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Carismatic Movement

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 Adviser to the renewal on the international level.             

The council was established first in Brussels and later in Rome. On May 23, 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 CCR began first in Bombay in February 1972 and 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 and 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.