Pentecost – commemoration of the descent of Holy Spirit upon Apostles

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 19, 2024, 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 founding 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.

“This is one of the greatest Feast Days of the Church in the context of Salvation History,” Bishop Dewane said. “It is when Jesus establishes His Church on earth … the descent of the Holy Spirit, by the Father and the Son, signals the commencement and founding of the Church and all its works.”

This celebration commemorates when the Apostles, though still afraid, accepted the Holy Spirit and their role in carrying the message of the Lord into the world, the Bishop said.

“We too have a role to play in the continuation of that Church,” Bishop Dewane continued. “We must all be doers of our faith. It is the Holy Spirit, and the love conveyed from God, that binds the world together. That love wills the good for the other, we must respond to that love. Be men and women of prayer. Go to your Parishes every Sunday and be an integral part of the community of believers, because that community is less without your gifts and your talents.”

Those gifts of the Holy Spirit are sealed in the faithful through the Sacrament of Confirmation. Therefore, Pentecost is the time when 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 108 women and men candidates representing 24 Parishes across the Diocese. These candidates were unable (for whatever reason) to be confirmed at their own Parishes during the past several months.

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.

During the Sacrament of Confirmation, the confirmandi renewed their baptismal promises, which Bishop Dewane said is done to publicly proclaim who they are as Catholics and to have the courage, hope, faith and perseverance to be true followers of Christ.

As the Rite continues, the Bishop says an introductory prayer and asks all to join him in praying for the candidates and then he recites an additional prayer pertaining to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Finally, the candidates are requested to come forward, with their sponsor placing their right hand on the candidate’s right shoulder. Then with his right thumb, the Bishop makes the sign of the cross on their forehead with the Holy Chrism Oil and says “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” The confirmed reply, “Amen.” At this point, the Bishop says, “Peace be with you,” and the newly confirmed responded “And with your spirit.”

One woman from San Pedro Parish in North Port 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. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral 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.”