It seems to me a happy coincidence that this year the great Feast of Pentecost fell in the middle of Memorial Day Weekend. I looked forward to the relative quiet of the weekend as offering a special opportunity to reflect on the life of the church, the signs of the Holy Spirit among us and the renewed promise of life that is always there — even in challenging times.
One of the ways in which I do that is to remember the people I have met at gatherings in which I have been privileged to participate during this Easter season. Just to give you a sense of that let me name some of those groups: our priests and pastoral administrators at our annual convocation; an even wider range of pastoral ministers — lay, ordained, religious — at our annual Ministerium convening; our permanent deacons at their annual convocation; campus ministers; pastoral administrators; the Nazareth College Catholic Community; Unity Hospital Gala; Scouting community; Assembly of High Schools sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy; Stewardship Day; parish anniversary celebrations at St. Catherine of Siena in Mendon and Ithaca; Charles Settlement House; St. Ann’s Community and Cherry Ridge; Run for the Young; catechists and Youth Ministers; Marriage Jubilee celebration; commencements at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry and the University of Rochester; hundreds of confirmation candidates and people who love them.
I know that the paragraph above was not exciting reading. But I hope it suggested to you that there is a great deal of faith and energy alive in the community, that there are among us people of all ages who are responding to God’s call in their lives, who are making sacrifices for the good of others.
It is a source of endless joy and renewal to be with them. The people at such gatherings make real for me what Christ meant when he said it was necessary for him to return to the Father so that we might enjoy the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shines through in the work of such people. You can see it in the good works that they do. You can see it in the relationships they develop. You can see it in their joy, their peace, their trust and their hope. Simply put, they give life.
I was at St. Paul’s Parish in Webster on Pentecost. We all prayed for you on that special feast of the life of our church. Before and after that celebration — all through the weekend – I saw the faces and named the names of all who through the Easter season so generously refreshed and renewed my sense of life. They make real for me the promises of Christ; and by their good works strengthen my faith in the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit within us and among us.
Peace to all.