Dear Friends in Christ:
We are approaching the Solemnity of Pentecost, the end of the liturgical season of Easter. On Pentecost Sunday the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples of Jesus to remain with them forever. The Spirit, the Counsellor, inspired and empowered the disciples to spread the Gospel through the world. The Church’s mission began on the day of Pentecost with the coming of the Holy Spirit.
We have heard readings from the Acts of the Apostles throughout the Easter season. We heard about the Holy Spirit working in the lives of the disciples who had received His gifts. The grace of the Holy Spirit continues at work in the Church. I have been celebrating Confirmations throughout the diocese during this Easter season. It is a joy for me, as a successor of the apostles, to ensure that our young people are strengthened by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In a way, the grace of Pentecost is perpetuated in the Church through the sacrament of Confirmation.
I am looking forward to ordaining two of our seminarians to the diaconate on May 22 and seven of our deacons to the priesthood on June 5. From the beginnings of the Church, the grace of the Holy Spirit has been conferred through the sacrament of Orders upon men called to exercise the ministry entrusted by Christ to the apostles. Holy Orders is the sacrament of apostolic ministry.
We rejoice that the Lord has blessed our diocese with these priestly vocations. I am grateful that these young men have answered God’s call to give up their lives for Him and for the salvation of their brothers and sisters. Let us pray for them as they approach ordination and begin their ordained ministry.
Of course, it is essential, before our young men are ordained, that they receive excellent formation so that they will be good and holy priests. This formation takes place mostly in the seminary. We are able to provide this seminary formation for our future priests because of the generosity of the people of our diocese. Every Pentecost Sunday, we have a special collection for our seminarians’ education. I ask you once again this year to be generous and to make a sacrificial gift for this important need.
May the gifts of the Holy Spirit, wondrously poured out on the Apostles, fill your hearts anew on Pentecost Sunday!
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