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Pope Francis

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Meet Patti Gallagher, leader of the Charismatic Renewal

2015-08-08

Her name is Patti Gallagher. She describes herself as an American author, wife, mother and grandmother from New Orleans. But, she's also a powerful force within the Catholic Church, and a leader in the Charismatic Renewal

It's powerful ecclesial movement that started off back in 1967. At the very core of its charism is the so called Baptism through the Holy Spirit. 

She describes it as an awakening of the graces of Baptism, which often turn dormant because of lack of faith. Being in tune with that spiritual strength, she says, starts off with a simple prayer.  


PATTI GALLAGHER
Charismatic Renewal Leader
"Then say Lord, Baptize me in your Holy Spirit. You see all my desires, needs, weaknesses. I can't do anything without the power of the Holy Spirit.  Lord, send your Spirit to me. Just these three simple worlds, 'Come, Holy Spirit'- that's  a powerful prayer.” 

She visited Rome to speak to priests and bishops in a world retreat in the Cathedral of St. John Lateran. She was one of the few female speakers to address more than 1,000 priests and bishops from over 90 countries. 

PATTI GALLAGHER
Charismatic Renewal Leader
"They are only men. They are ordained, but they face the same struggles and temptations and the loneliness and the crush of the work so, anything we can do to support our priests, pray for them, sacrifice for them. In this case for me to actually be able to talk to them and pray for them.” 

With an estimated 120 million Catholics in 235 countries around the world, the Charismatic movement has a strong following. But it's lively style has often been misunderstood and reactions are usually mixed. Critics say, the movement focuses too much on the non-liturgical instead of the Eucharist.

Back in June 2014, thousands of members filled Rome's Olympic Stadium as Pope Francis directly addressed the group- and he even mentioned Patti Gallagher by name. 

Even the Pope admitted that at first, he didn't understand the movement, adding that it reminded him of a so called 'Samba School.' But eventually it grew on him. Patti Gallagher says it's about being in tune with the Gospel and the Holy Spirit. 

PATTI GALLAGHER
Charismatic Renewal Leader
"That doesn’t mean people have to be part of a movement, carry a card or act a certain way.”

In North America the Charismatic Renewal has close to 10 million followers. In Asia 16 million and in Africa roughly 9 million. Latin America tops the list with more than 73 million members. 



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