Pope's Homily on Eve of Pentecost

Ecclesial Movements a “Providential Answer”

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the homily John Paul II delivered Saturday during vespers, on the eve of Pentecost, in St. Peter’s Square.

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[In Italian]

1. “Veni, Creator Spiritus!”

On the solemnity of Pentecost, the whole Church raises unanimously this song: “Veni, Creator Spiritus!” The Mystical Body of Christ, spread throughout the world, invokes the Spirit from whom it receives life, the vital breath that animates its being and its action.

The antiphons of the Psalms reminded us a few moments ago of the experience of the disciples in the Cenacle: “With the coming of Pentecost, fifty days after Easter, they all gathered together” (first antiphon). “Tongues of fire rested on each one of the apostles: The Spirit of God was appearing in the world” (second antiphon).

We also live this spiritual experience in this Square, which has become a great cenacle. And, like us, innumerable diocesan and parish communities, associations, movements and groups in all parts of the world raise to heaven the common invocation: Come, Holy Spirit!

2. I greet the lord cardinals and the other prelates and priests present. I greet all of you, dear brothers and sisters, who have come to participate in this evocative celebration.

I now direct my thoughts to the numerous young people from Lednica, in Poland, who have joined us through radio and television.

[In Polish]

From St. Peter’s Square I cordially greet the young people meeting for the prayer vigil in Lednica. I pray with you, dear friends, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. May the Consoler, the Spirit of Truth, fill you with the love of Christ, to whom you entrust your future. My heartfelt blessing.

[In Italian]

3. I greet in a special way the members of Renewal in the Spirit, one of the expressions of the great family of the Catholic Charismatic Movement. Thanks to the Charismatic Movement, many Christians, men and women, youths and adults, have rediscovered Pentecost as a living and present reality in their daily life. I desire that the spirituality of Pentecost be spread in the Church, as a renewed thrust of prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation.

In this connection, I encourage the initiative called “Burning Bush,” promoted by Renewal in the Spirit. It is about incessant adoration, day and night, before the Most Holy Sacrament; an invitation to the faithful “to return to the Cenacle” so that, united in the contemplation of the Eucharistic mystery, they intercede for the full unity of Christians and the conversion of sinners. I sincerely desire that this initiative lead many to rediscover the gifts of the Spirit, which have their source in Pentecost.

4. Dear brothers and sisters! This afternoon’s celebration reminds me of the memorable meeting with the ecclesial movements and the new communities of the vigil of Pentecost six years ago. It was an extraordinary manifestation of the unity of the Church, in the richness and variety of charisms, which the Holy Spirit infuses in abundance. I energetically repeat what I said on that occasion: The ecclesial movements and the new communities are a “providential answer,” “inspired by the Holy Spirit” given the present need of new evangelization, for which “mature Christian personalities” and “strong Christian communities” are needed (see “Insegnamenti,” XXI, 1 [1998], p. 1123).

For this reason, I also say to you: “Open yourselves with docility to the gifts of the Holy Spirit! Receive with gratitude and obedience the charisms that the Spirit does not cease to offer! Do not forget that all charisms are given for the common good, that is, for the benefit of the whole Church!” (Ibid., p. 1122).

5. “Veni, Sancte Spiritus!”

Among us, with raised hands, is praying the Virgin, Mother of Christ and of the Church. Together with her, let us implore and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, light of truth, strength of authentic peace. We do so with the words of the antiphon to the Magnificat which we will sing later: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of thy love: you who, in the variety of human languages, gather peoples in the one faith, alleluia.”

“Sancte Spiritus, Veni!”

[Translation by ZENIT]

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