After the Mass celebrated for the Solemnity of Pentecost, Bishop James P. Powers greets participants at St. Joseph Church in Rice Lake. (Submitted photo)
Catholic Herald Staff
Bishop James P. Powers concelebrated Pentecost Mass with Fr. Dean Buttrick, liaison for the diocesan Charismatic Renewal committee, and numerous other priests and deacons at St. Joseph Church in Rice Lake on Sunday, June 5.
An estimated 150 persons attended Mass, with about one-third staying afterward for refreshments. Bishop Powers also joined the group for food and fellowship.
After acknowledging the “beautiful day for a beautiful celebration,” Bishop Powers began his homily by asking how many Catholics would list Pentecost as one of their top-five favorite or most important liturgical celebrations.
Christmas and Easter easily top that list, he said, but while those two solemnities are clear in their importance for current-day Christianity, “If it wasn’t for Pentecost, we wouldn’t be here … it’s just so absolutely important to who we are as church, as Christians, as Catholics, as children of our God.”
The bishop went on to say he’s not sure “there is another greater proof of the plan that God put into play at the moment of Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden.”
Bringing attention to the fact that the solemnity of Pentecost – like Christmas and Easter – has its own proper Mass of anticipation, Bishop Powers noted the daily Mass readings for the nine-day novena from Ascension leading up to Pentecost trace salvation history.
“It traces our God’s saving hand in our lives, in our world, in all of creation,” he said. “But the vigil for Pentecost traces a drawing out of that knowledge and understanding that the Holy Spirit didn’t wait in heaven until that first Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was active in the world from the moment of creation.”
In spite of the locked doors in the Upper Room, the bishop said, “Jesus comes into their presence and the first thing he does is say ‘Peace be with you.’ A second time he says ‘peace,’ then breathes the Spirit on them … The peace that our Lord offers isn’t just some casual type of peace that satisfies and takes care of a daily problem. It is more than just an absence of strife … it’s that state of a positive well-being in the midst of trouble, in the midst of turmoil.
“It’s a sense of wholeness and harmony that flows from our relationship with our God, the reassurance that whatever happens we are always in God’s care, we will always be OK,” he explained.
He added that it doesn’t say it’s going to be sunshine and roses.
“But it’s that peace of our Lord, and that peace alone that allowed the disciples to open that locked door to go out and proclaim that message of God,” the bishop stated.
The gift of the Spirit that Jesus offers that first Easter night is the gift of the forgiveness of sins, he explained. After having instituted the gifts of the priesthood and Eucharist, “that other great gift that is so important for our living in unity with one another is the gift of forgiveness of our sins.”
To end his homily, Bishop Powers said how 2,000 years later, “We gather in celebration and awe as the Holy Spirit awakens that instinct of faith in us … to fulfill our role in salvation history which is ultimately to continue to grow in our own faith and relationship with God.
“But always, always inviting others into our journey as well … because our journey is their journey, as we journey together.”
God never says “go save yourself,” he added. “Each of us has been called by our God. Commissioned to share the gifts that we have been given that together we might renew the face of the earth.”
During the day’s celebrations, intercessory prayer and prayer for healing were offered, with 10 people taking advantage of that gift, according to Charismatic committee chair Mary Joan Sutton.
The next Charismatic gathering is Encounter Ministries School of Healing, Sept. 30, from 6-9 p.m., and Oct. 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Nativity, Rhinelander. More details will be released nearer the date, or visit catholicdos.org/charismatic-renewal to learn more.