Ignited By Faith - Alex Arias, right, and Gina Pazmino, hosts of the diocesan-produced Hispanic program AHTV, rev up the crowd at the Charismatic Revival.
Ignited By Faith - Alex Arias, right, and Gina Pazmino, hosts of the diocesan-produced Hispanic program AHTV, rev up the crowd at the Charismatic Revival.

Organizers of the diocese’s fourth annual Festival for Charismatic Renewal observed that that the Aug. 28-30 gathering could not have gone any better.

And for nearly 500 Catholics from around the diocese, the feeling was mutual.

Sponsored by the diocesan Hispanic Apostolate and held on the grounds of Trenton Catholic Academy, Hamilton, the festival was “like a party for Jesus Christ,” offered Alex Arias, associate director of the apostolate office.

Indeed, only smiles could be found among attendees, whether it was during a Saturday evening Mass, sessions with preacher Francisco Rosado, or song led by the musical group Getsemani.

“It builds community, it’s a time to get to know everyone, and most of all, it’s a time of prayer,” said Pilar Acosta, also an associate director for the apostolate.

Prayer was a major focus for the weekend, which included a Holy Hour led by Father Javier Diaz, director of the Hispanic Apostolate. Father Diaz was moved by the faith and reverence of the audience, who remained kneeling for the entire hour of intense prayer and adoration.

“It was just beautiful,” he said, adding that each year, he sees attendees become noticeably more spiritual from the beginning of the weekend to the end.

Another highlight was the series of sermons delivered by Rosado, who focused on the gift of the Holy Spirit and its presence throughout the revival.

“He confirmed that the Spirit is here,” said Arias. After one of his sessions, music was played while small prayer teams spent time with attendees who wished to pray about something in their lives.

Throughout the weekend, Getsemani engaged the crowd in energetic spiritual song, with titles such as “Moved by the Spirit.”

New this year was a live taping of AHTV, the diocesan television program for the Hispanic Apostolate. Cameramen filmed the audience as it participated in group song, as well as talk show portions, featuring interviews. There was also an interactive portion, where audience members were randomly selected to participate in a spiritual song, and received a t-shirt in return.

Footage captured at the revival will be used to create an upcoming episode of AHTV, which can be viewed over local cable channels, as well as the diocesan video site, dottube.org.

Patrick Dolan, associate director of the diocesan Office of Radio and Television, explained that AHTV is usually produced in a studio. “Having the live audience footage really makes it exciting. It promises to be a great show,” he said.

Gina Pazmino, 18, a host with AHTV, enjoyed the opportunity to co-host the taping. Previously working with Realfaith TV, Pazmino auditioned and was selected to join AHTV about a year ago, and has gained a lot from the experience.

“I learn a lot from the other hosts,” she said. Part of the AHTV segment included a skit and musical presentation by Group Sinai, a group of teens from St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Hightstown.

“I like the acting (portion),” said Sigfredo Garcia, 14, a member of the group.

There was even special entertainment for the children who attended, not to mention the open fields of Trenton Catholic Academy that they were free to enjoy.

“We wanted this location for the kids,” Arias said, adding that he wanted to eliminate the need for parents to worry about having babysitters for their children. “This is for everybody.”

Hispanic food and religious gifts were also available to attendees throughout the events, featuring music performed during the revival and t-shirts from the Hispanic Apostolate, including a children’s shirt that reads, “Caution: Catholic Under Construction,” designed by Arias.

Arias spoke of the importance of holding this event each year. “Once in a while, people need to get together and pray together,” he said. “We have to let people know that the Church is alive.”

He also spoke of the ever-present need to spread the Good News. “We still have to continue evangelization,” he said.