Father Jeffrey Kegley, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Middletown, celebrates the Pentecost Vigil Mass.
Father Jeffrey Kegley, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Middletown, celebrates the Pentecost Vigil Mass.
“You feel it!” said Sandy Thuel. “You see the joy and the peace of the Holy Spirit in the people who came to this conference.”

Thuel, a member of St. Mary Mother of God Parish, Middletown, was a first-time attendee at the Pentecost Crusade held June 2- 4 in St. Mary Mother of God Church, joining hundreds from across the Diocese of Trenton who attended the three-day conference seeking a deeper outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Crusade led up to the Solemnity of Pentecost celebrated by the Church on June 5, and included Eucharistic Adoration, a healing service, and Mass for the Vigil of Pentecost.

PHOTO GALLERY: Pentecost Crusade 2022

Hosted by the Diocese of Trenton Catholic Charismatic Renewal, with leadership from the Encounter School of Ministry’s New Jersey campus located in Mary, Mother of God Church, the Crusade also featured keynote speakers Dr. Sean Tobin, director of the Encounter School of Ministry in Los Angeles, and Barbara Heil, a former Pentecostal minister who has traveled the world as a missionary, teacher and evangelist and was welcomed in the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults in 2013.

Father Jeff Kegley, pastor of St. Mary Parish, and liaison to the Diocese of Trenton Catholic Charismatic Renewal, acknowledged that the hope for the Pentecost Crusade was the renewal of the Holy Spirit in the lives of all who participated. “We need the transformation and anointing of the Holy Spirit to again look like the Church that just left the Upper Room,” he said.

For Heil, the goal of speaking at the conference, “was to encourage the people to live Pentecost. It is not just a day on the calendar. We can experience the same Pentecost that the Apostles experienced and be governed by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.”

Dr. Tobin, who is also a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of the Divine Mercy Clinic and Family Center, the Catholic mental health center for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, explained, “Through my message, I wanted the people to know that they can abide deeply in God. They can rest in the victory that He has already given us. We are living in a time of Eucharistic revival, and I wanted to teach about the connection of the Eucharist to the healing work of the Holy Spirit.”

Jackie Ross, St. Mary parishioner, recalled attending several other charismatic crusades in the past. She acknowledged that the speakers at this event empowered her. “They sparked in me a desire to bring the Gospel and the love and healing power of the Eucharist to all people throughout the world. [Barbara’s] message was such a confirmation of what I have been studying through the Encounter School of Ministry. She really encouraged me to be more courageous in my Evangelism.”

Ross’ experience reflected Heil’s hopes that those who attended would find courage in the Holy Spirit. “Oftentimes people are timid about sharing, and they make excuses of ‘it’s not my gift,’ or ‘I am not qualified,’ when they encounter needs in their everyday life. … With God, we can be empowered to to go out and meet the needs of people everywhere.”

The conference had a similar effect on Thuel, also a student at Encounter School of Ministry N.J., who was “inspired to be a more bold Christian, to reach out to others … and give room for God to work on others through me.”