Today we celebrate the third of the three solemnities of the Easter season, the Solemnity of Pentecost. It is the feast of the Holy Spirit and is often called the birthday of the Church.
In the gospel of John the Holy Spirit is called the “Paraclete” or “Advocate.” Παράκλητος (Paráklētos) in Greek means the same as Advocatus in Latin: “One who has been called to one’s side.” Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be with his Church until the end of time and would preserve the authenticity of the Church’s faith. The Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles on Easter Sunday evening, then in a more abundant way 50 days later, on the Jewish feast of Pentecost. With both speakers and hearers inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Church began her mission. On that day Peter explained that Jesus was both “Lord” and “Messiah.” Then he said:
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day. (Acts 2:38-41)
May we, who have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit in baptism and confirmation, with the Holy Spirit ever at our side, continue to live the life of faith as active members of the Church.
The celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost brings the Easter season to an end. However the first two Sundays after Pentecost are solemn feasts: the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity and the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. These celebrate two fundamental mysteries of our faith: that the one God is a Trinity of persons; and the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of the Church’s life.
With Bishop Callahan’s permission this weekend we are able to have public Masses. There are certain safety protocols to be followed and we are limited to 25% of each church’s capacity. I do expect the numbers returning to be somewhat diminished for now. The obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains dispensed. Anyone who is uncomfortable, vulnerable, or showing any symptoms of respiratory illness should not attend. This does give us the opportunity to celebrate eighth-grade graduation and first communion at St. Peter this weekend. I am hoping to celebrate first communion at St. Charles at a special 12:30 Mass on June 14, appropriately the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. Thanks to the volunteers who are helping us to observe all the protocols. Welcome back!
Our parishes’ fiscal year ends on June 30. We probably have some catching up to do because of people not attending. Some may have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and may not have been able to contribute. Thanks to all who have continued to support our parishes financially during this time. In many ways it will be a while before many things return to “normal.”
Pray the rosary this week for our first communicants and those graduating from any level of schooling. Pray for the needs of our parish and diocese and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.