The Solemnity of Pentecost marks the end of the Church’s observance of the Easter Season. This celebration commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, the Blessed Mother, and the whole Church. The coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost also fulfills God’s revelation of Himself in three divine persons. Though existing eternally, the Father is made known through His creation, the Son in the Incarnation, and now the Holy Spirit is revealed as “the Lord and giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son” (Nicene Creed). Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, promised to send to His Church the Comforter, the Advocate, Who would strengthen and confirm us in our faith. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love!
The period of time between the Lord’s Ascension into heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday has always been observed as a special time of prayer. Scripture tells us that Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after Easter and Pentecost occurred 50 days after Easter. The Lord instructed His disciples to spend the nine days between those events praying. This is the origin of the Catholic practice of the “novena” (from the Latin word for “nine”.) A novena consists of praying for some particular intention for nine consecutive days. Sometimes this is expressed in prayers or practices which are observed over nine weeks or nine months (such as the custom of attending Mass for nine consecutive First Fridays). It’s just another example of one of the those “Catholic things” that we didn’t just make up, but comes from the scriptures and the practice of the early Church.
What a joy to be back in our church for Holy Mass! We’ve been enduring plenty of hardships and inconveniences throughout this coronavirus shut-down, and we’ll have to accept further restrictions in our church for some time ahead. Pray God will bring a swift end to the coronavirus pestilence, for the good health of all, and for the full restoration of the worship of God in all our churches around the world!
May God bless you!