PENTECOST ARTICLE FOR CHURCH NEWSPAPERS
Whit Sunday (Pentecost) ~ 15th May 2016
Sanctifying the Spirit
– by Julia Beacroft
AS THE WONDERFUL celebration of Pentecost rolls around again this year, we are invited again to experience the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
At the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, the Twelve undergo their own mind-blowing encounter with the Spirit, when a violent wind, tongues of fire and conversing in many languages came upon them in no uncertain way. While it is extremely unlikely that we will be witness to anything of such an extraordinary nature, we should be well and truly assured that the Spirit is alive, well and working tirelessly within us at this point in time. Why, you may ask, I am making this particular assertion? The answer is quite simple. In this time of the New Evangelization, there can be little doubt that many of us, fired by the same Spirit, are helping to bring about great things.
In my own diocese, we were kick-started on our New Evangelization journey by Bishop Mark O’Toole’s keynote address, ‘It is the Lord’. In it he explained his diocesan vision for the Pope’s directive, with practical schemes to implement it. In short, it showed us precisely the direction we should take to bring Jesus to as many of our brothers and sisters as possible. And since that time it has gained momentum and gone from strength to strength.
FOOD AND SHELTER
Enterprises such as ‘Night Fever’ – which consists of churches opening their doors to all who wish to enter to pray or light candles – has already proved hugely successful. On a more practical level, some parishes have already organised aid for the homeless by providing food and shelter where required and the T.O.W.N.S. project which took place in Torbay, Devon during the months of January and February 2016, was enormously successful in helping those who have so little, while we can give so much.
Yet again, parish evangelization teams have been, and are being, organised in many parishes and their mission is to bring faith, hope and love to all those who are in need of it. In other words, to reach out to
those who have, for whatever reason, lost sight of the Lord.
I know that following Pope Francis’ edict, the New Evangelization has become a priority for parishes, deaneries and dioceses across the country and that great things are happening in the name of Christ. In my own diocese of Plymouth, Bishop Mark told us to ‘cast the net wide, take a risk and who knows what you might catch?’
SANCTIFY THE SPIRIT
It seems to me that already our nets are filling fast and soon we will be in the same boat as the disciples were – our nets will be at breaking point. Therefore in gratitude this Pentecost let us sanctify the eternal work of the Holy Spirit.
(ENDS – 462 words)
Julia Beacroft is a catechist and pastoral volunteer who lives in Torquay. Her first book
‘Sanctifying the Spirit’ has just been published and is available to buy from TODAY
Her book is a friendly personal guide to catechesis and the New Evangelization.