Archbishop celebrates ‘church’s birthday’ with Pentecost Mass

The Archdiocese of Louisville celebrated Pentecost at the Cathedral of the Assumption on May 19. A variety of cultures were included in the liturgy in various ways, including African drum music, liturgical dancers and readings in several languages. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

The solemnity of Pentecost signals the end of the 50-day-long Easter season. Dubbed the “birthday of the church,” the celebration marks the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles.

“Jesus had told them, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations,’ ” Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre said to his listeners at the Cathedral of the Assumption during this year’s Pentecost celebration. 

For “these untrained men … it must have seemed like an impossible task,” he said.

The archbishop shared that he sometimes feels akin to how he expects the apostles felt: “Things can seem daunting,” he said, and it is easy to wonder how Jesus could ask such a big task.

Liturgical dancers processed into the cathedral during Pentecost Mass on May 19. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

The thing that “got them moving,” he explained, was the descent of the Holy Spirit.

“All that the Apostles did was open themselves to receive the grace and power of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “The Spirit drove them to do what they needed to do when they did not know how to do what they needed to do.” 

This year’s Pentecost celebration was a collaborative effort from the Office of Multicultural Ministry and the Office of Worship. Before Mass began, liturgical dancers performed for the congregation and a quartet of African drummers played music and sang. 

Multiple languages were incorporated into the readings and responses, including Malayalam, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog and French.

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre administered Communion during Pentecost Mass. Organizers encouraged worshipers to dress in clothing that represents their culture. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

Although Catholics hail from many different cultures and speak different languages, the archbishop called on his listeners to remember that the Holy Spirit created one language of faith.

“We rejoice that God brings one unity from our diversity,” he said.

Archbishop Fabre noted that the day often reminds him of Mary and the way she was “totally receptive to the Spirit.” 

“She was open to what God wanted her to do,” he said. “What wonderful things Mary did with her simple ‘Yes.’ ”

Mary, who was with the Apostles in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit descended as tongues of fire, is a prime example of what can be accomplished when we allow God to be in control, he said.

“We cannot do it by relying on our own abilities,” Archbishop Fabre said. But if we trust the Lord and “allow ourselves to be his instruments … radical things can happen. We change the world forever.”

Representatives of the Knights of Peter Claver and the Ladies Auxiliary presented the gifts to Archbishop Fabre during the annual Pentecost Mass on May 19. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)
Kayla Bennett
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