Welcoming Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday
May 24, 2011
HOUSTON — On June 12, Catholics the world over will observe Pentecost Sunday. This also is a time for Catholic adults to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, which will happen locally at various parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
Recently, Father Mike Buentello, C.S.B., Chaplain at the University of St. Thomas, answered a few questions from the Texas Catholic Herald about this feast day and its significance to the Church and to those being confirmed.
Texas Catholic Herald: What is Pentecost Sunday?
Father Mike Buentello, C.S.B.: Pentecost is a moveable feast that the Church celebrates 50 days after Easter.
TCH: Why and how do Catholics observe it?
Father Buentello: For Catholics, Pentecost is celebrated because it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. It is considered to be the birthday of the Church because after this event the Church, now holy by the power of the Holy Spirit, began its mission of preaching the good news of salvation to all people. This is clearly revealed in chapter 2 of Acts of the Apostles. Peter is proclaiming the Gospel to people of different languages and all understand. Peter and the apostles represent the magisterium that is proclaiming the message of salvation. The faithful, too, are called to proclaim and continue the mission of the Jesus Christ under the direction of the pope and bishops.
TCH: How is specifically Pentecost observed in America and in other countries?
Father Buentello: In the United States the priest will wear a red chasuble, which is the color that symbolizes the Holy Spirit. In many of our parishes there will be red banners and some of the faithful will be dressed in red.
In other parts of the Western world it is tradition to go in procession [to church] and have red rose petals shower the faithful from the balconies as the procession makes it way through the narrow streets. The releasing of doves on Pentecost Sunday is another form of acknowledging the day. And finally, the reading of sacred Scripture may be done in various languages.
TCH: What is the significance of having confirmations on this day?
Father Buentello: The essential words of Confirmation are ‘Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.' Being confirmed on this day stresses the awareness that the Holy Spirit has and is guiding the Church to this very day. Like the Church, each individual has received gifts from the Holy Spirit that are to be used not only for personal holiness but also spread the teachings of Jesus Christ. The sacrament of Confirmation calls on the faithful to allow the Holy Spirit to guide their lives in living a true Christian life. †