For many Catholics, the Holy Spirit may be the least understood of the Holy Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We picture the Holy Spirit as a dove at the Baptism of Jesus, or as flames descending upon the apostles at Pentecost, but other than knowing that He brings the seven gifts at Confirmation, how can we relate to this Person Whom Jesus calls the “Paraclete” or “helper”?
The members of the Charismatic Prayer Group understand that the Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son. By growing in understanding and relationship with the Holy Spirit, they learn the depth of the love of the Father and the Son.
“This group is truly centered on the Holy Spirit,” says Desiray Baxter, the new leader of the group. “We pray for one another and bond over the shared experiences in the group. This group attracts people who are really looking to grow in their faith and understand how the Lord speaks to them.”
As a convert to the Catholic faith and new to our parish, Desiray wanted to find a place in the community where she could be with Jesus and grow in her faith in the midst of other people who were seeking the same things.
“As a mom of young children, it can be hard to find time to grow in your faith and to be involved in the parish community,” Desiray says. “I needed somewhere to settle my mind and meet others in the parish, as well. The previous leader of the group, Gabriella Stockdale, set such an incredible atmosphere and really emphasized what the Holy Spirit could do if we simply allowed Him. It is a place to learn about where He is teaching us self-control and how to let go of ourselves and be a part of something else.”
Prayer groups follow a prayer routine that begins with singing and sharing with the group what God is doing in their lives right now. Those in attendance pray through Scriptures or messages that God is sharing with them currently. There is a time for intercessory prayer and for praising God for the work He is doing in members’ lives. Meetings typically last one to one and a half hours.
“It is a welcoming atmosphere,” Desiray says. “Because many people aren’t used to praying in this way, it can make you a little nervous in the beginning, but we are inviting you to be who you are. We don’t want anything different. Some of the greatest growth in our lives comes from uncomfortable places, so I would encourage people to lean into that. Sometimes, it isn’t a bad thing to be uncertain.
“We do our best to make people feel like they belong,” she adds. “But really, we don’t have to do very much, because the Holy Spirit is present, and He is leading us there.”
As seasons of life change, our ability to be more or less involved in certain areas changes. For Gabriella, the need to pass on the leadership role in this group came in the last year.
“I had been praying about how I could be more involved and grow in my faith more,” Desiray says. “Gabriella asked me to take over the group, and it truly felt like the Holy Spirit was leading me here.”
While Desiray has been going through various trainings, the group meetings have paused for a while. The group hopes to begin again in September, meeting on Friday evenings at 6 p.m. at the Angel’s Nest, though that may be subject to change.
“I really want this prayer group to be accessible for people,” Desiray says. “We welcome anyone who wants to come see what this prayer group is about. Even if you come and find that it isn’t for you, that is okay! You are still welcome to come. As a busy mom, I really want to make an effort to bring in more moms, as well. We are so busy at home that it can be hard to be involved in the church, but I would like to inspire them to take some time for themselves because it is truly good for their families.”
As the group looks toward gathering once again, watch the bulletin for announcements for meeting dates, times and location. If you have any questions, contact Desiray Baxter at 530-955-5265.