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Solemnity of Pentecost 2004

Blessed John Paul II's words at the Regina Caeli

- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. Today the Church is celebrating the Solemnity of Pentecost, which recalls the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles in the Upper Room.

Fifty days after Easter, what Christ had promised the disciples came to pass: that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit (cf Acts 1: 5) and would thus be clothed in power from on high (cf Lk 24: 49) to have the strength to proclaim the Gospel to all the nations. Inspired by the fire of the Spirit, the Apostles came out of the Upper Room and began to speak about the dead and risen Christ to the faithful from every country who had arrived in Jerusalem and each one heard them speaking in their own native language.

2. With Pentecost, God fulfilled the plan he had revealed to Abraham to give life to a new people. The Church was born, the Mystical Body of Christ, scattered across the world. She is made up of men and women of every race and culture, gathered together in faith and in the love of the Most Blessed Trinity to be a sign and an instrument of the unity of the whole human race (cf Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, n1).

Conformed by the Holy Spirit to Christ the new man, believers become his witnesses, sowers of hope and artisans of mercy and of peace.

3. Let us now turn to Mary Most Holy, whom we contemplate in the Upper Room as she receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, together with the Apostles and disciples. Let us confidently invoke her maternal intercession, so that the miracles of Pentecost may be renewed and all people can accept the Good News of salvation."

Blessed John Paul II's Homily

- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. Veni, creator Spiritus!

On the Solemnity of Pentecost, this hymn rises from every part of the Church: Veni, creator Spiritus! The Mystical Body of Christ, scattered throughout the earth, invokes the Spirit from which she draws life, the vital Breath that enlivens her existence and action.

The Antiphons of the Psalms have just reminded us of the experience of the disciples in the Upper Room: "On the day of Pentecost they were all together in one place" (Antiphon 1). "There appeared to the Apostles what seemed like tongues of fire, and the Holy Spirit came upon each of them" (Antiphon 2).

We who are gathered in this Square, which has become a great Upper Room, are also reliving that same spiritual experience. And like us, countless diocesan and parish communities, associations, movements and groups in every part of the world are raising to Heaven our common invocation: Come, Holy Spirit!

2. I greet the Cardinals and other Prelates and priests present. I greet you all, dear brothers and sisters who have wished to take part in this evocative Celebration.

I now extend my thoughts to the many young people in Lednica, Poland, who are united with us by radio and television.

Z Placu św. Piotra kieruję moje serdeczne pozdrowienie do młodych zgromadzonych na modlitewnym czuwaniu w Lednicy. Modlę się z wami, drodzy moi Przyjaciele, o dar Ducha Świętego. Niech Pocieszyciel, Duch Prawdy napełni Was miłością Chrystusa, któremu zawierzacie Waszą przyszłość. Z serca Wam błogosławię.

3. I greet in a special way the members of Renewal in the Spirit, one of the various branches of the great family of the Catholic Charismatic Movement. Thanks to the Charismatic Movement, a multitude of Christians, men and women, young people and adults have rediscovered Pentecost as a living reality in their daily lives. I hope that the spirituality of Pentecost will spread in the Church as a renewed incentive to prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation.

In this regard, I encourage the initiative known as "Burning Bush", promoted by Renewal in the Spirit. This involves perpetual adoration, day and night, before the Blessed Sacrament; it is an invitation to the faithful to "return to the Upper Room", so that, united in contemplation of the Eucharistic Mystery, they may intercede for full Christian unity and for the conversion of sinners. I warmly hope that this initiative will lead many to rediscover the gifts of the Spirit, whose original source is Pentecost.

4. Dearest Brothers and Sisters! This evening's celebration reminds me of the memorable encounter with the ecclesial movements and new communities on the eve of Pentecost 6 years ago. It was an extraordinary epiphany of the Church's unity in the riches and variety of charisms that the Holy Spirit abundantly lavishes upon her. I forcefully repeat what I remarked on that occasion: the ecclesial movements and new communities are a "providential response", "given by the Holy Spirit" to today's demand for the new evangelization, for which "there is so much need today for mature Christian personalities" as well as for "living Christian communities" (cf Insegnamenti XXI, 1 [1998], p1123).

For this I also say to you: "Open yourselves with docility to the gifts of the Spirit! Accept gratefully and obediently the charisms which the Spirit never ceases to bestow! Do not forget that every charism is given for the common good, for the benefit of the whole Church!" (ibid p1122).

5. Veni, Sancte Spiritus!

In our midst, with uplifted hands, the Virgin is praying, Mother of Christ and of the Church. With her, let us implore and welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit, the light of truth, the force of authentic peace. Let us do so with the words of the antiphon of the Magnificat that we will sing in a little while:

"Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love; though the peoples spoke different tongues you united them in proclaiming the same faith, alleluia."

Sancte Spiritus, veni!"

JPII, Celebration of 1st Vespers - Saturday, 29 May 2004 - © Copyright 2004 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana