Pentecost – The Coming of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Presence of God

The Beginning of the Catholic Church

The Church celebrates Pentecost, one of the most important feast days of the year that concludes the Easter season and celebrates the beginning of the Church.

On the Feast of Pentecost, Christians commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, gathered around the Mother of the Lord (Acts chapter 2). The feast is celebrated on the 50th and final day of the Easter season.

Why is Pentecost important to Christians today?

In John 14:26, Jesus said, “[T]he Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
Thus, Pentecost is not only an historical event. As the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise, it continues to bear fruit in the Church today, especially in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.

Who celebrates Pentecost?

Both Jews and Christians celebrate this feast––– for Jews it is the culmination of the Passover from slavery to freedom in the giving of the Divine Law; for Christians the fulfilment of Christ’s Passover from sin and death in the giving of the Divine Spirit. These feasts occur at different times, however, as Passover and Easter only occasionally coincide.

Why is Pentecost known as the birthday of the Church?

When the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, they immediately began proclaiming the Gospel. In fact, three thousand people were baptized that day. The disciples, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, were answering Jesus’ call to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). The Holy Spirit is vital in the mission and witness of the Church, so we consider Pentecost the birthday of the Church.

Why is Pentecost sometimes called Whitsunday?

Whitsunday, or White Sunday, refers to the white garments of Christians who were recently baptized. This is particularly used in England.

What was the Old Testament origin of Pentecost?

In the Old Testament, Pentecost was a harvest festival for the grain harvest. This is known as the Feast of Weeks or the Feast of Harvest (Deuteronomy 16:9-11). Among modern Jews, it is called Shavu`ot.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.”
– John 14:15-17

Who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. God the Father is the First Person, and God the Son (Jesus) is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
According to the Catechism (paragraph 691):
“Holy Spirit” is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son. The Church has received this name from the Lord and professes it in the Baptism of her new children. [Cf. Mt 28:19]
The term “Spirit” translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God’s breath, the divine Spirit. [Jn 3:5-8] On the other hand, “Spirit” and “Holy” are divine attributes common to the three divine persons. By joining the two terms, Scripture, liturgy, and theological language designate the inexpressible person of the Holy Spirit, without any possible equivocation with other uses of the terms “spirit” and “holy.”

What Are the Signs of the Holy Spirit?

The Coming of the Holy Spirit Reflections

Catholic Kids What is Pentecost

What are the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit?

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord (cf. Is. 11:2-4).

They each perfect certain basic virtues. Four of them perfect the intellectual virtues. Understanding gives an intuitive penetration into truth. Wisdom perfects charity, in order to judge divine things. Knowledge perfects the virtue of hope. The gift of counsel perfects prudence.

The other three gifts perfect virtues of the will and appetites. The gift of piety perfects justice in giving to others that which is their due. This is especially true of giving God what is His due. Fortitude perfects the virtue of fortitude, in facing dangers. Fear of the Lord perfects temperance in controlling disordered appetites.

Fear of the Lord: With this gift the Christian becomes keenly aware of anything that may hurt his/her relationship with God.  There is a holy “fear” of hurting this relationship and grace is given to avoid these things at all cost.

Wisdom: With this gift the Christian is given a special grace to “ponder divine realities” in his/her speculative reason.  We are able to see the big picture and know how best to be an instrument of peace and harmony in our world.

Understanding: This is the ability to have a supernatural assurance of the matters of faith.  Life makes sense.  We can make sense of the deeper parts of revelation, make sense of suffering and understand those things that tempt us to doubt.  With this gift we come to see how everything in life can work for good in accordance with God’s plan.

Knowledge:  With this gift the Christian knows, more in the practical intellect, what God’s will is in this or that situation.  We know how to live, how to discern God’s will and what decision to make in our daily life.  It also enables us to learn from our past mistakes.

Counsel:  With this gift the Christian sees him/herself as a link in a chain which makes up the entire Church.  God uses each one of us to help and support one another on our journey.  We know what to say and how to act so as to do our part to build up one another.

Fortitude: Simply put, it is a firmness of mind and spirit to do good and avoid evil.  It’s a sort of Christian courage.  The Gospel will call all of us to a radical life of love.  Fortitude gives us the strength we need to follow through.

Piety:  This gift enables us to first reverence and love God, but also to see the dignity of one another and reverence each other as children of God.

Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit Novena

The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His Apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit?

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The fruits of the Holy Spirit are perfections formed in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity (Galatians 5:22-23, Vulgate)” (Compendium, 390).

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Pentecost?

Even though the Holy Spirit has been at work from the beginning forming creation (Gen. 1:1), through the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church He forms a new creation in Christ. As the Catechism says, “The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church….” (CCC 747)

What were the two signs of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost?

The two signs were the “sound… from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind” (Acts 2:2) and “tongues as of fire” over the disciples’ heads (Acts 2:3).