St. Mary of the Lake Parish in Hamburg will host a seven-week Life in the Spirit Seminar to introduce the power of the Holy Spirit to those seeking it. The diocesan Office of Charismatic Renewal uses these seminars to renew the zeal for souls, promote the New Evangelization and a culture of Pentecost.
Catholic groups commonly use the series of talks and discussions in the context of renewal in the Church. It is an instrument for bringing people into a deeper experience of the work of the Holy Spirit. The seminar offers the basic presentation of the Gospel and teaching about what the Lord is willing to do for all who come to Him.
The talks take place over seven consecutive Thursdays. The first four weeks offer the basic Christian message of salvation and what it means to be baptized in the Spirit. The fifth week offers an opportunity of healing with Father Richard DiGiulio, diocesan director of Charismatic Renewal. The last two weeks deal with further growth in the life in the Spirit. The talks involve an introduction and "God's Love," "Salvation," "A New Life," "Receiving God's Gift," "Release of Those Graces that Come with Baptism and Confirmation," "Growth" and "Transformation into Jesus Christ."
The Charismatic Renewal staff encourages people to attend all seven weeks.
"There are some people who, after they come to the fifth talk, which is when Father DiGiulio prays over people for the release of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, they think that after that, 'Well, I got what I wanted. Now I don't have to come back for the last two talks.' The last two talks are very important," explained Anthony Scheeda, associate director of the Office of Charismatic Renewal. "Even at the last talk, we try to encourage people not only to become involved in the life of the Church, but try to serve the Church in a deeper way; becoming a Eucharistic minister, becoming a lector, becoming a leader of one of the councils of the church."
Lorrie Cannizzaro, from Immaculate Conception Parish in East Aurora, attended her first Life in the Spirit Seminar in 1992. She said the program gave her what she expected to find in receiving the sacraments.
"I think the best way to describe it is my life went from black and white to Technicolor," she said. "I knew there was more, I hate to use the word power. Let me put it this way, there was more empowerment in living the Catholic faith. I thought going through all our sacraments would give that to me in a tangible way."
Some people study for and receive the sacrament of confirmation because of parents' wishes or to be with friends. Cannizzaro wanted, and expected, something more. "I was waiting to feel something. When I was confirmed, I didn't feel anything tangible. So, when friends of mine from my prayer group had suggested doing this Life in the Spirit Seminar, which would be a stirring up of all those gifts, I was all in. This is what I had been looking for."
Since then she has developed what she calls the Gift of Knowledge. She seems to know what other people need. "It's helped many people in ways I could never know. Whether it was a prayer or encouragement. Those are really the great byproducts," she said.
The Life in the Spirit Seminar will take place Sept. 22 through Nov. 3, for seven consecutive Thursdays, at St. Mary of the Lake Parish Center Cafeteria, 4737 Lakeshore Road, Hamburg, hosted by the diocesan Office of Charismatic Renewal. $25 checks should be made out to Charismatic Renewal, 158 Laverack Ave., Lancaster, NY 14086.
For more information call 716-683-6522, ext. 114.