A Mighty Wind A Festival of the Holy Spirit

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1 A Mighty Wind A Festival of the Holy Spirit The arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was such a powerful experience that the Apostles could only express it in terms of the roaring of a mighty wind and the blazing of tongues of fire. Sometimes Pentecost is referred to as the Birthday of the Church. The birthday image, however, does not do justice to the importance of this feast. Pentecost is not an event that took place once and now is celebrated in an anniversary some 50 days after Easter. God did not breathe his Holy Spirit on only a small gathering of followers locked in an upper room over two millennia ago. Pentecost is a liturgical celebration of the breath of the Holy Spirit that happens in every initiated Christian. One of the most important doctrines of the Catholic Church is that the followers of Jesus experience an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. All are temples of the Holy Spirit. In the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation all receive that breath that gift of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost calls for an explosion of unrestrained joy and enthusiasm. It calls for a gathering of people reminiscent of those who gathered in the streets of Jerusalem when they heard the sound of a violent wind. Pentecost needs to be a blazing reminder of God s presence. The Church is the People of God and the Body of Christ on earth. Christians are Easter People who have Alleluia as their song. But Christians are also Pentecost people who are on fire to follow Jesus and to follow him as members of his Church people who are almost drunk with God s grace and love. Pentecost is a time to hear again the words of Peter to the people of many nations gathered outside that upper room. Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them. Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: In the last days it will be, God declares, I will pour out my Spirit upon all Flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And I will show portents in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:14-17, 19-21

2 Many parishes have special celebrations for Lent and for Easter, but Pentecost does not always get the kind of celebration it deserves. So, as part of The Gospel for All Ages, plan a Festival of the Holy Spirit, a Mighty Wind event. This gathering should bring together all the people and ministries in the parish. It should show you just how vital your local parish community is how it is truly the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ. Let this event be a mighty wind of rededication, hope, and promise. You are limited only by your own creativity in holding your Mighty Wind event. Be sure to enlist the creativity of others as well. This gathering could be one of the more memorable of parish events and can be a perfect kickoff for the summer season. It would be ideal if the event includes a parish picnic. If you have not yet done a parish event as part of The Gospel for All Ages, this Mighty Wind celebration is a good time to start. Make the experience exciting and enjoyable, but be sure to keep it simple. PLANNING TIPS The following tips will help you get ready for your event: 1. Set the date and time. The event should be held as close as possible to Pentecost Sunday even on the day itself (May 15 this year). 2. Announce the event. Start to circulate word of this event right away. You can always work out all the details as time goes on, but you want to build enthusiasm and motivation as soon as possible. 3. Set the place. Pick a place where you can accommodate adults and children. If you can count on the weather, this is a great event to be held outdoors. This is not an asphalt event. Pick an outdoor spot that is grassy and comfortable. 4. Publicize the festival. Start right away to promote your Mighty Wind event. (You will find some general promotional suggestions for The Gospel for All Ages in Publicity Ideas section of the online resources.) 5. Form a team. No one person should have to handle this event alone. If you are using a system of guardian angels (as suggested in the Program Director s Manual), they will be your first source for help. The more people you involve in the process of organizing this event the more they will have a vested interest in The Gospel for All Ages and the weekly resources. 6. Gather materials. This event does not need a lot of materials, but here are some of the basics: a. Name tags and pens b. A sound system (This is particularly important if you are having the event outdoors.) c. Music (You will want to have some music playing to set the atmosphere. It does not have to be religious music. The atmospheric music should communicate some of the excitement of the arrival of the Holy Spirit. You will also need to plan for the Songs of the Spirit section. These songs should be ones that everyone knows. You can include some traditional spirituals and folk songs. You may need to reproduce at least the lyrics with permission or provide songbooks.) d. Copies of the Litany of the Holy Spirit e. Refreshments or a picnic meal

3 f. Materials for games or sports that can be a part of the picnic g. Decorations (The liturgical color of Pentecost is red. You can t overdo red in the decorations you choose. You may want helium filled balloons and streamers. Note: If you are having the event outside, know the local regulations about balloons and be careful not to release them into the air.) h. Attire if you want the people themselves to be part of the decorations, ask everyone who attends to wear something red. 7. Appoint a Leader. You will need somebody dynamic who is good at leading groups and keeping the people engaged and active. SAMPLE SCHEDULE FOR YOUR MIGHTY WIND FESTIVAL The whole event can be completed in an hour, excluding the refreshments or the picnic. The Mighty Wind schedule as outlined below does not include the picnic. The times are for reference only. If you are going to have a parish picnic as part of the event, schedule the event after the last Mass on Pentecost Sunday. 1:00 Welcoming, opening song, gathering, and setting the theme 1:05 Opening prayer, reading from the Gospel of John, brief homily, and Gospel questions 1:25 A Joyful Noise Songs of the Spirit 1:45 Time for shared comments and prayers 1:55 Concluding prayer and blessing SETTING THE THEME Have some lively and spirited instrumental music playing when people arrive. Make sure people are welcomed and greeted. When everyone is settled invite the group to join in singing a familiar hymn to the Holy Spirit. The Director of Religious Education, the deacon, or the pastor can then give a brief presentation on the theme. This message should be that this faith community should be like the sound of a mighty wind in the community a wind that brings good news of the Spirit and the love of Jesus. The introduction should be upbeat and familiar. OPENING PRAYER, GOSPEL READING, AND HOMILY You may want to use the prayer below. The Gospel reading is reproduced for your convenience. The Prayer Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit. We hope to send this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. All: Amen.

4 Gospel Philip said to Jesus, Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied. Jesus said to him, Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:8-17, Homily and Gospel Questions Your deacon or the pastor can share a few words on the Gospel. This homily should not be like the homily at the Pentecost Mass. Rather, this should be a short and enthusiastic look at how the parish community can share its joy in being filled with the gift of the Holy Spirit. After the brief homily by the pastor or your deacon, let each group share two Gospel questions: 1. How do I experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life, and how does the Spirit teach me? 2. How can I show others that the Holy Spirit dwells in me? Allow a few moments for small group chatter and comments from the group. Encourage everyone to discuss these two questions throughout the coming week. A JOYFUL NOISE SONGS OF THE SPIRIT Plan at least four or five rousing songs hymns, folk songs, or other songs. The purpose here is to create a mighty wind of music. This part of the program does not have to be reverential. It is important that everybody join in. Make sure you have good instrumental support and a song leader who can get the best out of the group.

5 TIME FOR SHARED COMMENTS AND PRAYERS After the mighty wind of music has died down, invite comments and observations from the group. Ask people to share what this faith family means to them and how belonging to this parish helps them to be aware of the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. CONCLUDING PRAYER AND BLESSING The Litany of the Holy Spirit can be a good concluding prayer. This is an abridged version of the traditional litany. A leader or group of leaders can read the petitions in Roman (regular) type and the whole group can say the responses printed in italic. After the litany, ask the pastor or other priest present to bless the group. Litany of the Holy Spirit Lord, have mercy on us, Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Father all powerful, Have mercy on us. Jesus, Eternal Son of the Father, Redeemer of the world, Save us. Spirit of the Father and the Son, boundless Life of both, Sanctify us. Holy Trinity, Hear us. Holy Spirit, you proceed from the Father and the Son, Enter our hearts. Holy Spirit, equal to the Father and the Son, Enter our hearts. Promise of God the Father, Have mercy on us. Ray of heavenly light, Have mercy on us. Author of all good, Have mercy on us. Consuming Fire, Have mercy on us. Spirit of love and truth, Have mercy on us. Spirit of wisdom and understanding, Have mercy on us. Spirit of counsel and fortitude, Have mercy on us. Spirit of knowledge and piety, Have mercy on us. Spirit of the fear of the Lord, Have mercy on us. Spirit of grace and prayer, Have mercy on us. Holy Spirit, the Comforter, Have mercy on us. Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, Have mercy on us. Holy Spirit, you govern the Church, Have mercy on us. Gift of God, Have mercy on us. Spirit, you fill the universe, Have mercy on us. Holy Spirit, Come and renew the face of the earth. Holy Spirit, Shed your light on our souls. Holy Spirit, Fill us with the fire of your love. Holy Spirit, Teach us to pray well. Holy Spirit, Lead us in the way of salvation. Holy Spirit, Teach us to do good.

6 Holy Spirit, Make us persevere in justice. Holy Spirit, Be our everlasting reward. Come, Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of your faithful, Kindle in them the fire of your love. Amen. Let Us Pray: Grant, O merciful Father, that your Divine Spirit may enlighten, inflame and purify us. Let your Spirit fill us with your everlasting grace and love and keep us faithful in doing good. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who with you, in the unity of the same Spirit, lives and reigns forever and ever. THE PICNIC OR REFRESHMENTS Move from this time of prayer to a simple picnic lunch. You can handle this any way that would be comfortable for the group. It would be ideal if there were some games to play. But most important of all is the opportunity to share friendship and community with the parish family. SPECIAL PUBLICITY IDEAS In addition to the general Publicity Ideas the following will help promote your Mighty Wind event: Red Buttons: A few weeks before Pentecost, have parish staff and others wear red promotional buttons. You can purchase customized buttons or make them yourselves. The buttons can say something like Ask me about the Mighty Wind. When asked, the staff members can give a personal invitation to families to attend the event. Banner: This event might be greatly helped by a banner that drapes across the front of the church or school or even across the street in front of the school if local ordinances allow it. Print the words Come to Our Festival of the Holy Spirit. A Mighty Wind Is Blowing. Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2016.

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