Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Mission, Psalms 104, Acts 2:1-11, John 14:15-16.23-26 , Pope Francis Daily Homily - Pentecost Address Newness Harmony Mission, St. Pope Celestine V, Feast of the Pentecost, Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Chapter 3 Sacraments of Service at Communion Article 7:2 The Sacrament of Matrimony - The Celebration of Marriage

Pentecost Sunday,  May 19, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Mission, Psalms 104, Acts 2:1-11, John 14:15-16.23-26 , Pope Francis Daily Homily - Pentecost Address Newness Harmony Mission, St. Pope Celestine V, Feast of the Pentecost, Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Chapter 3 Sacraments of Service at Communion Article 7:2 The Sacrament of Matrimony - The Celebration of Marriage

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe (fear of the Lord) , counsel, knowledge, fortitude, and piety (reverence) and shun the seven Deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony...Its your choice whether to embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit rising towards eternal light or succumb to the Seven deadly sins and lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to the Darkness, Purgatory or Heaven is our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...~ Zarya Parx 2013

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Prayers for Today: Sunday in Easter

Rosary - Glorious Mysteries


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope Francis May 19 Daily Address :

Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 19 May 2013

(2013-05-20 Vatican Radio)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we contemplate and re-live in the liturgy the outpouring of the Holy Spirit sent by the risen Christ upon his Church; an event of grace which filled the Upper Room in Jerusalem and then spread throughout the world.

But what happened on that day, so distant from us and yet so close as to touch the very depths of our hearts? Luke gives us the answer in the passage of the Acts of the Apostles which we have heard (2:1-11). The evangelist brings us back to Jerusalem, to the Upper Room where the apostles were gathered. The first element which draws our attention is the sound which suddenly came from heaven "like the rush of a violent wind", and filled the house; then the "tongues as of fire" which divided and came to rest on each of the apostles. Sound and tongues of fire: these are clear, concrete signs which touch the apostles not only from without but also within: deep in their minds and hearts. As a result, "all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit", who unleashed his irresistible power with amazing consequences: they all "began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability". A completely unexpected scene opens up before our eyes: a great crowd gathers, astonished because each one heard the apostles speaking in his own language. They all experience something new, something which had never happened before: "We hear them, each of us, speaking our own language". And what is it that they are they speaking about? "God's deeds of power".
In the light of this passage from Acts, I would like to reflect on three words linked to the working of the Holy Spirit: newness, harmony and mission.

1. Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, programme and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences. This is also the case when it comes to God. Often we follow him, we accept him, but only up to a certain point. It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision. We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, he brings newness - God always brings newness -, and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel. This is not a question of novelty for novelty's sake, the search for something new to relieve our boredom, as is so often the case in our own day. The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfilment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good. Let us ask ourselves today: Are we open to "God's surprises"? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God's newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new? We would do well to ask ourselves these questions all through the day.

2. A second thought: the Holy Spirit would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. One of Fathers of the Church has an expression which I love: the Holy Spirit himself is harmony – "Ipse harmonia est". He is indeed harmony. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. Journeying together in the Church, under the guidance of her pastors who possess a special charism and ministry, is a sign of the working of the Holy Spirit. Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are very dangerous! When we venture beyond (proagon) the Church's teaching and community – the Apostle John tells us in his Second Letter - and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Jn v. 9). So let us ask ourselves: Am I open to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, overcoming every form of exclusivity? Do I let myself be guided by him, living in the Church and with the Church?

3. A final point. The older theologians used to say that the soul is a kind of sailboat, the Holy Spirit is the wind which fills its sails and drives it forward, and the gusts of wind are the gifts of the Spirit. Lacking his impulse and his grace, we do not go forward. The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; he impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures. The Holy Spirit is the supreme gift of the risen Christ to his apostles, yet he wants that gift to reach everyone. As we heard in the Gospel, Jesus says: "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to remain with you forever" (Jn 14:16). It is the Paraclete Spirit, the "Comforter", who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission? Today let us remember these three words: newness, harmony and mission.

Today's liturgy is a great prayer which the Church, in union with Jesus, raises up to the Father, asking him to renew the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. May each of us, and every group and movement, in the harmony of the Church, cry out to the Father and implore this gift. Today too, as at her origins, the Church, in union with Mary, cries out: "Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love!" Amen.


Liturgical Celebrations to be presided over by Pope: May

Vatican City, 3 April 2013 (VIS)
Following is the calendar of celebrations scheduled to be presided over by the Holy Father in the month May, 2013:


19 May, Pentecost Sunday: 10:00am, Mass in St. Peter's Square with the participation of ecclesial movements.


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 05/19/2013.


May 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children; Anew, I am calling you to love and not to judge. My Son, according to the will of the Heavenly Father, was among you to show you the way of salvation, to save you and not to judge you. If you desire to follow my Son, you will not judge but love like your Heavenly Father loves you. And when it is the most difficult for you, when you are falling under the weight of the cross do not despair, do not judge, instead remember that you are loved and praise the Heavenly Father because of His love. My children, do not deviate from the way on which I am leading you. Do not recklessly walk into perdition. May prayer and fasting strengthen you so that you can live as the Heavenly Father would desire; that you may be my apostles of faith and love; that your life may bless those whom you meet; that you may be one with the Heavenly Father and my Son. My children, that is the only truth, the truth that leads to your conversion, and then to the conversion of all those whom you meet - those who have not come to know my Son - all those who do not know what it means to love. My children, my Son gave you a gift of the shepherds. Take good care of them. Pray for them. Thank you."

April 25, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:: "Dear children! Pray, pray, keep praying until your heart opens in faith as a flower opens to the warm rays of the sun. This is a time of grace which God gives you through my presence but you are far from my heart, therefore, I call you to personal conversion and to family prayer. May Sacred Scripture always be an incentive for you. I bless you all with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call."


Today's Word:  mission  mis·sion  [mish-uhn]  

Origin:  1590–1600; 1925–30 for def 8;  < Latin missiōn-  (stem of missiō ) a sending off, equivalent to miss ( us ) (past participle of mittere  to send) + -iōn- -ion

1.  a group or committee of persons sent to a foreign country to conduct negotiations, establish relations, provide scientific and technical assistance, or the like.
2.  the business with which such a group is charged.
3.  any important task or duty that is assigned, allotted, or self-imposed: Our mission is to find the child a safe home.
4. an important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation: She has finally found her mission in life.
5. a sending or being sent for some duty or purpose.
6. those sent.
7. Also called foreign mission. a permanent diplomatic establishment abroad; embassy; legation.
8. Military . an operational task, usually assigned by a higher headquarters: a mission to bomb the bridge.
9. Aerospace. an operation designed to carry out the goals of a specific program: a space mission.
10. Also called foreign mission. a group of persons sent by a church to carry on religious work, especially evangelization in foreign lands, and often to establish schools, hospitals, etc.
11. an establishment of missionaries in a foreign land; a missionary church or station.
12. a similar establishment in any region.
13. the district assigned to a missionary.
14. missionary duty or work.
15. an organization for carrying on missionary work.
16. Also called rescue mission. a shelter operated by a church or other organization offering food, lodging, and other assistance to needy persons.
17.  missions, organized missionary work or activities in any country or region.
18. a church or a region dependent on a larger church or denomination.
19. a series of special religious services for increasing religious devotion and converting unbelievers: to preach a mission.


Today's Old Testament Reading -   Psalms 104:1, 24-34

1 Bless Yahweh, my soul, Yahweh, my God, how great you are! Clothed in majesty and splendour,
24 How countless are your works, Yahweh, all of them made so wisely! The earth is full of your creatures.
29 Turn away your face and they panic; take back their breath and they die and revert to dust.
30 Send out your breath and life begins; you renew the face of the earth.
31 Glory to Yahweh for ever! May Yahweh find joy in his creatures!
34 May my musings be pleasing to him, for Yahweh gives me joy.


Today's Epistle -  Acts 2:1-11

1 When Pentecost day came round, they had all met together,
2 when suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a violent wind which filled the entire house in which they were sitting;
3 and there appeared to them tongues as of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them.
4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves.
5 Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven,
6 and at this sound they all assembled, and each one was bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language.
7 They were amazed and astonished. 'Surely,' they said, 'all these men speaking are Galileans?
8 How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language?
9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; residents of Rome-
11 Jews and proselytes alike -- Cretans and Arabs, we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.'


Today's Gospel Reading -  John 14:15-16:23-26

The promise of a Consoler. The Holy Spirit,
teacher and living memory of the Word of Jesus
John 14, 15-16.23-26

1. Opening prayer

Most merciful Father, on this most holy day I cry to you from my room behind closed doors. I raise my prayer to you in fear and immobility in the face of death. Grant that Jesus may come to me and dwell at the centre of my heart that he may drive away all fear and all darkness. Grant me your peace, which is true peace, peace of heart. Grant that the Holy Spirit may come to me, the Spirit who is the fire of love, that warms and enlightens, that melts and purifies; who is living water, flowing even to eternal life, that quenches and cleans, that baptises and renews; who is the strong and at the same time soft wind, the breath of your voice and breath; who is dove announcing pardon, a new and lasting beginning for the whole world. Send your Spirit upon me when I read and listen to your Word so that I may penetrate the mysteries it holds; grant that I may be overwhelmed and submerged, baptised and made into a new person, so that I may give my life to you and to my brothers and sisters. Amen, Alleluia

2. Reading
a) Placing the passage in its context:
These few verses, which are not even well connected, are a few drops of water taken from an ocean. In fact, they are part of that long and grandiose discourse in John’s Gospel, which begins with chapter 13:31 and goes up to and including the whole of chapter 17. The whole of this very deep discourse deals with only one theme, that is, the “going of Jesus”, which we find in 13:33: “Yet a little while I am with you… Where I go you cannot come” and in 16:28: “I came from the Father and have come into the world. Again I leave the world and go to the Father” and again in 17:13: “Now I am coming to you, [Father]”. Jesus’ going to the Father signifies also our going, our essential and faith journey in this world; it is here that we learn to follow Jesus, to listen to him, to live like him. It is here that we receive the complete revelation of Jesus in the mystery of the Trinity as well as the revelation concerning a Christian life, its power, its tasks, its joys and sorrows, its hopes and struggles. In reflecting on these words we find the truth of the Lord Jesus and of ourselves before Him and in Him.

These verses speak especially of three very strong consoling reasons for us: the promise of the coming of the Consoler; the coming of the Father and the Son within those who believe; the presence of a master, the Holy Spirit, through whom the teachings of Jesus will never cease.

b) To help us with the reading of the passage:
vv. 15-16: Jesus reveals that the observance of the commandments is not a matter of obligation, but a sweet fruit that is born of the love of the disciple for Him. This loving obedience is due to the all-powerful prayer of Jesus for us. The Lord promises another Consoler, sent by the Father, who will always remain with us in order to drive away our solitude once and for all.
vv. 23-24: Jesus repeats that love and observance of the commandments are two vital truths essentially related to each other, that have the power to introduce the disciple into the mystical life, that is, into the experience of immediate and personal communion with Jesus and with the Father.

v. 25: Jesus says something very important: there is a substantial difference between what he said while he was with the disciples and what he will say later, when, thanks to the Spirit, He will be in them, within them. At first, understanding is limited because the relationship with him is an external one: the Word comes from outside and reaches ears, but not pronounced within. Later, understanding will be full.

v. 26: Jesus announces the Holy Spirit as master who will teach no longer from outside but from within us. He will give new life to the Words of Jesus, those forgotten will be remembered and will be understood by the disciples within their capabilities.

c) The text:
15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you for ever.

23 Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.

25 "These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. 26 But the Counsellor, 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.

3. A time of prayerful silence
I go to the Master’s school, the Holy Spirit. I sit at his feet and I abandon myself in his presence. I open my heart, without any fear, so that he may instruct, console, reprove and make me grow.

4. A few questions
a)If you love me”. Is my relationship with Jesus a relationship of love? Do I make room for him in my heart? Do I look within myself honestly and ask: “Where is love in my life, is there any?” If I realise that there is no love within me, or just a little, do I try to ask myself: “What is preventing me, what is it that keeps me closed, imprisoned, rendering me sad and lonely?”

b)You will observe my commandments”. I notice the verb “to observe” with the many meanings it implies: to look after well, to protect, to pay attention, to keep alive, to reserve and preserve, not to throw away, to keep carefully, with love. Am I aware and enlightened by these attitudes, by my relationship as disciple, as Christian, with the Word and the commandments that Jesus gave us for our happiness?

c)He will give you another Consoler”. How often have I not searched for someone to console me, to look after me, to show me affection and care for me! But, am I truly convinced that true consolation comes from the Lord? Or do I still trust much more in the consolations I find, the ones that I beg for here and there, that I gather like crumbs without ever being able to be satisfied?

d)Make our home with him”. The Lord stands at the door and knocks and waits. He does not force or oblige. He says: “If you wish…”. He suggests that I might become his home, the place of his repose, of his intimacy. Jesus is ready and happy to come to me, to unite himself to me in a very special kind of friendship. But, am I ready? Am I expecting his visit, his coming, his entering into my most intimate, most personal self? Is there room for him in the inn?

e)He will…bring to your remembrance all that I have said”. The word “remembrance” recalls another very important, even essential matter. Am I challenged and scrutinised by Scripture? What is it that I recall? What do I try to remember, to bring to life in my interior world? The Word of the Lord is a most precious treasure; it is the seed of life that is sown in my heart; but do I look after this seed? Do I defend it from a thousand enemies and dangers that assail it: the birds, the rocks, the thorns, the evil one? Do I, every morning, carry with me a Word of the Lord to remember during the day and to make my inner light, my strength, my food?

5. A key to the reading
I now approach each one of the characters in the reading and I listen prayerfully, meditatively, reflectively, in contemplation…

The face of the Father:
Jesus says: “I will ask the Father” (v. 26) and thus draws aside a little the mysterious veil surrounding prayer: prayer is the life that leads to the Father. To go to the Father, we are given the way of prayer. As Jesus lives his relationship with the Father by means of prayer, so also must we. I need to read the Gospels and become a careful searcher of signs concerning this secret of the love of Jesus and his Father, so that, by entering into that relationship, I too may grow in the knowledge of God, my Father

“He will give you another Consoler”. The Father is the one who gives us the Consoler. This gift is preceded by the Father’s act of love, who knows that we need consolation: He saw my misery in Egypt and heard my cry. He indeed knows my sufferings and sees the oppressions that torment me (cfr. Es 3: 7-9); nothing goes unnoticed by his infinite love for me. That is why He gives us the Consoler. The Father is the Giver. Everything comes to us from Him and no one else.

“My Father will love him” (v. 24). The Father is the Lover who loves with an eternal love, absolute, inviolable, uncancellable. Thus do Isaiah, Jeremiah and all the Prophets say (cfr. Jer 31:3; Is 43:4; 54: 8; Hos 2:21; 11:1).

“We will come to him”. The Father is united with the Son, Jesus, and is one with Him, and with Him comes to each one of us. He moves, goes out, bends and walks towards us. Urged by a mad and inexplicable love, He comes to us.

“And we will make our home with him”. The Father builds his house within us; he makes of us, of me, of my existence, of my whole being, his home. He comes and will not leave but faithfully stays.

The face of the Son:
“If you love me…” (v. 15); “If anyone loves me…” (v. 23). Jesus enters into a unique and personal relationship with me, face to face, heart to heart, soul to soul; he wants to have an intense relationship, unique, unrepeatable, and he unites me to Him by love if I so wish. He always puts an “if” and says when he asks me by name: “If you wish…”. The only way He constantly seeks to come to me is through love. In fact, it is noticeable that the use of the pronouns “you” and “anyone” are connected to “me” by the verb “to love” and no other verb.

“I will ask the Father” (v. 16). Jesus is the one who prays, who lives by prayer and for prayer. The whole of his life is summed up by prayer and in prayer. He is the supreme and eternal priest who intercedes for us and offers prayers and supplications together with tears (cfr. Heb 5: 7), for our salvation; “he is able at all times to save those who come to God through him, since he lives always to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25).

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word” (v. 23); “He who does not love me, does not keep my words” (v. 24). Jesus offers me his Word, he gives it to me in trust that I may look after it and guard it, that I may place it in my heart and there keep it warm, watch over it, contemplate it, listen to it and thus make it bear fruit. His word is a seed; it is the most precious pearl of all, for which it is worthwhile selling every other wealth; it is the treasure hidden in the field worth digging for without counting the cost; it is the fire that makes the heart burn within my breast; it is the lamp that illumines our steps even in the darkest night. Love for the Word of Jesus can be identified by my love for Jesus himself, for his whole being, because, after all, He is the Word. That is why, in this passage, Jesus is crying out to my heart that he is the one I must keep.

The face of the Holy Spirit:
“The Father will give you another Consoler” (v. 16). The Father gives us the Holy Spirit; this is “the good gift and every perfect gift from above” (Jm 1:17). He is “the other Consoler” other than Jesus, who goes and comes back so as not to leave us alone, abandoned. While I am in this world, I do not lack consolation, but am comforted by the presence of the Holy Spirit, who is not just consolation, but is much more: he is a living person and living beside me always. This presence, this company is capable of giving me joy, true joy. In fact Paul says: “The fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace…” (Gal 5:22; cfr. also Rm 14:17).

“to be with you forever”. The Spirit is in our midst, he is with me, just as Jesus was with his disciples. His coming is a physical, personal presence; I do not see him, but I know that he is there and that he will never leave me. The spirit is always here and lives with me and in me, with no limitations of time or space; thus he is the Consoler.
“He will teach you all things” (v. 26). The Holy Spirit is the Teacher, he who opens the way for conscience, experience; no one except him can lead me, inform me, give me new form. His is not a school where one acquires human knowledge that creates pride and does not liberate; his teachings, his whisperings, his precise directions come from God and lead back to God. The Spirit teaches true wisdom and true knowledge (Ps 118:66), he teaches the Father’s will (Ps 118:26.64), his ways (Ps 24:4), his commandments (Ps 118:124.135), which are life. He is a Teacher capable of leading me to the whole truth (Jn 16:13), who gives me deep freedom, even to the time of the separation of the soul and the spirit, for He alone, who is God, can bring me to life and resurrection. As God, he is humble, he lowers himself, descends from his throne and enters into me (cfr. Acts 1:8; 10:44), he gives himself to me entirely and absolutely; he is not jealous of his gift, of his light, but gives without limits.

6. A moment of prayer: Psalm 30
A hymn of praise to God,
who has sent us the new life of the Spirit from on high
Ref. You have given me the fullness of life, Lord, alleluia!
I will extol thee, O Lord,
for thou hast drawn me up,
and hast not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to thee for help,
and thou hast healed me.
O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit. Rit.
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favour is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning. Rit.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
"I shall never be moved."
By thy favour, O Lord,
thou hadst established me as a strong mountain;
thou didst hide thy face, I was dismayed.
To thee, O Lord,
I cried; and to the Lord I made supplication. Rit.
Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be thou my helper!"
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing;
thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
that my soul may praise thee and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to thee for ever. Rit.

7. Closing prayer
Holy Spirit, allow me to speak to you again. It is difficult for me to go away from my meeting with the Word because you are present there. Therefore, live and act in me. I present to you, to your intimacy, your Love, my face of disciple; I mirror myself in you, O Holy Spirit. I offer you, finger of God’s right hand, my features, my eyes, my lips, my ears… work in me your healing, your liberation and salvation that I may be reborn, today, a new person from the womb of your fire, the breath of your wind. Holy Spirit, I was not born to be alone. I beg you, therefore, send me brothers and sisters that I may proclaim to them the life that comes from you. Amen. Alleluia!

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St Pope Celestine V

Feast Day:  May 19

Patron Saint:  

Celestine V (Latin: Caelestinus PP. V, Italian: Celestino V; 1215 – 19 May 1296), born Pietro Angelerio (according to some sources Angelario, Angelieri, Angelliero, or Angeleri), also known as Pietro da Morrone and Peter of Morrone, was a monk and hermit who founded the order of the Celestines. In 1294, he was elected Pope in the Catholic Church's last non-conclave papal election ending a two-year impasse. Among the only surviving edicts he issued as pope was confirmation of the right of the pope to abdicate; nearly all of his other official acts were annulled by his successor, Pope Boniface VIII.[1] A week after issuing the decree, Celestine resigned, stating his desire to return to his humble, pre-papal life. On 13 December 1294, Celestine announced his resignation. Celestine V was subsequently imprisoned by Pope Boniface VIII, in the castle of Fumone in the Campagna region, where he died after nine months.[1]

In 1313, Celestine V was canonized. No subsequent pope has taken the name "Celestine".

Early life

According to tradition, Pietro Angelerio was born to parents Angelo Angelerio and Maria Leone in a town called Sant'Angelo Limosano, in the Kingdom of Sicilia (Sicily). Sant'Angelo Limosano is now part of Provincia di Campobasso, in Molise, Italy.

After his father's death he began working in the fields. His mother Maria was a key figure in Pietro's spiritual development: she imagined a different future for her deeply beloved son than becoming just a farmer or a shepherd. From the time he was a child, he showed great intelligence and love for others. He became a Benedictine monk at Faifoli in the Diocese of Benevento when he was 17. He showed an extraordinary disposition toward asceticism and solitude, and in 1239 retired to a solitary cavern on the mountain Morrone, hence his name (Peter of Morrone). Five years later he left this retreat, and went with two companions to a similar cave on the even more remote Mountain of Maiella in the Abruzzi region of central Italy, where he lived as strictly as possible according to the example of St. John the Baptist. Accounts exist of the severity of his penitential practices.

Founding of the Celestines

While living like this he founded, in 1244, the order subsequently named after him, the Celestines. A new religious community was formed, and Pietro gave them a rule formulated in accordance with his own practices. In 1264 the new institution was approved by Urban IV. The founder, having heard that it was probable that Pope Gregory X, then holding a council at Lyon, would suppress all such new orders as had been founded since the Lateran Council, having commanded that such institutions should not be further multiplied, went to Lyon. There he succeeded in persuading Gregory to approve his new order, making it a branch of the Benedictines and following the rule of Saint Benedict, but adding to it additional severities and privations. Gregory took it under the Papal protection, assured to it the possession of all property it might acquire, and endowed it with exemption from the authority of the ordinary. Nothing more was needed to ensure the rapid spread of the new association and Pietro lived to see himself "Superior-General" to thirty-six monasteries and more than six hundred monks. Pietro, however, cannot be accused of ambition or the lust of power when a monastic superior, any more than when he insisted on divesting himself of the Papacy, to which he was subsequently raised.

As soon as he had seen his new order thus consolidated he gave up the government of it to a certain Robert, and retired once again to a still more remote solitude to give himself up more entirely to solitary penance and prayer. Shortly afterwards, in a chapter of the order held in 1293, the original monastery of Majella being judged to be too desolate and exposed to too rigorous a climate, it was decided that the monastery which had been founded in Sulmona should be the headquarters of the order and the residence of the General-Superior, as it has continued to be to the present day.

Election as Pope

The cardinals assembled at Perugia after the death of Pope Nicholas IV in April 1292. After more than two years, a consensus had still not been reached. Pietro, well known to the cardinals as a Benedictine hermit, sent the cardinals a letter warning them that divine vengeance would fall upon them if they did not quickly elect a pope. Latino Malabranca, the aged and ill dean of the College of Cardinals cried out, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I elect brother Pietro di Morrone." The cardinals promptly ratified Malabranca's desperate decision. When sent for, Pietro obstinately refused to accept the papacy, and even, as Petrarch says, tried to flee, until he was finally persuaded by a deputation of cardinals accompanied by the kings of Naples and Hungary. Elected on 5 July 1294, at age 79, he was crowned at Santa Maria di Collemaggio in the city of Aquila in the Abruzzo on 29 August, taking the name Celestine V.


Shortly after assuming office, Celestine issued a papal bull granting a rare plenary indulgence to all pilgrims visiting Santa Maria di Collemaggio through its holy door on the anniversary of his papal coronation.[2] The Perdonanza Celestiniana festival is celebrated in L'Aquila every 28–29 August in commemoration of this event.[3]

With no political experience, Celestine proved to be an especially weak and incompetent pope.[4] He held his office in the Kingdom of Naples, out of contact with the Roman Curia and under the complete power of King Charles II. He appointed the king's favorites to church offices, sometimes several to the same office. One of these was Louis of Toulouse, whom Celestine ordered given clerical tonsure and minor orders, although this was not carried out. He renewed a decree of Pope Gregory X that had established stringent rules for papal conclaves after a similarly prolonged election. In one decree, he appointed three cardinals to govern the church during Advent while he fasted, which was again refused.[5]

Realizing his lack of authority and personal incompatibility with papal duties, he consulted with Cardinal Benedetto Caetani (his eventual successor) about the possibility of resignation.[5] This resulted in one final decree declaring the right of resignation, which he promptly exercised after five months and eight days in office. In the formal instrument of renunciation, he recited as the causes moving him to the step: "The desire for humility, for a purer life, for a stainless conscience, the deficiencies of his own physical strength, his ignorance, the perverseness of the people, his longing for the tranquility of his former life".[6] Having divested himself of every outward symbol of papal dignity, he slipped away from Naples and attempted to retire to his old life of solitude.

Retirement, death, and canonization

The former Celestine, now Pietro Angelerio, was not allowed to become a hermit once again. Various parties had opposed his resignation and the new Pope Boniface VIII had reason to worry that one of them might install him as an antipope. To prevent this he ordered Pietro brought to Rome. Pietro escaped and hid out in the woods before attempting to return to Sulmona to resume monastic life. This proved impossible, and Pietro was captured after an attempt to flee to Dalmatia. Boniface imprisoned him in the castle of Fumone near Ferentino in Campagna, where Pietro died after 10 months. His supporters spread the allegation that Boniface had treated him harshly and ultimately executed Pietro, but the historical evidence is unclear.[7] Pietro was buried at Ferentino, but his body was subsequently removed to the Basilica Santa Maria di Collemaggio in Aquila.

Philip IV of France, who had supported Celestine and bitterly opposed Boniface, nominated Celestine for sainthood following the election of Pope Clement V. He was canonized in 1313 after a consistory in which Boniface's Caetani family was outvoted by members of the rival Colonna family.[8]


Most modern interest in Celestine V has focused on his resignation.[9] He was the first pope to formalize the resignation process and is often said to have been the first to resign. In fact he was preceded in this by Pope Pontian (235) Benedict IX (1045) and Gregory VI (1046).[10] As noted above, Celestine's own decision was brought about by mild pressure from the Church establishment. His reinstitution of Gregory X's conclave system established by the papal bull Ubi periculum has been respected ever since.

A 1966 visit by Pope Paul VI to Celestine's place of death in Ferentino along with his speech in homage of Celestine prompted speculation the pontiff was considering retirement.[11][12]

Celestine's remains survived the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake with one Italian spokesman saying it was "another great miracle by the pope".[13] They were then recovered from the basilica shortly after the earthquake.[14] While inspecting the earthquake damage during a 28 April 2009 visit to the Aquila, Pope Benedict XVI visited Celestine's remains in the badly damaged Santa Maria di Collemaggio and left the woolen pallium he wore during his papal inauguration in April 2005 on his glass casket as a gift.[15] [16]

To mark the 800th anniversary of Celestine's birth, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed the Celestine year from 28 August 2009 through 29 August 2010.[17] Benedict XVI visited the Sulmona Cathedral, near Aquila, on 4 July 2010 [18] as part of his observance of the Celestine year and prayed before the altar consecrated by Celestine containing his relics, on 10 October 1294. [19]

His entry in the Martyrologium Romanum for 19 May reads as follows:
Ad Castrum Fumorense prop Alatrium in Latio, natalis sancti Petri Caelestini, qui, cum vitam eremeticam in Aprutio ageret, fama sanctitatis et miraculorum clarus, octogenarius Romanus Pontifex electus est, assumpto nomine Caelestini Quinti, sed eodem anno munere se abdicavit et solitudinem recedere maluit.
At Castrum Fumorense near Alatri in Lazio, the birth of Saint Peter Celestine, who, when leading the life of a hermit in Abruzzo, being famous for his sanctity and miracles, was elected Roman Pontiff as an octogenarian, assumed the name Celestine V, but abandoned his office that same year and preferred to return to solitude.

In literature

A persistent tradition identifies Celestine V as the nameless figure Dante Alighieri sees among those in the antechamber of Hell, in the enigmatic verses:
I saw and recognized the shade of him
Who by his cowardice made the great refusal.
Inferno III, 59–60
The first commentators to make this identification included Dante's son Jacopo Alighieri,[20] followed by Graziolo Bambaglioli in 1324. The identification is also considered probable by recent scholars (e.g., Hollander, Barbara Reynolds, Simonelli, Padoan). Petrarch was moved to defend Celestine vigorously against the accusation of cowardice and some modern scholars (e.g., Mark Musa) have suggested Dante may have meant someone else (Esau, Diocletian and Pontius Pilate have been variously suggested).

In 1346, Petrarch declared in his "De vita solitaria" that Celestine's refusal was as a virtuous example of solitary life.[21]

Pope Celestine V is referenced in Chapter 88 of Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, where he is referenced as an example of a murdered pope. Celestine V is also mentioned in the film version.

The life of Pope Celestine V is dramatised in the plays L'avventura di un povero cristiano (The Story of a Humble Christian) by Ignazio Silone in 1968 and Sunsets and Glories by Peter Barnes in 1990.

Pope Celestine V's life is the subject of the short story Brother of the Holy Ghost in Brendan Connell's short story collection The Life of Polycrates and Other Stories for Antiquated Children.[22]


    1. ^ a b Loughlin, JF (1908). "Pope St. Celestine V". The Catholic Encyclopedia 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
    2. ^ Pope John Paul II (23 August 2001). "Address of John Paul II to the Jury Members of the 'Premio Internazionale Perdonanza'". Retrieved 19 May 2011.
    3. ^ "The Perdonanza". Abruzzo Heritage. Summer 2002.
    4. ^ Clement V's bull of canonization noted his "marvelous simplicity and inexperience[] in everything belonging to the rule of the Church"
    5. ^ a b McBrien, Richard P. (2000) Lives of the Popes
    6. ^ Walker, Jesse (2013-02-11) The Ones Who Walk Away From the Holy See, Reason
    7. ^ Gregorovius, Ferdinand (1906) History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages vol. 5 part 2
    8. ^ Finucane, Ronald C. (2011) Contested Canonizations
    9. ^ Johnston, Bruce; Jonathan Petre (8 February 2005). "Cardinal hints that ailing Pope may resign". The Telegraph.
    10. ^ A History of Papal Resignations
    11. ^ Cf. Pope Paul VI's speech of 1 September 1966
    12. ^ "Roman Catholicism: Retirement for 200 Bishops". Time Magazine. 30 September 1966. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
    13. ^ "Pope's bones survive earthquake". United Press International. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
    14. ^ Kington, Tom (14 April 2009). "Italy earthquake focus shifts to saving Abruzzo's heritage". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
    15. ^ Owen, Richard (28 April 2009). "Pope Benedict XVI visits Abruzzo earthquake zone to pray for victims". The Times. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
    16. ^ Donadio, Rachel (28 April 2009). "Pope visits devastated earthquake zone". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
    17. ^ "Homily of Card. Tarcisio Bertone for the opening of the Holy Door on the occasion of the Feast of Celestinian Forgiveness and the beginning of the Celestinian Year" (in Italian). The Roman Curia. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
    18. ^ "Benedict Praised courage of Celestine V, another Pope who resigned" (in English). Rome Reports. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
    19. ^ "Pastoral Visit to Sulmona" (in English). The Roman Curia. 4 July 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
    20. ^ Alighieri, Jacopo (1848). Chiose alla cantica dell'Inferno (in Italian). Florence: Tipografica di Tommaso Baracchi. p. 12.
    21. ^ Petrarca, Francesco (1879). De vita Solitaria (in Italian). Bologna: Gaetano Romagnoli.
    22. ^ The Life of Polycrates and Other Stories for Antiquated Children. Chomu Press. 2011. ISBN 9781907681042.

    Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


    Today's Snippet I:  Feast of the Pentecost

    Pentecost (Ancient Greek: Πεντηκοστή [ἡμέρα], Pentēkostē [hēmera], "the fiftieth [day]") is the Greek name for the Feast of Weeks, a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai. This feast is still celebrated in Judaism as Shavuot.

    Later, in the Christian liturgical year, it became a feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ, (120 in all) as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1–31.[1] For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described by some Christians today as the "Birthday of the Church."

    In the Eastern church, Pentecost can also refer to the whole fifty days between Easter and Pentecost, hence the book containing the liturgical texts for Paschaltide is called the Pentecostarion. The feast is also called Whit Sunday, or Whitsun, especially in England, where the following Monday was traditionally a public holiday. Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks (50 days) after Easter Sunday, hence its name.[2] Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday.

    The Pentecostal movement of Christianity derives its name from the New Testament event.

    Old Testament

    Pentecost is the old Greek and Latin name for the Jewish harvest festival, or Festival of Weeks (Hebrew חג השבועות Hag haShavuot or Shevuot, literally "Festival of Weeks"), which can be found in the Hebrew Bible, Shavuot is called the Festival of Weeks (Hebrew: חג השבועות, chag ha-Shavuot, Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10 ); Festival of Reaping (Hebrew: חג הקציר, chag ha-Katsir, Exodus 23:16 ), and Day of the First Fruits (Hebrew יום הביכורים, Yom ha-Bikkurim, Numbers 28:26 ).

    Extra-Biblical and Post-Biblical Jewish Texts

    The Talmud refers to Shavuot as Atzeret (Hebrew: עצרת, literally, "refraining" or "holding back"), referring to the prohibition against work on this holiday and to the conclusion of the holiday and season of Passover. Since Shavuot occurs 50 days after Passover, Hellenistic Jews gave it the name Pentecost.(πεντηκοστή, "fiftieth day").

    According to Jewish tradition, Pentecost commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the Exodus. The Talmud derives this from a calculation based on Biblical Texts.[3]

    The Jewish Encyclopedia points to similarities between the Christian and Jewish Pentecost, as an outpouring of the Spirit or the giving of the Law in seventy languages. Similarly, many consider the events of each historical Pentecost to be the birthday of each religion respectively.

    The same building on Mount Zion is traditionally revered by Jews as David's Tomb and by Christians as the Cenacle (The Upper Room), and that there is a Jewish tradition that David was born and died on Pentecost.

    New Testament

    The biblical narrative of Pentecost, where the 11 Disciples of Christ (Acts 1:13, 26), along with about 109 other individuals (Acts 1:15), including many women, among whom was Mary the mother of Jesus (Acts 1:14), received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room, is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. As recounted in Acts 2:1–6:[4]

    And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.[5]

    While those on whom the Spirit had descended were speaking in many languages, the Apostle Peter stood up with the eleven and proclaimed to the crowd that this event was the fulfillment of the prophecy ("I will pour out my spirit")[6] In Acts 2:17, it reads: "'And in the last days,' God says, 'I will pour out my spirit upon every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams." Acts 2:41 then reports: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."[7]

    Peter stated that this event was the beginning of a continual outpouring that would be available to all believers from that point on, Jews and Gentiles alike.[8]

    Location of the first Pentecost

    The Cenacle on Mount Zion,
    claimed to be the location
     of the Last Supper and Pentecost.
    Bargil Pixner[9] claims the original
    Church of the Apostles is located
    under the current structure.
    Traditional interpretation holds that the Descent of the Holy Spirit took place in the Upper Room, or Cenacle, while celebrating the day of Pentecost (Shavuot). The Upper Room was first mentioned in Luke 22:12-13 ( "And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.").[10]

     This Upper Room was to be the location of the Last Supper and the institution of Holy Communion. The next mention of an Upper Room is in Acts 1:13-14, the continuation of the Luke narrative, authored by the same biblical writer.[11] Here the disciples and women wait and they gave themselves up to constant prayer: "And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." Then, in Acts 2:1–2, "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.",[12] "They" refers to the aforementioned disciples, though some think it includes the women. The "place" referring to the same Upper Room where these persons had "continued with one accord in prayer and supplication".[13]

    Alternative interpretations suggest that "the house" mentioned was in fact the House of God, Herod's Temple. There were Judeans from all over the world in the Temple proper. These people saw and heard the people whom received the gift of spiritual birth of holy spirit. The location the Upper Room did not allow women. Therefore, The Temple proper among all the people present is the location of the out pouring of holy spirit. Acts Chapter 2.

    Celebration Dates

    According to the current Jewish Calendar, the date of Pentecost is fifty days from Passover. In Jewish antiquity dates were disputed, as in the Dead Sea scrolls.[14] or in the Mishnah.[15]

    In Christian tradition Pentecost is part of the Moveable Cycle of the ecclesiastical year. According to Christian tradition, Pentecost is always seven weeks after Easter Sunday; that is to say, 50 days after Easter (inclusive of Easter Day). In other words, it falls on the eighth Sunday, counting Easter Day. The date of Easter may be calculated using a procedure known as Computus.

    Since the date of Easter is calculated differently in the East and West (see Easter controversy), in most years the two traditions celebrate Pentecost on different days (though in some years the celebrations will coincide, as in 2010, 2011, and 2014). In the West, the earliest possible date is May 10 (as in 1818 and 2285), and the latest possible date June 13 (as in 1943 and 2038). In the East, this range of possible dates presently corresponds to May 23 through June 26 on the Gregorian calendar.

    Liturgical celebration

    Eastern churches

    In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Pentecost is one of the Orthodox Great Feasts and is considered to be the highest ranking Great Feast of the Lord, second in rank only to Easter/Resurrection Sunday/Passover. The service is celebrated with an All-night Vigil on the eve of the feast day, and the Divine Liturgy on the day of the feast itself. Orthodox temples are often decorated with greenery and flowers on this feast day, and the celebration is intentionally similar to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which celebrates the giving of the Mosaic Law.

    The feast itself lasts three days. The first day is known as "Trinity Sunday"; the second day is known as "Spirit Monday" (or "Monday of the Holy Spirit"); and the third day, Tuesday, is called the "Third Day of the Trinity".."[16] The Afterfeast of Pentecost lasts for one week, during which fasting is not permitted, even on Wednesday and Friday. In the Russian Orthodox tradition, the liturgical color used at Pentecost is green, and the clergy and faithful carry flowers and green branches in their hands during the services.

    An extraordinary service called the Kneeling Prayer, is observed on the night of Pentecost. This is a Vespers service to which are added three sets of long poetical prayers, the composition of Saint Basil the Great, during which everyone makes a full prostration, touching their foreheads to the floor (prostrations in church having been forbidden from the day of Pascha (Easter) up to this point).

    All of the remaining days of the ecclesiastical year, until the preparation for the next Great Lent are named for the day after Pentecost on which they occur (for example, the 13th Tuesday After Pentecost).

    The Second Monday after Pentecost is the beginning of the Apostles' Fast (which continues until the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29). Theologically, Orthodox do not consider Pentecost to be the "birthday" of the Church; they see the Church as having existed before the creation of the world (cf. The Shepherd of Hermas)[17]

    The Orthodox icon of the feast depicts the Twelve Apostles seated in a semicircle (sometimes the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) is shown sitting in the center of them). At the top of the icon, the Holy Spirit, in the form of tongues of fire, is descending upon them. At the bottom is an allegorical figure, called Kosmos, which symbolizes the world. Although Kosmos is crowned with earthly glory he sits in the darkness caused by the ignorance of God. He is holding a towel on which have been placed 12 scrolls, representing the teaching of the Twelve Apostles.

    In the ancient Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Pentecost is one of the seven Major "Lord's Feasts". It is celebrated at the time of ninth hour (3:00pm) on the Sunday of Pentecost by a special three-segment prayer known as the "Office of Genuflection (Kneeling Prayer)". This feast is followed with the "Apostles Fast" which has a fixed end date on the fifth of the Coptic month of Epip [which currently falls on July 12, which is equivalent to June 29, due to the current 13-day Julian-Gregorian calendar offset]. The fifth of Epip is the commemoration of the Martyrdom of St. Peter and Paul. The ninth hour is the hour at which the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles according to the book of Acts Chapter 2.

    Western churches

    A typical Western image of the Pentecost. Duccio di Buoninsegna (1308) Tempera on wood.
    A typical Western image of the Pentecost. Duccio di Buoninsegna (1308) Tempera on wood
    The liturgical celebrations of Pentecost in Western churches are as rich and varied as those in the East. The main sign of Pentecost in the West is the color red. It symbolizes joy and the fire of the Holy Spirit. Priests or ministers & choirs wear red vestments, and in modern times, the custom has extended to the lay people of the congregation wearing red clothing in celebration as well. Red banners are often hung from walls or ceilings to symbolize the blowing of the "mighty wind"[18] and the free movement of the Spirit.[19]

    They may depict symbols of the Holy Spirit, such as the dove or flames, symbols of the church such as Noah's Ark and the Pomegranate, or especially within Protestant churches of Reformed and Evangelical traditions, words rather than images naming for example, the gifts and Fruits of the Spirit. Red flowers at the altar/ preaching area, and red flowering plants such as geraniums around the church are also typical decorations for Pentecost masses/services. These symbolize the renewal of life, the coming of the warmth of summer, and the growth of the church at and from the first Pentecost. These flowers often play an important role in the ancestral rites, and other rites, of the particular congregation. For example, in both Protestant & Catholic churches, the plants brought in to decorate for the holiday may be each "sponsored" by individuals in memory of a particular loved one, or in honor of a living person on a significant occasion, such as their Confirmation day. These dedications are then printed in bulletins distributed at the service.[20]

    In the German speaking lands, in Central Europe, and wherever the people of these nations have wandered, green branches are also traditionally used to decorate churches for Pentecost. Birch is the tree most typically associated with this practice in Europe, but other species are employed in different climates.

    The singing of Pentecost hymns is also central to the celebration in the Western tradition. Hymns such as Martin Luther's "Come Holy Spirit God & Lord" ("Komm Heiliger Geist Herre Gott"),[21][22] Charles Wesley's "Spirit of Faith Come Down"[23][24] & "Come Holy Ghost Our Hearts Inspire" [25] or Hildegard von Bingen's "O Holy Spirit Root of Life" [26][27] are popular. Some traditional hymns of Pentecost make reference not only to themes relating to the Holy Spirit or the church, but to folk customs connected to the holiday as well, such as the decorating with green branches.[28] Consider "Oh that I had a Thousand Voices" ("O daß ich tausend Zungen hätte")[29][30] by German, Johann Mentzer Verse 2: "Ye forest leaves so green and tender, that dance for joy in summer air…" or "O Day Full of Grace" ("Den signede Dag")[31][32] by Dane, Nikolai Grundtvig verse 3: "Yea were every tree endowed with speech and every leaflet singing…". In the Roman Catholic Church, Veni Sancte Spiritus is the sequence hymn for the Day of Pentecost. This has been translated into many languages and is sung in many denominations today. See also Veni Creator Spiritus.[33][34]

    Trumpeters or brass ensembles are often specially contracted to accompany singing and provide special music at Pentecost services, recalling the Sound of the mighty wind.[18] While this practice is common among a wide spectrum of Western denominations (Eastern Churches do not employ instrumental accompaniment in their worship) it is particularly typical, and distinctive to the heritage of the Moravian Church.[35]

    Another custom is reading the appointed Scripture lessons in multiple foreign languages recounting the speaking in tongues recorded in Acts 2:4-12.[36]

    In the Middle Ages, cathedrals and great churches throughout Western Europe were fitted with a peculiar architectural feature known as a Holy Ghost hole; a small circular opening in the roof that symbolized the entrance of Holy Spirit into the midst of the assembled worshippers. At Pentecost, these Holy Ghost holes would be decorated with flowers, and sometimes a dove figure lowered through into the church while the story of the Pentecost was read. Holy Ghost holes can still be seen today in European churches such as Canterbury Cathedral.

    Similarly, a large two dimensional dove figure would be, and in some places still are, cut out of wood, painted and decorated with flowers, to be lowered over the people, particularly during the singing of the sequence hymn, or Veni Creator Spiritus. In other places, particularly Sicily and the Italian peninsula, rose petals were and are thrown from the galleries over the congregation calling to mind the tongues of fire. In modern times, this practice has been revived, and interestingly adapted as well, to include the strewing of origami doves from above, or suspending them – sometimes by the hundreds – from the ceiling.[37] In some cases, red fans, or red handkerchiefs are distributed to the assembled worshippers to be waved during the procession, etc. Other congregations have incorporated the use of red balloons, signifying the "Church's Birthday" into their festivities. These may be carried by worshippers, used to decorate the sanctuary, or released all at once.

    For some Protestants, the nine days between Ascension Day, and Pentecost are set aside as a time of fasting, and world-wide prayer in honor of the disciples' time of prayer and unity awaiting the Holy Spirit. Similarly among Roman Catholics, special Pentecost Novenas are held. The Pentecost Novena is considered the first Novena, all other Novenas offered in preparation of various festivals and Saints days deriving their practice from those original nine days of prayer observed by the disciples of Christ. While the Eve of Pentecost was traditionally a day of fasting for Catholics, today's canon law no longer requires it. Both Catholics and Protestants may hold spiritual retreats, prayer vigils and litanies in the days leading up to Pentecost. In some cases vigils on the Eve of Pentecost may last all night. Pentecost is also one of the occasions specially appointed for the Lutheran Litany to be sung.[38]

    From the early days of Western Christianity, Pentecost became one of the days set aside to celebrate Baptism. In Northern Europe Pentecost was preferred even over Easter for this rite, as the temperatures in late spring might be supposed to be more conducive to outdoor immersion as was then the practice. It is proposed that the term Whit Sunday derives from the custom of the newly baptized wearing white clothing, and from the white vestments worn by the clergy in English liturgical uses. The holiday was also one of the three days each year (along with Christmas and Easter) Roman Catholics were required to confess and receive the sacrament of Holy Communion in order to remain in good church standing.[39] Holy Communion is likewise often a feature of the Protestant observance of Pentecost as well. It is one of the relatively few Sundays some Reformed denominations may offer the communion meal, and is one of the days of the year specially appointed among Moravians for the celebration of their Love Feasts. Ordinations are celebrated across a wide array of Western denominations at Pentecost, or near to it. In some denominations, for example the Lutheran Church, even if an ordination or consecration of a deaconess is not celebrated on Pentecost, the liturgical color will invariably be red, and the theme of the service will be the Holy Spirit. And above all, Pentecost is a day for the Confirmation celebrations of young people. Flowers, the wearing of white robes, or white dresses recalling Baptism, rites such as the laying on of hands, and vibrant singing play prominent roles on these joyous occasions, the blossoming of Spring forming an equal analogy with the blossoming of youth.

    The typical image of Pentecost in the West is that of the Virgin Mary seated centrally and prominently among the disciples, with flames resting on the crowns of their heads. Occasionally parting clouds suggesting the action of the "mighty wind",[18] rays of light, and/or the Dove, are also depicted. Of course, the Western iconographic style is less static and stylized than that of the East, and other very different representations have been produced, and in some cases have achieved great fame, such as the Pentecosts by Titian, Giotto and el Greco.

    Paul already in the 1st century notes the importance of this festival to the early Christian communities. (See: Acts 20:16 & 1 Corinthians 16:8) Since the lifetime of some who may have been eye-witnesses, annual celebrations of the descent of the Holy Spirit have been observed. Before the Second Vatican Council Pentecost Monday as well was a Holy Day of Obligation during which the Catholic Church addressed the newly baptized and confirmed. Since that time however Pentecost Monday is no longer solemnized. Nevertheless it remains an official church festival in many Protestant churches, such as the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and others. In the Byzantine Catholic Rite Pentecost Monday is no longer a Holy Day of Obligation, but rather a simple holy day. In the Roman Catholic Church, as at Easter, the liturgical rank of Monday and Tuesday of Pentecost week is a Double of the First Class[40] and across many Western denominations, Pentecost is celebrated with an octave culminating on Trinity Sunday.

    Marking the festival's importance, in several denominations, such as the Lutheran and United Methodist churches (and formerly in the Roman Catholic Church), all the Sundays from the holiday itself until the next Advent in late November or December are designated the 2nd, 3rd, Nth, Sunday after Pentecost, etc. Throughout the year, in Roman Catholic piety, the Pentecost is the third of the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, as well as being one of the Stations of the Resurrection, or Via Lucis.

    In Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, where there is less emphasis on the liturgical year, Pentecost may be one of the greatest celebrations in the year, such as in Germany or Romania. In other cases, Pentecost may be ignored as a holy day in these churches. In many evangelical churches in the United States, the secular holiday, Mother's Day, may be more celebrated than the ancient and biblical feast of Pentecost.[41] Many evangelicals and Pentecostals are observing the liturgical calendar and observe Pentecost as a day to teach the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    Across denominational lines Pentecost has been an opportunity for Christians to honor the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and celebrate the birth of the church in an ecumenical context.[42][43]

    Classical compositions for Pentecost

    Western depiction of the Pentecost, painted by Jean II Restout, 1732
    The Lutheran church of the Baroque observed three days of Pentecost. Some composers wrote sacred cantatas to be performed in the church services of these days. Johann Sebastian Bach composed several cantatas for days of Pentecost, including Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! BWV 172 in 1714 and Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, BWV 68 in 1725. Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel wrote cantatas such as Werdet voll Geistes (Get full of spirit) in 1737.[44]

    Mozart composed an antiphon Veni Sancte Spiritus in 1768.Olivier Messiaen composed an organ mass Messe de la Pentecôte in 1949/50. In 1964 Fritz Werner wrote an oratorio for Pentecost Veni, sancte spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit) on the sequence Veni sancte spiritus, and Jani Christou wrote Tongues of Fire, a Pentecost oratorio. Richard Hillert wrote a Motet for the Day of Pentecost for choir, vibraphone, and prepared electronic tape in 1969. Violeta Dinescu composed Pfingstoratorium, an oratorio for Pentecost for five soloists, mixed chorus and small orchestra in 1993.

    Customs and traditions

    In Italy it was customary to scatter rose petals from the ceiling of the churches to recall the miracle of the fiery tongues; hence in Sicily and elsewhere in Italy Whitsunday is called Pasqua rosatum. The Italian name Pasqua rossa comes from the red colours of the vestments used on Whitsunday.

    In France it was customary to blow trumpets during Divine service, to recall the sound of the mighty wind which accompanied the Descent of the Holy Spirit.

    In the north west of England, church and chapel parades called Whit Walks take place at Whitsun (sometimes on Whit Friday, the Friday after Whitsun).[45] Typically, the parades contain brass bands and choirs; girls attending are dressed in white. Traditionally, Whit Fairs (sometimes called Whitsun Ales)[46] took place. Other customs such as morris dancing[47] and cheese rolling[48] are also associated with Whitsun.

    Literary excerpts

    According to legend, King Arthur always gathered all his knights at the round table for a feast and a quest on Pentecost:
    So ever the king had a custom that at the feast of Pentecost in especial, afore other feasts in the year, he would not go that day to meat until he had heard or seen of a great marvel. [49]
    German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe declared Pentecost "das liebliche Fest" – the lovely Feast, in a selection by the same name in his Reineke Fuchs.[50]

    "Pfingsten, das liebliche Fest", speaks of Pentecost as a time of greening and blooming in fields, woods, hills, mountains, bushes and hedges, of birds singing new songs, meadows sprouting fragrant flowers, and of festive sunshine gleaming from the skies and coloring the earth - iconic lines idealizing the Pentecost holidays in the German speaking lands.

    Further, Goethe records an old peasant proverb relating to Pentecost in his "Sankt-Rochus-Fest zu Bingen" [51]  – Ripe strawberries at Pentecost mean a good wine crop.

    Alexandre Dumas, père mentions of Pentecost in Twenty Years After (French: Vingt ans après), the sequel to The Three Musketeers. A meal is planned for the holiday, to which La Ramée, second in command of the prison, is invited, and by which contrivance, the Duke is able to escape. He speaks sarcastically of the festival to his jailor, foreshadowing his escape : "Now, what has Pentecost to do with me? Do you fear, say, that the Holy Ghost may come down in the form of fiery tongues and open the gates of my prison?" [52]

    William Shakespeare mentions Pentecost in a line from Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene V. At the ball at his home, Capulet speaks in refuting an overestimate of the time elapsed since he last danced: "What, man? 'Tis not so much, 'tis not so much! 'Tis since the nuptial of Lucentio, Come Pentecost as quickly as it will, Some five-and-twenty years, and then we mask'd." [53] Note here the allusion to the tradition of mumming, Morris dancing and wedding celebrations at Pentecost.


    1. ^ 2:1–31
    2. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, Pentecost (Whitsunday)
    3. ^ The Seven Festivals of the Messiah 12 Edward Chumney – 1994 p230 This is called the counting of the omer. On the fiftieth day following the Feast of First Fruits (Bikkurim) is the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) or Pentecost ( Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:15–21).
    4. ^ Acts 2:1–4
    5. ^ Acts 2:1–6 in all major bibles
    6. ^ Joel 2:28–29
    7. ^ Acts 2:41
    8. ^ Acts 2:39
    9. ^ Bargil Pixner, The Church of the Apostles found on Mount Zion, Biblical Archaeology Review 16.3 May/June 1990 [1]
    10. ^ Luke 22:12–13
    11. ^ Acts 1:13–14
    12. ^ Acts 2:1–2
    13. ^ Acts 1:13
    14. ^ Joseph Fitzmyer Responses to 101 questions on the Dead Sea scrolls 1992 p 87: "Particularly important for the Qumran community was the celebration of this Feast of Weeks on 111/15, because according to Exod 19:1 Israel ... Later the renewal of the Covenant came to be celebrated on the Feast of Weeks (see Jubilees"
    15. ^ Menachot 10:3
    16. ^ Trinity Week – 3rd Day of the Trinity
    17. ^ Patrologia Graecae, 35:1108–9.
    18. ^ Acts 2:2 KJV
    19. ^ John 3:8 KJV
    20. ^ "St. Catherine of Sweden Roman Catholic Church – Bulletin". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    21. ^ "200-299 TLH Hymns". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    22. ^ "Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    23. ^ "'s Suggested Hymns for the Day of Pentecost (Year C)". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    24. ^ "Spirit of Faith, Come Down". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    25. ^ "Come, Holy Ghost, Our Hearts Inspire". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    26. ^ "O Holy Spirit, Root of Life". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    27. ^ "Texts > O Holy Spirit, root of life". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    28. ^ "Hymns and Hymnwriters of Denmark | Christian Classics Ethereal Library". 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    29. ^ "O That I Had a Thousand Voices". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    30. ^ "O daß ich tausend Zungen hätte gospel christian songs free mp3 midi download". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    31. ^ "Lutheran Worship Online Hymnal - section MO". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    32. ^ "O day full of grace". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    33. ^ "Rhabanus Maurus". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    34. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Veni Creator Spiritus". 1912-10-01. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    35. ^ "Moravian Music Foundation". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    36. ^ Nelson, Gertrud Muller (1986). To Dance With God: Family Ritual and Community Celebration. Paulist Press. p. 193. ISBN 0809128128. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    37. ^ "The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    38. ^ (P. Drews.). "Litany". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    39. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Frequent Communion". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    40. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia: Pentecost". 1912-10-01. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    41. ^ "Pentecost: All About Pentecost (Whitsunday)!". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    42. ^ "Pentecost Picnic 2009". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    43. ^ "Catholics at Monash: Photos of Ecumenical Pentecost Celebrations". 2007-06-15. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    44. ^ Cantatas for Pentecost review of the 2002 recording by Johan van Veen, 2005
    45. ^
    46. ^
    47. ^
    48. ^
    49. ^ Le Morte d'Arthur, Thomas Malory. Book 7, chapter 1
    50. ^ Pfingsten, das liebliche Fest, war gekommen; es grünten und blühten Feld und Wald;
      auf Hügeln und Höhn, in Büschen und Hecken
      Übten ein fröhliches Lied die neuermunterten Vögel;
      Jede Wiese sprosste von Blumen in duftenden Gründen,
      Festlich heiter glänzte der Himmel und farbig die Erde.
    51. ^ "Projekt Gutenberg-DE - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - Kultur". 2009-08-17. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    52. ^ "Projekt Gutenberg-DE - SPIEGEL ONLINE – Nachrichten – Kultur". 2009-08-17. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
    53. ^ "Romeo and Juliet Text and Translation - Act I, Scene V". Retrieved 2010-05-17.


     Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Part Two: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, 

    Section Two: The Seven Sacraments of the Church 





    1533 Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are sacraments of Christian initiation. They ground the common vocation of all Christ's disciples, a vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world. They confer the graces needed for the life according to the Spirit during this life as pilgrims on the march towards the homeland.

    1534 Two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God.

    1535 Through these sacraments those already consecrated by Baptism and Confirmation LG 10 for the common priesthood of all the faithful can receive particular consecrations. Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders are consecrated in Christ's name "to feed the Church by the word and grace of God."LG 11 # 2 On their part, "Christian spouses are fortified and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and dignity of their state by a special sacrament."GS 48  # 2

    Article 7
    1601 "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."CIC, can. 1055 # 1; cf. GS 48 # 1

    II. The Celebration of Marriage
    1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ.SC 61 In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up.LG 6 It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but "one body" in Christ.1 Cor 10:17

    1622 "Inasmuch as it is a sacramental action of sanctification, the liturgical celebration of marriage . . . must be, per se, valid, worthy, and fruitful."FC 67 It is therefore appropriate for the bride and groom to prepare themselves for the celebration of their marriage by receiving the sacrament of penance.

    1623 In the Latin Church, it is ordinarily understood that the spouses, as ministers of Christ's grace, mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the Eastern liturgies the minister of this sacrament (which is called "Crowning") is the priest or bishop who, after receiving the mutual consent of the spouses, successively crowns the bridegroom and the bride as a sign of the marriage covenant.

    1624 The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God's grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride. In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church.Eph 5:32 The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity.