A Message from Father William

This weekend, May 22-23, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost, remembering that 50 days after Easter Sunday, and 10 days after the Ascension, Jesus and the Father sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Upper Room (Acts 1-2). It was just a year ago, Pentecost Sunday 2020, that parish priests in the Diocese of Madison, led by Bishop Donald J. Hying, began offering Holy Mass publicly again for the first time in over two months! Let’s keep praying for our brothers and sisters in states where governors and others continue to try to restrict people’s freedom of religion and their ability to publicly practice faith, hope and love.

At that first Pentecost, often referred to as the “birthday of the Church,” the Holy Spirit strengthened the Church and the disciples in their mission as witnesses for Jesus – witnesses to His message of Salvation, bringing the Good News to all people, to all nations (Matthew 28; John 15). The Holy Spirit gives strength to every disciple of Jesus Christ – indeed, all who believe in, love, and follow Jesus have the duty, the mission, to proclaim that Jesus Christ has come into the world and that He has died and is risen and has ascended into Heaven for our salvation, that Jesus has conquered sin, death and Satan, and has wrought for us Eternal Life in Heaven – in this sense, the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was not an isolated event in the Church’s life, but is to be lived every day by all disciples of Christ (Rev. Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God). In light of this, let us continue to pray for God’s blessings on the “Go Make Disciples” initiative that Bishop Hying has begun in our diocese as
we pray for the Holy Spirit to keep guiding and directing us all (please see the “Go Make Disciples” prayer cards at church entrances).

The Holy Spirit (the Paraclete) sanctifies the Church continually as He also sanctifies every soul. God strengthens our heart with His blessings, with His care and fatherly love, so as to move, encourage and draw us to live a virtuous life, to heavenly love, to good resolutions: in short, to all that leads us to our Eternal Life in Heaven (St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, III, 18). We received the Holy Spirit when we were baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28); He strengthened us further in the Sacrament of Confirmation (Acts 1-2); the Holy Spirit is invoked throughout the Mass and all the Sacraments, as He helps us every day in the Sacraments we have received, and even enables us to pray (Romans 8)!

Let us pray, then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and all the saints – for, like them, we need God’s grace in order to live a virtuous life. We need the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist to give us strength for the journey to Heaven (John 6), as we pray for an increase in the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, counsel, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12); and to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity (Galatians 5:22-23); and for God’s grace to help us have a greater openness to the inspirations of His Holy Spirit with purity of heart.

“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created; and You shall renew the face of the earth… Yes, come, Holy Spirit. Veni, Sancte Spiritus.”

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William