The first reading tells how St. Paul met up with people who had been baptized only in the baptism of John the Baptist. So Paul baptized them “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
The reading goes on to say, “And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.”
In my seminary days back in 1950 our priests told us that those special gifts of the Holy Spirit were only conferred in the time of the Apostles. Those seminary priests paid little attention to the Pentecostal movement which had sprung up since 1900. Its preachers were laying hands on people causing them to swoon and to sometimes speak in tongues.
Up to 1960 we Catholics had uncharitably referred to such Pentecostals as “Holy Rollers.” Then, after 1960, Pentecostalism began finding a home among Catholics calling themselves Charismatics.
In 1979 I was assigned to a parish with a strong Charismatic group of very fine people. I was wary of them because they held joint services with Pentecostal Christians who were not Catholics. Those people won our Catholics over to denying the teachings of Vatican II. As biblical fundamentalists they insisted that ever story in the Bible was factual. Their leading lady told me, “We don’t like Theology.”
Two priest friends of mine were intrigued by a popular healing priest who was laying hands on people, slaying them in the Sprit. When Father Bud and Father Roy went to a packed church to witness that phenomenon, the charismatic priest spotted them dressed in their priest cloths. He called them up, asking them to help him in laying hands. on the hundreds of people packing the church. Bud and Roy said they didn’t have the gift, but the priest said that didn’t matter.
The healing priest had fifty men in suits standing back from the Communion rail, ready to catch those people who swooned when the hands were laid on them.
My friends asked what they were to say when they laid on hands, but the priest said it didn’t matter. So the three priests moved back and forth inside the Communion rail, and Bud and Roy slew as many people as the healer did.
Father Bud was stunned by the way some of the people totally collapsed when he laid hands on them. He went back to the rectory where he tried letting go, and collapsing back against the couch the way those who were slain had, but he couldn’t do it.