Charismatic Renewal gets new priest liaison
By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY - Bishop Raymond J. Boland has appointed Precious Blood Father James Betzen liaison for the 35-year-old Charismatic Renewal in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
Father James Betzen, CPPS
The post had been vacant since the July 2000 death of Father Frank Lackamp.
Bishop Boland said of the appointment, "During these difficult days within the church, we need to be absolutely sure that we do not neglect or underestimate the power of prayer."
Father Betzen told The Catholic Key in a telephone interview that he has been associated with charismatic renewal and healing ministries since college. He described Catholic charismatic renewal as, "praise, thanksgiving, witnessing and healing ministries."
The renewal groups are small and meet weekly for prayer. The intentions of the bishop, the diocese or individuals are included in the groups' prayers, Father Betzen said. He encourages healing teams, praying with others who have the gift of healing.
"People come to me asking for prayer and healing," he said.
Father Betzen, pastor of Sacred Heart-Guadalupe Parish, is bilingual. Mercy Sister Mary Jo Kennedy said his fluency in Spanish will help bridge communication gaps between Hispanic prayer communities and the larger church community.
Father Betzen said he sees his position as a two-way street. The bishop communicates his personal or diocesan intentions to Father Betzen, who will pass them on to the prayer groups. Father Betzen will also convey requests or intentions to the bishop on behalf of the Hispanic community.
Father Betzen will also serve as diocesan spiritual director for the prayer groups, who work together with prayer groups in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas for monthly healing Masses, retreats, conferences and meetings.
Sister Kennedy said the Catholic charismatic renewal helps people experience a deeper awareness of the Holy Spirit. They renew their faith and then share it with others. Mass is the most powerful prayer for everyone, she said, but if there is a specific need for a specific person, renewal prayer groups fill the gap.
"They're great intercessors," she said.