Tag Archives: Pentecost

The loss of the Pentecost octave

The desire and capacity to linger in joy, beauty and truth is liturgically not easy to do these days with the absence of octaves following a major feasts. Eight days are not too long, not too complicated, not too esoteric to extend our prayer! And I don’t mean to merely lament the ansence of an official 8-day period of liturgical prayer. The Church has retained the octaves of Christmas and Easter but the rest are sadly gone. At least for now. I think it was a colossal mistake of the reform of the Missal by Pope Paul VI to jettison the octave, especially the octave of Pentecost.

How often do we need to slowly meditate on the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit and beg for the grace to integrate grace into our lives. We need the opportunity to understand concretely the action of the Spirit in our lives and we need to hear the beautify music, poetry and preaching connected with the Pentecost’s octave. The Pope even he wepted when he realized the change he made without thinking the whole thing through; the implications are significant; the absence of the Pentecost octave is diasasterous event for the Church. Why is it problematic? It is so because we are Church, a people of the Way, who rely on the Holy Spirit to guide each-and-every step we take in living the Gospel and seeking the face of God.

I share the opinion with many others that one of the re-reforms of the Missal that still needs to be investigated is the restauration of the Pentecost Octave. However, I would also advocate the implementation of the Assumption and Epiphany octaves. Apparently, I am not alone: the editor of America magazine Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen is saying the same thing and he’s quoting a friend, Benedictine Father Mark Daniel Kirby in his “Of Many Things” article this week.

More Pentecost to celebrate

pentecost feast.jpg

The Roman Church celebrated Pentecost last weekend thus concluding the Easter season. This weekend the same Church observes the feast of the Most Holy Trinity.

Also this weekend, our Orthodox sisters and brothers are celebrating the Coming of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:1-4).

Let us beg for the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

You may read more about the Spirit’s feast here.

Holy Spirit Day

Pentecost by IDorffmeister.jpgHeavenly King,

Advocate, Spirit of Truth,
Who are everywhere
and fill all things,
Treasury of Blessings,
Bestower of Life:
Come and
dwell within us,
cleanse us of all that defiles us,
and, O Good One, save our

The days following Pentecost used to have an Octave like other feasts (e.g., Christmas, Easter, Epiphany, Assumption, etc.) but few remain in the present liturgical form, sadly. My hope is that in due time the Church will restore some of the octaves. In the Byzantine Church the day after Pentecost is known as Holy Spirit Day. The above text comes from one of the hymns of the sacred Liturgy.

My hope is that the priests of the Latin Church celebrated a Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit to accommodate the lack we presently experience in the Roman liturgy.

Two new Doctors of the Church: The Lord’s effective witnesses in the world

Reminding us that the Holy Spirit “continues to inspire women and men who engage in the pursuit of truth” Pope Benedict announced that on October 7, at the beginning of the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, he would proclaim St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen as Doctors of the Church. “These two great witnesses of the faith lived in very different historical periods and came from different cultural backgrounds,” he said. “But the sanctity of life and depth of teaching makes them perpetually present: the grace of the Holy Spirit, in fact, projected them into that experience of penetrating understanding of divine revelation and intelligent dialogue with the world that constitutes the horizon of permanent life and action of the Church.”

The Pope continued: “Especially in light of the project of the New Evangelization, to which the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be dedicated, and on the vigil of the Year of Faith, these two figures of saints and doctors are of considerable importance and relevance.”

Pope: live according to the Spirit of unity and truth; the beg the Spirit to guide us to objective Truth

I am happy to celebrate this Holy Mass with you – a Mass animated by the Choir of the Academy of Santa Cecilia and by the Youth Orchestra, which I thank – on this Feast of Pentecost. This mystery constitutes the baptism of the Church, it is an event that gave the Church the initial shape and thrust of its mission, so to speak. This shape and thrust are always valid, always timely, and they are renewed through the actions of the liturgy, especially.

This morning I want to reflect on an essential aspect of the mystery of Pentecost, which maintains all its importance in our own day as well. Pentecost is the feast of human unity, understanding and sharing. We can all see how in our world, despite us being closer to one another through developments in communications, with geographical distances seeming to disappear – understanding and sharing among people is often superficial and difficult. There are imbalances that frequently lead to conflicts; dialogue between generations is hard and differences sometimes prevail; we witness daily events where people appear to be growing more aggressive and belligerent; understanding one another takes too much effort and people prefer to remain inside their own sphere, cultivating their own interests. In this situation, can we really discover and experience the unity we so need?

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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