By Kaelanne Jordan
Pentecost is a significant feast in the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church. This year’s celebration, on Sunday, May 31, commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Mary. This happened 50 days after Easter.
Catholic News spoke to Abbot John Pereira OSB on the significance of Pentecost, and its celebration amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
CN: Why is Pentecost called the Birthday of the Church?
AJP: Pentecost is called the Birthday of the Church because the Holy Spirit served the important role of the midwife. At Pentecost, the Church was delivered from the womb of the Upper Room.
In that womb there was the darkness and helplessness of the timidity and fear of an unborn child.
The Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, entered into the ‘maternity ward’ of the Upper Room and delivered the Church from within that womb. It allowed life to burst forth. The disciples got a new lease on life and the Church was born.
CN: How can Catholics appreciate Pentecost?
AJP: Catholics can appreciate Pentecost by recognising tangibly its role as the midwife par excellence. This can only be achieved by calling upon the Holy Spirit to bring forth new life at all times.
CN: How can someone draw a relationship with the Holy Spirit?
AJP: Someone can draw a relationship with the Holy Spirit by prayer.
CN: What message/s does Pentecost teach us as we experience this pandemic?
AJP: Pentecost can teach us the message that the closed doors of our “stay-at-home” period can always be entered through by God’s Holy Spirit. No “closed doors” are inaccessible to the action of the Holy Spirit.