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Veni Sancte Spiritus: The Extended Pentecost Vigil


Published in the May 15, 2022 bulletin

In three weeks, we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost. On Saturday, June 4 at the 4:30 Mass, we will celebrate the Extended Vigil of Pentecost! Pentecost is viewed in the calendar as the eighth and final Sunday of the Easter season. This “octave Sunday”—symbolizing perfection and completion—is a fitting end to the season of Easter and the fulfillment of the promised sending of the Spirit. Thus the Pentecost Vigil provides a suitable bookend to the first Mass of the Easter season: the Easter Vigil. However, unlike the Easter Vigil which is required to take place after dark, the Pentecost Vigil can be celebrated at any time on the evening before Pentecost. The Vigil has four Old Testament readings. These readings emphasize the working of the Holy Spirit throughout salvation history and the power of the Spirit to redeem humankind. In these four readings, we hear of the Spirit:

1) overcoming sin (Genesis 11 - The Tower of Babel),
2) giving the law and shaping the covenant with God's people (Exodus 19 - The Ten Commandments),
3) communicating true life through the prophets (Ezekiel 37 - The Dry Bones), and,
4) allowing people to speak in the name of God (Joel 3 - the Spirit of God turning the faithful into prophets).

As Jesus continually promises to send the Spirit in these last weeks of Easter, let us carve time out of our schedules to attend this beautiful vigil to hear of the ways the Spirit has worked throughout salvation history!



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