Our Catholic school system fills me with pride for the many sacrifices made by our parents, staff, volunteers, administrators, pastors and parishes and all those who are part of the fabric of making our schools, institutions and communities places of academic excellence and spiritual and character formation. Yes, we have a lot for which to be grateful.
Mr. Ralph Martin, the major presenter for the Pentecost Day of Renewal that the Cathedral, Esto Vir, the Koinonia community and I hosted, reminded us of the challenges of the new millennium that Pope John Paul II brought to our attention at the turn of the new century and the new millennium. He reminded us of the three major points from that document that we need to keep before our eyes as we enter this new century and this new millennium. The first is the “universal call to holiness.” That means that all of the baptized are called to be holy, to be saints. Holiness is not the private domain of the clergy and the religious. Sanctity is the call of all of us to be more and more generous in giving our lives to Christ and to serving Christ in our world today.
The second point is that the church is to be a communion of love. Often, with the divisions in our church and even in our parishes or the diocese, this turns into being a countersign of what we are actually supposed to be and do. We need to constantly work toward and to pray to the Holy Spirit for the gift of true communion and unity between and among ourselves.
The third point the Holy Father highlighted is the power of Pentecost, and he has written on many occasions that what is needed in our broken world and our wounded church is a new Pentecost, a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This was one of the major points of the Second Vatican Council. We need to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our world, our country and our church. Without the power of the Holy Spirit our efforts are in some way manufactured rather than moved by the spirit.
The New Pentecost or the “new evangelization” means that we are to be mission oriented. As the church, we are a communio, a hierarchical communion (which I will write about in greater detail one of these days). As the church, we are sent into the world to assist the Holy Spirit in transforming the world through the transformation of ourselves, of other individuals and entire cultures.
Veni Sanctae Spiritus! Veni Sanctae Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit!