Dynamic day of spiritual renewal at Clare Priory

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Dynamic day of spiritual renewal at Clare Priory

Over 100 Catholics came together in Suffolk recently to join in a dynamic day of spiritual refreshment at one of the oldest religious houses in England. Camilla White reports.

Along with the East Anglian diocese’s CHARIS team for Charismatic Renewal, the event was organised and hosted by the community of Augustinian friars at Clare Priory, Suffolk, on April 22, and featured two talks by the renowned speaker and evangelist Ros Powell. Sung worship flowed throughout the day and there was Mass in the church, a picnic amid the Spring buds and blossom of the priory garden as well as time included for confession and a healing prayer service.

After a welcome and introduction by the Prior Fr Stefan Park OSA, whose uplifting guitar-playing also formed part of the music ministry, Fr Gladson Dabre OSA gave an address in which he recalled Christ’s exhortation to us to put aside trepidation and anxiety in our lives, and ‘Fear not’. We can always turn to Mary, our Mother of Good Counsel, to help us to stand firmly with Jesus, just as she did whilst He was dying on the Cross: ‘Our Lady knew it would not finish in the tomb.’

Ros Powell is increasingly known for the compelling and uncompromising witness she brings to her charismatic ministry. In her two talks at Clare she picked out texts from both the Old and New Testaments to show that we are all called to enlist in the ongoing spiritual battle that is raging all around us. We are recruited, but we are assisted – the Holy Spirit is ever active and available to protect and invigorate us for the fight. “It’s not about your capacity….God’s strength is perfected in weakness!”

She quoted St Mark’s gospel and the letters of St Paul to show that the mission which God has given to us is irrevocable. ‘The cloud of witnesses are looking for your eternal YES,’ she said. She reminded listeners of the wide variety of the Holy Spirit’s gifts, which have been freely distributed to all at Baptism and Confirmation, and of the need to stir these into action, through prayer. She gave powerful testimony of her experiences over the years as a Catholic speaker at conferences, and of her on-line prayer ministry during lockdown, as well as her work inside prisons as an evangelist. Underpinning all of it is her bold reliance on God. ‘He will give you the guts. You don’t need a rod. The fish will jump into your boat.’

Afterwards, Philip Walters, who leads the CHARIS team in the diocese, reinforced this message and its challenge. “I would urge people to just give it a go,” he said.

The essence of a Day of Renewal is hard to define. Philip emphasised that all of us have received the Holy Spirit at our Baptism, but that days like this can deepen our understanding and our personal response to this. “When we all get caught up together in praise, we’re all joined together with the Holy Spirit and aware of His presence. It’s about allowing the Holy Spirit to pray within us to glorify the Father,” he said.

Healing is an integral aspect of renewal. Philip has met many inspirational people who have had their life radically healed through a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit.

“A lot of hurt may come through a broken relationship. You can get over it by knowing God’s personal love for you. This is supernaturally given by the Holy Spirit,” he said. “He is calling you into a relationship of love with the Father. This is what the Spirit does, He brings life.”

He added, “I pray each day for the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to me, and I invite Him to fill me. God respects your own freedom. It’s when we ask God to come that He really comes in power.”

Pictured above is Ros Powell speaking at Clare Priory.