Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pentecost 2008

By Lesroy W. Williams
Observer Reporter

(Sandy Point, St. Kitts)—The St. Kitts Catholic Community gathered together at Brimestone Hill for their annual Pentecost Mass and fellowship on Sunday May 11. Coming together were people from three parishes: The Co-Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Basseterre, Sacred Heart Parish in Sandy Point /Old Road and Holy Family Parish in Molineux. In attendance was about 350 parishioners. Presiding at the Pentecost Eucharistic Celebration was Fr. Bernard Latus, SVD, assisted by Fr. Xuan Ho, SVD, Fr. Jan Pastuszczak SVD, Fr. Walter Mendonca, SVD, Deacon James Matthew, Acolytes Jefferson Fraites and Pierre Berry. Fr. Romil Aperocho, Parish Priest of Sacred Heart, was the homilist.
The Feast of Holy Pentecost is celebrated each year on the fiftieth day after the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha (Easter) and ten days after the Feast of the Ascension of Christ. The Feast is always celebrated on a Sunday.
The Feast commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, a feast of the Jewish tradition. It also celebrates the establishment of the Church through the preaching of the Apostles and the baptism of the thousands who on that day believed in the Gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Feast is also seen as the culmination of the revelation of the Holy Trinity. The story of Pentecost is found in the book of The Acts of the Apostles. In Chapter Two we are told that the Apostles of our Lord were gathered together in one place. Suddenly, a sound came from heaven like a rushing wind, filling the entire house where they were sitting. Then, tongues of fire appeared, and one sat upon each one of Apostles. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as directed by the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).
This miraculous event occurred on the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, celebrated by the Jews on the fiftieth day after the Passover as the culmination of the Feast of Weeks (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10). The Feast of Weeks began on the third day after the Passover with the presentation of the first harvest sheaves to God, and it concluded on Pentecost with the offering of two loaves of unleavened bread, representing the first products of the harvest (Leviticus 23:17-20; Deuteronomy 16:9-10).
Since the Jewish Feast of Pentecost was a great pilgrimage feast, many people from throughout the Roman Empire were gathered in Jerusalem on this day. When the people in Jerusalem heard the sound, they came together and heard their own languages being spoken by the Apostles (Acts 2:5-6). The people were amazed, knowing that some of those speaking were Galileans, and not men who would normally speak many different languages. They wondered what this meant, and some even thought the Apostles were drunk (Acts 2:7-13).
Peter, hearing these remarks, stood up and addressed the crowd. He preached to the people regarding the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Holy Spirit. He spoke about Jesus Christ and His death and glorious Resurrection. Great conviction fell upon the people, and they asked the Apostles, "What shall we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38-39).
The Bible records that on that day about 3,000 were baptized. Following, the book of Acts states that the newly baptized continued daily to hear the teaching of the Apostles, as the early Christians met together for fellowship, the breaking of bread, and for prayer. Many wonderful signs and miracles were done through the Apostles, and the Lord added to the
Church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47).
In his opening words at the Mass, Fr. Latus reminded the congregation that we are called to live and walk by the Spirit. The gathering in one place for the celebration of one Mass is symbolic of the Jews gathering in one place at Pentecost from different places within the Jewish diaspora and Jerusalem.
Fr. Romil in his homily said that Pentecost beckons us to be “instruments of unity.” The Spirit he said brings about unity among us. Those who are not of the Spirit are “instruments of division” he said.
He said that the mission of the Church is to unite people and to break down the barriers that divide us.
“All of us are one in the Spirit despite our culture, nationality, background, race and colour,” Fr. Romil said. “If we are one in the Spirit then we belong to the culture of Christ,” he continued.
“We must banish from among us the demons of hate, fear, division, indifference and prejudice and be united in our stand for justice, peace, equality and reconciliation,” he said.
The eucharistic service was punctuated with appropriate songs such as “One Bread, One Body” reminding us of our unity in Christ and “There’s A Sweet, Sweet Spirit” reminds us that like the Spirit we are called to have a sweet frangrance in our relationships with others. Mrs. Charmaine Donovan ably lead the combined choir.
The Feast of Pentecost this year coincided with Mother’s Day and mothers were recognized and appreciated. Rosemary Jordan Powell was awarded Mother of the Year by the Catholic Community for her outstanding life of faith and service.
After the Eucharist service, there was a Mother’s Day service that saw displays of African fashion wear,masquerade, songs and poems.
At the end of the day, it was truly a mountaintop experience

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