1971 - Charismatic Prayer Group:  Community of God's Love

1971 - Charismatic Prayer Group:  Community of God's Love

On November 21, 1971, thirteen people gathered in the CCD house (now the House of Ministries) for their first charismatic prayer meeting at St. James. As told by Hal Miller, one of the founders, he, Al Dunn and Everett Bergmann met with Monsignor Heller in the fall of 1971 to seek permission to form a charismatic prayer group here at St. James. Monsignor Heller agreed, replying that “he could hardly say no to three men who wanted to pray together” and thus, the St. James Community of God’s Love was born.

During the ‘70s and ‘80s, the Community of God’s Love grew rapidly and within a few years, over 150 men, women, and children came to weekly prayer meetings in what is now Heller Hall. During this time (under Monsignors Heller and McClunn), Sunday charismatic Masses were celebrated in Heller Hall, led by our own parish priests, assisted by the Community members as lectors, musicians, ushers, and Eucharistic ministers. Fellowship grew quickly. Bible groups were formed, coffee & donuts offered. Clothing drives were held, youth groups sprung up, dinners were served, and outreach developed.

In a farewell note from Father Leon M. Olszamowski, SM, a doctoral candidate who helped at St. James from 1976-77, he states: "I have found celebrating the charismatic Mass on Sunday a real joy.  What happens there, it seems to me, is an example of how liturgy celebrated in an atmosphere of care and concern and genuine love can allow God's experience of peace jump to from one person to the next.  The folks at the 12:30 Mass literally shine.”

The Community of God’s Love has always been first and foremost a “faith community” of daily prayer and a weekly time of shared praise and worship of the Lord, part of a large international movement of the Holy Spirit, which exploded worldwide in the ‘70s.

Forty-five years later, the Community of God’s Love is no longer the large boisterous group of yesteryear. Over the decades, hundreds of people have passed through meetings and seminars. The Community continues to hold weekly prayer meetings, provide healing prayer teams, yield to the spiritual gifts, worship the Father, praise the Son, and sing to the Holy Spirit. Today the Wednesday prayer meetings are small affairs of 10-12 people, but the fire of the Holy Spirit remains and personal relationships continue to be fostered. All are welcome. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of our Blessed Virgin Mother, we continue to strive to be always the Community of God’s Love to one another, our parish, and our world. 

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