Catholics of all ages are invited to kick off the new calendar year by seeking strength through the Holy Spirit. That’s the mission of every activity Catholic Renewal Ministries hosts across the diocese.

Catholics gather regularly at the local level in roughly 20 prayer groups for strengthening, intercessions, healing, and “Life in the Spirit” seminars. Every February, they offer similar sources of spiritual growth and healing at the diocesan level during the Catholic Renewals Ministries conference. The next one, guided by the theme, “Let God Arise,” is Feb. 8-9 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The conference gathers kids, teenagers, young adults and adults for lively liturgies, spirited praise and worship, inspiring talks and a chance at healing. Separate teen sessions launched a few years ago, and this year marks the unveiling of a “prayer and worship fest” strictly for young adults. It’s 9:30-11 p.m. Feb. 8 following Mass and the general opening session.

Jojo Concepcion, worship leader for Simple Praise Ministry, an outreach of the renewal movement and local parish youth leader, will guide the young adult session. He said everything will help Catholics focus on how God is penetrating in their hearts to become more alive to what He wants them to do.

“Let Him arise through us,” Concepcion said.

The young adult portion of the conference will be the first time for Catholics college age and older to gather as a diocesan group. Concepion kicked off Monthly Night Fellowship sessions at the regional level last fall. The nights, which fit in with one of the bishop’s Year of Faith recommendations, feature praise and worship and a themed Scripture study.

Resources are available to help young Catholics in other areas start up their own fellowship. He hopes some will step up as leaders so that the fellowship nights can serve other Catholics not keen on commuting across the Valley.

“We’re trying to build it where it’s going to be a resource center,” Concepcion said.

That will equip them to be more active Catholics, he said, such as becoming worship leaders at their parishes. Many of the adults are already active in their parish and humbly accept requests for healing and intercessory prayer.

“It’s been powerful. We’ve seen lots of miracles,” said Marge Chavez, who oversees the adult portion of Catholic Renewal Ministries.

An intercessory prayer group that meets Thursdays at the Diocesan Pastoral Center following the noon Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica began meeting weekly more than a year ago. Their monthly gathering just wasn’t enough.

Requests have come in for Catholic Renewal Ministries to start prayer groups in Prescott and they’ll soon be expanding to Williams, Ariz. and into the Tucson Diocese.

“We’re support for anybody that needs it,” Chavez said.

She’s also fully aware that there are many other events for Catholics the same weekend as the charismatic renewal conference and encourages Catholics to go where the Lord calls. Attending parts of the renewal conference is another option, she said, one many take advantage of around personal schedules.

“We’re trying to prepare people for the kingdom, noting that the battle is with the enemy. If we can bring unity with all the groups, what an Army we would have,” Chavez said.

That Catholic Renewal Ministries Conference will feature local and international speakers during keynote addresses and breakout sessions.

Maria Vadia, part of the renewal movement in Miami and founder of the “Jesus is Lord” chapter of Magnificat in Miami, will be the key speaker a both the youth and adult sessions. Vadia is also an accomplished author, leader through Warriors of Worship Ministries and has ministered to prayer groups in a women’s detention center and abroad.

Fr. Bill Halbing a New Jersey pastor and global preacher, and Bob Valiante, who headed his diocese’s first charismatic conference 30 years ago, will also speak. Both men have roughly 40 years in charismatic renewal of the Catholic Church.

‘Let God Arise’ Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference

Feb. 8-9

Phoenix Convention Center – south building, 100 N. 3rd Street

Cost: $25 by Jan. 23, $35 at door

Info: (480) 201-6691 or (602) 576-1347.

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