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May 2016


1. Pentecost is one of the greatest festivals of the Church, although it is not widely celebrated or known outside the Church

2. When the Apostles and Our Lady went to the Upper Room to pray they were actually going to celebrate the Feast of Weeks. This Jewish festival was held each year on the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover week and is described in Leviticus 23:15-22

3. The Jewish Festival of Weeks (called Shavuot in Hebrew) was originally to celebrate the harvest but later it celebrated the time when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai.

4. Pentecost comes from the Greek word 'Pentekostos' which means 'fiftieth day’, the term that the Greek-speaking Jews called the Festival of Weeks.

5. Even before Jesus was born, Pentecost and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church had been foretold. “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)

6. Pentecost is now celebrated as the birthday of the Church. Before the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Apostles, many individuals had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus and they were believers but it was only the Holy Spirit that could unite them into the Body of Christ on earth.

7. Pentecost was a turning point for mankind. As God had promised through the prophet Joel, since the first Pentecost the Holy Spirit is now available to everyone. Everyone can receive the Spirit of ‘Sonship’ so that they can know God as their Heavenly Father and Jesus as their brother. The Holy Spirit can give them special gifts that will enable them to minister and serve the Church and all people. This is not just for a chosen few, it is for everyone.

8. In many places Pentecost used to be called ‘White Sunday’ possibly because there were usually many baptisms that day and the newly baptised put on a white garment. Over time this was shortened to Whitsun, a term still used by some today