide about belonging radically to Christ, to the sacramental grace of baptism and confirmation and the experience of charismas generated this way that are required to a Christian mission.
Three phases of the Hungarian Catholic Charismatic Renewal can be seen:
1. During the 70-ies it used to be the sign and the tool of the vivification of the church. The communist system primarily used to observe the clergy, the faith could be practiced in the churches, the only place to celebrate the liturgy without being disturbed.
It used to be a vitalizing experience to see how spontaneously arranged prayer groups deepened each other in faith and truth.
Ways of spreading the Charismatic Renewal:
- There are some who experienced the new power, the comfort and charismas of the Holy Spirit in a spontaneous way and were looking for the reasons afterwards.
- There are some who became open to the renewal through their contact with protestant-pentecostal groups, after that they started to look for this within the Catholic Church.
- There were some friars living a kind of underground civilian life whose adoration of the Holy Spirit (resulting from their convent) have renewed and they spread over the spirit of renewal (eg. Carmelites, Dominicans, Social Sisters)
- Support given by German and English books, eg. Heribert Mühlen, Cardinal Suenens, etc.
Examinations and observations last until the end of the 80-ies in Hungary.
The renewal with the Holy Spirit meant the experience of power and courage thus collecting the frightened and spread-over people of the Lord into prayer groups. This provided the exuberance of joy in the Lord against threats of being frightened. A certain extent for being hurt by experience the Lord directly at protestant groups was transferred by their theological approach as well. The renewal of the charismas, the exploration of healing services (praying for inner healing) was a great gift since the wounds of atheism, lust and abortions the attitude against life left Catholic people with deep depression. Through the joint prayer lot of people explored and became fond of the Bible and the power of praise and prayer.
2. By the beginning of the 80-ies about 30 priests were involved in the renewal. They used to meet regularly, and by inviting the friars living their underground life also helped to strengthen the Catholic identity of the Charismatic Renewal.
At that time members of prayer groups experienced basic axioms of Catholic faith personally: they explored life confessions through conversion and baptism by the Holy Spirit, the sacrament of repentance, the power of frequent communion, the spontaneous forms of daily and group prayers, and the official prayer of the Church. The communal type of conversion, the impact of deadly sin to the community, the structural sins confronted the Renewal to the mystery of evilness and the eagerness by prayer ministry for deliverance that is a new way for pastoral care as well. The gift of discernment also helped young people to orientate regarding communism, mass media and fallacies coming from the West.
Joint prayers, intercessory prayers for each others, national and international pilgrimages and meetings have gradually led members of the renewal to the experience of the world church and communitiy of saints, to the glory of Mary, the angels and saints.
That time the Berlin and East German Charismatic Rallies, Michael Marsch OP and M. Baumert SJ, furthermore German publications have helped us. However the after-care of those who received the Holy Spirit was missing, but this initiated certain groups to collect information on international communities of this kind (Emmanuel, Communauté des Béatitudes, the secular orders like Franciscans, Dominicans or the external membership of Social Sisters), furthermore the establishment of engaged communities was started, eg. Little Sisters and Brother of St. Francis de Assisi.
The vagueness of finding the right way also led many people to get a correspondent degree in theology. The renewal became a beautiful gift from Pope John Paul II by his encyclical letter Dominum et Vivificantem, then preparation year towards the Great Jubilee consecrated to the Holy Spirit (1998).
3. The ninties, the political changes, the visit of the Pope, the reconstitution of the Hungarian Catholic Church also developed the restructuring of the charismatic renewal. The regional structure was developed. The National Council with 50 people was set up, then the National Servicing Committee electing a leader also to maintain international relationships.
This also meant a kind of integration into the life of the Church since the charismatic people wanted to do something for others therefore they undertook various types of services (communion for ill people, cure of souls for imprisoned people, Bible lessons for the homeless, charity activities).
This stage, subsequent to spiritual development and praying experiences, became the time of accepting the mission.
It was a notable time for the renewal to hear the request of the Pope about a New Evangelization and responding to it as being led by the Spirit. Apostle schools, evangelization courses were established; furthermore prayer groups were looking for their own services (prayer seminars, healing seminars through intercession prayers, retreats both home and in the neighbouring countries).
- KEKAKO school, mediated through Mexican brothers, was established within the territory of the Pannonhalma Benedictine Prelacy. Its target area is the whole Carpathian basin.
- Apostle schools, national charismatic rallies (5 to 12 thousand participants) with an increasing mission to evangelization. This is our acknowledgement to bishop Dembowsky of his services (former member of ICCRS).
- Various music styles for praise and worhsip were established including the New Jerusalem Community with strong links to the American type of evangelization. The “Fire rally”, as they call it, is capable to address those young people having been involved with sects and also look for dialouge and ecumenical approach to Messianic Jews to all Christians.
During the 90-ies Hungary was spread by all types of New Age practices, it was the Charismatic Renewal providing reliable information for Christians that time and since then.
The Hungarian Charismatic Renewal is many-coloured, from contemplative silence and adoration type, through Hebrew liturgy and Taizée to the New Wave of Fire evangelization. One should not confuse styles with the Holy Spirit who wants to address all age groups. The idea of evangelizing cities and large settlements is spontaneously spreading over. There are diocesan and regional charismatic rallies held, usually in the presence of the local bishop. Through charismatic groups the everyday life of several parishes has been renewed: they lead praying services, adoration, visit the ill peopple, involved in charity work etc.
Though it is not easy to keep unity in this colourful activity, we know it is the richness of our Lord being present in such way, and it is our task to use all charismata, to service the renewal of the Catholic Church and the society as well. Amen.
The Hungarian National Service Committee, February 15th, 2004,
Chairman Làszlò Gorove, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org