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Capturing the moment at the Duquesne Weekend

Written by Peter Smith on .

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My recent article tells of the global impact of the "Duquesne Weekend," a 1967 student retreat considered to be the launch of the Catholic Charismatic movement. That movement has been one of the most powerful impulses toward spiritual renewal within the Catholic Church in the past half-century. 

We who live in the Selfie Era can tend to forget how recent the Selfie Era is, especially compared to something as timeworn as the Catholic Charismatic movement, now marking its 50th anniversary. (In contrast, iPhones are only a decade old.) Above is the only known group photo taken during the whole weekend. The photo was taken by a participant in the retreat, John Rossmiller. In his recollection in the book "As By a New Pentecost", he said that he had barely used an entire roll of film during his college years to that point. But since there were plans for a birthday party for some of the retreat participants, he brought it along to capture the celebration. The party never really got going because so many people were focused on prayer in what they described as powerful experiences of the Holy Spirit. But he did capture this one moment of what appears to be a paper-cup toast.

The group is shown at The Ark and The Dove Retreat Center in Pine Township, in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. In front at left are Patti Gallagher Mansfield and David Mangan, who have gone on to write and speak about the revival. Ms. Mansfield is editor and lead writer of "As By a New Pentecost," which includes various participants' accounts.

Photo courtesy of David Mangan.

 

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Episcopal leader here for revival

Written by Peter Smith on .

 

Episcopal revival — those are two words that historically have occupied different precincts of the church-news page.

But the top leader of the Episcopal Church plans to bring them together during a packed weekend of activities in Pittsburgh.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who was elected in 2015 to lead the national church, plans a weekend aimed at working to heal racial and denominational divisions while also stoking an enthusiasm for evangelism. All this is aimed at an audience better known for formal liturgy within its Gothic walls and a reluctance to talk too loudly about it outside of them.

The diocese had originally contacted Bishop Curry in 2015, when he was leader of the Diocese of North Carolina, to speak here in 2016 at the annual Absalom Jones Day Celebration, which marks the ordination of the first African-American priest in the Episcopal Church in 1804.

But later in 2015, Bishop Curry was elected to lead the national church, the first African-American to become presiding bishop. His calendar suddenly crowded with other obligations, he postponed the visit a year while adding several other weekend events to it.

The bishop “expressed hope we would be able to expand this” with a focus on “rekindling evangelism and racial reconciliation,” said Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Bishop Curry will take part in a “Service of Repentance and Reconciliation” at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Hicks Memorial Chapel on Friday night, bringing together local leaders from various racial and church groups.

He’ll also take part in a panel discussion on bridging these divides on Saturday afternoon at the seminary.

“Historically, churches have been instruments of division not unity,” said Bishop McConnell. “God is not going to heal a divided world through a divided church.”

On Saturday morning, Bishop Curry mark Absalom Jones Day with a youth gathering and communion service at Holy Cross Church in Homewood.

And on Sunday, he’ll preach at Calvary Church in East Liberty before going to a communion service at St. Stephen’s Church in McKeesport.

Details are at http://www.episcopalpgh.org/reconciliation-healing-evangelism.

At each event, “we’re hoping it will be a place where people can bring their unchurched friends,” said Bishop McConnell.

A big part of the events will be encouraging people to speak up about their faith, said Bishop McConnell.

“Episcopalians culturally are not comfortable evangelizing,” he said. “Learning how to tell the story of how Jesus has changed your life is something we need some schooling in.”

Peter Smith: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 412-263-1416; Twitter @PG_PeterSmith.

 

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Recalling the force behind 'Orthodoxy U'

Written by Peter Smith on .

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When Father Michael Scanlan, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, was arrested in 1989 for protesting at an abortion clinic, the Post-Gazette did this profile. It said Father Scanlan was leading a revival in more ways than one at the once-sleepy Catholic college campus in the steel town of Steubenville.

And decades later, that's how he's being remembered. "Priest who transformed Franciscan University of Steubenville dies" says the headline of his obituary in the Post-Gazette. The Cruxnow website describes the Franciscan campus as now a pilgrimage destination for those in the "John Paul II" wing of the church. It originally was renowned for being a hub of the Catholic charismatic movement, but now is associated more generally with an enthusiastic endorsement of Catholic orthodoxy.

More coverage here.

 

 

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Billy Graham among most-admired for 60th time

Written by Peter Smith on .

Billy-Graham1With Gallup's release of its annual list of people whom Americans most admire, a lot of attention will go toward Barack Obama's outpolling Donald Trump -- even if the latter's November victory seems a repudiation of the former's legacy. Hillary Clinton won among women, though at a lower percentage than her rival Trump. 

But from the religion desk, it's also worth notching that this is the 60th, yes 60th, year on the top 10 list for the Rev. Billy Graham, the venerable evangelist who defined much of mid- and late-20th century evangelical Christianity. He's in fifth place, in fact, even with only 1 percent of the vote. (The only men with unsymmetrical numbers are Obama at 22 percent, Trump at 15, Pope Francis at 4 and Bernie Sanders at 2.) Graham's been at 1 percent the last two years, having been at 2 percent for the previous several. Most likely as he ages (he's now 98) and is no longer to make public appearances, and as his admirers who knew him when he was active also continue to age and in some cases pass on, that number has slowly gone down. Slowly.

It's also worth noting other religious figures in the top 10, in addition to Pope Francis, who originally landed on the list in 2014 with 6 percent. This year's list also includes Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, at 1 percent in a tie for sixth place. And given Mike Pence's description of himself as a Christian, conservative and Republican in that order, perhaps the vice-presidential elect could be considered a religious figure. He finished 10th. And if you consider Benyamin Netanyahu to be a religious figure, he finished in a sixth-place tie with others.

On the woman's side, there's Queen Elizabeth II, making the list for the 48th time. Since she's the titular governor of the Church of England, she can be considered a religious figure. She came in sixth with 2 percent. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani Muslim champion for female education and Nobel laureate, finished seventh with 2 percent. Sarah Palin was 10th at 1 percent.

 

 

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