Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Today is the Solemnity of Pentecost. The word “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word pentekostos, which means “fifty.” Fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ at Easter and ten days after His Ascension into Heaven we celebrate Pentecost, which marks the descent of the Holy Spirit onto the Apostles and the “birthday” of the Catholic Church. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out onto Christ’s first followers, giving them the gifts of the Holy Spirit, enabling them to proclaim Christ to the ends of the earth.
Each year at Confirmation the Bishop extends his hands over those to be confirmed, and prays this prayer, which calls down the Holy Spirit and asks for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be granted to the Confirmandi:
All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your sons and daughters from sin
and gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them
to be their helper and guide.
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
Through Christ our Lord.
All of us who have been confirmed have received these gifts. Today let us be mindful of these gifts and use them to continue to build up the Church as the apostles and followers of Christ did after the first Pentecost. Come, Holy Spirit!