Article Pentecost 2015



Entering Into The Spirit of Things

by Julia Beacroft

AS PENTECOST approaches, my thoughts turn to the Holy Spirit, as you might expect. It’s a time for renewing our baptismal and confirmation promises and a time when we can reflect on the power of the Holy Spirit working in our everyday lives. But the Holy Spirit with a sense of humour is an entirely different matter.


In common with many parishes, we, at Abbey Road church in Torquay, have started preparing our young people for the Sacrament of Confirmation which they will celebrate with our Bishop Mark in May. After a couple of sessions, the candidates were ready to commit to the programme with the Rite of Enrolment, which was recently part of our Sunday morning Mass. As the catechist who was presenting them to our parish priest, Father Kieran and to the parish community, I was all set and raring to go…

After the homily I gave my prepared speech and carefully read out the twelve young people’s names, as some of these were quite tricky to pronounce. Heaving a sigh of relief at a job well done, I was then startled to hear Father repeating his question to the youngsters: asking them if they wished to be enrolled in the confirmation programme. To my horror, I realised that the shattering silence on their part was due to an oversight on ours: we had forgotten to give the young people a copy of the rite, so that they would know how and when to respond.


At this point I had no choice but to dash to the front pew on one side of the church to face the young people. However, in so doing I nearly made the couple seated there jump out of their skins. Especially as I then frantically began pointing at the words “I DO” on my sheet like a demented conductor, while at the same time silently mouthing the words.

Pentecost Cartoon

After a stupefied silence the young people responded and then started to grin as I went through the same pantomime a second time, when Father addressed his next question to their parents.


By then there were smiles, nods and grins all round. Those in the nearby pews couldn’t hide their amusement and the warmth and cordiality towards our twelve confirmation candidates was wonderful to behold.


We are, of course, preparing them to receive and be sealed with the Holy Spirit in a special way in May, but it seems to me that the Spirit was already very much in evidence and enjoying the fun on that Sunday morning. As for me… well, I think I’ll stick to catechising and not conducting in future…


(ENDS – 440 words)

Julia Beacroft is a catechist and pastoral volunteer who lives in Torquay. Her first book

‘Sanctifying the Spirit’ will be published and available to buy from Pentecost 2016.