What are some recent developments in celebrating the Holy Spirit’s presence in the Church?
In January 1988, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued Paschale Solemnitatis, a Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts. Among its many recommendations was the following concerning the Vigil of Pentecost:
Encouragement should be given to the prolonged celebration of Mass in the form of a Vigil, whose character is not baptismal as in the Easter Vigil, but is one of urgent prayer, after the example of the apostles and disciples, who persevered together in prayer with Mary,the Mother of Jesus, as they awaited the Holy Spirit.
The Lectionary offers an extended vigil of Pentecost, suggesting the use of six readings similar to the structure of the Easter Vigil: four readings from the Old Testament (Genesis 11:1-9; Exodus 19:3-8, 16-20; Ezekiel 37:1-14; and Joel 3:1-5), one from Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:22-27, and the Gospel from John 7:37-39. All six readings focus on the Spirit’s active role and presence from the beginning of creation through the history of God’s people, culminating in Jesus, whose return to the Father activates the pouring out of the Spirit on all humanity.
Even if your parish doesn’t celebrate a Pentecost Vigil, consider using the six recommended Spirit passages for prayer in the week ahead, thanking God for gifting us with the Spirit’s power and love.
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