Charismatic Bible Convention

   “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst”(Mt.18:20.)

        The above Bible Quotation proved to be true, in the lives of the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Bhopal, as it experienced the presence and power of the Lord in an incredible way at the recent CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC BIBLE CONVENTION. This eagerly awaited event was planned by Fr. Philip, the Director of the Divine Retreat Centre and strongly recommended by our Archbishop, Rt. Rev. Leo Cornelio. It was organized as part of the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Archdiocese and the Year of Faith announced by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict the XVI. The Bible convention was held on the 12th, 13th and 14th of January 2013, at St. Joseph’s Co-Ed School, Assembly Ground. The theme of the Convention was “God’s Word A Lamp To My Feet”(Ps. 119:105) The enclosed area, good sound and light system and comfortable seating arrangement favoured the ambience for prayer. All this was possible because of the cooperation and assistance of Fr. Abraham, the Parish Priest of Assumption Church and Fr. Johnny, the Principal of the School and many other volunteers and well wishers. Rev. Fr. Bobby Emprayil V.C and team from Divine Retreat Centre, Margherita, Assam animated and guided the convention.Fr. Bobby and Mr. Rajan were the main resource persons who with their fiery and soul stirring preaching kept the participants spell bound and in a reflective mood.Mr. Johns, a young musician of the team helped to elevate our hearts and minds to God with his music and singing. The team was assisted by Mr. Paul &family.(Parishioners of Infant Jesus Church).

Each day began with the recitation of the Holy Rosary, conducted by Mr. Paul and family in a very prayerful manner with points for meditation on each mystery, interspersed with appropriate hymns. The ‘Teaching ‘which followed given either by Fr. Bobby/Mr. Rajan was a set off point for metanoia, a radical change for those with open and receptive hearts. The Word of God preached and explained by these Spirit filled resource persons positively and undeniably opened the blind eyes and the deaf ears of some of the participants, to look at Jesus in a way they had never seen or known. Many were drawn irresistibly to the Bible Convention because of their desire for God’s Word, shared through the talks and teachings that were exceedingly encouraging and convincing. The preachers were practical and realistic in their sharing of the Scriptures coupled with their life experiences. The way Fr. Bobby broke the Word was truly astounding. Those who attended the convention can never forget his faith and grace-filled expounding of the Word of God, his energetic gestures, touching life experiences and melodious singing. Praising God by singing, swaying, shouting ‘Alleluia’, clapping and jumping kept the gathering alert, enthusiastic and lively. It was indeed a personal Pentecost for many, a life changing experience, a directive to be profoundly grounded and rooted in the Word of God.
           On all the days of the convention, the Holy Eucharist was con-celebrated by a number of priests of our diocese. It was a time of special grace.  On the closing day, Our Archbishop was the main celebrant. Great emphasis was laid on the Word of God and worthy reception of Holy Communion. Archbishop’s presence all through the convention was very encouraging and edifying as he sat among the faithful.
            By the third and concluding day, the news of the convention had reached far and wide and the attendance was amazing. This day was reserved for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Healing and Anointing. The preachers prepared the people systematically through various scriptural texts to be remorseful and repentant for their sins and thus make a good confession. Sin and its consequences on our life were
thoroughly and meticulously explained so that we do not let the grace attached to this sacrament go in vain. Fr. Bobby and Mr. Rajan stressed the importance of repentance and retribution for one’s sins. Most availed themselves of the opportunity given for returning to the Lord and starting anew.

The evening was devoted to healing and anointing service. While the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, the priests went around anointing everyone present and praying over them. Special prayers were said over children below 5 years, the youth, childless couples and parents. The powerful prayers had effective cleansing through an outpour of tears from the eyes of the faithful. The youth were given special instructions and guidance by Fr. Bobby. The advice of Tobit to Tobias, his son (Tobit4:4-19) was read and explained in detail with much stress on respect for parents. Many were touched by the words spoken with reference to the tears of a mother caused by children and surely, they must have touched the young hearts too. Some expressed that they experienced inner peace and joy after the anointing and prayers for inner healing. The three days of the convention were days of immense and immeasurable grace from the Holy Spirit. Those who came with an apprehensive mind set must have surely realized at the end of the convention that it was a unique experience, very spiritual, powerful and enriching. Some of the topics like the importance of family prayer, the seriousness of sin, the power of God’s forgiveness, reverence and respect for one’s parents, harmful effects caused by the misuse or overuse of some of the modern gadgets especially the mobile, left a deep and lasting impression on many hearts. We raise our hearts and minds in gratitude to God Almighty, for the graces and blessings and the renewal this convention has brought about in the lives of many of our people. Our gratitude goes also to all those who made this grace-filled event possible by their generous service.
Sisters of the Cross Training Centre,

Arera Colony.