Scripture tells us that after Our Lord’s Ascension into heaven, the apostles returned to Jerusalem, entered the upper room, and “all these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers…And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 1:14; 2:2-4).
These events mark the first Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit whom Jesus had promised came down with power, revealing his divine personhood, and gave the disciples the gifts necessary to carry out their mission from Jesus to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19f). Pentecost is spoken of as the “birthday” of the Church.
Pope Francis reminds us that by our Baptism and Confirmation we are all “missionary disciples.” A renewal of this mission, as a new Pentecost in our time, was the stated purpose of the Second Vatican Council. But if we are to experience a new Pentecost in our time, then we must pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In order for us to make this prayer together as one family of faith, I invite you to participate in a novena of prayer for a new Pentecost in the Church and in our archdiocese. The word “novena” comes from the Latin word for nine days. The novena to the Holy Spirit is the prototype of all novenas because, in a sense, it was instituted by Christ himself when he sent his apostles back to Jerusalem after his Ascension to await in prayer the coming of the Holy Spirit.
I ask that the novena be prayed publicly and privately, from May 15 through May 23, using a set of prayers that have been prepared for this purpose in both English and Spanish.
Together let us implore the gift of the Holy Spirit for our Church, our archdiocese, and ourselves, and may God bless you.