ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY RELEASE:
Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
25 May 2012
Bishop Julian Porteous will confirm the
children and adults at this Sunday’s
Pentecost Mass at the
Between 24 and 30 adults and children will be confirmed by
Bishop Julian Porteous, Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation and Renewal at St
Mary’s Cathedral on Pentecost, 27 May.
Of all ages and from many different
parishes, the group will be confirmed, strengthening their bond with the Lord,
during the 10.30 am Solemn Sung Mass at the Cathedral in a ceremony to confer
them with the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Also attending the Mass will be more
than 50 members of Australia’s Order of Malta including Fra’ Matthew Festing,
the Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of
Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta which marks the first time a Grand Master of
the Order has visited Australia.
The Grand Master will be accompanied by
Jean-Pierre Mazery, Grand Chancellor of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta,
Marquese Gian Luca Chiari, Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Obedience, and
Receiver of the Common Treasure who have flown in from Rome. Also there will be
Anthony Macken AO, national President of the Australian Association of the
Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhods and of
Australia’s Order of Malta members attend Mass at the Cathedral each
year in May and are particularly delighted that this year the Mass coincides
with Pentecost, the third great feast of the Christian Year.
Pentecost 2012 marks start
of the Year of
This year Pentecost will also mark the start of the Year of
Grace and celebrates the Holy Spirit who through the Word and Sacraments gives
Christians the power to believe and to trust in Christ our Saviour and is the
reason why Pentecost is a time for rejoicing and thanksgiving.
the Seventh Sunday after Easter, Pentecost is the third great festival of the
Christian year. The first is Christmas which marks the birth of Christ. The
second is Easter and the Resurrection. And the third which arrives 50 days later
is Pentecost where Christians worldwide celebrate God’s gift of the Holy Spirit
and commemorate the birth of the Christian Church.
A time of hope, Pentecost
is also a time for the faithful to renew their sense of purpose and mission, and
to celebrate their calling as God’s people.
Confirmation is strongly linked
with Pentecost and at this time Catholics receive the Holy Spirit, just as the
Apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit more than 2000 years ago.
Originally commemorated as a Harvest Festival by the Old Testament,
Pentecost was calculated as the 50th day after Passover. The transformation to
an important Christian festival occurred when 50 days after Christ’s
Resurrection and 10 days after His Ascension to Heaven, His disciples gathered
together in Jerusalem for what they believed would be the usual Harvest Festival
celebrated by the Jewish calendar. But while they were indoors praying to the
Lord, there was a sudden almighty rush of wind which filled the house. They
knelt, and seconds later, great tongues of fire descended and rested on each of
Fra Matthew Festing Prince
and Grand Master
of the Order
of Malta will attend Mass
at St Mary’s for
The flames and rush of wind were recognised as the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh which had been promised by Old
Testament prophet, Joel (Joel 2:28-29). And it was through this miracle of the
Holy Spirit that the Apostles were empowered to proclaim the Gospel of the risen
Christ and no matter where they preached throughout Europe and the Middle East,
and all corners of the Roman Empire, they were understood by everyone, even by
those who spoke no Hebrew or Latin.
Filled with the strength and might of the
Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter, founder of the Catholic Church, seized the
moment on that first Pentecost Sunday, and rushing outside addressed the masses,
telling them of Jesus’ death and about His Resurrection. Such was the power of
what St Peter said – and the grace imbued on him by the Holy Spirit – that 3000
converts rushed forward to be baptized and become Christians.
for many remains less well known and less openly celebrated than the Christian
festivals of Christmas or Easter, this is due not to the fact Pentecost is less
important, but because of the secular commercialisation of Christmas and Easter.
But Pentecost is nevertheless as important to Christians as Easter and Christmas
and is an equally uplifting and joyous occasion, bringing with it an
overwhelming sense of renewal along with the mission to evangelise and spread
Pentecost has given rise to several different customs. In Italy the
Festival is celebrated by scattering scarlet rose petals, representing the
tongues of fire which enveloped the Apostles. As well as Pentecost, in Italy the
Festival is known as Pascha Rossa and refers to the scarlet vestments worn by
clerics during the Festival. In France it was customary to blow trumpets during
the Divine service at Pentecost to recall the sound of the mighty wind that
overwhelmed thed Apostles. While in England, where Pentecost is popularly known
as Whitsunday, Whitsun ales are produced as part of the celebrations.
Pentecost Sunday is
mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (20:16) and St. Paul’s First Letter to the
Corinthians (16:8), while the story of the original Pentecost is recounted in
the Acts of the Apostles (Act 2) with descriptions of how Jews from all over had
gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish Harvest Festival and how the
Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary had come together in the Upper Room where
they had seen Christ after His Resurrection. The Acts of the Apostles then
describes the sudden sound from heaven, “as of a mighty wind coming, and it
filled the whole house where they were sitting; and there appeared to them
parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: and they
were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers
tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.” (Acts 2:2-4).