Dear Friends, Happy Feast of Pentecost!
Most Churches – Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopal, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches as well as many Protestant churches – view this as the watershed event in Christianity, the birthday of the Church in many ways. The Acts of the Apostles recounts the story of the original Pentecost when the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary, gathered in the Upper Room, were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in different tongues (Acts 2). Peter’s speech that day brought about three thousand people to the way of Jesus. (Acts 2:41). And the Church began to grow.
But what is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives? I would compare it to the role of a coach. There is no game or sports without a coach! Why? Left to themselves, even the best are prone to make mistakes. No matter how good they are, coaches are essential to their success. The truth of the matter is that we all can do better with someone else’s wisdom. And yet, there are some people who think that human beings have the natural ability to fulfill our human destiny just by using our abilities and that we do not need help from anyone else – be it from the community of faith or from the grace of the Sacraments. Experience and history show us that fewer mistakes would have been made with proper guidance. That’s why Jesus said he would send us the Spirit to be our Helper, Comforter, and Guide (John 14:16). Let us call upon this Spirit: “Come Holy Spirit, come into my heart and fill me with your grace and power.” Repeat it like a mantra and see what happens to you!
Congratulations to 35 of our children receiving First Holy Communion this weekend! Dee Nann, Sr. Marie Derecola OSF and others, especially the parents, have been preparing these kids for this important step in their faith formation to receive Jesus for the first time. Last Sunday these children, with one of their parents present, had a wonderful retreat given by Colleen Kelly-Rayner. Everyone enjoyed that retreat as we can see from what one parent, Jennifer Hill, wrote to Dee: “I just wanted to reach out and thank you for such a wonderful retreat today. It was such a gift to spend time with my son and share this experience with him. Due to COVID, this past year has been challenging and isolating and it was very special to come together as a community to prepare for his First Communion. You said that Mrs. Colleen was outstanding and she more than lived up to that! She was phenomenal – hilarious, engaging and powerful. Thank you for putting this together for us!” And her son Dylan’s reaction was: “That was way more fun than I thought it was going to be”
Let us pray for these children of our parish and encourage them with our example that attending Mass and receiving Jesus in Holy Communion are the primary ways we nourish our souls and enrich our lives. May the gifts of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal