In this issue:
OVERVIEW C.C.R. IN THE DUTCH SPEAKING PART OF BELGIUM
The charismatic renewal started in 1972/1973. The late cardinal L.J. Suenens was
one of the instruments the Holy Spirit used to introduce and to promote the
renewal in Belgium. At the moment there are a 100 prayer groups, though many
rather small. Most likely, we reach about 3000 Christians. There are a few
beginning covenant communities but we must admit that the growth of charismatic
communities in the Flemish part (Flemish = Dutch speaking) of the country is
During the recent years we tried to deepen the commitment of the participants of
the prayer groups and the vision about charismatic renewal in our teachings.
Each year we receive a word of scripture, that becomes the theme around which we
work that year. This year we received the word from Ephesians: "Awake! .. Use
the present opportunity" (Eph. 5, 14a. 16a). One point of strength is the
formation that is given, often at the diocesan level but also at larger meetings,
especially on the Monday of Pentecost. These teachings help us to grow in depth
and this is a reason to be grateful.
Very promising are the many retreats that are organised and many members take
part at least once a year in one of these retreats. Important is the
contribution of the "Gebedsschool" (school of prayer) in this area.
One of the promising fruits of the renewal is the yearly gathering in
Hoogstraten during the summer, to celebrate our faith. Already during twenty
years we organise this gathering with several hundreds of participants. There
are always in depth teachings, moments of sharing and beautiful liturgical
celebrations. For the first time, this summer the youth will convene at a
different location, but at the same dates. This will give them the opportunity
to have a more specific program. Those in charge of the youth-program
encountered difficulties and reached a limited number of young people. We are
grateful that we will be supported by an expert from the Netherlands in guiding
the youngsters during their encounter in Ossendrecht.
The National Service Committee that convenes 6 times a year is composed by
delegates of the different dioceses and has the task to oversee the different
activities and especially to guarantee the right vision about the charismatic
renewal. There are also links with the diocesan service committees. Since one
year, we don't have a shepherd, a person who has the overall responsibility.
This is a great concern and we invited all prayergroups to pray that the Holy
Spirit will show us soon the right persons to take on this responsibility. We
also think that we will need in the NSC not only representatives from the
dioceses but also persons in charge of different important services.
There are also in different places healing services and prayers of intercession.
We strongly feel the need to train those in charge of these ministries and we
will centralize this training.
Last year, we had at Pentecost-monday a gathering in the national shrine of the
Sacred Heart in Brussels, both with the Dutch speaking and the French speaking
groups. During many years this seemed impossible but there is a welcome
progress, bringing both closer together. The yearly priestly retreat we organise,
is also bi-lingual since two years.
One other important development is the "Discipleship Training School" (DTS) set
up by the "Youth with a mission" and the charismatic renewal, for the first time
in Mechelen. We expect many fruits from this school.
Fr. Wilfried Brieven