YOUR REPORT October 19 of the retreat for priests in Rome organised by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office will have surprised many of the priests from England who attended it. Not that anything the report stated was inaccurate. But it seemed to have missed the most important aspects of the retreat.
We were over 6,000 priests, including more than 80 bishops from over 100 countries. We spent most of our time during those five days in the large papal audience hall, going into St Peter's daily for prayer, and for Mass on the last day, which we concelebrated with Pope John Paul II. That last Mass was for many of us an unforgettable experience, as thousands of priests sang in tongues and worshipped together with the Pope.
It was very interesting and sometimes moving to listen to bishops and priests describing the progress of renewal in the Spirit in very different circumstances and parts of the world. One felt that the same Holy Spirit was basically doing the same thing in very different settings.
The general theme of the retreat was "A call to Holiness". One of the most helpful talks was the one given by Mother Teresa of Calcutta on "The Yearning of God's people for Holy Priests". Another much appreciated talk was the one given by Cardinal Suenens on "Christ's Gift of the Holy Spirit". The prayer for inner healing led by Fr Emiliano Tardif was also a very fruitful time.
The retreat was a truly blessed one for many of us, blessed in that we were made more fully aware of the basic call we share with all Christians to grow in holiness.
Benedict Heron OSB Priory of Christ the King, Bramley Road, London N14 4HE