The People of Praise Christian community is part of a global movement that has brought powerful new experiences of the Holy Spirit to more than 500 million people since the beginning of the 20th century. This historic revival is known as the Pentecostal movement or the charismatic renewal. Our particular moment in this larger story began in the late 1960s, when students and faculty at the University of Notre Dame began to experience a renewal of Christian enthusiasm and fervor, together with charismatic gifts such as speaking in tongues and physical healing, as described in the New Testament book of Acts.
In 1971, building on this experience, 29 people in South Bend, IN, covenanted themselves to one another and to God as the People of Praise community. They took on the spread of the key Pentecostal experience known as baptism in the Holy Spirit as their special mission.
The People of Praise was very much involved in the growth of charismatic renewal in the Catholic Church. There, this renewal has touched millions, including more than 30 percent of U.S. Catholics, according to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
In the 1970s, '80s and '90s, the People of Praise ran a series of international Catholic charismatic conferences at Notre Dame and in Dublin, Rome and other major U.S. cities. A total of more than 250,000 people attended these conferences, coming from dozens of denominations and countries. Pope Paul VI addressed the conference in Rome in 1975, and over the course of these conferences other prominent speakers included Pentecostal leaders Derek Prince and Dr. Ern Baxter, Mennonite Bishop Nelson Litwiller, and Catholics Kevin Ranaghan, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa and Cardinal Leon Joseph Suenens.
Today we continue to experience the awesome power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We exercise the spiritual gifts in our prayer together as a community. Throughout our daily lives, the Holy Spirit inspires us and helps us solve problems large and small. He empowers us in our work as mothers and fathers, teachers and students, missionaries, caregivers, pastors and business people. Every year we see more and more lives transformed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As a community, and together with the whole Church, we pray for a continued outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our time, so that all men and women might come to know, love and serve Jesus.