May 6, 2018

May 1, 2018

My dear parishioners,

While the Church gave much attention to the solemnity of the first week following Easter, it established a fifty-day period during which it continuously witnessed to the paschal mystery of the suffering, dying, and rising of Jesus Christ. It is from this fifty-day period that the title Pentecost is derived. The period is also marked by the gospels for each Sunday being taken from that of the evangelist John.  Another special mark of the season is the use of the sprinkling rite during the liturgy on the Sundays of Easter, another reminder of our baptism. Another distinction of the season is that each Sunday during the period is denoted in the liturgical calendar as the Sunday of Easter, not a Sunday after Easter, indicative of its special relationship to the Easter feast.

The crowning close of the season is the feast we now know as Pentecost which for many centuries was considered the glorious close to the Easter season, especially in the churches of the Easter rite. While recalling the specific connection to the Easter feast, Pentecost became uniquely devoted to the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus gathered in the upper room, praised in hymn by the sequence “Veni Spiritu Sancte.” While historically white was the color of the vestments used on this feast recalling Easter, red soon became the color to mark this feast, interpreted by Pope Innocent III in the 12th century to symbolize the tongues of fire descending upon the disciples

In some European countries, customs developed to honor the feast of Pentecost, such as scattered rose leaves from church roofs (Italy), the blowing of trumpets to recall the sound of mighty wind (France), reading of poetic prayers at vespers (Eastern Europe), processions with flowers and green branches (Russia). None of these traditions have carried over to the American church, although the sacrament of confirmation is frequently celebrated on this day.

Have a good week…

Monsignor Montecalvo



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