Lent & Easter - Page 27

Pentecost as a Personal Confirmation

By Dana Edwards

We celebrate Pentecost 50 days after Easter, to commemorate the Holy Spirit’s descent on Christ’s disciples after His Ascension. We are, in many ways, celebrating the birthday of the Church and our individual commitments to God.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to share our faith, to have the ability to open our hearts in understanding one another and God’s message. Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord), we become fully alive in our personal relationship with God so we can give better witness to His message. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “…the Church is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity” (CCC 738).

We can use Pentecost as an opportunity to make our faith our own while sharing God’s word. By utilizing our individual talents and volunteering in some aspect of our church, we strengthen our faith and build community.

I remember wanting to be an altar server after receiving my first Holy Communion in second grade. I began serving and continued to do so until I received Confirmation. Serving during the Mass allowed me, as a young person, to better understand my Catholic faith. My parents remember me saying how I enjoyed altar serving because I had to pay attention (and stay awake) during 8 a.m. Sunday Mass. I began to fully understand and participate in the Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist every Sunday. I attended Catholic school and was able to make connections between Religion class and weekly Mass. Once confirmed, I continued to volunteer in my church as a lector as well as by teaching religious education classes to grade school children. Actively participating in my parish allowed me to fully engage in my Catholic faith and grow spiritually.

No matter our age, the Catholic Church encourages us to be active participants in Mass and in our Church. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we can come to discover where the Church needs us and how we can best share the time, talent, and treasure God has given us.

Pentecost allows us to renew ourselves to the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis challenges us to question ourselves: “What kind of heart do we have? … Is my heart fixed upon everyday gods or is it a heart fixed on the Holy Spirit?” It is easy for us to get wrapped up in life’s habitual tasks at home, work, with family, colleagues, etc. But the Holy Father encourages us that the Holy Spirit “gives us strength, gives us the steadiness to be able to move forward in life in the midst of many events.”