“Oh, if only…unanimous and fervent prayers could be raised to Heaven in every part of Christendom, as they were once in the Cenacle (upper room) of Jerusalem for a rekindling of the Divine Spirit”
(Blessed Elena Guerra)
Many testimonies have arisen about “Burning Bush” Experiences, which are invitations “to return to the Cenacle” in adoration and intercession. A return not of nostalgia, looking for the beginning experiences of the CCR but one of maturity with a servant's heart, understanding what it is to experience the power of the Spirit and His gifts in prayer, in united contemplation of the Eucharistic mystery. Our challenge is to intercede beyond what is so often our normal scope of prayer; family, friends, our group or community, to incessant adoration in which we may intercede with great fervour by means of the Spirit for the renewal of the Church, for full Christian unity, for the conversion of sinners, and for a renewal of society and thereby “a renewal of the face of the earth”, uniting ourselves with the intentions of the Holy Father.
The “Burning Bush” initiative has spread throughout the world, in Europe, The Far East, Africa, the Americas etc., since it's beginning during Easter in Rome, 1997. The call of the “Burning Bush” contains a common vision that has many varied applications by the various groups responding to it, whether it is in parishes, or on a diocesan or citywide level, or in ecclesial movements or new communities. The Holy Spirit's leadership has been varied and different in “Burning Bush” Pentecost Novenas and in other “Burning Bush” Events, with each experience having its own uniqueness.
Burning Bush Pentecost Novena 2005
This year throughout the world a new Burning Bush Pentecost Novena is being prayed. On the prompting of Blessed Elena, Pope Leo XIII asked all the faithful to celebrate a solemn novena (nine days of prayer) perpetually between the feasts of Ascension and Pentecost for the unity of Christianity. The Burning Bush Novena combines the invocation to the Holy Spirit with daily themes of intercession. It has already been translated into seven languages including Swahili. (www.burningbush.beatitudes.org )
It was in Europe where the intense promotion of the “Burning Bush” Pentecost Novena first began, with three groups responding in 2001 to the call for Pentecost; Renewal in the Spirit (RnS), Italy; the National Service Committee (NSC) of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) in Austria and St. Leu, a French Parish in Paris. All these groups have continued this response for the last 4 years. In the European ICCRS-conference in Czestochowa (Poland, 2002), we had an intercession workshop with testimonies from each country, where they shared their 2001-2002 experiences of the “Burning Bush” Pentecost Novenas. In the case of the RnS, it was the testimony of the Bologna group that was given. Also, in addition to other countries, Belgium and Germany began their nationwide promotion of the Pentecost Novena in 2002. In Poland, the call of “Burning Bush” was launched in December 2003, at the 7th Charismatic Forum organized by the Jesuits' groups of Lodz. At Pentecost 2004, they gathered in the church every evening for adoration that lasted 2 hours. Since then, one of four different CCR groups in the parish have taken turns to lead the adoration and intercession. There were at least 400 people present every evening. The European CCR National Service Committees have linked together since 2003 in a united effort to promote the Pentecost Novena in each country.
The German CCR Young Council implemented the “Burning Bush Experience” into their youth work in 2004, at their “Jump”, youth conference. They organized “Burning Bush” Prayer Vigils at their leaders' gatherings before the conference and during the conference held a “Burning Bush” Tent of Prayer event (night and day). At their autumn youth leaders' meeting, they deepened the theme of the Burning Bush call and initiated a “Burning Bush” prayer campaign called Operation Trailblazer 2005, for the CCR National Conference and the World Youth Day. (www.erneurung.de)
The Holy Spirit has inspired others in a similar context, i.e. - an upcoming event will be held in Miami this Pentecost, the 2005 Cenacle of Prayer of America. During this Year of the Eucharist, a “return to the Cenacle” is planned, where there will be 40 hours of Eucharistic adoration and intercession for America, including a Eucharist procession through downtown Miami. It will end with a grand celebration of Pentecost “to invoke upon ourselves and upon the entire church, an abundant outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit”, (Pope John Paul II's invitation to Pentecost Solemn Vespers, 2004). It will include the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, all responding to the (former) Holy Father's invitation “I invite individuals, communities and ecclesial groups…to strengthen through prayers the spiritual bond between all American Catholics”. (Ecclesia in America, 76) (www.nsc-chariscenter.org )
( © Holy Week 2005 )
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