By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, Nov. 9, 2018: The Vatican has appointed an Indian lay leader to the 18-member Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Services, known as CHARIS.
Cyril John, a former Indian bureaucrat, is one of the two Asians appointed by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. The other Asian is Brother James Shin San-Hyun from South Korea.
The dicastery, a department of the Roman Curia, on October 31 announced that Pope Francis has erected a new body, CHARIS, to provide a new, single, international service for the needs of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the Church.
Rome has appointed Dr Jean-Luc Moens, a member of the Emmanuel Community from Belgium, as the moderator of the new entity, and Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, papal preacher from Italy, as its Ecclesiastical Advisor. Shayne Bennett from Australia represents Oceania in the worldwide body.
John, a native of Kuravilangad in Kerala, got involved in Charismatic renewal movement in 1982. He has been the chairman of the renewal in the Archdiocese of Delhi, chairman of Indian National Service Team, Chairman of ICCRS Sub-Committee for Asia-Oceania since 2006 and was Vice-President of ICCRS Council from 2007 to 2015, according to a press release from K P Shaji, administrator of the National Charismatic Office based in New Delhi.
Cyril worked as joint secretary and chief protocol in the secretariat of Lok Sabha (people’s council), the lower house of the Indian Parliament until his retirement in 2016. He also authored books titled, ‘Spurred by the Spirit’, ‘Come, let us Celebrate the Holy Eucharist’, ‘The Catholic Charismatic Renewal in India – An Appraisal’, ‘Pray Lifting Up Holy Hands and ‘Prophetic Intercession.’
He lives in New Delhi with his wife, Elsamma, and their four children.
Pope Francis had earlier appointed a committee to set up a new, single service to operate all versions of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
CHARIS is the international body for all expression of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal that began in 1967 as an outcome of the Second Vatican Council.
The press note claims that an estimated 120 million people worldwide now testify to a life changing experience of the Holy Spirit through the Catholic Charismatic renewal movement.
Cardinal Leon-Joseph Suenens, who was appointed by Saint Pope Paul VI in 1974 as Episcopal Advisor to the movement, quickly recognized what the “current of grace,” inspired by the Holy Spirit, meant for the Church. “It is a flow of grace, a renewing breath of the Holy Spirit, intended for all the members of the Church – laypeople, religious, priests and bishops. It is a challenge to us all,” the cardinal had noted.
In 1972, the first international communications office for the movement was set up at Ann Arbor in the United States to coordiante communication among the various charismatic activities happening around the world.
Then in 1976, the office was shifted to Maline-Brussels in Belgium. Cardinal Suenens created a coordinating team, transforming the office into International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office in 1978. The office was again shifted to Rome in 1981 and in 1985 Saint Pope John Paul II invited the ICCRO office to the Vatican.
In 1990, a network of CCR international covenant communities was recognized at Pontifical level as a private association of the faithful, under the name of ‘Catholic Fraternity of Covenant Communities and Fellowships’ with a mission to consolidate the bonds of the covenant communities to the Catholic Church and to encourage evangelization.
In 1993 the Pontifical Council for the Laity granted pontifical recognition to ICCRO approving its statutes as an international organism of service. The name was then changed from ICCRO to ICCRS (International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services), recognizing it a pastoral ministry service the worldwide movement, rather than merely an administrative office.
For many years ICCRS and the Catholic Fraternity worked together presenting seminars on various topics specific to Charismatic Renewal. Together they organized the 50th anniversary of the CCR in Rome at Pentecost 2017.
In April 2016, Pope Francis appointed Michelle Moran and Pino Scafuro to work on the new One Single Service with the accompaniment of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Family and Life.
CHARIS will start its function from Pentecost in 2019, when its statutes will come into effect. On the same date, International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships will cease to exist, the press note says.
The dicastery also announced that the Pope will erect the new body on December 8.