My Dear Parishioners,
Pentecost is upon us and Summer is quickly closing in. Pentecost, also known as Whitsunday occurs 50 days after Easter. On Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the birthday of the Church, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles, “And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” Acts 2:4. They were given gifts, perhaps the gifts of Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding from the Holy Spirit.
It has been a busy few months as we celebrated First Communions, Confirmations and Graduations. These two Sacraments and Graduation give us the opportunity to reflect on how these three gifts relate to them and the fruits these gifts bring. In addition to Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding we also receive the gifts of Counsel, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord in the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit also produce Fruits of the Holy Spirit: the greatest of these is love which encompasses the others including joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We move from Pentecost into Summer, a time of the year in which we have the opportunity to slow down, take stock of the past year and reflect on where we might have used our gifts better to draw us closer to God and his plan for each of us. This reflection allows us to fortify the use of our gifts. We are a Sacramental people whose life and relationship with God is enriched and fulfilled by them.
Summer marks a time of endings and new beginnings. I congratulate our students who have completed a segment of their lifelong educational journey through graduation and I send you my best wishes that you will continue to experience the satisfaction of accomplishing your goals in life.
Summer also gives us the gift of time to reconnect with our family and friends. It’s a time to enjoy recreational activities that are not readily available the rest of the year. So not only can we strengthen our relationship with God we can enrich it with the love and time we spend with family and friends by participating in the activities that bring us peace, joy and patience.
In a sense, summer gives us a time to “recreate” our lives, to reflect on our achievements and ponder what areas of our lives may be in need of “recreating”.
I hope that you experience all the joy and relaxation summer has to offer.
May God bless and keep you and yours safe this summer.
Most Reverend Joseph A. Pepe, D.D., J.C.D.