HOLY FATHER SPEAKS ON PENTECOST
“Dear brothers and sisters, the first Pentecost happened
when Mary Most Holy was present among the disciples in the cenacle
in Jerusalem and prayed. Today also we entrust ourselves to her
maternal intercession so that the Holy Spirit descend abundantly
upon the Church of our time and fill the hearts of all the faithful
and enkindle in them -- in us -- the fire of his love.”
Pope Benedict XVI gave this Pentecost message to the crowd gathered
at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday May 27 when he led the praying
of the midday Regina Caeli.
Below is a translation of this message from Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost. And through today's
liturgy we relive the birth of the Church as it is narrated by Luke
in the book of the Acts of the Apostles (2:1-13). Fifty days after
Easter, the Holy Spirit descended upon the community of disciples
-- "persevering with one mind in prayer" -- gathered together
"with Mary, the mother of Jesus" and with the twelve apostles
(cf. Acts 1:14; 2,1).
We can say, therefore, that the Church had its solemn beginning
with the descent of the Holy Spirit. In this extraordinary event
we find the essential and qualifying marks of the Church: the Church
is one, like the community of Pentecost, which was united in prayer
and "of one mind": "it had but one heart and one
soul" (Acts 4:32).
The Church is holy, not because of its own merits, but because,
animated by the Holy Spirit, it keeps its gazed fixed upon Christ
to become conformed to him and his love. The Church is catholic
because the Gospel is destined for all people and for this reason,
already at the beginning, the Holy Spirit gives the Church the ability
to speak in different tongues. The Church is apostolic because,
built upon the foundation of the apostles, it faithfully conserves
their teaching through the uninterrupted chain of apostolic succession.
The Church, moreover, is missionary by its nature, and from the
day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit does not cease to move it along
the roads of the world to the ends of the earth and to the end of
time. This reality, which we can verify in every epoch, is already
anticipated in the Book of Acts, in which the passage of the Gospel
from the Jews to the pagans, from Jerusalem to Rome, is described.
Rome represents the pagan world and therefore all peoples who are
outside the ancient people of God. In fact, the Acts conclude with
the arrival of the Gospel in Rome. We can say, then, that Rome is
the concrete name of the catholicity and missionary spirit of the
Church; it expresses fidelity to the origins, to the Church of all
times, to a Church that speaks in all languages and goes out to
meet every culture.
Dear brothers and sisters, the first Pentecost happened when Mary
Most Holy was present among the disciples in the cenacle in Jerusalem
and prayed. Today also we entrust ourselves to her maternal intercession
so that the Holy Spirit descend abundantly upon the Church of our
time and fill the hearts of all the faithful and enkindle in them
-- in us -- the fire of his love.
[After the recitation of the Regina Caeli the Pope greeted all
the faithful and pilgrims present in St. Peter's Square. To the
English-speaking pilgrims he addressed the following words:]
I warmly greet all the English-speaking pilgrims who have come
here today, especially the Families of Nazareth and the members
of the military community of Hohenfels, who are making their retreat
in Rome. On this Pentecost Sunday the whole Church gives thanks
for the gift of the Holy Spirit sent to the Apostles. May the same
Spirit pour out his gifts upon all of you, filling your hearts with
love and strengthening you to bear witness to the Gospel of Christ.
May God bless you all.