How Many People Belong to WWCCR?
How many people (or prayer groups) belong to WWCCR? This is a question we are sometimes asked and the correct answer is, “none”. Many movements in the Church do have members, but Catholic Charismatic Renewal does not. We don’t have certain criteria for belonging nor do we have a particular “rule” or spirituality that we follow. This is an important concept to grasp because it affects the relationship that WWCCR has to the Archdiocese, to parishes and to individuals.
Of course, sometimes when a person asks, “How many people belong…?” they want to know how many donors we have or how many people attend our events or how many people receive our newsletter. Or they may wonder how many Charismatic Prayer Groups there are in the diocese. We are able to give statistics on all these questions. But a deeper issue is, how many people in the Archdiocese of Seattle have been directly influenced in their spiritual life by participation in some aspect of Catholic Charismatic Renewal. I don’t have a statistic to answerthat question, but I’m confident that it numbers in the thousands or tens of thousands. If we don’t have a roster of members, how are we connected? First of all, WWCCR is authorized to exist at the ecclesial level by the permission of the Archbishop. We relate to the Archbishop through our liaison. Through regular communication, we are able to maintain open and fruitful interaction with the Chancery offices.
Now, what about the Prayer Groups? Doesn’t WWCCR exercise authority over them? No, we don’t. Each Prayer Group is under the authority of the pastor of the parish in which they meet. WWCCR is available to offer advice, encouragement, training and other resources to the pastor and the prayer group but we don’t provide any direct supervision.
Once a year we publish a directory of Prayer Groups in this diocese. Before we publish information about a group, we ask the pastor of the parish to sign a form that indicates that the group meets with his approval. This way we know that the groups we include are operating under proper authority.
There are many times when we work closely with one or more prayer groups, for example when we offer leadership training programs. Currently we are meeting regularly with the leaders of seven different Hispanic/Latino prayer groups to plan a Spanish language Conference. WWCCR has the infrastructure and experience that enables diocesan wide events to be planned and promoted. But the involvement and collaboration of the various groups is critical to the success of an event like this—WWCCR could never do this on our own.
WWCCR works directly with parishes when we sponsor Healing Masses. A contact person is designated from the parish and we work with them to plan and organize this special Mass. This is all done with the permission of both the Chancery office and the pastor of the parish.
Even the events that we sponsor that might seem autonomous, like our Youth Retreats and ourWomen’s Retreat, are carefully planned to supplement other initiatives in parishes, prayer groups or in the Archdiocese, never to substitute for them. You can begin to see that WWCCR fulfills a servant’s role in every respect. We truly exists to serve the needs of the Church in any area that involves “living, proclaiming and nurturing Baptism in the Holy Spirit” or increasing appreciation of the grace of Pentecost.
Please pray for us, that we will always have eyes to see what it is the Lord would have us do next, and that we would always respond quickly, in humble obedience. “As the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters, as the eyes of a maid are on the hands of her mistress, so are our eyes on the Lord, our God…” Ps 123:2