On Mission to Brazil with Patti Mansfield
“Patti, I have a great feeling that you will be in my country one day.” These words were scrawled on a postcard from Rio sent to me by a Brazilian Jesuit in 1971. They proved to be prophetic! Since 1994, I have been to Brazil over 25 times. I am in love with Brazil and her people and I can understand their word “Saudades.” It means: “I’m missing and loving you”!
Why do I love Brazil? I love the way they have embraced and lived the Baptism in the Spirit with enthusiasm and joy. There are 12 million Brazilians who are baptized in the Holy Spirit. I remember hearing Archbishop Alberto Taveira tell thousands of university students, “You are called to be Apostles of the Baptism in the Spirit.” There it is! Baptism in the Spirit: front and center! 800 vibrant communities have borne tremendous spiritual fruit and priestly vocations. Then there are the 14,000 prayer groups under the leadership of the Charismatic Renewal of Brazil (RCC).
The Baptism in the Spirit has overflowed in works of prayer and formation, intercession, evangelization, care for the poor, ministry to children, outreach to university students, to lawyers and judges, to politicians, 24-hour Catholic Charismatic radio and television, publications and more.
One of the things I love the most is the way Mary is honored in Brazil, especially Our Lady of Aparecida, their patroness. The Brazilians have set to music the Prayer of Consecration, “O my Queen, O my Mother, I give myself entirely to you…” I have never been to an event of the Renewal in Brazil where Our Lady is not honored and welcomed. I believe that this integration of Mary and the Holy Spirit is the secret of their fruitfulness and we would do well to learn from them!
Speaking of Aparecida, I was called there suddenly in July, 2018, to replace Sr. Briege McKenna at a retreat for priests. Aparecida is the town where Our Lady appeared about 300 years ago and it is the spiritual heart of Brazil. There were over 200 priests; the average age was about 38! Some men had just been ordained and about a third of the priests were new to the Charismatic Renewal. I was there just after the abuse scandal broke in the States and I wanted to do something to strengthen the priesthood. By the grace of God, I was able to minister personally through the charismatic gift of revelation to each man. Although I’ve been used in this charism before, never with the speed and accuracy I experienced during those days. It was an increase and acceleration of grace because the times we’re living in call for it!
And that leads me to the prophetic word I received my last day with the priests.
“Brazil will lead the world in this new move of My Spirit which is coming. As you yield to Me, as you praise Me, as you look to Me, I will greatly increase your numbers. I will open doors that until now have been shut. I will give you an entrée to people who up to now have been closed. You will be amazed at the way the fire spreads. As in the beginning, in the first Pentecost, my Spirit will use you with great power. Be careful. Make sure to keep yourself very humble and to acknowledge that it is My power using you and not any force of persuasion of your own. Break your pride. Break your egoism. And you will see what the power of My Spirit can do. Remain humble, looking at Me and watch what I, the Lord your God, will do.”
Two months later I was back in Brazil for a Conference for 6000 teens at the Sanctuary of the Mother of God in Sao Paolo, home of my dear friend, Fr. Marcelo Rossi, whose vocation was born in the Charismatic Renewal. His (almost) 25 years of priesthood have been spent lifting up the Lord Jesus Christ through his celebration of the Eucharist (over 6000 people come at 6 am in the morning!), his music and books. He is followed by close to 10 million people daily on the internet and is one of the best-known priests in Brazil. What a joy to call the youth “to love Jesus as He has never been loved before!”
Katia Roldi invited me to their National Formation Conference, January 9-13, 2019, at Cancao Nova in the largest covered stadium in Latin America. Brazil is celebrating 50 years of Charismatic Renewal in their country. For me, Katia is a living example of what Saint John Paul II meant when he spoke about “the feminine genius” – the particular way a woman can exercise leadership with maternal grace. When Katia assumed the Presidency, this event drew 4000 leaders and very few priests. This year there were 15,000 leaders (most under the age of 35), 300 seminarians and 180 priests along with many bishops.
The leadership council began the celebration by processing in with an open Bible over their hearts to signal the commitment to reading and obeying the Word of God. Katia had been deeply impressed by the prophetic word I received at Circus Maximus in the presence of Pope Francis on June 3, 2017. In her talk Saturday she referred to that prophecy:
“Lift up your eyes and see, that the fields are white for harvest. And if you would obey me, and if you would obey the prompting of my spirit, you will yet see, infinitely more than you can ask or imagine. You will yet see the power of my spirit descend upon the human race. I tell you, the fields are white for harvest, but I need your obedience, I need your docility, I need your faith, and you will yet see marvels that will astound you, infinitely more than you can ask or imagine, for the glory of my name.”
The fields are white! As people entered, each one received a sheaf of wheat. After Katia’s presentation, the young people went through the crowd of 15,000, collecting all the wheat in baskets which were then placed at the feet of Jesus. Katia made the point that Pentecost in the Old Testament was a harvest festival as well as a time to celebrate the giving of the law on Sinai. Our Pentecost is meant to bring in a harvest of souls by the power of the Spirit.
My travel companion received a prophetic word for the Brazilian leaders, knowing nothing about my prophecy to the priests last July. The similarities are striking!
“I am sending a new and greater wave of My Spirit upon you. Greater things will you do in My Spirit. All that you have seen and experienced has been a foretaste of My Spirit with you. As I release this new wave upon you, there will be increase…exponential increase of numbers…increase in My gifts and power. As you love My Mother and remain low in humility, I will bring more! You, My people of Brazil, will be a light, a witness to the world of the new and fresh outpouring of My Spirit. They will look upon you and hunger and thirst for My Spirit to come in new ways. You will bring My Spirit to the world.”
Amen! Let it be!