This is the birthday of the church, when our risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit upon his bewildered, fearful and mourning disciples who were trying to find their path through the great loss of Jesus. They were also grappling with the fact that for 40 days he was appearing to them, having risen from the dead. He was sharing meals with them, even cooking for them along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. A ghost does not cook food and eat it; a mere spirit cannot ask one of his doubting followers to put his fingers into his wounds and come to believe in his resurrection.
Bewilderment, crippling fear and lack of direction melted away, and those disciples became bold witnesses to the person and story of Jesus Christ, ready and able to become “missionary disciples.” In one day, the church was born and has been growing ever since.
Today, with the worldwide bewilderment and confusion surrounding the most fundamental questions about life, truth and love, the body, gender, and marriage and family life, we need to call on the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Along with that, we need a new Pentecost, a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our church and throughout the world.
In northeast Wisconsin, our diocesan-wide journey, “Disciples on the Way,” is preparing us to be more open to a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In the next months, our parishes will be engaging in the “Alpha Program,” along with powerful “Discipleship Seminars” that will be offered within each region of the diocese. Both of these initiatives, over time, will provide a powerful opportunity for all to develop and grow their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is alive, today, within you, and all around you! He loves you and wants to be in a relationship of friendship-love with each and every one of you!
To prepare us even more for this, I am asking every parish to begin praying the Jubilee Year prayer to the Holy Spirit at the conclusion of each Mass. This prayer came to me as a gift from a deep conversation with the Carmelite nuns in Denmark, Wis. They pressed me to write it so that this renewal will be truly guided by the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Mother Christine Marie, and the dear nuns of the Carmelite Monastery of the Holy Name of Jesus! The nuns of Carmel pray every day for our priests, and for all of you and your families; what a blessing it is to have them praying for all of us every day!
Above is the diocesan prayer. Please pray it every Sunday with your parish priest and pray it often at home for the rest of this Jubilee Year 2018, celebrating 150 years of service. Great things will happen for you!
Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter, @BpDavidRicken.
En Espanol: Ven, Espiritu Santo