Usually big crowds wait for the Pope in St. Peter's Square, but this time the venue was Rome's Olympic stadium. More than 50,000 people from the Charismatic Renewal came together to see Pope Francis. Known for its outgoing prayer services, the Pope used humor to break the ice.
'I used to describe the Charismatic movement as a samba dance school. I didn't like its way of prayer or the new elements it brought to the Church. But afterwords, I got to know some of its members and I saw the good it brings to the Church.â?
Faced with several modern day challenges, the Pope described the family as a domestic Church, that's being attacked by the devil.
'May the Lord bless the family, may He make it stronger amid this crisis, where the devil wants to destroy it.â?
Several people shared their testimonies, including the sick, the youth and families. The Pope urged the group to leave competition aside, reminded everyone that Jesus is the one and only boss.
'Way back, the Charismatic Renewal had a reputation for always carrying the Bible or the New Testament. Is that still the case? I'm not too sure about that. Go back to this. Go back to this first love. Always carry it with you, in your pocket, in your bag. It's the Word of God.â?
The Pope invited the movement to celebrate its 50th anniversary, in 2017, in St. Peter's Square. Before closing off the ceremony, the group decided to offer one last gesture to the Pope.
'Before the people of God, you reminded everyone that before giving out your blessing, you wanted to be blessed. We don't have gold or silver, but in the Name of Jesus we can invoke the Holy Spirit.â?
So as he knelt, with a bit of difficulty, next to his chair, thousands prayed for the Pope and his mission as the head of the Catholic Church.