WITH ST. MARY'S
The descent of the Holy Spirit makes us and the Church ready to spread the Gospel.
Today is the celebration of the birthday of the Church, when we went out into the world for the first time as witnesses to Christ. As with all celebrations of birthdays, we can expect to receive gifts that commemorate this special occasion. On the night of the birth of the Church, the disciples received the Holy Spirit and the gifts that flow from the Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. Individually, we receive the same Spirit and the same gifts of the Spirit at our Confirmation. Together as a community of believers, let us celebrate those recently confirmed and let us celebrate the birthday of the Church!
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
We came into existence at the moment of our conception, but we came into the world on the day of our birth. The Church exists in precisely the same way because she is a divinely created body, specifically the Mystical Body of Christ. The moment she came into being was on the cross after Christ had died and a spear was thrust into his side. Blood and water spewed forth, which are the means by which we enter into the Mystical Body of Christ through baptism. Still, the Church was hidden from the world. It existed, but it needed to be protected and fortified from the forces of the world in the same way a child needs to be protected and fortified in its mother’s womb before it is ready for the world. Even as Christ ascended into heaven, the Church was still not ready. It required the coming of the Holy Spirit to descend upon the disciples, to fill their innermost being with fortitude and wisdom, and to send them out into the world. This occurred on the night of Pentecost, which we celebrate today. This is one of the most important days in the entire year for the Church because we are celebrating our birthday. We celebrate the disciples going out into the world and beginning the mission and ministry that began with the words of Christ, found its calling on the cross, and was finally prepared through the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Family activity to do at home: In a family, especially with children, birthdays are no small thing. We celebrate our birthdays with cake, our favorite foods, presents and gifts, and a celebration in which a single life is celebrated to its fullest. If we understand that Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, then we should treat today just as we would if someone else in our family is celebrating a birthday. This should be done in two ways: both in the home (which you can see how in the activity below) and in the church. After all, how can we celebrate someone’s birthday if we don’t spend the day dedicated to them where they are? As a family, go to church today, give back something as a gift for her birthday, then go home and truly celebrate! Bonus: with your children, pray especially to the Holy Spirit today.