The Holy Spirit

05-16-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I hope that all the mothers and grandmothers of our parish had a lovely Mother’s Day last Sunday. It was nice to be able to visit my mom that day. My sister Natalie and brother-in-law Phil were also there, and it was a very nice time. My sister made a delicious dinner that we enjoyed together, along with each other’s company.

Remember that next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the 50th day after Easter. The day on which the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and our Blessed Mother, Pentecost marks the end of the Easter Season. It is a good day to remember that, in Confirmation, each of us was likewise strengthened by the Holy Spirit so that we could follow Christ and spread His Gospel in the world.

Appropriately, our parish will be celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation with almost 40 eighth graders this month. By the time you read this, we will have celebrated two Confirmation Masses, and will be looking forward to the third. I always find Confirmation inspiring and uplifting. Our parish is blessed to have so many young men and women being strengthened by the Holy Spirit in this sacrament. Please pray for them.

I’ve been in parishes where the pastor asked everyone to wear something red (the color worn by the priest on Pentecost) to Church on Pentecost. While that can be fun, and isn’t a bad idea, there’s a lot more we can do to celebrate Pentecost. FORMED – (contact information can be found in both the bulletin and on the parish website) has some very good programs about the Holy Spirit. You could also read the section about the Holy Spirit from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you don’t have one, I always keep paperback copies of the Catechism in my office and would be happy to give you one. Finally, you could spend some time reading the story (Acts 2:1 – 11) and meditating upon it.

Something we all can do is say a special prayer to the Holy Spirit every day this week, asking Him to renew His holy presence within us. Before ascending into Heaven, Jesus told the Apostle to pray for the coming of the Spirit. They returned to Jerusalem and did just that until the Spirit came upon them nine days later. We can imitate their good example by praying to the Spirit as we prepare for Pentecost.

If you need help getting started, you can use this traditional prayer to the Holy Spirit:

“O God, Who instruct the hearts of your people by the Light of the Holy Spirit, grant us by the same Spirit to be truly wise and to rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Here is another prayer to the Holy Spirit, that I found on the back of a Holy Card:

“O Holy Spirit, on that solemn day of Pentecost You descended upon the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room in parted tongues of fire, enlightening their minds, inflaming their hearts, and strengthening their wills, that thenceforth they went through the entire world and courageously and confidently proclaimed everywhere the teaching of Christ and sealed it with the shedding of their blood, renew, we beseech Thee, the wondrous outpouring of Thy grace in our hearts also.”

Whatever you do for Pentecost, please also remember to pray that daily Hail Mary for me, and be assured of my prayers for you. May each of us, with the strength the Spirit provides, stay always faithful to our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Have a great week!
Fr. John