Bishop James P. Powers celebrated the Pentecost Mass Sunday, May 23, at St. Peter, Cameron. (Submitted photo)
Catholic Herald Staff
Charismatics in the Diocese of Superior gathered – in person and via livestream – to celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost on Sunday, May 23, with Bishop James P. Powers.
Mary Joan Sutton, chair of the Charismatic Renewal Service committee, gave a welcome before the afternoon Mass began at St. Peter’s Church in Cameron, “to celebrate the birth of the Church and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit 2,000 years ago and yet today.”
Briefly summarizing the mission of the Charismatic committee, Sutton shared it is “to help people to deepen their personal relationship with God through the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit, and to spread the Gospel by service to others.”
She added that the committee seeks to encourage spiritual growth – through activities and gatherings, communications, support and training.
“All are welcome to join us on our walk to holiness using the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit to build the body of Christ,” Sutton concluded before offering a prayer for Bishop Powers, priests and deacons, prayer ministers and members of the Diocese of Superior.
In his homily for the Pentecost Mass, Bishop Powers acknowledged his “pleasure and joy” in welcoming those participating in the celebration.
Bishop Powers called the first reading (Acts 2:1-11) and Gospel (John 20:19-23) “beautiful bookends” to the day’s celebration.
On the one hand, the disciples are “dejected, defeated, deflated … cowering in the upper room with their dreams dashed and smashed. Then Christ appears, offering his peace. That ‘shalom’ that in Jesus’ own tongue was a widely encompassing term … as he spoke the words, ‘Peace be with you.’”
The bishop said Jesus was giving his disciples the “reassurance that, although it seems as if everything has been destroyed, everything in fact is as it was intended to be. Everything is playing out in that plan that God has prepared from the fall of Adam of Eve for our salvation.”
Bishop Powers alluded to the creation story, as God breathed life into that lump of clay that became Adam, and said, “Jesus breathes upon the disciples in that upper room and says, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit – breathing that life of the love of the Father and the Son.”
He observed that the Holy Spirit descended after the disciples had prepared, had prayed, “When their hearts were finally ready.” The gift they received filled not only the room, but their hearts and minds. The gift of the Holy Spirit changed them from a cowering group to courageous missionaries of God’s word.
Recalling again how God’s breath in Genesis breathed into Adam, now “the breath of God comes in the power of love to breathe new life into all humanity,” the bishop said. “In this new Pentecost, the tongues of the fire of the Holy Spirit inspire and empower the disciples to leave the security of that upper room to boldly proclaim the mighty acts of God, to proclaim the crucified Christ risen from the dead.”
Bishop Powers also preached on the power of the Holy Spirit to unite “all humanity back into one body, one family,” and how that unity brings about benefits for all.
“The kingdom of heaven is present here to us now,” he continued. “It’s not something we have to wait for until after we’re dead. The degree that the kingdom is present today is the degree that each and every one of us live it in our own lives – and to the degree that it’s not present is the degree that each and every one of us do not live it.”
He acknowledged that Jesus sends his disciples as lambs into the midst of wolves. He held up Jesus’ own example of having been betrayed and abandoned and clarified that it is the same Holy Spirit given to all believers in baptism.
The Holy Spirit that gave the strength and courage to the original disciples to witness is “the same Holy Spirit that resides in each of us, giving us strength and courage that we need, so long as we allow it to,” he added.
When times of doubt come, times of wondering where God is, the bishop advised, “We will find him. All we need to do is to retreat into that tabernacle of the heart to find where God is. Not somewhere out there, but infused into our very hearts, just waiting for us, gently calling us to come to him … To come to him that he might restore us, that he might nurture and nourish us and give us that comfort and that strength that we need. That he might let us know what we are okay. That he offers us that peace that he and he alone can give.”
“We need to allow that gift of the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and our minds to that love of our God… to guide and direct us,” he added.
Bishop Powers went on to speak about the need to actuate the gift of the Holy Spirit received by each confirmed Catholic, and that the proper disposition to receive the Holy Spirit is “at the heart of the new evangelization, at the heart of the Charismatic Renewal.”
“Each and every one of us has been called and commissioned,” he affirmed. “Each and every one of us is sent forth by God to use those gifts, those charisms that have been poured upon us to help awaken that Spirit in ourselves and in our brothers and sisters, that all might completely be filled in our hearts and our minds with holiness and give the control of our lives to the Holy Spirit.”
“In order to do that,” the bishop said, “We need to experience that personal relationship with our Lord. We need to experience that presence of the Holy Spirit within us. We need to be open to the truth, the absolute truth of our God.”
He encouraged praying for the gift of the Spirit, and for perseverance in that prayer, “not just once in a while, but at all times. Let us pray that every single day we spend time asking for the Spirit,” as Jesus himself says to do.
“As we go forth, let us pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit, come. Help us to renew the face of the earth.’” Bishop Powers concluded the homily maintaining that “God has blessed each and every one of us … Let us open ourselves to that blessing … to that gift of the Holy Spirit infused in our hearts and in our minds.”
At the end of the Mass, Fr. Dean Buttrick, priestly liaison for the Charismatic committee in the diocese, thanked Bishop Powers, “our shepherd,” for his time and support. Fr. Buttrick gave thanks for the music ministers, service committee members and all those participating in the diocesan celebration.
The bishop, in turn, thanked Fr. Buttrick for his guidance and direction.
More information and updates on the Charismatic Renewal in the Diocese of Superior is available under the Office of Formation tab at catholicdos.org.
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