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The Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

Solemnity - 50 days after Easter Sunday
Third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary

Pope Francis's words at Pentecost in: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 (when he gave his encyclical Laudato Si'), 2014 & 2013
Papa Benedict XVI's words at Pentecost in: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 & 2005.
St John Paul II's words at Pentecost in: 2004, 2003 (in Croatia), 2002 (canonization of 5 Blesseds), 2001, Great Jubilee 2000, 1997 (in Roman Parish of St Athanasius on his birthday), 1995 (in Belgium), 1992 (in Angola), 1987 (inauguration of the Marian Year), 1985 (in Salerno), 1983 (in Milan), 1982 (in England), 1981, 1980 & 1979 (in Poland).

St John Paul II gave us Dominum et Vivificantem, his encyclical on the Holy Spirit, at Pentecost 1986. Also, between 1989-1991, JPII gave a series of 82 catechesis on the Holy Spirit. Pope Leo XIII wrote his encyclical Divinum Illud Munus on the Holy Spirit in 1897.

3 2us by Father Tony Nye SJ      
"The Holy Spirit could be called God's music, speaking in us, singing through us in loving praise. .. The work of the Holy Spirit is also quiet and still, hidden deep down, as Comforter, very intimate, within each one of us through the quiet working of grace, in the Sacraments and in our prayer. In John's Gospel, the giving of the Spirit is described as the Risen Christ 'breathing on the Apostles.' That is something very basic to life, very quiet and still. You have to be quiet and still to be aware of your breathing. The Holy Spirit is the breath of life, bringing us eternal life, making us temples of God's presence, as St Paul says."

Sunday Evangelium by Father Marcus Holden     
"This feast of Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, it's our birthday. We often think of the Holy Spirit as a personal gift to the individual Christian but more fundamentally the Holy Spirit is first of all a gift to the whole Church and then secondly to all of its members. Without the Holy Spirit, the Church is like a body without life in it, without breath."

Catechesis by St John Paul II on the Holy Spirit & Pentecost
General Audience, Wednesday 30 May 1979 - also in French, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. Already in the first sentences of the Acts of the Apostles we read that Jesus, after his passion and resurrection, "showed himself alive to them ... by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and telling them about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1, 3). Then he announced that they would soon be "baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1, 5). And before his definitive departure, as St Luke, the author of the Acts of the Apostles, notes in this case in his Gospel, he (had) told them: "... stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high" (Lk 24, 49). This is why, after he had left the Apostles by ascending to heaven, "they went back to Jerusalem" (Lk 24, 52) where, as the Acts again inform us, "they joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary, the mother of Jesus" (Acts 1, 14). The place of this common prayer, explicitly recommended by the Master, was certainly the temple of Jerusalem ,as we read at the conclusion of the Gospel of St Luke (Lk 24, 53). But it was also the Cenacle, as can be deduced from the Acts of the Apostles. The Lord Jesus had said to them: "You will have strength/power from the Holy Spirit who will descend upon you and then you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1, 8).

Year after year, the Church in her liturgy celebrates the Ascension of the Lord on the fortieth day after Easter. Year after year, she also lives
in prayer to the Holy Spirit the (period of) ten days from the Ascension to Pentecost. In a certain sense the Church, year after year, prepares for the anniversary of her birth. As the Fathers teach, she was born on the Cross on Good Friday; she revealed this birth to the world on the day of Pentecost, when the Apostles were "clothed with power from on high" (Lk 24, 49); when they were "baptized in the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1, 5). "Ubi enim Ecclesia, ibi est Spiritus Dei; ubi Spiritus Dei, illic Ecclesia et omnis gratia: Spiritus autem veritas" (Where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and every grace: the Spirit is truth) (St Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, II,24,1).

2. Let us seek to persevere in this rhythm of the Church. In (the course of) these days she invites us to participate in the novena to the Holy Spirit. It can be said that, among the various novenas, this is the most ancient; it takes its origin, in a certain sense, from its institution by Christ the Lord. It is clear that Jesus did not specify/designate the prayers that we have to recite during these days. But, undoubtedly, he recommended to the Apostles to spend these days in prayer in expectation of the descent of the Holy Spirit. This recommendation was valid not only then. It is valid always. And the period of ten days after the Lord's Ascension carries within itself, every year, the same call of the Master,/; it also contains within itself the same mystery of Grace, connected to the rhythm of the liturgical time. We must take advantage of this time. In it, too, let us seek to recollect ourselves in a particular way, and in a certain way enter the Cencacle (together) with Mary and the Apostles, preparing our souls to accept the Holy Spirit and his action in us. All this is of great importance for the interior maturity of our faith, of our Christian vocation. And it is also of great importance for the Church as a community: year after year may every community in the Church and the whole Church, as a community of all communities, mature through the Gift of Pentecost. "The oxygenating breath of the Spirit has come to awaken dormant energies in the Church, to arouse sleeping charisms, to instil that sense of vitality and joy which in every epoch of history renders the Church young and actual/current, ready and happy to announce to/in the new times her eternal message" (Paul VI, Address to the Cardinals, 21 Dec 1973).

Again this year we must prepare ourselves for the acceptance of this Gift. Let us seek to participate in the prayer of the Church ".. Il est impossible d'entendre l'Esprit-Saint sans écouter ce qu'il dit à l'Eglise" (.. It is impossible to hear the Holy Spirit without listening to what he says to the Church": H. de Lubac, Méditations sur l'Eglise, 1973).

Let us also pray alone. There is a particular prayer which will resonate with due strength/all its force in the liturgy of Pentecost; we can however repeat it often, especially in this present period of waiting: "Come, Holy Spirit / send us from heaven / a ray of your light. // Come, father of the poor, / come, giver of gifts, / come, light of hearts. // ...sweet guest of the soul / most sweet relief. // In fatigue, rest, / in heat, shelter / in tears, comfort // Wash what is dirty, / bathe what is dry / heal what is bleeding. // Bend what is rigid / warm what is cold / straighten what is crooked.

Perhaps one day we will return to this magnificent Sequence and try to comment on it. Let it be suffice for us today briefly to recall (to memory) certain words and sentences.

Let us therefore
in this period address our prayers to the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for his gifts. Let us pray for the transformation of our souls. Let us pray for strength in confessing the faith, for coherence of life with the faith. Let us pray for the Church, that she may fulfill her mission in the Holy Spirit; that the counsel and the Spirit of the Bridegroom and of her God may accompany her (cf St Bernard, In Vigilia Nativitatis Domini, Sermo 3, 1). Let us pray for the union/unity of all Christians. For (the) union/unity in carrying out the same mission.

3. The description of this moment in which the Apostles, gathered in the Cenacle of/in Jerusalem, received the Holy Spirit is in a particular way
linked with the revelation of tongues. We read: "suddenly they heard what sounded like a mighty wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire which divided and came to rest on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages/tongues as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech" (Acts 2, 2-4).

The event, which took place in the cenacle, did not pass/go unnoticed outside, among the people who were then in Jerusalem, and were — as we read — Jews from different nations. "... The crowd gathered and were in amazement because each of them heard them speaking in their own language" (Acts 2, 6). And those who marveled thus/(in) this way, hearing them speak their own language, are later enumerated in the description of the Acts of the Apostles: "Parthians, Medes, Elamites and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and parts of Libya near to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome. Jews and Proselytes, Cretans and Arabians" (Acts 2, 9-11). On the day of Pentecost all of them heard the Apostles, who were Galileans, speak in their own languages and announce the great works of God (cf Acts 2, 11).

So, therefore, the day of Pentecost carries within itself the visible and perceptible announcement/proclamation of the realization of Christ's mandate: "Go... and make disciples of all nations..." (Mt 28, 19). Through/By means of the revelation of tongues/languages we already see, in a certain way, and hear the Church which, fulfilling this mandate, is born and lives among the various nations of the earth.

In a few days, for the occasion of the jubilee of St Stanislaus, I will have the good fortune to go to Poland, my homeland. Precisely/Right there I will celebrate Pentecost, the feast of the descent of the Holy Spirit. I have already more than once expressed my thanks to the Episcopate
for this occasion and to the Polish state authorities for this invitation. Today I do so once again.

In this perspective, I desire/wish to express my particular joy because to that revelation of languages on the day of Pentecost there have also been added, during history, the individual Slav languages from Macedonia through Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Bohemia, Slovakia, Lusatia, in the West. And in the East: Rus (now called the Ukraine), Russia and Belorussia. I desire to express my very special joy because to the revelation of languages in the cenacle in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost there has also been added my nation and its language: the Polish language. Since I am offered the opportunity to visit my Homeland on the solemnity of Pentecost, I desire to express my thanks that the Gospel has been announced for so many centuries in all these languages and particularly in my national language. And at the same time I desire to serve this important cause of our times: so/in order that "the great works of God" may continue to be announced with faith and courage as (the) seed of hope and love which Christ has grafted in/onto us,
through the Gift of Pentecost.

My visit to Poland, from 2nd to 10th June, will take place while events of great scope/importance are being held in Italy and other European countries: in Italy, on 3 and 4 June, the elections for the national Parliament; on 10 June, in the nine countries of the European Community, the election
of the first Parliament of this Community, designated by/on a popular base/the people.

Far away physically, I will feel close in heart to the tens and tens of millions of men and women who will be preparing to carry out a duty which is, at the same time, an act of service to the common good. I will pray to the Lord, and I am sure that you will pray with me, that every one will know how to carry out their duty with a sense of responsibility and maturity, inspired by the profound dictate of their own conscience."

Catechesis by Pope Benedict XVI on Pentecost
General Audience, Wednesday 7 May 2008 - also in Croatian, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Greeting to His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II,
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians
It is my great joy today to greet His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and the distinguished delegation accompanying him. Your Holiness, I pray that the light of the Holy Spirit will illumine your pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the important meetings you will have here, and particularly our personal conversations. I ask all who are present today to pray for God’s blessing upon this visit.

Your Holiness, I thank you for your personal commitment to the growing friendship between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church. In 2000, soon after your election, you came to Rome to meet Pope John Paul II, and a year later, you graciously received him in Holy Etchmiadzin. You came once again to Rome together with many Church leaders from East and West, for the funeral liturgy of Pope John Paul II. I am sure that this spirit of friendship will be further deepened during the coming days.

In an external niche of Saint Peter’s Basilica, there is a fine statue of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, founder of the Armenian Church. It serves to remind us of the severe persecutions suffered by Armenian Christians, especially during the last century. Armenia’s many martyrs are a sign of the power of the Holy Spirit working in times of darkness, and a pledge of hope for Christians everywhere.

Your Holiness, dear Bishops and dear friends, together with you I implore Almighty God, through the intercession of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, to help us grow in unity, in one holy bond of Christian faith, hope and love."

* * *


"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As you see we have with us this morning His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and a distinguished delegation. I renew the expression of my joy at the possibility of welcoming him which has been granted to me this morning. His presence today rekindles our hope for the full unity of all Christians. I gladly take this opportunity also to thank him for the friendly welcome he recently offered my Cardinal Secretary of State in Armenia. It is likewise a pleasure for me to recall the Catholicos' unforgettable visit to Rome in 2000, just after his election. On meeting him, my beloved Predecessor John Paul II gave him a famous relic of St Gregory the Illuminator and later went to Armenia to reciprocate his visit.

The efforts made by the Armenian Apostolic Church for ecumenical dialogue are well known, and I am sure that this visit of the venerable Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians will help to intensify the relations of fraternal friendship that bind our Churches. These days of immediate preparation for the Solemnity of Pentecost encourage us to rekindle our hope in the Holy Spirit's help so that we may advance on the path of ecumenism. We are certain that the Lord Jesus will never abandon us in our quest for unity, since his Spirit is tirelessly at work to sustain our efforts in striving to overcome every division and mend every tear in the living fabric of the Church.

It was precisely this that Jesus promised his disciples in the last days of his earthly mission, as we have just heard in the Gospel passage: he assured them of the help of the Holy Spirit that he would send to continue to make them aware of his presence (cf. Jn 14: 16-17). This promise became reality when, after the Resurrection, Jesus entered the Upper Room, greeted the disciples with the words, "Peace be with you", and breathing on them said: "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20: 22). He authorized them to forgive sins. Here, therefore, the Holy Spirit, appears as a power for the forgiveness of sins, for renewing our hearts and our lives; and thus he renews the earth and creates unity where there was division. Furthermore, on the Feast of Pentecost the Holy Spirit showed himself in other signs: in the sign of a mighty wind, tongues of fire, and the Apostles' ability to speak all languages. This was a sign that the Babylonian dispersion, the result of pride that separates men and women, had been overcome in the Spirit who is love and gives unity in diversity. Since the very first moment of her existence the Church has spoken in all languages - thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit and the tongues of fire - and has lived in all cultures, she does not destroy any of the various gifts, of the different charisms, but draws all of them together in a great, new unity that reconciles: unity and multiformity.

The Holy Spirit, who is eternal charity, the bond of unity in the Trinity, with his power of divine charity unites scattered humanity thereby creating the vast multiform community of the Church throughout the world. In the days following the Ascension of the Lord until Pentecost Sunday, the disciples, with Mary, were gathered in the Upper Room to pray. They knew that they themselves could not create or organize the Church: the Church had to be born and organized by divine initiative; she is not created by us, she is a gift of God. And this is likewise the only way in which she creates unity, a unity that must grow. The Church in every time - and particularly in these nine days between the Ascension and Pentecost - is spiritually united in the Upper Room with the Apostles and Mary to ceaselessly implore the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Driven onwards by his mighty wind she will thus be able to proclaim the Gospel to the very ends of the earth.

This is why even in the face of difficulties and divisions, Christians cannot be resigned nor yield to discouragement. The Lord asks this of us: to persevere in prayer in order to keep alive the flame of faith, love and hope which nourishes the desire for full unity. "Ut unum sint!", says the Lord. May Christ's invitation always resound in our hearts, an invitation I was able to relaunch on my recent Apostolic Journey in the United States of America, when I referred to the centrality of prayer in the ecumenical movement. In this epoch of globalization and at the same time of fragmentation, "without [prayer], ecumenical structures, institutions and programs would be deprived of their heart and soul" (Ecumenical Prayer Service and Meeting, St Joseph's Church, New York, 18 April 2008). Let us give thanks to the Lord for the goals reached in ecumenical dialogue thanks to the Holy Spirit's action; let us be docile, listening to his voice so that our hearts, filled with hope, may continuously seek the path that leads to the full communion of all Christ's disciples.

In his Letter to the Galatians, St Paul recalls that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal 5: 22-23). These are the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we also implore today for all Christians, so that in the common and generous service to the Gospel, they may be a sign of God's love for humanity in the world. Let us turn our gaze confidently to Mary, the Shrine of the Holy Spirit and through her pray: "Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love". Amen."


"Je suis heureux de vous accueillir, chers pèlerins francophones, en particulier le groupe de Saint-Hilaire du Harcouet, avec Monseigneur Georges Dupont, Évêque émérite de Pala, les groupes venus de Suisse pour la cérémonie du serment de la Garde Suisse Pontificale et les religieuses de la Congrégation du Rosaire du Liban. Que l’Esprit Saint fasse de vous les messagers de Dieu jusqu’aux extrémités de la terre. Avec ma Bénédiction apostolique.

I offer a warm welcome to the Delegates taking part in the Annual Conference of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland. I am also pleased to greet the pilgrims from Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Qatar. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims, especially those from England, Scotland, Australia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Canada, Guam and the United States, I cordially invoke Almighty God’s abundant blessings of joy and peace.

Sehr herzlich heiße ich die Pilger aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache willkommen. Einen besonderen Gruß richte ich an die Eltern, Verwandten und Gäste der Schweizergardisten, die anläßlich der Vereidigung der neuen Rekruten nach Rom gekommen sind. Ebenso grüße ich die Abordnung des Österreichischen Fußballbundes. Heute haben wir einen Fußballtag: Es ist nämlich auch Inter da, die wichtige italienische Mannschaft, und wir freuen uns darüber. Der Heilige Geist hilft uns, als Christen Zeugnis zu geben und Gutes zu wirken. Der Herr begleite euch und eure Lieben alle Tage mit seiner Gnade.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos y visitantes de lengua española venidos de España, México y otros países latinoamericanos. Exhorto a todos a orar incesantemente por el progreso ecuménico, pues la plegaria es el corazón del camino hacia la unidad entre los cristianos. Muchas gracias por vuestra visita.

Amados peregrinos de língua portuguesa, a minha saudação de boas-vindas para todos vós neste mês de Maio, que tradicionalmente chama o povo cristão a multiplicar os seus gestos diários de veneração e imitação de Nossa Senhora. Mostrai-vos agradecidos, não regateando a Deus o tempo que Lhe deveis. Rezai o terço todos os dias! Deixai a Virgem Mãe possuir o vosso coração: confiai-lhe tudo o que sois, tudo o que tendes! E Deus será tudo em todos... Isto é o que mais desejo a todos os presentes - vindos de modo especial do Brasil, nomeadamente do Santuário Santa Terezinha do Menino Jesus em Botucatu - ao conceder-vos, extensiva aos familiares, a minha Bênção Apostólica.

Witam przybyłych do Rzymu Polaków. Jutro w waszej Ojczyźnie przypada uroczystość świętego Stanisława, głównego patrona Polski. Jak „Dobry Pasterz, który daje życie za owce”, stał na straży ładu moralnego i praw Kościoła. Niech troska o zachowanie przykazań Bożych i o sprawy Kościoła przenika wasze rodziny, parafie, każdego z was. Niech Chrystus będzie fundamentem waszego życia.

Szeretettel köszöntöm a Magyar Püspöki Kar tagjait, akik ad limina látogatáson vannak itt. Isten hozta a magyar híveket, különösen is azokat, akik nagy számban a Pécsi Egyházmegyéből jöttek. Ez a római út erősítsen meg benneteket a Szent Péter utódja iránti szeretetben. Szívesen adom rátok és családjaitokra apostoli áldásomat. Dicsértessék a Jézus Krisztus!

Pozdravljam sve hrvatske hodočasnike, a osobito vjernike župe Svih Svetih iz Sesveta te Hrvatske Katoličke Misije iz Kölna. Često zazivajte Duha Svetoga kao što su to činili apostoli iščekujući blagdan Pedesetnice, da i vi budete uvjerljivi svjedoci uskrslog Gospodina. Hvaljen Isus i Marija!

* * *

Saluto i pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare, rivolgo un cordiale pensiero al pellegrinaggio promosso dalle Adoratrici Perpetue del Santissimo Sacramento in occasione della beatificazione di Maria Maddalena dell’Incarnazione, ed incoraggio a promuovere sempre più l’amore per l’Eucarestia affinché sorgano, accanto ad ogni Monastero dell’Ordine, gruppi di “adoratori”. Si realizzerà così l’anelito della vostra Beata Fondatrice che amava ripetere: “Gesù sia da tutti conosciuto, amato, adorato e ringraziato ogni momento nel e Divinissimo sacramento”. Saluto i rappresentanti delle Scuole delle Maestre Pie Venerini che ricordano il 280° anniversario di morte della Fondatrice, ed auspico che il loro pellegrinaggio a Roma sia ricco di frutti spirituali. Saluto i Dirigenti e i calciatori dell’Inter, nel centesimo anniversario di fondazione, e colgo l’occasione per sottolineare ancora una volta l’importanza dei valori morali dello sport nell’educazione delle nuove generazioni. Un affettuoso saluto rivolgo poi agli studenti del Circolo didattico di Sant’Antioco e a quelli dell’Istituto Madre Teresa di Calcutta, di Campodipietra.

Desidero, infine, salutare i giovani, i malati e gli sposi novelli. Cari giovani, in questo mese di maggio da poco iniziato, che la tradizione popolare dedica a Maria, imparate da Lei a compiere sempre la volontà di Dio. Contemplando la Madre di Cristo crocifisso, voi, cari malati, sappiate riconoscere il valore salvifico di ogni croce; e voi, cari sposi novelli, affidatevi alla protezione della Santa Vergine, per creare nella vostra famiglia quel clima di preghiera e di serenità che regnava nella casa di Nazareth."


"I make my own the cry of pain, the cry for help of the beloved people of Myanmar who have seen a vast number of lives claimed as well as their property and livelihood suddenly destroyed by the horrifying violence of Cyclone Nargis.

As I have already assured them in my Message of solidarity sent to the President of the Bishops' Conference, I am spiritually close to the people afflicted. I would also like to repeat to everyone the invitation to open their hearts to compassion and generosity so that the suffering caused by such a terrible calamity may be alleviated, thanks to the collaboration of all who are able and desire to go to their rescue."

Pope Paul VI - General Audience of 12/6/1974

"We turn out thoughts today towards an effect proper to Pentecost: the supernatural life produced by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the visible, social and human body of Christ's disciples. This effect is the eternal youth of the Church... The human persons making up the Church undergo the fate of time; they are entombed in death. But this neither suspends nor interrupts the witness of the Church through the ages. As Jesus declared and promised: “I am with you always even to the end of the world” (Mt 28,20). He likewise gave Simon to understand the same thing when he gave him a new name: “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church, and the power of death will not prevail against it” (Mt 16,18).

Along with so many other people today we could immediately raise the objection: concerning the permanency of the Church, maybe, it has lasted twenty centuries; but it is precisely because it has lasted for so long that it is old... The Church, people say, is venerable because of its antiquity..., but it doesn't live now by that breathing that is always new: it is no longer young. This is a powerful objection...; a long treatise would be needed to reply. But for minds open to the truth it would be enough to say that the Church's continuation is synonymous with youth. “It is wonderful in our eyes” (Ps 118[117],23; Mt 21,42) : the Church is young.

What is most astonishing is that the secret of its youth is its unchanging continuation through time. Time does not cause the Church to age; it makes it grow, stimulating its life and fulness... True, all its members die just like other mortal beings; but the Church herself not only contains an invincible principle of immortality outside of history; she also possesses an incalculable force for renewal."