Author: Rick S.
I am a cradle Catholic. My mom and dad provided a good foundation to me when I was growing up. I used to serve as an altar boy. Then I went to college and misbehaved there a bit and strayed from my faith, though I still went to church. But I always had a heart for the poor – those who had no voice. I tried to be their voice, having grown up in a poor, humble family myself. I was involved with Northern Colorado’s immigrant farm workers and became very angry with the establishment and the world, seeing their cycle of poverty. I tried to help those poor people and taught their kids English and other practical skills. After that opportunity ran out, I had nothing else to do, so I started to drink and party without much purpose in life. The people I hung out with had bad habits and those habits soon became mine too...
Author: Deacon Chuck Matzker
During the Liturgical Year between Easter and Pentecost, we read the Acts of the Apostles as a reading in the Mass. As we prepare for Pentecost, one cannot go through this book of Acts without coming face to face with the fact that praying in tongues was a reality in the early church.
The questions that can arise from these texts are – what about now? – is this a valid gift of prayer for TODAY? If so, what is its purpose? Is it Catholic? Why would I want it?
My intent here is to try to briefly answer some of these questions, and in so doing, to bring us to a deeper appreciation of the marvelous ways of God, who confounds the wisdom of the wise and asks us to become like little children in accepting the Kingdom. I will use a simple question and answer format...
Author: Doug K.
I attended the Life in the Spirit Seminar in the year of 2,000. I joke with people, telling them that it was my midlife crisis. The Seminar was talked about in Mass and I’ve heard a little voice inside me telling me that I should really consider it. It was going to be over seven evenings, but I was working evening shifts at that time. Surprisingly, that obstacle was moved away - my boss allowed me to take off for the seminars and come back to finish the job afterwards.
I don’t drive a car due to my poor eyesight, but my mom agreed to give me a lift. Unfortunately, she forgot that she was supposed to pick me up at work and take me to the seminar. It was very unusual for her to forget like that. Something else strange happened the second week of the seminar and I was late again. I thought – somebody doesn’t want me to be here. This must be important because there is this opposition. So I made up my mind to not be late anymore. I still remember how the two people who invited me to the seminar were there at the registration desk. I told them I must look like a lamb being lead to a slaughter. They just laughed, knowing that the Lord had great things in store for me...
Embraced by the Lord Through His Praise and Worship Community – a Conversion Story
Author: Ruth C.
I was raised a Protestant – charismatic non-denominational. My parents were among the founding members of the New Life Church. But, over the years, I went in and out of churches, trying different denominations. But something was always missing. I was thinking –just give me Jesus. I don’t need all the other fluff. I knew that my relationship with Him did not depend on how big is the meeting, how expensive is the equipment, or how many flashing lights you have.
Unlike at New Life, I found the simplicity of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in power at the Catholic Church. The Holy Spirit is present when He is invited and not put in a box. That’s when our encounter becomes miraculous. That’s when hearts change…
Author: Eric S.
My story is about the power of praise and worship. Before I started with our Charismatic community, I was a bit apprehensive about it. Now I am pretty comfortable, and I even joined a worship music band.
I have joined this community through Life in the Spirit Seminar - people from my parish invited me to come. At the seminar, I met the prayer group and was baptized in Spirit. At first, I didn’t feel very different, but things slowly started to change. When people shared the Word of God at the Praise and Worship meetings, I could understand it. It resonated with me, I received it in my heart and grew spiritually. I responded back to the Word because it spoke to me personally. I felt more alive, especially while playing worship music with our band. I came to love the worship songs - when I’d sing them, I’d really mean them. God was reworking me, putting me through paces I didn’t expect...
Author: Jim B.
My journey with God was ignited by the experience I had at the World Youth Day in Denver, in August of 1993. I was one of about 96,000 people at the Mile High Stadium. We were gathered waiting for the Pope St. John Paul the Great to arrive. Helicopters flew near the stadium – the first two did not land, but the third helicopter finally did land and on the jumbo screen we saw a cardinal getting off. We knew that John Paul II had arrived too. He went into the tunnel with the cardinal and some other dignitaries and, a few minutes later, they’ve appeared inside the stadium in the Pope mobile. As the Pope mobile began to drive around the inside of the stadium, you could hear the 96,000 people gathered sing out “John Paul II, we love you, John Paul II, we love you!” It reverberated throughout the stadium. The place was electrified.
I was in my early thirties and had a powerful experience as John Paul II came by. All of a sudden, I was sobbing. I wasn’t sad and didn’t know what came over me, but all these tears were just pouring out of my eyes. I felt an immense warmth and joy as I was overcome with emotion. It was healing. And it was puzzling. I was trying to figure out what I was experiencing...
Thank you for All you have done for me, Jesus! If there is more, please grace me with that more.
Author: Barbara Matzker
The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him…Exodus 15:2
The Psalms are filled with beautiful praises to God…praises that have become part of my daily prayer and walk. How did this happen to a mother of three rambunctious young boys to whom every Mass felt like either a war zone or a test of perseverance? It happened one day in a totally unexpected place and manner. Pope Francis recently said "I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting Him encounter them…”
Several years ago, long before Pope Francis’ invitation, I was sitting on a floor of a home listening to a young man talk about Jesus in his life. His sharing brought me to say my first spontaneous prayer…”I am not totally sure of what he is talking about, but Lord, I do want what he is describing.” I didn’t even know I was seeking more of God…because I really didn’t know there was more beyond my great Catholic upbringing and all the prayers I had learned from my parents, Catholic schools and CCD. But that night, Jesus Christ did encounter me and poured out His love in such a way that everything in my life changed, and praise became a part of my everyday life, through good times and difficult times. Many other things changed as well, but the praise and joy were what overwhelmed me and continue to do so.
And this is what each ‘Life in the Spirit Seminar’ offers to each of us! An opportunity to say to God, “Thank you for all you have done for me! If there is more, please grace me with that more. Let me encounter you, Jesus.” Through challenging talks, small sharing groups, and prayerful reflections we can each open ourselves to the Grace of God and release of His gifts that were given to us in Baptism and Confirmation. The Gift of the Holy Spirit changes lives! We host ‘Life in the Spirit Seminars’ annually and hope that you can join us!
Deacon Chuck Matzker
Praise and Worship Community