This story was shared with Fr Bernard by Elizabeth Troon, after Fr Bernard told the parish that they had been invited to undertake a Pilot project for the Archdiocese of Perth. This story demonstrates the power of prayer at work in the parish community.
It truly was just like a new Pentecost
In 1973, around April, the parish of Our lady of Grace, Karrinyup, with the instruction of the Parish Priest, Fr Michael Byrne, began to pray a special prayer at each week-end Mass in preparation for a planned 6 week Parish Renewal Mission which was to commence in September. This is the prayer we offered:
Dear Heavenly Father,
As our first and deepest preparation for the Parish renewal,
We offer this prayer of Pope John XXIII
‘O God, renew your wonders in our time by sending the Holy Spirit upon the Church as for a new Pentecost.
Our hearts await your gifts, O Holy Spirit: reconciliation, peace, personal faith in our Redeemer and a deep and sharing unity with one another and with all.
Confidently we make this prayer through you, Jesus, our saving Lord. Amen
V: Pray for us O holy Mother of God.
R: That we may be led into the promises of Christ your Son.
At the appointed time, the team arrived from the Redemptorist Monastery, consisting of two priests (Fr Pat and Fr Dom), two or three brothers and some lay people. And so it began – an intensive first and last week of preaching, teaching and praying every night with many attending. The middle 4 weeks were filled with daily Mass, praying and sharing, (also well attended) and small group gatherings in homes, led by the team.
In the course of that 6 weeks many lives were changed forever. Spiritual, emotional and physical healing took place. It truly was just like a new Pentecost we had prayed for the wonderful and amazing happenings at Our lady of Grace Karrinyup were reported in catholic newspapers all around the country.
The missionaries returned 6 months later for about two weeks around Easter 1974 and groups were formed including a weekly day time and weekly evening Charismatic prayer group. Both being very successful. It would take too long to tell the whole story. Enough to say after some years the prayer groups were amalgamated with other Parishes and moved out of Karrinyup.
In 1984 our new parish Priest Fr Geoff Beyer requested that the Charismatic group be instated, and so on 27 March 1985 the morning group of ladies (though men have always been welcome) began to meet again in the Parish centre with 10 -12 members. Membership numbers have see-sawed over the years, but we have always had a strong parish involvement and great support from all our parish Priest.
Fast forward to this last year. I was looking for something in my Bible and came across a small square of paper with the parish renewal prayer of 1973 on it. I made copies and took it to the Prayer group the following Wednesday. After explaining its origins, we began to pray it at the beginning of our meetings. For some reason this died away for a short time and I was reminded quite forcefully by the Holy Spirit that we must pray this powerful prayer. One of the members laminated every copy and we have been offering the prayer at every meeting since.
Just before Lent, our current parish Priest, Fr Bernard Lanarolle announced at Mass that our Parish had been chosen as one of two Parishes in the Archdiocese to launch into a new parish renewal Programme. Fr Nino from the Parish Renewal Team visited us and explained to us a little of what would happen. I believe that our little prayer group (about 15 at present) has been inspired by the Holy Spirit to say this powerful prayer of Pope John XXIII and can only look forward with awe and wonder to what the Lord has planned for all of us, our families, for our parishes, our country, and the world.