For a lot of, like Mr. Coney, the communal life supplied by the Folks of Reward was so wealthy that being with out it appeared unimaginable. For others, although, the diploma of dedication might really feel overly intrusive and controlling.
“The neighborhood is extra vital than the rest in your life,” mentioned Ailish Byrne, whose mother and father had been closely concerned within the South Bend neighborhood within the 1970s and ’80s; she opted to not be part of the neighborhood as a younger grownup. “It’s a complete totally different degree than being a member of a church.”
Non secular Fervor
The Folks of Reward is a part of a broader motion that started with a bolt from God.
In Pittsburgh in 1967, just a few Catholic lecturers at Duquesne College had a profound expertise they described as an encounter with the Holy Spirit. They went on to guide a small pupil convention that culminated in a number of dozen attendees having comparable experiences, together with praying in tongues. The religious fervor shortly unfold from Duquesne to the College of Notre Dame, the College of Michigan and past.
The motion attracted “college skilled ‘mental varieties,’” as Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan, founding members of the Folks of Reward, put it in a 1969 e book. The Catholic hierarchy seen the motion, often known as Catholic charismatic renewal, warily originally. However by 1975, Pope Paul VI welcomed the motion to the Vatican, presiding over a “charismatic Mass” at St. Peter’s Basilica attended by greater than 10,000 individuals.
The Catholic charismatic renewal stood out not simply due to its uncommon fashion, however due to the fervor of its followers. Early on, some devotees determined they needed to do greater than pray collectively. They needed to share their lives. Out of this impulse got here a number of “covenant communities” just like the Folks of Reward, based in 1971, whose members undergo a yearslong discernment strategy of residing locally and determining whether it is proper for them. Whether it is, they signal an intention to stick with the group for the remainder of their lives.
Every group of covenant communities, together with others just like the Sword of the Spirit and the Phrase of God, has a barely totally different character. Some later developed reputations for being excessively controlling. Within the 1990s, native bishops intervened in several covenant communities after leaders had been accused by members of trying to strictly management relationships and funds, and representing that management as the need of God.
In 1980, the bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese acquired complaints in regards to the Folks of Reward’s system of headship and that the group fostered worry and guilt, in response to an article on the time within the Nationwide Catholic Reporter. The bishop mentioned he supposed to debate the issues with the group.