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What is Pentecost?

On the Feast of Pentecost, Christians commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, gathered around the Mother of the Lord (Acts chapter 2). The feast is celebrated on the 50th and final day of the Easter season.

In 2022, Pentecost falls on Sunday, June 5.

What is the story of Pentecost?

The 11 remaining Apostles returned to Jerusalem after the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. Acts 1:14 says, “All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jes1us, and with his brethren.” During this time, the Apostles chose a replacement for Judas Iscariot. They cast lots between two men, and the lot fell on Matthias. After nine days of prayer, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples. They heard a sound like a “mighty wind,” and “tongues as of fire” were resting on their heads.(Continue below)

PENTECOST

What is the story of Pentecost?

(Continue from Above) Going out, Peter to the crowd that had gathered. Even though, just a few weeks earlier, he had denied Christ three times, Peter courageously proclaimed the Gospel. That day, three thousand people believed in Christ and were received into His Church.


What is the meaning of Pentecost in the Scriptures?

St. Luke describes the setting of the descent of the Holy Spirit as “the day when Pentecost had come” (Acts 2:1). This Fiftieth Day (pentekoste) was for Israel a spring harvest feast ending the days of celebration after Passover. It was also a celebration of the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. For the Christian, it remains the “fiftieth day,” but after Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection, and the celebration of the Gift of the Holy Spirit. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraphs 731-732) says: On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ’s Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. Since that day, the Kingdom announced by Christ has been open to those who believe in him: in the humility of the flesh and in faith, they already share in the communion of the Holy Trinity...

“The Spirit of the Lord within you is so overwhelming that it should be the most important and visible thing in your entire life.” – Mother Angelica

Why is Pentecost important to Christians today?

In John 14:26, Jesus said, “[T]he Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Thus, Pentecost is not only an historical event. As the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise, it continues to bear fruit in the Church today, especially in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.

Who celebrates Pentecost? Both Jews and Christians celebrate this feast––– for Jews it is the culmination of the Passover from slavery to freedom in the giving of the Divine Law; for Christians the fulfilment of Christ’s Passover from sin and death in the giving of the Divine Spirit. These feasts occur at different times, however, as Passover and Easter only occasionally coincide.


Why is Pentecost known as the birthday of the Church?

When the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, they immediately began proclaiming the Gospel. In fact, three thousand people were baptized that day. The disciples, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, were answering Jesus’ call to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). The Holy Spirit is vital in the mission and witness of the Church, so we consider Pentecost the birthday of the Church.

“The Holy Spirit… leads us to the heights of God, so that we may already experience on this earth the seed of divine life which exists within us.” – Pope Benedict XVI

Why is it called Pentecost?

The feast is celebrated on the 50th and final day of the Easter season. The Greek word “pentekoste” means “fiftieth.”

Why is Pentecost sometimes called Whitsunday? Whitsunday, or White Sunday, refers to the white garments of Christians who were recently baptized. This is particularly used in England.


What was the Old Testament origin of Pentecost?

In the Old Testament, Pentecost was a harvest festival for the grain harvest. This is known as the Feast of Weeks or the Feast of Harvest (Deuteronomy 16:9-11). Among modern Jews, it is called Shavu`ot.

“If people were to listen to the Holy Spirit, they would hear him say, ‘God loves you.’” – Pope Francis