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With Warm Appreciation

Posted on Jul 14 , 2012 in Articles/Catholic Q&A & Father Arul Joseph V. & Weekly Bulletin

It is the end of the fiscal year and I would like to share some good news with you. I think you, as parishioners, should know the financial facts of St. Peter Parish.

At the beginning of June I informed you of the immediate need of funds to cover the expected deficit. With the approval of the Finance Council, I sent a letter of appeal to 643 families asking to help with an additional contribution of $100.00. I am happy to say that 167 families responded and sent back the confidential envelope sent with my letter. I appreciate each one of these families for having responded with great regard. Among those who have responded, some have expressed their inability to contribute given their current financial situation. I certainly understand and appreciate your frankness regarding your inability to contribute. Out of those who returned the confidential envelopes, 93 families have contributed a total of $ 9135.00. I thank each one of you and I appreciate your dedication to support the parish.

When I came to St. Peter’s last June 15, 2011, I felt it a heavy burden with the debt of $295,624.44 at the diocese (borrowed to cover the deficits of the last three years; $76,725.00 in 2009, $ 109,675.00 in 2010 and $109,450.00 in 2011). Thanks to the various events organized by the Fund-raising Committee and thanks to your support with regular weekly envelopes and basket-collections during the fiscal year 2011-2012, we have paid, in full, our assessment of $223,725.00 to SPACS and we have paid $45,000.00 towards the diocesan debt. However, we have a short fall of around $23,260.00 for the fiscal year 2011-2012. I will soon send you, with approval of the Finance Council, the Statement of Account for the fiscal year 2011-2012 with the exact amount the parish is in the red. Every little contribution you gave has helped to improve our financial situation. I look forward to your continued support for God’s work within St. Peter Parish.

At this time, I would like to appeal to the registered members of our parish, who have not yet contributed. Please know that your contribution, if you would begin to give, is for God’s work. Our faith obliges us all to make God’s work continue without any hassle. We pay for all kinds of services in our lives; tips at restaurants, coffee shops, etc. Is not our faith in God more important and should you not support the ministries to be continued? Then please, prayerfully consider making use of the weekly envelopes and begin your contribution for God’s work. May The Lord inspire you of this obligation.

God bless you all,
Fr. Arul Joseph V.

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Closed Mind-set is not open to the Truth

Posted on Jul 07 , 2012 in Articles/Catholic Q&A & Father Arul Joseph V. & Weekly Bulletin

The Gospel, this Sunday (Mark 6:1-6) and the reading from the Old Testament (Ezekiel 2:2-5) speak of the challenges, perils and sufferings of a prophet and the courageous stance demanded of him. The people’s familiarity with the humble beginning of Jesus in his home-town with his parents, Joseph and Mary made them suspicious of his newly revealed wisdom and mighty deeds. This is already prefigured in the pathos and sufferings of the prophet Ezekiel.

God duly warns him that he is giving him a mission particularly unpleasant to fulfill. Then the spirit enters him and sets him on his feet; and the Lord tells him what his mission is to be, “I am sending you to the Israelites, rebels who have revolted against me to this very day. Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you” (Ezekiel 2:2-3). The prophet proclaims what God has ordered him to say. Hence a prophet must speak, whether or not people listen. A prophet must act, whether or not people accept him. A prophet must prophesy whether or not people welcome him. He is like the sower who throws the seed by the handful, although he knows that a part of it will fall upon ground in which it will not germinate.

Jesus returns to his own town of Nazareth during his ministry. The people who listen to him, preaching, are suspicious of his wisdom and knowledge. They also heard of the many miracles that he had done. In spite of all they knew about him, they are rigidly set in their ways and nothing could change their minds. Why did Jesus’ relations and countrymen respond to him the way they did, even though they saw the miracles and heard His profound wisdom?

One of the Scripture scholars says that the significance of this rejection is obvious: it is a dramatic and tragic end of Jesus’ Galilean ministry foreshadowing the greater rejection of Israel. Disappointment and rejection are part and parcel of the mission of Jesus, as well as, of his disciples and the Church.

Jesus was amazed by the lack of faith that he found at Nazareth. The popular proverb he cited, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house” (Mark 6:5), situated him in line with all the prophets who were subjected to rejection by their co-citizens. Jesus was affected by the power of their unbelief and was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.

How many of us are also set in our ways and beliefs so that we close our minds to what God knows is best for us, even though we hear it from someone we know well? We need to step back and ask: how is God working in and through this person? What is special and unique about this person? And how can I love and know this person more fully and completely by recognizing who he is as an individual.

God bless you.
Fr. Arul Joseph V

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God, the source of life

Posted on Jun 30 , 2012 in Articles/Catholic Q&A & Father Arul Joseph V. & Weekly Bulletin

This Sunday’s Gospel passage (Mk 5:21-43) and the Old Testament reading (Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24), both highlight the character of God as giver and protector of life. Indeed, God wishes to give that life through His Son Jesus to those who have faith in him. The Gospel tells of the restoration of the fullness of life to a hemorrhaging woman and to a young dying girl. To both, Jesus brings life and brings it gladly. Obviously, physical life is the primary object of Jesus’ concern here.

The book of Wisdom declares that God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living and that death is not from God. However, humankind experiences corruption and death. This is the result of the evil having entered the world by “the envy of the devil” (Genesis 3). There is, moreover, a remarkable affirmation in the Book of Wisdom about the destiny of human persons: “For God formed man to be imperishable; in the image of his own nature he made him” (Wisdom 2:23). The almighty God created us in his divine image and desires that we share his eternal life.

The Gospel exemplifies this fact in the tender and determined way that Jesus restores life and health under seemingly impossible circumstances. He sought out the sick ‘little daughter’ of the synagogue official. The woman with the hemorrhage suffered for twelve years. She used up all her money seeking healing from doctors, but this was to no avail; her affliction continued. Hearing about Jesus, she is filled with hope and faith. She reaches out in faith and is healed physically, but perhaps there is a deeper healing that must occur in her yet.

Jesus was conscious that healing power had gone out of him, when the woman with a long-term hemorrhage had touched him. Jesus drew public attention, not in any way to reprimand her, but rather to praise her faith. This must have been terrifying for her. She had been ritually unclean for the last twelve years of her life. No one could have touched her without becoming ritually unclean as well.

Hence she steps out of the crowd in “fear and trembling” and reveals her history to the crowd. Basically, she fears being known and not being loved. This is something many of us struggle with: if God and others truly knew who I am or what I have done, they would not love me. It sounds ridiculous to the head, especially with respect to God. Jesus died for us to save us from our sins because he loves us.

Today let us let the light of Christ get into the dark parts of our hearts. Let us trust in Him as did the woman with the hemorrhage, knowing that he will heal us when we place our trust in Him.

God bless you,
Fr. Arul Joseph V.

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He must Increase; I must decrease

Posted on Jun 23 , 2012 in Articles/Catholic Q&A & Father Arul Joseph V. & Weekly Bulletin

Today we celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist. He was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. The Gospel writer Luke tells us that the angel Gabriel announced his birth to his father Zechariah and gave him the name John, which means “God is gracious” (Luke 1:8-23). Even while still he was in his mother’s womb, he was given the privilege of recognizing the presence of Jesus by leaping when Mary visited Elizabeth (Luke 1:41). It was the moment when John the Baptist was cleansed of original sin. The fact that he would be cleansed of the original sin, had been already promised to Zechariah by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:15).

The Gospel writers state that John later left his parents to live the life of a prophet in the desert. He preached in the desert dressed like an Old Testament prophet, wearing a garment of camel-skin and eating locusts and wild honey (Mark 1:6; Matt 3:4). He proclaimed the kingdom of God and a coming judgment, and invited people to accept baptism as a sign of their repentance. His message obviously disturbed the people and so some of the powerful repented, including tax-collectors and soldiers. Mark says that all Jerusalem and Judea came to him and as they were baptized in the Jordan they confessed their sins (Mark 1:5).

One of the noteworthy characteristics of John the Baptist was his humility: He did not want people’s attention on himself but directed them to Jesus. People began to wonder if John was the Messiah so he reassured them that he was not. He declared that his ministry was preparing for the coming of the Messiah saying, “I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8). When Jesus came to John asking for baptism, John recognized Jesus at once and said, “Look, there is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). After Jesus’ baptism once again we see John turning the attention to Jesus as he declared, “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30).

John’s courage in upholding the truth about marriage, and his subsequent beheading as a result, challenges us in a time when it is not popular to speak the truth or live by the truth. He reminds us that just because certain behavior is enshrined in the law of the land, it does not mean that it is morally right. John turning attention away from himself but towards Jesus, reminds us to do the same also in our lives. In each of us, we ourselves are to decrease and Jesus is to increase.

God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.

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Three Cheers To All the Hard Workers at Parish Picnic

Posted on Jun 16 , 2012 in Articles/Catholic Q&A & Father Arul Joseph V. & Weekly Bulletin

Our great event, the Parish Picnic is over. When one thinks of it, one would remember immediately the delicious pork and chicken dinners, the French fries, the Onion rings, Burgers, Hotdogs,  Funnel cakes, the Beer Stand, the Variety of Games for children & Adults, Silent Auction, Paddle Cake, Main Raffle, Mini Raffle, Great Music & Dance etc. etc.

Now I would like each one of our Parishioners to think of everyone who worked so hard for days together and particularly on Saturday and Sunday to makes us all enjoy and also to help the parish raise fund for its maintenance. I feel honestly that St. Peter’s parish is proud of every one of these committed, self-sacrificing and dedicated people of our Parish, who worked for the Picnic. All of them should be appreciated for their hard work towards the common good of the Parish. We need to be grateful to them, because they worked really hard for the Parish community for days and hours without any remuneration but from God. On behalf of all the parishioners, I appreciate and thank everyone, who has extended a helping hand in one way or other for the success of the picnic. When you meet them, please thank them for their great work.

Nevertheless, I would like to mention those who have been responsible for each sector:

Picnic coordinator – Larry & Karen Proulx

Bankers – Gerry & Pat Lind

Publicity – Irene Schulist and Debbie Nachman

Cared Clubs – Fred Vieth

Cherry Bowl – Jean Rosenthal, Nikki Sommers, Ivy Engwall, Diane Sommers and Anna Rosenthal

Bingo – Irene Schulist & Marcia Meshak

Silent Auction – Brenda Suplicki, Marie Archibald, Cheryl Kehl, Patrice Suplicki

Craft Store & Bakery – Linda Strosin

Dinner Pies – Irene Schulist

Pulled Pork BBQ – Ben & Angel Gebeau

Chicken Dinner – Mike Konkol and Regina Suchon

Kids Games – Kassie Proulx, Katelynn Polum, Diane Haffenbredl

Food Stand – Gerry & Dawn Weber

Snack Stand – Nick & Nicole Proulx

Funnel Cakes – Phil & Diane Haffenbredl

Beer Stand – Gene & Nancy Kemmeter

Main Raffle – Jim & Yvonne Gies

Mini Raffle – Sue Tuskowski, Lee Peterson and Lindsy Kedrowski

Adult Games – Julie & Dan Glodowski, Kris Lepinski and Tanner

Game Tickets – Karen Proulx

Paddle Cake – Cheri & John Johnson and Jim & Yvonne Gies

Greenery – Debbie Nachman and Linda Strosin

Waiters’ in-charge – Nicole Van Tiem and Merideth Engwall

Helpers to coordinator – Karen Proulx, Nicholas & Nicole Proulx, Kassie Proulx, Mike Proulx, Jeremy Proulx, Nikki Intribus and Annaleigh

Thanks you, members of the Bands for having entertained the people.

God bless them all

Fr. Arul Joseph V.

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May God bless them

Posted on Jun 09 , 2012 in Articles/Catholic Q&A & Father Arul Joseph V. & Weekly Bulletin

Last two weeks have been very stressful for me, because Mrs. Susan Varga, the Administrative Assistant and Candace Ostertag, the secretary informed me of their resignation; Susan Varga for her retirement and Candace Ostertag for a full-time job. I was wondering, how I would find a capable person to replace Susan and even if I would find, how this person would be able to carry on such a lot of work Susan was doing. Providentially, last Tuesday (May 29th) I interviewed, with the help of Ray Heitzinger, who is the human resource expert in the Portage County Office, seven of the 15 applicants for these jobs and chose two ladies: Mrs. Susan Zelhofer to replace Susan Varga and Mrs. Jacqualine Harrison to replace Candace Ostertag.

When I took a breath of relief, Phil Lawson came on Wednesday, May 30th, morning to my office and shocked me extending personally his letter of resignation, in order to take up the ministry as the Pastoral Assistant at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Gaylord Diocese in Michigan. When he submitted the letter, I could really see on his face how difficult it was for him to leave this parish, after having served the people for 11 years. As he himself has written in last week’s bulletin, he feels that it is God’s call for him and he had to take this hard decision after prayerful discernment.

St. Peter’s Parish is now in a position to lose two efficient, dedicated and committed staff: Susan Varga and Phil Lawson. At this juncture, I would like to express my gratitude for what they have been to this parish.

Susan Varga has worked for 17 years in the parish office as the Administrative Assistant. In my observation, she has made her office practically her home, because she worked more hours in her office than she would have spent at her home. Every working day began for her at 8:00 a.m. and she worked until 6:30 p.m. and sometimes even until 8:00 p.m. Her meticulous details to the work, organized planning, her dedication and commitment to her task were remarkable and praiseworthy. I could see that she never calculated the hours of work. With me, the current pastor, she has worked with three previous pastors during her service for 17 years; every one of the pastors would certainly vouch for her dedication. Now that she is retiring, I wish her the Lord’s abundant blessings for a healthy, peaceful and enjoyable retirement.

Phil Lawson has served for 11 years in this parish as the Director of Religious Education, Faith Formation and Evangelization. Quite often he would say to me, “I love this parish”. Yes, it is true. They were not mere words; but they were expressive words of his heart. During my ministry in this parish, I have found him a zealous disciple of Christ, with ardent and lively faith igniting the fire of faith in the hearts of all the children, who came for Religious Education, instilling strong faith in those who attended RCIA, stirring up the true faith and love in the hearts of the young spouses who came for the preparation of their wedding. No one can doubt his dedication, his strong faith and his faithfulness to serve Christ in all that he did. This parish is going to lose such a devoted person. But God has greater plan for him. Hence I wish that the Holy Spirit may use him as his effective instrument, where he is going to serve.

The last day of work for both Susan and Phil will be June 14th. You are most welcome to show your appreciation for them either individually or in a group.

Goodbye and God bless them always.

Fr. Arul Joseph V.

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Phil’s Notes & Tidbits 6-6-12

Posted on Jun 06 , 2012 in Blog & Eucharistic Adoration & Most Holy Eucharist & Our Ministries & Phil Lawson MTS & St. Peter's News & Weekly Bulletin

Phil’s Notes & Tidbits

                                    “Corpus Christi”

            As we celebrate Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we perhaps do well to consider Who we consume in the Eucharist. 

            Katrina was a 16 year old when I met her.  She had just returned from a Steubenville Catholic Youth Conference.  At these conferences the young people often come to a deeper realization of Jesus’ Presence in the Eucharist.  Katrina shared with me that after the conference, her knees would shake as she would go up to receive Communion.  She KNEW who she was receiving.

            A few years ago I saw another young lady, a freshman in high school.  She had just exited the Church on a Wednesday evening after spending some time in Eucharistic Adoration.  As she walked through the inner church door, she looked back one last time at the Monstrance and blew a kiss to Jesus.   I was amazed.  For she KNEW the one who was present in the Eucharist, Jesus our Lord.

            A long time ago, the King of France, St. Louis IX would serve Mass on his knees on the bare floor.  One time a servant offered him a kneeler, but the king responded, “At Mass God offers Himself as a sacrifice, and when God sacrifices Himself, kings should kneel on the floor.”  He KNEW before whom He was kneeling.

            One of the few things I remember from 2nd grade was this tidbit from Sr. Mary Ella Francis, “when you go up to Communion, repeat to yourself, ‘My Lord and my God’ for that is who you are receiving.”  You may note that those are the words of St. Thomas upon seeing the Resurrected Christ in John 20:28.   You know what?  I still repeat those words to myself every time I go up to Communion some 27 years later!  Sr. Mary Ella Francis KNEW who she was introducing us too. 

At the recent training session for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion I shared with those present that when I first began assisting in the distribution, my hands would tremble at what I was doing, and Who I had in my hands.  I KNEW who I was giving to others in Communion.  I try never to lose sight of that reality and encouraged the Extraordinary Ministers of Communion to do the same. 

Pope St. Pius X famously said, “Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven.”  And why wouldn’t it be as the same Lord we KNEW in this life in the Eucharist is the one who escorts us and grants us access to Heaven in the next. 

May we all come to KNOW the One we adore and receive in the Eucharist. 

God bless you!

Phil Lawson                                                                                     

Director of Catechesis & Evangelization

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TRIUNE GOD, OUR BEGINNING AND END

Posted on Jun 02 , 2012 in Articles/Catholic Q&A & Father Arul Joseph V. & Weekly Bulletin

With the feast of the Pentecost, the revelation of God as three persons is completed. Hence this week immediately following the Pentecost Sunday, we recall the Great Mystery of God as three persons and celebrate Trinity Sunday.

Our Christian life is deeply permeated by the Most Holy Trinity, but unfortunately we are oblivious of this reality. Father Anthony de Mello, who was a great spiritual guide in India, and well known through many of his books, says in one of his books, The Song of the Bird, that we are living in the Trinity, not aware of it though. He explains this idea with a small story, which I quote:

“Excuse me,” said one ocean fish to another. “You are older and more experienced than I, and will probably be able to help me. Tell me; where can I find this thing they call Ocean? I’ve been searching for it everywhere to no avail.”

“The Ocean,” said the older fish, “is what you are swimming in now.”

“Oh, this? But this is only water. What I’m searching for is the Ocean,” said the young fish, feeling quite disappointed as he swam away to search elsewhere …”

“Stop searching, little fish”, said the older fish, “There’s nothing to look for. Just be still, open your eyes, and look. You cannot miss it”.

Indeed, we are immersed in the life of the Blessed Trinity. We are enveloped and drenched in the creative power, and sanctifying love of the One and Triune God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 261: “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of the Christian life. God alone can make it known to us by revealing himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

For the members of the early Christian community, the Paschal Mystery was the basis of Trinitarian revelation. From the experience of the Paschal Mystery, the Church came to a profound understanding that the one God, in his most intimate nature, is Trinitarian:

  • as the loving Creator Father, the source of our redemption;
  • as the obedient Son who accomplished the Father’s saving plan by his death on the cross; and
  • as the Spirit of love, proceeding from the Father and the Son, who witnesses to our being God’s children and enables us to call him, “Abba, Father!”

The mandate of Jesus to His Apostles to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” signifies that the person baptized belongs to the Trinity of persons and enters into an intimate relationship with them. In the baptismal waters, we are immersed into the life of the Blessed Trinity and consecrated to the Triune God: to the Heavenly Father as his adopted children; to the Son of God as his brother/sister and disciple; and to the Holy Spirit as his holy temple.

May the Triune God lead us to the truth that He is the source of our life.

Fr. Arul Joseph V.

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Phil’s Notes & Tidbits 5-30-12

Posted on May 30 , 2012 in Blog & Phil Lawson MTS & St. Peter's News & Weekly Bulletin

Phil’s Notes & Tidbits

                                    “Saying Goodbye”

I suppose the number of tears shed is directly proportional to the depth of the relationship present.   11 years ago God called me to Stevens Point.  I could never have envisioned the joys, challenges, growth and gifts that would transpire in that time. 

At various points over the years, I have been asked if I would be leaving my position, and my response has always been the same, “wherever God calls.”   Now it has become apparent that God is calling my family and I to serve Christ in a new way.  I have accepted a position as Pastoral Associate at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Gaylord, MI.   My last day present at St. Peter’s will be June 14th

It would not be overstating matters to say this was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.  Let me clarify, one of the hardest discernments; the decision is a given when one determines what direction God is pointing.   (There’s not a real good track record of success in running away from God!)   Trust me, I looked for reasons to say “no” to this position and came to see that to say “no” to this was to walk away from where God is leading.  I’ve spent more time in prayer on this discernment than perhaps any other.  And it has become very clear that this new position is where God is calling. 

            For roughly the past year and a half, there has been a growing sense that I was perhaps called to do something more for Christ and the Church. Last fall I was asked to consider a diocesan position in LaCrosse and this spring I was approached by the Madison diocese about teaching in their Lay Formation Program.  The St. Mary’s Pastoral Associate Position will be an expansion of what I currently do at St. Peter’s, and on a much larger scale as it is the Mother Church of their diocese.  The position also includes a large role in forming the Catholic identity of the K-12 Cathedral School.  The Cathedral is the model parish for the diocese, and in a certain sense, what is done there, then gets done everywhere else.  I will have the opportunity to bring many of the ideas/events we have done at St. Peter’s these past 11 years to them, things like the JPII Retreat, DTS, Men of Christ, Theology on Tap, our very fine marriage preparation program, Café’ Cana, etc.  It’s a very exciting opportunity.

            St. Peter’s has been very good to me and my family.  You first welcomed me in as a single man, and then continued to welcome me upon my marriage to my beloved wife.  The ladies of the parish even threw a baby shower for us upon our first pregnancy!   I’ll never forget such acts of kindness.  I have received much love from this parish and hopefully I have been able to return it in equal measure.  Much of the man I am today is due to the influence of the priests, families, and parishioners who have touched my life here.  How can I express sufficient gratitude for all that? 

In Baptism and Confirmation we die to ourselves and ask Christ to live and work in us.   We pray in every “Our Father” that “Thy will be done”.  God’s ways are not our ways.  I love St. Peter’s and always will; one of the reasons this is so difficult.  But God does not call us to a life of comfort and ease, but to a life in His Service, and although that can be difficult, it is where we find our ultimate peace and fulfillment.          

            I’ll be honest, this moves scares the heck out of me.  They say Pope John Paul II, when he first found out he had been named a bishop, quickly found a Eucharistic Chapel and spent the next 8 hours there in prayer asking for the strength to do that which he was being called to do.   I feel like doing the same thing!   Nonetheless, with confidence that “His grace is sufficient” (2 Cor. 12:9) we push forward.  St. Peter’s will remain in my prayers and I humbly ask you to keep my family and I in yours. 

With much love, affection, and heartfelt gratitude, God bless you!

Phil Lawson                                                                                   

Director of Catechesis & Evangelization

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The Spirit of the Risen Lord is the Life-Giving Energy

Posted on May 26 , 2012 in Articles/Catholic Q&A & Father Arul Joseph V. & Weekly Bulletin

Today is the Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost simply means 50th day. This feast is celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday, hence its name. Pentecost is a prominent feast in the calendar of the ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai, and also later in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles of Christ in the Upper Room, after the Resurrection of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is the gift of the Risen Lord to the Church to propel its missionary expansion. He is also the gift in order to become the life-giving energy that enables the community of believers to bear abundant fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness and self-control. The Holy Spirit was given to the disciples before the Lord’s ascension; but before the day of Pentecost they were not yet confirmed by his might; they were still in the grip of fear, cowering behind closed doors. On the day of the Pentecost the voice of the Lord has resounded; the Word of the Lord was spoken with power.

The historical first public preaching about Christ occurred on the day of Pentecost. It was the day that people could visibly see the signs of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the principle of the New Covenant and the Church’s missionary expansion.

As narrated by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit, the principle of the new law of love, was poured out upon the believers, who were drawn out from all peoples of the earth, in order to constitute the all-inclusive new people of God, the Church. This Pentecostal event was accompanied by stupendous signs: the noise of a strong driving wind, the tongues of fire that rested on the disciples, and the speaking in different tongues. This was the new Pentecost – the fulfillment of the promise prophesied by the Prophets. The prophetic wind and fire of the first covenant on Mount Sinai has given way to the all-inclusive messianic covenant powered by the Holy Spirit, the Risen Lord’s gift to the Church. According to Luke, the Apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke a universal language. He declares by this that the unity lost at Babel, when the one language was confused, is now restored. The Holy Spirit, the principal agent and the protagonist of the Church’s mission, is the principle of the New Covenant ratified by the blood of Christ, poured out by his death on the cross.

May The Spirit of the Risen Lord fill our hearts and empower us to bear fruit.
Fr. Arul Joseph V.