The Solemnity of Pentecost

Feast of the Grace of the Holy Spirit
Saturday 18 May 2013
by  Ronald Witherup
popularity : 13%

Jean-Jacques OLIER (1608-1657), founder of the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice, always loved the great solemnity of Pentecost. He urged his colleagues and the seminarians in his charge to keep the image of Pentecost ever before them, so that they would remember their apostolic mission and never tire of fulfilling it.

On the recent trip to Brasilia for a canonical visit to the Sulpician seminary, Seminário Maior de Brasília “Nossa Senhora de Fátima”, a striking feature of the seminary chapel was a gorgeous stained glass window of the Pentecost scene from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-13), where we read:

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” (Act 2:1-4 NRSV)

It is a powerful scene of the disciples receiving courage from the Spirit for their evangelization efforts. The window, which was designed by an Italian artist, captures the scene well and hangs over the entranceway of the chapel. Thus, each time one exits the chapel, this image of the reception in “tongues of fire” of the grace of the Holy Spirit reminds the faithful to go forth boldly and courageously to announce the good news of Christ Jesus. This is exactly what each Sulpician seminary attempts to instill in its seminarians and future priests, the desire to be faithful “missionary disciples”.

On this “birthday of the Church” we pray for the grace of being filled once more with the Holy Spirit, so that we might be strengthened in our resolve to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ!