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February 24, 2017

Catholic Pentecostal or Charismatic Movement

The Pentecostal or Charismatic Movement began among Catholics in 1966 with Ralph Keifer and Patrick Bourgeois, laymen and lectur­ers in Theology at Duquesne Catholic University in Pittsburgh.

Both men attended a Congress of the Cursillo where they met Steve Clark and Ralph Martin who were student activists in St. John’s Parish, East Lansing, Michigan, U. S. A.

By this time Steve was reading a book “The Cross and the Switch Blade” written by a Protestant Pastor, David Wilkerson. This book describes how the pastor (Wilkerson) out of his inner impulse abandoned his parish ministry with its salary to minister to drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoho­lics and juvenile delinquents, in the slums of New York. Another book which influenced them was the one read by Ralph Keifer titled They Speak in Other Tongues by John Sherrill. The book describes the history of the pentecostal communities and spiritual renewal within protestant denominations. “In their struggles with apathy and unbelief among college students, they (Keifer and Bourgeois) realised they needed the kind of power that Wilkerson seemed to possess”.

The Cross and the Switch Blade made it clear to them that “The Holy Spirit is what they needed for such a marvellous act of Christian charity and strong zeal for Christian activities”.

Ignoring the Bishop of Pittsburgh, John Wreght, Keifer and Bourgeois consulted an Episcopalian Pastor named Lewis who referred them to a Protestant Pentecostal prayer group.

At the prayer meeting of the group on January 13th, 1967, they requested baptism of the Holy Spirit and were excited to discover that they could speak in strange tongues.

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Returning to Desquesne University, they initiated other Catholics into the pentecostal rite, and the movement grew rapidly. Soon there were also groups at the University of Notre Dame and other Catholic centres. The movement came to Nigeria in 1974.

To be contd.   



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