The Catholic Defender Visits the Brownsville Revival

Posted by John Benko - November 15th, 2010

It was about 1997, I was stationed with the 194th Military Police Company.

That would be an interesting assignment to work with those who write out tickets on Post.

Before I got there, the Medics assigned to them were being utilized as orderly room clerks.

That was a challenge to turn this program around.

I was able to get cycles at the Troop Medical Clinic for them to work plus I was able to get 100% compliance on all the Battalions shots and MEPRO’s requirements.

I developed an internal sick call that helped 40% of the Soldiers to get back to their units quicker due to the Self Care I was able to establish. I enjoyed the opportunity as I always try to improve on any organization upon being assigned.

At this time I was conducting a prayer group at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Clarksville Tennessee. I really enjoyed that opportunity as well.

I would also have people ask me to video Marriages on Fort Campbell and that was always allot of fun. One night after participating in a friends Marriage, I was at the banquet following the celebration where there was great food, music and activities for everyone.

A Lady from our Parish, one of my friends also was present enjoying the events of the evening. She was visiting with some people when suddenly she fell unconscious to the floor.

I quickly began to make an assessment on her and found her totally unconscious. I immediately called for somebody to call 911 and tried to treat her for shock.

After a few minutes the Ambulance arrived quickly and we took her to Blanchfield Hospital on Fort Campbell. She was taken to the Emergency Room and diagnosed to have suffered a brain embolism.

I was informed by the staff that she was brain dead, they had her on life support and prepared her for flight to Nashville at Vanderbilt Hospital. I knew the Doctor very well as I had worked with him for years.

She was being kept alive on life support for weeks. People prayed for her and visited her during that time.

Our Priest went there and gave her the Anointing of the Sick. Miraculously, this is when she began to respond and today, she is fully recovered. What a living testament of the miracles God does!

Not long after this some friends invited me to take a group of teenagers to Florida for a revival taking place there.

I was told it was not Catholic but they wanted my thoughts on it from what I would see there.

From my research it was based from the Assemblies of God tradition, something I had an understanding from as my Mother was raised from this belief system. I had two Uncles that were Ministers of this faith so I still had family there.

I agreed to go as an adult chaperon. There were about three adults and eight to ten teenagers to include two of mine who wanted to go. Since they were with Dad, I allowed it.

I drove most of the way going from Fort Campbell Kentucky to Brownsville Florida. I made sure that I brought plenty of good Christian Rock music. It was kind of funny that the Teenagers would from time to time ask me to turn it down. That’s usually the other way around.

We finally arrived there and we first arranged for rooms and we went quickly out to wait in line as people waited for the doors to open. Standing out there, people brought chairs and shade as they waited. I did like the music they played from a CD we listened to along the way.

For the most part, people were having a good time and there was high expectation that reminded me of my trip to Medjugorie. I wanted to make comparisons but the events were not the same. People were there for much the same reason but the expressions were widely different. I met some very nice people there and it gave me the chance to explain the Catholic Faith at times.

It wasn’t always something I accepted as there were anti-Catholics present. I remember a young person coming forward stated they were Catholic. People mixed in this crowd responded with outright disgust towards the Catholic Church. They applauded when the person renounced their Catholic Faith.

That was not a cherished moment for me. I wish I could have spoken with them prior but there was no way of knowing. As Catholics, this is a familiar happening. This is why Catholics should know what they believe. I certainly explained it to my boys who were there.

The final evening that we were there was by far the most interesting. It all began much as the other nights, but this night they did something that was a bit different. They asked people to come up for a blessing.

People would go up and suddenly fall down as though asleep. They call this “slain in the spirit”. I was invited to go into the line for a “blessing”. I certainly have no problem receiving a prayer or giving a prayer so I went. I don’t know if the expectation was for me to go down or not but I didn’t.

I was respectful, but if something like that was to happen, it would have to be the Lord because I’m not putting on an act for anyone. That was my view on it.

As I watched, one lady actually fell hitting her head on a pew and had to be carried out for help. I watched this for awhile when I decided to go back to the entrance of the church to find that people were all over the place laying down in the lobby.

One of the group leaders I was with laterally was laying on her back laughing uncontrollably. Someone tried to step over her also fell laughing. It was if they were being held down. I watched that for a few minutes when I decided to move around to see if I could find some CD’s or something.

To my surprise people converged upon me from both directions, my left and my right. I backed up against the wall when this guy came out touching people and they were all going down.

People were laying all over the place in a trail behind him as he came towards me. As he was touching people with both hands people falling all around, I actually reached out and touched him when he looked at me and noticed I was still standing.

He reached out and hit my Ziphoid Process causing me to kind of react knocking me against the wall. But I did not go down!!!

I could not believe what I was seeing. Not to this extent. I knew Charismatics believed in such things. As a Catholic I wondered if this could be grouped as a “Sacramental”, not a usual one granted, but that would be what it is.

It looked like a war zone in that place. I walked through the “slain” back to the lobby where my co-partner was still laying on the floor laughing. She was also talking very high pitched kind of like a munchkin or something.

All of our group finally was outside in the parking lot waiting for me as I waited for this phenomenon to end. Funny thing she did not really recover. We literally had to carry her out of there.

By this time I was laughing so hard I couldn’t hardly move once I got her outside. For me, the whole situation was just unbelievable. We finally got her in the van in the passenger seat as she continued to talk in this munchkin voice. She did that the rest of the night. I couldn’t help but laugh at all this. Do you think this ended the event?

It was getting close to 11:00-12:00 midnight when we decided to get something to eat and there was a McDonald’s everyone wanted to go to.

They were just closing when I came to the door. The workers agreed to serve us so they opened the doors for us.

That was very nice of them to do that. As I walked in, one of the Ladies working there looked at me and began to sporadically jerk around looking at me.

I looked back at her watching her not believing what I am seeing. This lady asked to grab my hand when she began to uncontrollably go into convulsions. This went on for awhile as everyone began to carry on like they did at the church.

Finally, the Lady tried to get control of herself and made it to the cash register but everytime she looked at me she kept going into this uncontrolled convulsions. It took her almost 30 minutes to take my order.

Other people happening to come in wanting to eat something got in line with us only to find themselves in this situation. Here we were at McDonald’s and people were laying all over the place.

There was no way these workers (all in McDonalds uniforms) could have known what we had done before we got there. I suppose Charismatics could define what all this was, but I simply placed it under the Sacramental grace, at least that was my hope.

The following morning, my two Sons and I went to Mass not far from where all this happened. My co-partner was suppose to go to Mass with us but she was still weak from all that happened the night before.

I couldn’t help but think that if she reacted this way from prayer last night, how would she act when Jesus was truly present in the Eucharist? That whole night was wild.

We laughed the whole trip back to Fort Campbell. I never laughed as hard or long as that trip back. Once we got back, for those who were curious of what my thoughts were on the happenings at the Brownsville Revival, there wasn’t much theology I could offer about it.

Catholics, you better know your faith to go into this kind of place. The people were very nice, they wanted to help people in ministry and they give what they have. Is God behind what was happening there? Maybe, for those who were not Catholic? That is possible. Did it help me in any way. I confess I had a good time with the group I was with, the music was excellent. There are positives but ultimately, nothing should take anyone from the Catholic Faith.

I have not found anything biblically that supports such things, I don’t see this in the early Church. I do have concerns about this especially if they took this over Mass. That would be a definite issue with me.

I say the same thing about Christian Concerts, I told the Drummer of a Christian Rock Group called “White Cross” that their concerts are a positive thing for Christians, but if it leads people away from the Catholic Faith, that would not be good. It should encourage and strengthen peoples faith.

If there was no faith and they found Christ at such events, experiences are good to learn, but hopefully, God can work through those experiences to make us closer to himself.

The Lady who was my co-partner would soon begin taking instruction for the Catholic Faith. God is so Good as His truth reigns!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSJnDhgWXnY&feature=related


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