This is the first part of Patti Mansfield Gallagher’s history of the Duquesne Weekend from As By A New Pentecost (As by a New Pentecost: The Dramatic Beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal by Patti Gallagher Mansfield (Steubenville, OH: Franciscan University of Steubenville, 1992).). This is the most helpful presentation on the weekend. Most of the rest of the book is testimonies, both of people who were present and people who were not.

Part I: Come Holy Spirit!

The Duquesne Weekend

I wrote this enthusiastic description of the Duquesne Weekend just two months after the retreat took place. My friend, Mr. Val Iacovantuno, was my high school French teacher. I knew he was Catholic, but we had never before discussed religion. Since he had inspired me to major in French and was helping me with my itinerary for a summer in France, I wrote him to explain my sudden change in plans. God’s presence had broken into my life in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I knew that my life was no longer my own. To my amazement, when Mr. Iacovantuno answered, he told me to put everything else aside and follow the Lord Jesus unconditionally. In fact, he was one of the few people I witnessed to who truly seemed to understand what had happened.

The retreat of February 17-19, 1967, which I describe in my letter, has come to be known around the world as the Duquesne Weekend. It is generally accepted as the beginning of the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. This was the first event at which a group of Catholics experienced the Baptism in the Spirit and the charismatic gifts. While there may have been Catholics who were baptized in the Spirit prior to the Duquesne Weekend, this retreat began a widespread movement of Catholic Charismatic Renewal throughout the United States and around the world.

I was not the only Catholic giving exuberant witness to the new outpouring of the Holy Spirit and His gifts in 1967. Through letters, phone calls, and personal visits, word was spreading like wildfire about the pentecostal experience. One of the professors who was a leader on the Duquesne Weekend reported to his friends at Notre Dame, “I don’t have to believe in Pentecost, because I’ve seen it.”

The Pope’s Prayer

Many people who reflect on the outbreak of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 1967 call to mind the prayer of Pope John XXIII at the beginning of the Second Vatican Council. They see the Charismatic Renewal as a providential answer to the Holy Father’s prayer for a new Pentecost:

Renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost. Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and following the lead of blessed Peter, it may advance the reign of our Divine Savior, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen.[i]

Just what did Pope John XXIII have in mind when he prayed for a new Pentecost? What was he longing for? And where did this longing come from? Since that first Pentecost when the Church was born, the Holy Spirit has been continually at work. Throughout the centuries, the Lord has raised up great saints, men and women filled with the Holy Spirit, who have manifested extraordinary charismatic gifts. There have also been communities of Catholic believers in the past who have experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit acting in their midst as He did in the early Church. Pope John XXIII was well aware of this when he implored the Holy Spirit to renew His signs and wonders in this our day. He knew that a lived experience of Pentecost was possible. He had witnessed it for himself.

A Spirit-Filled Village

While he was still Bishop Angelo Roncalli, Pope John XXIII used to visit a tiny Czechoslovakian village of approximately three hundred people where a dear friend of mine, Mrs. AnnaMariea Schmidt, was living.[ii] For many centuries all the Catholics in this village had experienced the full spectrum of charismatic gifts as recorded in I Corinthians 12-14. It was part of normal Christian life for them Pentecost was a daily reality.

AnnaMariea related to me the circumstances surrounding the first manifestation of charismatic gifts in the eleventh century. When the villagers were in danger of starvation due to the severe cold which ruined their crops, they prayed for God’s help. A beautiful lady, who did not identify herself, appeared on the mountain and taught them how to implore the Holy Spirit. As they followed her instructions, they were all filled with the Spirit and received charismatic gifts, such as discernment of spirits, prophecy, and the gift of tongues. They also experienced a growth in the sanctifying gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially love. The bread which they baked that winter was blessed, and their supply lasted miraculously until the next harvest.

Each successive generation of villagers manifested the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They did not realize that their charismatic experience was unique, since their village was fairly isolated. AnnaMariea describes how the power of prayer and the presence of God’s love was so strong that they needed no jails nor hospitals. When someone was sick, the entire village united in prayer, expecting God’s healing. Children were welcomed into families; there was no divorce. Peace and love reigned. Sunday Mass was a glorious celebration of Jesus in their midst and was followed by a sharing of food and fellowship. Scripture was read in the homes and children were instructed to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

It was into this charismatic environment that Bishop Roncalli came for visits in the 1930’s. He was joyfully received as a spiritual father. AnnaMariea, who was a child at the time, remembers him as a priest imbued with God’s love. She delighted to sit at his feet and listen to him speak about Jesus. He seemed perfectly at home amidst the manifestations of the charismatic gifts as he prayed with her family and the other villagers.

When I asked AnnaMariea if she thought that Pope John XXIII’s prayer for a new Pentecost was inspired by his visits to her village, she said that she thought it would be presumptuous to draw such a conclusion. AnnaMariea believes that this desire for a new Pentecost was born in his heart long before he visited them. It seemed to her as though he knew full well what was possible when people turned to God with repentant, humble hearts and implored the Holy Spirit to act in their midst.

Anna Maria’s description of Bishop Angelo Roncalli is confirmed by many other people. Certainly, Pope John XXIII is widely regarded as one of the most charismatic figures of the twentieth century. He has been called by Cardinal Suenens, “a man completely docile to the Holy Spirit, a man who, completely free from himself, followed the path of the Holy Spirit.”[iii]

It was prophesied in the 1930’s that a severe testing would come upon AnnaMariea’s village to empty it, but that there would be joy as the villagers stood firm through the trial. This prophecy was fulfilled when Nazi troops came in 1938 and killed almost every villager. The power of the Holy Spirit sustained them, and not one person renounced his faith. I am grateful to God for sparing the life of Mrs. AnnaMariea Schmidt, who survived both Nazi and Russian concentration camps, and who has allowed me to share this portion of her amazing testimony.

The Apostle Of The Holy Spirit

The first person to be beatified by the good Pope John was a woman religious named Sr. Elena Guerra. Fr. Val Gaudet[iv] has pointed out that Pope John XXIII may well have been influenced to pray for a new Pentecost thanks to the efforts of Elena Guerra whom he called “the Apostle of the Holy Spirit.” Blessed Elena Guerra lived around the turn of the century, a time of great significance in Pentecostal history, as we will see.

Sister Elena Guerra was foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Holy Spirit in Lucca, Italy. When she was fifty years old, Sister Elena felt inspired to write to Pope Leo XIII urging him to renew the Church through a return to the Holy Spirit. However, she did not yield to this inspiration until many years later when the Lord revealed to a devout woman from the kitchen staff what He wanted Elena to do. With the encouragement of her spiritual director, Sister Elena wrote twelve confidential letters to the Holy Father between 1895 and 1903 calling for renewed preaching on the Holy Spirit, “who is the one who forms the saints.’’

Pope Leo XIII heard the Lord’s call through Sr. Elena, and he responded by publishing Provida Matris Caritate, in which he asked the entire Church to celebrate a solemn novena to the Holy Spirit between the feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost. Sister Elena herself at this time began to form prayer groups which she called “Permanent Cenacles.”

Sister Elena told the Holy Father of her desire to see the whole Church unite in constant prayer, as were Mary and the apostles in the upper room, awaiting the coming of the Spirit. She expressed her desire this way: “Oh, if ever the ‘Come Holy Spirit’ which, since the Cenacle and after, the Church has not ceased repeating, could become as popular as the ‘Hail Mary’!”

Sister Elena had a prophetic mission to call the Church to be a permanent prayer Cenacle. In 1897, her spiritual director, Bishop Volpi, returned from Rome with the Pope’s promise that he would do all he could to have the Holy Spirit honored. The Holy Father then published his encyclical on the Holy Spirit, Divinum Illud Munus. Sister Elena was pleased with his encyclical, but disappointed with the poor response to it in the Church, especially among the shepherds of the Church.

And They Were Filled With The Spirit

At Sr. Elena’s suggestion, Pope Leo XIII invoked the Holy Spirit on January 1, 1901 — the first day of the first year in the Twentieth Century. He sang the hymn “Veni Creator Spiritus” (“Come Creator Spirit”) in the name of the whole Church. On the same day, an event took place in Topeka, Kansas, that marked the beginning of a great revival in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit destined to sweep throughout this country and around the world.

In Topeka, at 17th and Stone Avenue, (now the site of Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church), stood a huge three-story, thirty room mansion. It was nicknamed “Stone’s Folly” after the builder, Erastus Stone, discovered he could not afford to live in it. The mansion then became the home of the Bethel College and Bible School in September, 1900. Rev. Charles Fox Parham and his students dedicated themselves to prayer and the study of God’s word concerning the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. In fact, the highest of the three towers in the mansion was designated as a prayer tower, and a marathon prayer vigil was organized. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, these young people were asking God to baptize one or all of them in the Holy Spirit.[v] Now that’s a continual cenacle—the kind Blessed Elena Guerra was thinking about!

At about 11:00 on the evening of January 1, 1901, one of the students named Agnes Ozman asked Rev. Parham to lay his hands on her head and pray that she would receive the Baptism in the Spirit. That’s precisely what happened. Agnes began to speak in tongues and others at the school, including Rev. Parham, had the same experience in the following days. This event is generally accepted as the beginning of Pentecostalism.

God answered the fervent prayer of those who cried out to Him day and night. Despite the poor response among Catholics to the call of Pope Leo XIII for continual prayer to the Holy Spirit, there were believers of other denominations who were humbly seeking and gladly receiving the outpouring of the Spirit and His charismatic gifts as this century began.

In 1906, a continued outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred in Los Angeles, and is commonly referred to as the Azusa Street Revival. Those who accepted this pentecostal experience were, for the most part, driven out of the established churches. They congregated in new churches and denominations, which are usually categorized as “Pentecostal.” Pentecostalism is regarded by many historians as a rapidly-growing “third force” in the Christian world, along with Protestantism and Catholicism.[vi]

During the 1950’s, as charisms began to be received by members of established churches who refused to withdraw from their denominations, a “neo-pentecostal” movement came into being. The experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit began to take place among Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and others who remained in their churches hoping to work for renewal from within. Therefore, it was not altogether surprising that by the mid-1960’s, the Catholic Church would begin to experience a Charismatic Renewal in its midst as well. What did amaze many observers, however, was how rapidly the Baptism in the Spirit spread among Catholics and the openness the Charismatic Renewal met with among officials of the Catholic Church.

Before The Duquesne Weekend

In the mid-1960’s a network of friendships formed among people from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Several members of the Duquesne faculty had done their graduate studies at Notre Dame — among them, Patrick Bourgeois of New Orleans, Louisiana. Then there were certain Notre Dame graduate students who had been undergraduates at Duquesne, notably Dorothy Garrity Ranaghan and Bert Ghezzi, both natives of Pittsburgh. Dorothy and Bert had retained personal ties with some faculty members from Duquesne.

In addition to this network of friendships, there was also a preparation for the Charismatic Renewal that had taken place on a spiritual level. Prayer meetings had been going on in the Notre Dame and South Bend communities long before March of 1967. Fr. Edward O’Connor, C.S.C., a leader from the early days of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, describes the situation this way:

A wave of enthusiasm for Bible vigils and prayer meetings had gone across the country during the early 1960’s. At Notre Dame, during the year 1963-1964 especially, such activities seem to have flourished. Prayer meetings were held weekly by a group of graduate students, among whom were several who would eventually play a major role in the Pentecostal Movement. These early meetings consisted of Scripture readings, spontaneous prayer, singing and discussion. However, the prayer was less spontaneous, and the discussion more prominent and more humanistic than in the later pentecostal meetings. A special Mass for the graduate students was also organized each Sunday morning, in which many participated with a lively spirit that was remarkable for those days. It was followed by a breakfast that was real agape. A number of students also recited vespers together daily.

That same year, the Cursillo was brought to South Bend, largely through the instrumentality of a graduate student named Steve Clark. Over the next few years, it had a powerful spiritual impact on several hundred people in the city and on the campus. For a while, these cursillistas used to meet one evening a week for Mass in Pangborn Chapel at Notre Dame. Out of the Cursillo sprang the Antioch Weekend, designed to confront undergraduate students with what it means to be a Christian. Both the Cursillo and the Antioch Weekend stressed a follow-up program that was carried out largely through weekly group meetings for discussion, self-examination, mutual encouragement and prayer. Another group which began in that same year was located at Moreau Seminary, where several students began to hold biweekly meetings to foster spiritual growth inspired by the example and patronage of Our Lady.

Thus, the pentecostal fire which blazed out in the spring of 1967 had been prepared by a considerable ferment of discussion, prayer, and apostolic activity. . . . Most of the activities undertaken died out after a year or two, only to be succeeded by other endeavors, equally short-lived. . . . Nevertheless, [they] were of real importance in preparing for the Pentecostal Movement, both by exercising people in the life of prayer and apostolate, and by forming friendships which would serve as conductors of the pentecostal spirit when it arrived.[vii]

The Cursillo Connection

It’s important to note how deeply the Cursillo Movement impacted the people from Notre Dame and Duquesne who were later to become leaders of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. A New Covenant article from February, 1973, describes the men who were involved in the Cursillo at Notre Dame:

The men who formed around the Cursillo Movement at Notre Dame in the mid-1960’s came from varied backgrounds with some significant common threads. They were all highly-educated intellectuals who achieved considerable academic distinction. Most professed a Catholicism of an orthodox type. They were concerned about liturgical and personal spiritual renewal, although several had acquired progressive theological educations and most had worked in social action and civil rights movements.

There were some exceptions to this pattern. One was Ralph Martin, a brilliant philosophy student and crusading campus editor, who had no concern for the Church at all. By early 1964, he finally felt free from the repressions of his Catholic upbringing, and had gained a reputation as an argumentative atheist around campus. The first time Martin met Steve Clark, they got into an argument about Christianity in a student restaurant near campus.

Martin’s conversion occurred suddenly and dramatically during the second Cursillo at Notre Dame. It was a conversion so dramatic that Bert Ghezzi, who was there, at first doubted its authenticity. “I never saw such a complete U-turn in my life. I didn’t believe such things were possible.”[viii]

Ralph Martin recalls that after encountering the Risen Lord Jesus on the Cursillo, he felt filled with “power from on high,” and he proclaimed. ‘I want to be His witness.”[ix] Men like Ralph Martin and Steve Clark from Notre Dame realized that what the founders of the Cursillo Movement foresaw was essentially a new Pentecost. Eduardo Bonnin, one of the Cursillo founders, said this explicitly:

Christianity, afterwards as before, is essentially an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is essentially the miracle of Pentecost. And where you cannot see the outpouring of the Spirit, there the “Counselor” has not passed. There you might find men who believe in the Father, and, because of an ingenious egocentricity, are convinced about a practice of Christianity when they go to beg gifts from the Father. You might also have men who believe in the “Word” and in the sense of all the things which have been revealed in Him. Inspired by their newly acquired idea of Him, these men try to model their lives on His with a laborious fidelity. They are industrious men of moral probity. But they are not men of the Holy Spirit of overflowing love; they are not men with flashing eyes. For them, Pentecost has not yet come.’[x]

But for many of the cursillistas at Notre Dame, Pentecost had indeed come. In fact, at one of the prayer meetings held at Phil O’Mara’s apartment in 1965, there was an instance of glossalalia (speaking in tongues). It was stopped by the leader of the meeting, who did not understand it. After Phil’s roommate, Ralph Martin, had his dramatic conversion on a Cursillo, he too spoke in tongues a month later, but did not realize what it was at the time. “Miraculous events, healing, discernment of spirits, answered prayer — accompanied the Cursillos of that era at Notre Dame. Most of the leaders had personal encounters with Jesus at least as intense as their later experiences with the Baptism in the Spirit. George Martin sums up the experience of those days by calling them ‘incredibly grace-filled times.’ ”[xi]

During the Christmas holidays in 1965 Ralph Martin and Steve Clark met at Martin’s home in New Jersey and decided to spend the summer in prayer at Mount Savior Monastery in Elmira, New York. During their stay at the monastery, they felt the Lord leading them to leave graduate school (Clark had remained at Notre Dame and Martin was at Princeton) to make themselves more available for Christian service. Once their decision was made, they were invited to give the opening and closing talks at the National Cursillo Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. They joined the staff of St. John’s Student Parish at Michigan State University and the National Secretariat of the Cursillo, also located in East Lansing, Michigan. Between 1965 and 1970, Ralph and Steve presented dozens of Cursillo workshops throughout the United States.[xii] Contacts made through the Cursillo were later useful in spreading the news about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Two Books That Were Hard To Put Down

There were two key paperback books destined to lead Ralph, Steve and their network of friends from Notre Dame, Duquesne and the Cursillo into the experience of the Baptism in the Spirit. One is The Cross and The Switchblade by David Wilkerson with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, originally published in 1963 by Pyramid Publications for Fleming H. Revell. The other is They Speak With Other Tongues, by John Sherrill, originally published by McGraw Hill in 1964.

Both books make for fascinating reading; they’re hard to put down. In They Speak With Other Tongues, John Sherrill details his research into the unusual phenomenon of speaking in other tongues “as the Spirit gives utterance.” During the years of Sherrill’s research he was baptized in the Spirit himself and describes the experience first as an observer, then as a participant. This book is considered a neo-pentecostal classic.

The Cross and The Switchblade is the dramatic story of a small town Pentecostal preacher named David Wilkerson who is led by the Spirit to work among the Street gangs in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of New York City. It is a powerful testimony to Wilkerson’s dynamic faith and an intriguing introduction to the power released in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Wilkerson describes the various ways the Holy Spirit works through divine guidance and the charismatic gifts.

The story of how these books first came to be known in Catholic circles is quite interesting, and shows once again the great debt we Catholics owe to our Protestant and Pentecostal brethren. Peter Collins, a 1966 graduate of Notre Dame, was spending a few weeks in Toronto, Canada, when he came across They Speak With Other Tongues while visiting a Pentecostal church. Peter describes in detail how this happened in his testimony later in this book. Suffice it to say here that Peter gave Sherrill’s book to Steve Clark in June of 1966, when he met Steve and Ralph at a training session for Extension Volunteers in San Antonio, Texas.

Steve Clark had already obtained a copy of The Cross and the Switchblade from a Campus Crusade worker at Michigan State University. He was impressed with the effects that the Baptism in the Spirit had on the lives of drug addicts. He and Ralph had even considered visiting Wilkerson at his Teen Challenge Ministry in New York City, but never did. Steve gave Peter a copy of Wilkerson’s book.

Because of this initial exchange of books in June, 1966, a number of other students at Notre Dame began to read the books and wonder about this “Baptism in the Holy Spirit.” Jim Cavnar and Gerry Rauch, undergraduates at Notre Dame, were spending the summer of 1966 in East Lansing with Ralph and Steve. As Jim shares in his testimony later in this book, he believed that the events he was reading about were probably true, but he was content for someone else to investigate them. And that’s precisely what happened.

Spiritual Hunger At Duquesne

A few months before the exchange of books described above, that is in the spring of 1966, two faculty members from Duquesne University had entered into a period of intense prayer and discussion about the vitality of their faith. One was a history professor; the other was a theology instructor. They felt the need for a greater inner dynamism, a new power to live as Christians and to give witness to Christ. Both men had been committed to the Lord for a number of years; both were cursillistas. In fact, the history professor was instrumental in bringing the Cursillo Movement to Pittsburgh. Eileen Karl’s testimony found later in this book gives greater detail on this point. They were also moderators of the Chi Rho Society on Duquesne’s campus which one of them had founded years earlier to stimulate prayer, participation in the liturgy, Christian witness and social action. Yet they still wanted “something more.” They weren’t sure exactly what it was, but they made a pact to pray for one another.

Each day from the spring of 1966 on, they prayed that the Holy Spirit would renew in them all the graces of their Baptism and Confirmation, that He would fill up in them the vacuum left by human effort with the power and love of the Lord Jesus Christ.[xiii] Daily, these men prayed the beautiful and famous “golden sequence,” which is used by the Church in the Pentecost Liturgy. It may be found in the beginning of this book.

A New Discovery

The National Cursillo Convention in August of 1966 was destined to be an important meeting for the two professors from Duquesne. It was there that they met up with their friends, Ralph Martin and Steve Clark. They were given copies of the two books about the pentecostal experience and urged to read them, which they did. God had already been preparing them for a new dimension of life in the Spirit by awakening in them a deep spiritual hunger and leading them into concerted prayer.

The Holy Spirit was at work. In the course of reading The Cross and the Switchblade, one of the men from Duquesne decided to check the scriptural references about the work of the Holy Spirit and how to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. He turned to St. Luke’s Gospel and to the Acts of the Apostles. Later he wrote, “I then began to flip like mad all through the Bible, particularly through the New Testament, and found, for four solid hours, that the whole Bible was opened to me in a way it had never been before. I don’t think I moved from my chair.”[xiv]

They saw more clearly than before, the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer as the teacher, the one who empowers and guides. “It seemed so clear, so compelling, so overwhelming. It was almost like discovering Christianity for the first time.”[xv]

What Next?

The professors were faced with several possibilities. They could continue praying and discussing this deeper life in the Spirit themselves, but that didn’t seem too promising. They had already been praying and talking for some time. Perhaps they thought they should lay hands on each other and pray for a release of the Holy Spirit. They weren’t convinced that this would be the best alternative either. Another option was to attend a Pentecostal church, but they were reluctant to do so. In the end, the most attractive alternative seemed to be to find some neo-Pentecostals, those who had remained within their own denominations after the Baptism in the Spirit. It was a bold step, but they decided to take it.[xvi]

There was an Episcopalian priest who had come to Duquesne’s campus once to give a lecture. As a “long shot,” they called Fr. William Lewis of Christ Church in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, to inquire whether or not he was familiar with Wilkerson’s and Sherrill’s books. In fact, he was familiar with them, and although he was not baptized in the Spirit himself, he offered to introduce the men to one of his parishioners who was. Fr. Lewis described her as a fine woman in very good standing in his parish, the mother of an Episcopalian priest, and a member of an interdenominational charismatic prayer group which met in a home just across from his church.[xvii]

Because a meeting over the Christmas holidays was not opportune, they decided to wait until Friday, January 6, 1967. The date was significant to the men from Duquesne as they recalled that January 6 was the feast of the Epiphany, the manifestation of Jesus Christ as Son of God, as One baptized by the Holy Spirit and the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. The two from Duquesne arrived at Fr. Lewis’ office and were introduced to his Spirit-filled parishioner. The witness she shared with them was simple, straightforward, and scriptural; they were impressed. As the meeting ended she invited them to a charismatic prayer meeting the following Friday night. It was a meeting that would change their lives.[xviii]

Where Two Or Three Are Gathered In My Name

I am deeply grateful to Flo Dodge, who now lives in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, for providing me with the following background about her prayer group (later referred to as the Chapel Hill prayer group) which gave birth to such a powerful move of the Holy Spirit among Catholics.

Flo, a Presbyterian, was sovereignly baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1962.[xix] She had been raised in a fine Christian home which was often the gathering place for foreign missionaries and various Christian activities. It was especially significant to Flo’s mother, who was living with her in 1967, that once again their home, now in Chapel Hill, would be used for a mighty work of God.

Two and a half to three years prior to the famous visit of the Duquesne faculty members, Flo had felt led to form a prayer group. At the time, she held a responsible position as training director at a large Pittsburgh department store and was active in her church as well. One by one, the Lord brought women from different denominations to the prayer meeting in her home where He dealt with each one in a wonderful way. There was a core group of seven women who were baptized in the Spirit, but at times the meeting numbered as many as thirty people.

Flo said that the Lord trained the core group in intercession and put them under a strict discipline. They experienced a deep unity in the Holy Spirit as He moved in their midst. The women were being prepared through prayer and fasting to be very obedient and docile to the Holy Spirit.

In October of 1966 the Lord led Flo in prayer to read all of Isaiah 48—her sense was that it held an important message for the prayer group. In this passage the Lord proclaims:

Things of the past I foretold long ago,

they went forth from My mouth, I let you hear of them;

then suddenly I took action and they came to be.

Because I know that you are stubborn

and that your neck is an iron sinew

and your forehead bronze,

I foretold them to you of old:

before they took place I let you hear of them,

That you might not say, “My idol did them

my statue, my molten image commanded them.”

Now that you have heard, look at all this

must you not admit it?

From now on I announce new things to you,

hidden events which you knew not.

See, I have refined you like silver,

tested you in the furnace of affliction.

For my sake, for my own sake, I do this

why should I suffer profanation?

My glory I will not give to another.

Is. 48:3-6, 10-11

Flo felt the Lord was stressing four things through this passage and she taught about them at the prayer meeting. First: He was doing a new thing. Second: They must not say, “My idol did it.” Third: A refining process was taking place. And fourth: No one should touch God’s glory by moving in the flesh instead of in the Spirit. In retrospect, she sees how the Lord was preparing this Chapel Hill prayer group for the role they were to play in bringing the Baptism in the Holy Spirit to Catholics. God clearly had a plan in mind for them although they didn’t realize it at the time. The passage from Ephesians 2:10 was especially meaningful to Flo “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Shortly before the meeting of January 13, 1967, Flo received a phone call from the Episcopalian woman who had met with the people from Duquesne. This sister in Christ was very excited and anxious to do something special the night the Catholics would be visiting. Flo felt that the prayer group needed to be “prayed up” and proceed as usual. But when she hung up the phone, she asked the Lord what was happening and if she should contact the core group. She recalls that the Lord seemed to say, “Ask them to fast and pray and be obedient to the Holy Spirit and history will be made.”

The night of January 13, 1967, around 7:30-8:00 p.m., four visitors from Duquesne arrived at Flo’s townhouse, 25 Chapel Drive in the North Hills. There were the two faculty members already mentioned, one of their wives, plus another theology instructor, Patrick Bourgeois. Flo recalls that when her mother opened the door that night and saw the men, she felt a deep love for them and received them as sons. They welcomed each other with a warm embrace. The Lord gave Flo’s mother some sense of the unity in the Spirit He desired to bring about. The love of the Lord came over the whole group and lasted all evening.

Flo was deeply touched by the spiritual hunger she saw in the two men who had been fasting and praying for a renewal in the Holy Spirit. The theology instructor commented to Flo’s friend that he was amazed at the insight with which lay people at the meeting could discuss Scripture. The evening proceeded as usual with hymns, spontaneous prayer, brief testimonies, sharing from Scripture and prayer in tongues.

It was customary toward the end of the prayer meeting to get a chair and place it in the middle of the room for anyone who wanted to request prayer for a special need. But that night, Flo felt the Lord ask her to forego this custom. She remembered that passage from Isaiah, “My glory I give to no other.” Flo wanted to obey the Lord’s prompting that there be no laying on of hands that night. It was important that no one member of the prayer group “take the credit,” so to speak, for being the person to lay hands on the Catholic visitors for the Baptism in the Spirit.

But as she tried to bring the meeting to a close, the history professor from Duquesne leapt up. Flo Dodge vividly remembers that he reached out with the sweep of his hand as if to stop her and said, “Oh, no you don’t. I’ve waited a long time for this. I came to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and I’m not leaving until I have it.”

Flo then asked Jim Prophater, a commercial artist who happened to be present that night with his wife, to meet with this professor and to ascertain if, indeed, he was ready for the Baptism in the Spirit. According to Flo, Jim asked him to state what he believed about Jesus Christ. The professor replied that he loved the Lord with all his heart and that he was eager to receive more of His Holy Spirit.

All those present joined hands in a circle and Jim Prophater offered a simple prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to come. Flo recalls that Jim said, “Lord, You know his heart and need. Fill him now to overflowing with Your Spirit.” She said that she could sense the Holy Spirit falling upon the professor, however he did not pray in tongues and no one laid hands on him. But there was such a power in the room that night that everyone present received more of God. In a spirit of rejoicing, everyone stood up and gave thanks for what the Lord was doing. One of the theology instructors sang a hymn and the meeting closed.

For the four Catholics who attended that first meeting, it was sig­nificant that it took place on January 13, the octave day of the Epiphany, set aside in the Catholic liturgy to celebrate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.[xx]

 

Another Description

It’s often interesting to see how different people describe the same event. We are fortunate to have the following account of one of the original four Catholics who attended the Chapel Hill prayer meeting at Flo Dodge’s home. This was written by the theology instructor who had made the original commitment to pray for a renewal in the Holy Spirit:

My wife, two colleagues and I walked cautiously into a “pure suburbia” home and were immediately struck by the warmth of the people there. It was like a family gathering, and we belonged. I remember that they sang four or five traditional mainline Protestant Sunday school type hymns to open the meeting. A lengthy spontaneous prayer session followed. There was one person leading out at a time, and while it was certainly not babble there was an undertone of voices, and a little praying in tongues. This, too, was done quite softly and unobtrusively. They then began to share biblical passages in a most remarkable way. They shared what they had read in the last week and related it to a variety of experiences both past and present. What startled us about this is that the theology of Christian life which emerged was excellent. It was a resurrection-oriented grace theology of the kind usually found in Cursillos and in good textbooks in theology; yet, it was neither contrived nor from a textbook. The operative theology of the group as it met and prayed together was positive, natural, and joyful, since it was grounded in the Pauline epistles. I winced once or twice when someone mentioned intelligence and how “dangerous it is, etc.” In fact, I was about to start grinding my teeth till someone said, “You know, I think the Lord means to use that too . . . “and this began a very positive discussion. My only other objection seemed to center on the way they were using Scripture. Fundamentalist is not the right word. It was much more that they were tending to read the Scriptures like the Fathers of the Church did, in a highly allegorical manner. It put me off for a while. But even through this I could see a real testimony of the sense of the presence of God. Maybe that’s why it bothered me. I fear a “super-direct pipeline to God” mentality. Yet as one of my friends said after the meeting, maybe we overemphasize secondary causality too much so that we never have a sense of God working in anything. In all it was not an extraordinary evening. Yet, it led us to think and to pray. We were left with an abiding sense that here was a movement of God.[xxi]

I have been told by several people who were present that this professor left Flo’s home to walk outside by himself for a while during the time of fellowship after the prayer meeting. He had had an overall positive experience of the meeting as is recorded here. But certain elements caused him enough emotional upset that he felt the need to be alone and think them through.

Coming Back For More

The following Friday, January 20, 1967, two of the four Catholics returned to Flo’s house in Chapel Hill. The theology instructor shared his impressions of that second meeting with his friends in a letter:

Of the four of us who attended this first meeting, for a number of reasons only Patrick Bourgeois, a fellow instructor in the theology department, and I were able to make it to the next meeting. We returned to find the prayer and discussion centered this time upon the Epistle to the Romans. The only way I can express the way we felt about this discussion was that it was not all clouded up by Reformation issues. They weren’t saying anything that I felt to be a problem. It was a strikingly nondenominational meeting. It ended when Pat and I asked to be prayed with for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. They broke up into several groups because they were praying over several people. They simply asked me to make an act of faith for the power of the Spirit to work in me. I prayed in tongues rather quickly. It was not a particularly soaring or spectacular thing at all. I felt a certain peace -and at least a little prayerful — and truthfully, rather curious as to where all this would lead. They broke out food afterwards and had a little party. I remember that my comment to them that night was, “See what you do when you have Catholics here, you have rites and ceremonies.” They had never done that before. They had always sort of just broken up and gone home. That night, however, was a sort of celebration.

To me, praying in tongues was a rather minimal aspect, a purely concomitant phenomenon which seemed naturally to go along with this. I was interested in it mainly because I felt my faith needed “livening.” That was the prime concern — speaking in tongues didn’t really present an intellectual problem because I knew historically that it had been a phenomenon which was widely accepted in the Church in its beginning. And from what I knew of Church history the New Testament phenomenon was not limited to the New Testament by any means. My personal difficulty had been the reverse. I couldn’t understand why this charismatic phenomenon didn’t occur more frequently, as one would expect. This seemed to be more in line with what I had come to expect of New Testament Christianity.[xxii]

Ask And You Shall Receive

In the following week, the professor whose narration you have just read, prayed with his wife and the history professor with the laying on of hands. They too received the Baptism in the Spirit. One of them described it this way:

Talk about a baptism, it was just like I was being plunged down into a great sea of water, only the water was God, the water was the Holy Spirit. . . . All in all it is not a new experience. It is not a revolutionary experience because it reaffirmed all the things which I’d been trying to hold on to for years and to affirm for so many years: my appreciation of Scripture, my appreciation of the Eucharist, my appreciation of praying and working with other people. The difference is that it seems to me that everything is easier and more spontaneous and comes from within. It is not so much that I am trying to work with people or that I am trying to advert to God or to pay attention to Him, to make Him the center of my life. This seems to be now a much more spontaneous welling up of these aspirations and this power from within. This is not saying that I’ve overcome all my difficulties, not by a long shot, it’s just that there’s more inwardness and spontaneity, more power in a word than there ever was before.

And this has lasted and endured. It can be lessened or weakened by lack of faith because I am sure that God doesn’t work despite us. We have to cooperate with Him and let Him act, let Him have His own way because there is nothing automatic, nothing mechanical, nothing magical, nothing superstitious about it. It is still the old-fashioned, Christian life which was first taught to me when I was a child, and yet it has a certain new dimension, a new strength and a new power and interiority which it did not have before, for which I thank Him with my whole heart.[xxiii]

Another Eyewitness

I am grateful to have yet another description from one of the original four Catholics who attended that famous Chapel Hill prayer meeting at the home of Flo Dodge. It is the testimony of Dr. Patrick L. Bourgeois, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, who is presently a professor of philosophy at Loyola University of the South. Pat had done summer graduate studies at University of Notre Dame and he was a graduate student in philosophy and a full-time theology instructor at Duquesne in 1966. Therefore, he had many of the same friends and acquaintances alluded to earlier. Pat was invited by his colleagues to come along to the prayer meeting on the night of January 13, 1967, and he felt impelled to go. In fact, he was one of the two who returned and were prayed over the following week. Pat’s story is found later in this book and provides not only an eyewitness account of the meeting at Flo Dodge’s home, but also Pat’s reflections as a professor of theology and philosophy.

As you may remember from Flo’s description, one of the original four from Duquesne asked for the Baptism in the Spirit at the first prayer meeting they attended. Pat’s own intense inner response to the Spirit took place when he and his colleague returned to the prayer group the next week and actually asked for the Baptism in the Spirit with the laying on of hands. An interesting note is that Rev. Don Basham and his wife, Alice, were living in Sharon, Pennsylvania, at this time. Flo recalls that when there were no special activities being held at Pastor Basham’s church, he occasionally joined the Chapel Hill prayer group for their meeting. He and Alice “just happened” to be there on January 20, the second time the Catholic visitors attended. Rev. Basham later commented on this meeting in his book, Face Up With a Miracle. He wrote, “I found myself praising God who had taken what began as a simple prayer of faith over two sincere young men who were seeking more of Him, and seemed to be turning it into a spiritual renaissance of major proportions among future leaders of the Roman Catholic Church.”[xxiv] Mrs. Basham told me that she and Don realized history was in the making that night in January of 1967, and they felt privileged to be a part of it.[xxv]

We Cannot Help But Speak Of What We Have Seen And Heard

In the weeks following these meetings a number of things happened. The theology instructor who was a Chi Rho advisor returned to South Bend on business in mid-February. While he was there, he shared his experience of the Baptism in the Spirit with some of his friends from Notre Dame. Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan describe their encounter with him in the following words:

The quiet fire burning in him was obvious to both of us. In a real way he was a new person, a man more centered on Christ. For two days we talked of Pentecostalism and what it all could mean. Long into the nights, over many cups of coffee, we raised every intellectual, aesthetic and psychological objection we could muster to fend off this intrusion into our religious complacency. We were curious, but quite happy to stay at a distance from the whole thing. Yet, we now had seen for ourselves a man changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.[xxvi]

Fr. Edward O’Connor, C.S.C., met this professor from Duquesne during his visit to South Bend quite by accident. Fr. O’Connor had remembered him from his days as a student at Notre Dame. Fr. O’Connor commented on the encounter. “He didn’t say a word to me about the Pentecostal happenings. However, there was a strange, joyous light in his eyes I had never seen before. I didn’t really advert to it at the moment, but somehow it haunted me for a while thereafter. Later when I got into the Charismatic Renewal, I realized what lay behind it.”[xxvii]

A Week Before The Duquesne Weekend

In addition to his visit to South Bend, this same theology instructor wrote a letter to a friend describing his experience with the Baptism in the Spirit and the charismatic prayer group. It is dated February 11, 1967 — exactly one week before the Duquesne Weekend took place. The theological and pastoral reflections are interesting, since they come from a man who describes himself as a “fledgling theologian” who has just received the Baptism in the Spirit.

[I understand] that you are interested in our impressions of contacts with a Spirit-filled prayer group.

Essentially, I think, it has been simply a discovery of all that we already knew of Christ and Christian life. I hope all this doesn’t sound too enigmatic, but the whole experience has been rather like having all our suspicions about the truth of Christianity confirmed; gaining a new depth of awareness of who Christ is and what it means to be a Christian.

A deep sense of need for prayer and sacraments, a joy and confidence in witnessing, a serious confrontation with my own sinfulness, have been what I have noticed most about myself. I have been given a couple of the charisms—prayer in a tongue, discernment of spirits, and power to cast them out. I mention these because I trust your discretion, and because I believe you deserve the full story on what is happening here. My impression of prayer in a tongue is that when I pray in this way He is doing something deep inside where I can’t reach, that somehow it makes intercessory prayer more effective, and that prayer in the usual sense and prayer in a tongue are complementary and foster and feed one another. The other gifts have been helpful. I gratefully accept them, pray that I may use them to God’s glory, and have no idea whether they are permanent or only transient signs. My conviction is that these are all gifts to be used and not to be talked about.

My wife began to speak in a tongue when I laid hands on her and prayed over her, just two days after the same thing had happened to me at a prayer meeting. It happened to both of us in the same way; a couple of phrases came to mind, and when we used them, more came. It develops with frequent use, rather like a baby learning to talk.

What I have noticed most about her is a quite remarkable attraction to the Scriptures, to spiritual reading, and to prayer, as well as a spiritual wisdom which I find (by way of understatement) quite helpful to me.

The whole experience has brought much joy and confidence; but I would say that there has been nothing that has been exhilarating (in any frothy emotional sense). It has been, on the whole, calm, quiet, and sometimes painful.

How I relate all this to my Catholicism should be fairly obvious from what I have said above. Anything else can best be summarized by saying that I find Thomas Aquinas, the Roman Liturgy, and the lives of the saints helpful and relevant.

Perhaps some of my observations as a fledgling theologian might be helpful.

First of all, the prayer group is super-orthodox. Their understanding of the Trinity, of Christ, of the life of grace, of the relation between nature and grace, of election, of human freedom before God, is a Catholic understanding of those realities.

Secondly, I would relate the Baptism of the Spirit to Confirmation as follows. Our Sacrament of Confirmation is identical to the New Testament Baptism of the Spirit. That we notice no effects, or minimal ones, in many cases, is due, not to a failure of the sacrament, but to a failure to seek or respond to the gifts to which the sacrament gives us a claim (the whole scholastic bit about cooperating with the grace of the sacraments.) If a confirmed Catholic is later transformed in a context such as we have experienced, this is simply a revival of the grace of the sacrament (again a traditional scholastic notion). The laying on of hands is no repudiation of Confirmation, any more than the Asperges is a repudiation of Baptism. If we are not mere ritualists, it is obvious that sacramentals can be used by God as means of activating what He has already done through the sacraments.

Thirdly, in an ecumenical perspective, this could be the Spirit’s way of leading us into unity with one another. All of the people we have met in the group are active in their own churches; we have found no sectarian spirit, no repudiation of the larger institutional church. We are “learning from one another” in the deepest sense, and in the deepest sense we “need one another.” At the same time I find three hours a week when all the divisions between the churches are gone, and I find myself becoming more and more committed to the Catholic Church.

Finally, a pastoral concern. People will go where the action is. Those Catholics whose ties with the Church are loose or shaky, and who have come in contact with the genuine Christians in these prayer groups, may well sever their ties with Catholicism — to their loss and ours —if there is nobody to show the way. It is well to remember that to many Pentecostals and Evangelicals, we represent at best a dead institutionalism, and at worst the Anti-Christ. Unless they know and respect real Catholics, they will not direct fringe Catholics back to their own Church. Formed Catholics, I think, will find their Catholicism enhanced by contacts with these groups; but they will also serve their Church by creating a climate of understanding and love, and by retrieving the strays.

By way of closing, I find it difficult to say how much joy it gives me to share this with you, since you are responsible for starting me on the path to all this. Our prayers go with you.[xxviii]

The Chi Rho Society

Another significant development concerned plans for a retreat of Duquesne students scheduled for February 17-19. As has already been mentioned, the two professors who have figured so prominently in the events just recounted, were advisors to Chi Rho. Chi Rho took its name from the first two letters in the Greek word for Christ. Bert Ghezzi had been the first president of the organization while still an undergraduate at Duquesne. Dorothy Garrity Ranaghan had also been a member of Chi Rho.

On a campus where Greek organizations were strong, Chi Rho provided an alternative to sorority and fraternity life. Students joined Chi Rho to experience Christian fellowship and many members met in the morning or afternoon in the History Department to pray a shortened form of the Divine Office and to study Scripture. Fr. Robert Moselener of Greenburg, Pennsylvania, was a member of Chi Rho in 1967, and recalls that there was a strong emphasis on social action. One of the men from Chi Rho went to Turkey to serve in the Peace Corps. Others were active in the Civil Rights Movement and traveled to Selma, Alabama, for the historic march in 1965. Gina Steinmetz Scanlon, whose testimony appears later describes how she and others from Chi Rho were active in another Duquesne organization as well, the Council of Interracial Friendship (COIF). By January, 1967, members of the Chi Rho Society were being pulled in different directions and the organization was struggling to define its identity.

A New Theme

The two professors had had such a profound experience of the Holy Spirit, they suggested a change in the theme of the student retreat —from “The Sermon on the Mount” to “The Acts of the Apostles.” Several students were part of the committee to plan the weekend — Bill Deigan, the president; Karin Sefcik, the secretary; Marybeth Mutmansky; Pat Bourgeois; Annamarie Nacko; Paul Gray and Mary Ann Springel. Marybeth remembers that during these planning sessions the two professors made no specific reference to the Baptism in the Spirit. Yet they communicated a deep sense of anticipation and joy. She and others began to wonder what was going to happen on this retreat anyway? Pat Bourgeois recalls that the other two professors were hoping and praying that the Holy Spirit might do something special on the Weekend, but they had no clear plan in mind.

Getting Ready

On Friday, February 17, 1967, approximately twenty-five students left for retreat along with the campus chaplain, a Holy Ghost priest, Fr. Joseph Healy, C.S.Sp., the two faculty moderators, and one of their wives.

They headed for the Ark and the Dove, a lovely retreat center nestled in a sixteen-acre wooded area of the North Hills, just fifteen miles north of downtown Pittsburgh. A twenty-three room, three-story country inn served as the main house and a smaller adjacent cottage housed additional retreatants. The facility was originally built by Bell Telephone in 1919 and was acquired by the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1964. It served as a retreat center and was staffed by an order of religious sisters from Holland, the Ladies of Bethany. In 1979, the Diocese of Pittsburgh began to administrate the facility directly and changed its name to “The John Cardinal Wright Vocation and Prayer Center.” It is still in operation today.[xxix]

Veni Creator Spiritus

As the retreat opened, the students were told that intercessory prayer was being offered on their behalf by the two men who had given the men’s retreat the year before—Ralph Martin and Steve Clark. After the Weekend, the retreatants learned that the members of the Chapel Hill prayer group had been interceding as well. Flo remembers how excited all the women in the core group were. In Flo’s words, “They knew God was going to move in a burst of power.”[xxx]

The professors directed the group to sing an ancient hymn to the Holy Spirit entitled, “Veni Creator Spiritus.” One of the men explained that it was more than a song; it was a prayer. The retreatants were asked to repeat it at each session, imploring the Holy Spirit to come. Some of the participants remember being told that they should be careful what they were asking for, because God always answers prayer!

The students were taught the traditional Gregorian chant melody and the hymn was sung in English as follows:

Great Paraclete! to Thee we cry;

O highest gift of God most high!

O fount of life! O fire of love!

And sweet anointing from above!

Thou dost appear in sev’nfold dow’r

The sign of God’s almighty pow’r!

The Father’s promise, making rich

With saving truth our earthly speech.

Kindle our senses from above,

And make our hearts o’erflow with love;

With patience firm and virtue high,

The weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,

And grant us Thy true peace instead;

So shall we not, with Thee for guide.

Turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow

The Father and the Son to know,

And Thee, through endless times confessed,

Of Both Th’ eternal Spirit blest.

All glory, while the ages run,

Be to the Father and the Son

Who rose from death: the same to Thee,

O Holy Ghost, eternally. Amen.

A Sovereign Outpouring Of The Holy Spirit

The remaining details of the Duquesne Weekend and the sovereign outpouring of the Holy Spirit are told many times over in the eyewitness accounts found later in this book. A brief sketch of the schedule of daily activities is as follows. The presentations centered on the first four chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. Friday night after an opening talk, there was a Penance Service. On Saturday morning, Paul Gray spoke on Acts 1, Mass was celebrated and afterwards Marybeth Mutmansky and Karin Sefcik (Treiber) presented meditations on women of the Bible. Then there was a talk on Acts 2, followed by small discussion groups.

Many of the testimonies mention this presentation on Acts 2 because it was a pivotal moment in the Weekend. The faculty advisors had invited the Spirit-filled Episcopalian woman they had met at the Chapel Hill prayer group, to come and speak. Her presentation was on the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. She may not have used this terminology, but that was her theme.

During the discussion following her talk, David Mangan made a proposal that the participants renew their Confirmation as part of the closing ceremony. A plumbing problem threatened to end the retreat early, but it was resolved. Later that night, during what was scheduled as a birthday party for several people, the Holy Spirit began a sovereign work. One by one, many (but not all) of the young people were drawn into the chapel and experienced the Baptism in the Spirit in a manifest way.

News Too Good To Keep

Shortly after the Weekend, one of the two faculty advisors to Chi Rho wrote a letter to his friends giving them an update on “some wonderful things.” He apologized for his use of carbon paper, but he wanted to communicate with many people very quickly. He explained, “I have news too good to keep.” Here is an excerpt from that letter:

… We have found ourselves on a plane of Christian life all the textbooks call normal and all practice and expectation seems to deny. Our faith has come alive, our believing has become a kind of knowing. Suddenly, the world of the supernatural has become more real than the natural. In brief, Jesus Christ is a real person to us, a real living person who is our Lord and who is active in our lives. (Cf. the New Testament and read it as though it were literally true now every word, every line). Prayer and the sacraments have become truly our daily bread instead of practices which we recognize as “good for us.” A love of the Scriptures, a love of the Church I never thought possible, a transformation of our relationships with others, a need and a power of witness beyond all expectation, have all become part of our lives. The initial experience of the “Baptism of the Spirit” was not at all emotional, but life has become suffused with calm, confidence, joy, and peace…

One of the most startling results has been a Weekend we held for about twenty-five students. Just an ordinary conference and discussion type retreat. But we did one thing different—we centered on Acts 1-4 and expected the coming of the Holy Spirit. We sang the Veni Creator Spirit us before each conference and meant it. We were not disappointed. What happened in Acts 2 happened there. These, incidentally, were students who three months ago had their doubts about the existence of God, wouldn’t hear of prayer, etc., etc. They have already had their effect upon the campus.

We have also been showered with charismata (again, cf. 1 Cor. 12-14). (Cf. also Rahner’s theological dictionary on Charism).

This also puts us in an ecumenical atmosphere at its best. Most of our Friday evenings we go to a prayer meeting with Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, and Pentecostals. And for three hours all denominational differences are annihilated, without compromising an inch on our Roman Catholicism. . . . Never have I heard the Church of Rome prayed for with such fervor as I have at prayer meeting. And with such love.

The most helpful people in assisting us with the spiritual direction of the students have been two Pentecostals, a layman and his pastor. They are truly remarkable people. And all the stuff we have heard about emotionalism etc. is a lot of nonsense, as far as the Assembly of God church is concerned.

I could go on and on; but that would take a whole book. To summarize; a little group of Protestants have shown us what it really means to be Catholics. And more than that, the Spirit of God is mightily at work here.

If you should get the books I mentioned, which you should be able to find in a good Protestant bookstore, you will note that the Baptism of the Spirit is often given by the laying on of hands. Where Catholics are concerned, I do not view this as a substitute for Confirmation. I think it is just a sacramental which activates Confirmation . . . just as any sacramental should be a genuine activation of what is already present.

Nor do I view this as a new gimmick; I view the whole experience as something which should be always and everywhere present, and which we have muffled by our lack of faith. Do we really believe that the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world?[i] 

Word Traveled Quickly

Dr. Vinson Synan, a Pentecostal Holiness church historian, has commented, “One never knows the effect of any one meeting when the Spirit of God moves. I believe the Duquesne Weekend will have to go down in history as one of the most important prayer meetings that ever occurred, especially in modern times.”[ii]

Word traveled quickly among neo-Pentecostals about the new move of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church. In early March, Rev. Don Basham received a letter overflowing with good news from Jim Prophater, the commercial artist who had been present the first night the Catholics came to Flo Dodge’s meeting. Here is an excerpt of that letter:

There has been such a tremendous move of the Holy Spirit here in Pittsburgh that it is making our heads swim — because we are right in the middle of it. Remember the two young instructors of theology from Duquesne who received the Holy Spirit at Flo’s when you were here last? Well, the tallest of the two, went home that night so full of the Spirit that he was bursting. He told his wife about it — I guess until the wee hours of the morning — prayed for her and she received…Then they took thirty Duquesne students on a weekend retreat, for the purpose of studying the first four chapters of Acts. They had an upper room experience and twenty or more received the Holy Spirit. Back on campus they have been praying fellow classmates through to receive. . . . They even called Bishop Wright and informed him of what is happening.

They recognize the need for instruction, and we have been helping them. Friday night we went to hear testimonies of some of the students…Nothing is impossible with God! But, He sure shakes us up sometimes when He moves so quickly and in such power. . . .[iii]

As Jim Prophater’s letter indicates, after the Weekend, at least for several weeks, some of the faculty members and students attended the prayer meeting at Flo’s house and got a real taste of Christian unity in the power of the Holy Spirit. There were also Spirit-filled ministers who passed through Pittsburgh and visited with the students. The most notable of these ministers was Rev. Harald Bredesen, a pioneer in the neo-Pentecostal movement. A group from Duquesne even spent the following summer with Rev. Bredesen in Mt. Vernon, New York, as an ecumenical venture in fellowship and ministry.

From Campus To Campus

As has been mentioned earlier, both faculty moderators from Chi Rho had close ties with Notre Dame. On March 4, 1967, one of the professors went to South Bend on business and met with a group of about thirty students and friends at the home of Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan. He witnessed strongly and joyfully about the wonder of Pentecost in our own day. The next night nine people met with him again, including the Ranaghans, Bert and Mary Lou Ghezzi, Gerry Rauch and Jim Cavnar. All present asked to be prayed with to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and although no charisms were manifested that night, there was a definite breakthrough of the love of Christ in their lives. As one of them put it, “We have seen the Lord.”[iv]

On Monday, March 13, another group made up primarily of those who had received the Baptism in the Spirit the week before and a few newcomers went to a prayer meeting in the home of Ray Bullard in Mishawaka. Ray was president of the local Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International. It has been noted that this meeting of men and women from such radically different backgrounds could only have taken place with the grace of God. Ray had invited some Pentecostal ministers to come to his home that night to meet with the Catholics. Before the evening ended most of the Catholics had prayed in tongues. When asked, they also made it clear that they intended to remain in the Catholic Church. Afterwards, Catholic charismatic prayer meetings began taking place at Notre Dame, and word spread about this new pentecostal fire that was burning on campus.[v]

The very next day, March 14, four visitors arrived in Pittsburgh. Jim Cavnar and Gerry Rauch had hitchhiked from Notre Dame to meet Ralph Martin and Steve Clark who had arrived from East Lansing. Jim and Gerry had just received the Baptism in the Spirit the week before. The Duquesne professors ministered to Ralph and Steve privately, praying for them with the laying on of hands. Ralph recalls that it was obvious that the Holy Spirit had done something with the group from Duquesne. He could see evidence of what Scripture describes as “power from on high.” People were aglow with the Spirit; there was an atmosphere of Pentecost. All four visitors also met with the students in an informal prayer gathering on campus. Everyone was quite new at manifesting spiritual gifts. Jim Cavnar relates how he heard that one of the faculty advisors had a charismatic “word of knowledge.” Jim, not realizing how this gift worked, kept careful guard over his thoughts when in this man’s presence, for fear that this Duquesne professor might read his mind. Of course, no such thing happened.

Ralph recalls that at Duquesne he witnessed in a community setting what he had experienced before, personally. The visit gave him hope that an environment could evolve to foster a real life together in the Holy Spirit. The four young men returned to Notre Dame and Michigan State University, respectively, and the Pentecostal Movement in the Catholic Church, as it was then called, began to spread.

The Wind Blows Where It Wills

It is interesting to note that the Chapel Hill prayer meeting at Flo Dodge’s home disbanded about six weeks after the Duquesne Weekend. Flo said that she sensed it had fulfilled its purpose and the Lord moved her on. At the same time on Duquesne’s campus, the Chi Rho meetings were taking on more of a charismatic quality. This upset some of the members who had not experienced the Baptism in the Spirit, and before long the chaplain’s office asked that the prayer meetings be held off-campus. The group moved to the home of one of the faculty advisors, then to Pat Bourgeois’ apartment.

To the dismay of the fledgling prayer group in Pittsburgh, both professors who had been so instrumental in fostering the work of the Holy Spirit on the Duquesne Weekend moved to new locations by that summer. Catholics from around the world who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit these past twenty-five years owe a debt of gratitude to these two professors and to the many other people whose stories appear in the pages of this book. They dared to pray for, to believe in, to receive and to proclaim a new Pentecost!

NOTES

[1] Prayer of Pope John XXIII to the Holy Spirit for the success of the Ecumenical Council. The last paragraph of this prayer is also found in Humanae Salutis, the apostolic constitution by Pope John XXIII convoking the Second Vatican Council, dated December 25, 1961. Cf. Walter M. Abbott, S.S., General Editor, The Documents of Vatican II, (New York: The American Press, 1966) pp. 709 and 793.

[2] Personal conversations of the author with Mrs. AnnaMariea Schmidt of Milo, Maine. AnnaMariea’s testimony has appeared in New Covenant, (November, 1985), pp. 20-22.

[3] Cardinal Léon-Joseph Suenens as reported in The Catholic Messenger (Davenport, Iowa) May 7, 1964.

[4] Fr. Val Gaudet, “A Woman and the Pope,” New Covenant, (October, 1973), pp. 4-6.

[5] John W. Ripley, “Erastus Stone’s Dream Castle – Birthplace of Pentecostalism,” found in Topeka at the Turn of the Century, Shawnee County Historical Society, Bulletin No. 52, (Topeka, Kansas, n.d.) pp. 42-53.

[6] Edward D. O’Connor, C.S.C., The Pentecostal Movement in the Catholic Church, (Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 1971), p. 23.

[7] Ibid., pp. 44-47. When Fr. O’Connor wrote this book, the term “Pentecostal Movement in the Catholic Church” was still in use. When he describes “Pentecostal meetings,” he is referring to Catholic Charismatic Renewal prayer meetings. The Antioch Weekend was originally called a Study Weekend and is mentioned elsewhere in this book.

[8] Jim Manney, “Before Duquesne: Sources of he Renewal,” New Covenant, (Februry 1973), p. 13.

[9] Personal conversation of the author with Ralph Martin.

[10] Jim Manney, op. cit., p. 15.

[11] Ibid., p. 17.

[12] Ibid., p. 17.

[13] Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan, Catholic Pentecostals, (Paramus, NJ: Paulist Press, 1969) p. 8.

[14] Ibid., p. 9.

[15] Ibid., p. 10.

[16] Ibid., pp. 11-12.

[17] Ibid., p. 12.

[18] Ibid., p. 13.

[19] Personal conversation of he author with Flo Dodge, June 10, 1991. Additional Scripture passages which formed the Chapel Hill prayer group are: 1 Cor. 11-14, Eph. 4:11-16, Heb. 4:12, and Jn 14-17. This prayer group is no longer in existence. Flo Dodge is founder of The Lydia Fellowship, a teaching ministry, and has been active in Women’s Aglow Fellowship as well.

[20] Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan, op. cit., p. 13.

[21] Ibid., pp. 14-15.

[22] Ibid., pp. 15-16.

[23] Ibid., pp. 16-17.

[24] Don Basham, Face Up With a Miracle, (Monroeville, Pennsylvania; Whitaker Books, 1967), p. 184.

[25] Alice Basham, Personal letter to author, June 25, 1991.

[26] Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan, op. cit., p. 39.

[27] Fr. Edward O’Connor C.S.C., Personal letter to author, June 3, 1991.

[28] Personal letter, February 11, 1967.

[29] The John Cardinal Wright Vocation and Prayer Center is located in Pine Township, Allegheny County, between Exits 3 and 4 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, approximately six miles form the Wexford, Route 910 exit of Interstate 79. The address is: Cardinal Wright Center, Babcock Blvd., Gibsonia, PA 15044. Telephone number (412) 443-0340.

[30] Personal conversation of the author with Flo Dodge, June 10, 1991

[31] New Covenant, (February 1973), p. 1.

[32] Dr. Vinson Synan, Personal letter to author, February 27, 1991.

[33] Don Basham, op. cit., p. 183

[34] Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan, op. cit., p. 40.

[35] Ibid., pp. 41-42.