Faith and Spirituality

Cebu lay leader elected to Vatican body for charismatic groups

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Cebu lay leader elected to Vatican body for charismatic groups

LAY LEADER. Fe Mantuhac-Barino, national coordinator of CHARIS Philippines, speaks during the National Retreat for Priests at the IEC Convention Center, Cebu City, on November 9, 2023.

Roy Lagarde/CBCP News

Fe Mantuhac-Barino, a prominent Cebuano businesswoman, is now part of the 18-member CHARIS International Service of Communion at the Vatican

MANILA, Philipines – A Catholic lay leader from Liloan, Cebu, was elected to an 18-member Vatican body tasked to coordinate and advise Catholic charismatic groups around the world. 

Fe Mantuhac-Barino, president of the Commission on the Laity of the Archdiocese of Cebu, is now a member of the International Service of Communion of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service (CHARIS), reported the news service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Saturday, November 11.

Barino is the national coordinator of CHARIS Philippines and president of the Archdiocese of Cebu’s Commission on the Laity. A prominent businesswoman in Cebu, she is also the president of Duros Land Properties Incorporated, one of Cebu’s biggest real estate developers.

The Cebuano lay leader was chosen as one of three representatives for Asia and Oceania during the first General Assembly of CHARI held in Rome from October 29 to 31. The election was conducted with representatives from 70 countries.

CHARIS is a Vatican body established by Pope Francis in 2018 to serve charismatic groups – Catholic communities known for their communal, spontaneous, and emotionally expressive forms of prayer that focus on the gifts or “charisms” of the Holy Spirit. 

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal, as the Vatican calls it, was born from church reforms in the late 1960s and has attracted more than 120 million Catholics worldwide. In the Philippines, the most prominent Catholic charismatic group is Brother Mike Velarde’s El Shaddai. Charismatic groups can also be found in Protestant churches.

In a meeting with CHARIS members on November 4, the Pope thanked them for their service and said, “Never forget that your task is not to judge who is or is not an ‘authentic charismatic,’ this is not your task.” Instead, their mission is “to provide support and advice to bishops and priests by accompanying all groups and the varied realities that make up the Charismatic Renewal.”

One sign that people experienced genuine renewal, Francis added, is when they smile. “They know how to smile,” the pontiff said. “And this smile will help you stay on guard against the temptation to exercise power and influence, or to be competitive or overbearing. The real task is to serve.”

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email