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The Clergy and Religious
Specialty Group


Fr. Larry Carew

ACT: A Community of Encouragement and Challenge

     Four years after my ordination to the priesthood in 1966, I was treated to a powerful and unforgettable encounter with Our Lord.  After over eight years of academic isolation, I couldn’t wait to dive into the multiple ministry challenges of a busy inner city parish.  My prayer life soon became a casualty of all of that.  The less I made time for prayer the more I found myself focused on what wasn’t right with the Church.  At the same time, I conveniently avoided facing up to what wasn’t right with me.        

      Jesus gently but firmly showed me that I needed to hand over to Him not only the virtuous side of who I was, but the sinful weak and wounded side as well.  When I surrendered to this diagnosis and invitation of His, I soon discovered that I had not only allowed Him to be at the center of my life, but that I’d received a significant measure of inner healing and a major physical healing, at one and the same time.       

      Within a few months, I found myself praying for the so-called “baptism in the Holy Spirit” at a Catholic Charismatic prayer meeting.  It wasn’t long before I found myself attempting to shepherd at first dozens, and then hundred of teens who insisted upon meeting every night of the week for Bible studies and prayer meetings.  The early seventies proved to be, for me, a sometimes wild and bewildering ride upon a mighty wave of the Spirit sweeping over our land.       

      Among other things, as we prayerfully studied the New Testament, insight after insight into inner healing just seemed to jump off of nearly every page.  These hope-filled, more than energetic, teens and young adults hardly seemed to be very much in need of this healing wisdom that we kept on receiving.  In time, however, I gradually came to realize that so many of them most surely did.  A significant percentage of them were carrying profound, but often well-camouflaged, woundedness.       

      The hundreds upon hundreds had shrunken down to less than a hundred by the late seventies.  But some of them had sensed a call and had grabbed hold of a vision.  They obtained counseling and social work degrees.  Some of them helped me found a counseling center where clients could expect healing prayer to accompany their therapy.  Others found employment with local social service agencies with the idea of allowing these careers to be ministries of Christ’s healing love as they kept looking to Him to provide opportunities and openings for outreach.       

      In 1995, I attended a national gathering of leaders from various streams of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal held in St. Louis.  I soon found myself sharing a bit of who I was and what I did with a sweet lady from that area named Bette Sullivan.  She bluntly but gently rebuked me for not being a member of ACT.  In a matter of seconds, the Holy Spirit used her to blow away every excuse I’d ever resorted to for not joining.       

      About five years ago I started to sense a call to make inner healing retreats, I’d co-authored or authored, available to a wider audience via DVD.  About a year and a half ago, I showed excerpts from a recently released DVD retreat, written for prison inmates, at our regional ACT meeting.  Those in attendance appeared to love what they saw, but then went on to throw out a fresh challenge:  “Why don’t you come up with one of these DVD healing retreats that could be offered to the folks in our parishes?”       

      “Six Simple Steps into Healing Prayer” has just been completed and is ready for distribution, thanks to those “pushy” ACT brothers and sisters and, I suspect, thanks to the prayers of a sweet lady from St. Louis who presently makes her home in the Heavenly Jerusalem.

*Note: DVDs may be ordered from communityofthecross.com or at 203-748-4972

For more information, please contact: 
Clergy and Religious Chair
Sister Betty Igo, SFP, M Ed, MS


 

 
 
Copyright © 2012 The Association of Christian Therapists. All Rights Reserved.

 
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