The journey of the Easter Season is concluded, and the Holy Spirit has descended to provide the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, fortitude, counsel, piety and fear of the Lord.
Celebrated this year on May 28, 2023, the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday marks an important transition in the lives of the Apostles and clarifies their mission in creating the Lord’s Church on earth and is traditionally viewed as the “birthday” of the Church. Pentecost, which literally means 50, falls 50 days after Easter and is 10 days after the Ascension of the Lord. As a symbol of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, the clergy wear red vestments on this day.
“We celebrate that Feast of the Holy Spirit, the lifeblood of our Church; the soul of the Mystical Body of Christ,” said Frank J. Dewane at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. “We have to recognize and acknowledge the idea of plurality and unity in the Church. That very dynamic plays out in different ways at different times in the life of the Church. The plurality is that all voices are heard and in a modern sense we are diverse, coming from different backgrounds. In that diversity, we must leave room for the Holy Spirit in our world, united in living out a plan according to God.”
Also on Pentecost, those who have been baptized and are seeking to be more fully united to Christ within the Church, receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at cathedrals around the world. At Epiphany Cathedral, Bishop Dewane bestowed the Sacrament upon 107 women and men candidates representing 40 Parishes across the Diocese.
These candidates were unable (for whatever reason) to be confirmed at their own Parishes during the past several months. Prior to receiving the Sacrament, the candidates renewed their baptismal promises and the Bishop called upon the Holy Spirit to descend upon and remain with them as they go forward in their lives.
Bishop Dewane thanked the candidates for coming forward to be confirmed and said that the Sacrament of Confirmation must change them as they have been given a new beginning in their lives; they are making a permanent commitment that comes with corresponding responsibilities.
“You can’t go forward as the same person,” the Bishop continued. “You have to be changed as a result of that encounter with Christ in the Sacrament. Go out to give witness about who you are, and who you are becoming. Go forward being doers of your Faith. Develop your prayer life by speaking to Christ as you become ever more that man or woman of God you are called to be and remember always to call upon the strength of the Holy Spirit as you go forward in your life.”
During the Sacrament, the Bishop made the sign of the cross on the forehead of each person being confirmed with Sacred Chrism – consecrated at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week – and said: “Be sealed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.” This Sacrament imbues the recipient with the Holy Spirit, making them an advocate for the Lord.
One woman from St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples expressed her joy of being confirmed by the Bishop. “I feel so blessed to be here, to present myself to the Bishop and become a full participant in the Catholic Faith.”
A younger man from St. Paul Parish in Arcadia explained how his Faith journey took place with the encouragement of his mother who recognized the importance of receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. “I started the instruction, unsure if it was what I wanted. After today, I can thank my mother for being there and understanding what I needed in my life.”