The fullness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit filled and transformed the lives of the Disciples, who gathered with Mary in the Cenacle, HERE in Jerusalem: from fearful, they became intrepid witnesses of the risen Lord. It was from HERE that the announcement of the Gospel started out, to reach the lives of countless men, peoples and generations, giving salvation and fullness of life.
The celebrations that accompanied the solemnity of Pentecost in Jerusalem started in the afternoon of Saturday 4 June, with the synodal prayer in the church of St. Vincent de Paul, where all the Catholic movements and the new communities of the diocese gathered in a shared moment with songs, testimonies and meditation. At St Saviour’s church, in the Covent of the Custody, the Mass of the Vigil was held at 9.30 p.m. on Saturday evening, celebrated by the Custos of the Holy Land, Fra Francesco Patton, ofm.
On the actual day of Pentecost, Sunday 5 June, the friars of the Custody then went to the Cenacle to commemorate the effusion of the Holy Spirit on the disciples which took place exactly there, fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus.
The prayer on Saturday at St Vincent de Paul was the result of an initiative of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who at Easter had encouraged all the movements and new Catholic communities present in the diocese to share their respective charismas with the local Church, for mutual enrichment and to set off towards "a new Pentecost." The intention – as can be read in the Patriarch’s exhortation – “is to start again from the first Pentecost of two thousand years ago.
On Sunday, the celebrations on Mount Zion opened with the song invoking the Holy Spirit: “Come, o creator spirit, visit our minds, fill the hearts you have created with grace.”
“The celebration of Pentecost always ideally takes us back to the Cenacle,” said the Father Custos, Fra Francesco Patton, in his commentary on the Word. “Pentecost is the feast day on which the Holy Spirit is given over-abundantly, it is a solemnity which makes us reflect above all on what the Holy Spirit does in the life of the Church and of the individual Christian.” And commenting on the Letter to the Romans (Romans 8,8-17), Fra Francesco insisted on the effects of the Holy Spirit on the Christian’s existence, according to the apostle Paul. “When we are under the dominion of the Holy Spirit, then and only then do we belong to Christ: Christ is alive in us, we can hope in our personal resurrection, we are capable of really fighting the instinct of selfishness, we defeat fear, we become aware that we are the children of God, heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ.”
The Custos Father also made a consideration on the topical nature of the Holy Spirit and its appearance in the hearts of men: “I do not think I am wrong if I say that in this period, the Holy Spirit’s whisper suggests above all that we pray for peace. We need it here, in the Holy City and in the Holy Land, where a number of subjects are sowing a culture of hatred that will produce more hatred, more barriers, more violence and more deaths.
We need it throughout the Middle East, which is flailed by wars that seem to be never-ending. Many countries in Africa, the Americas and Asia also need it, where for decades wars, guerrilla warfare and social tensions have continued undaunted.
Europe needs it, which has once again and almost suddenly become the theatre of war, fought without any respect for the civil populations, for international law and for human dignity.”
In conclusion, the Custos Father exhorted those present to repeat and make the words of the verse of Hallelujah the soundtrack of their lives: “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.”
Filippo De Grazia