Fr. Gerard’s Weekly Column: 5/19/24


Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

Recent data proports that 4.8 billion people worldwide use social media, representing 60% of the global population. It is amazing to think that anyone of us can be “connected” to 60% of the world’s population through the small electronic devices we carry around in our pockets. Our celebration of Pentecost today presents us with an even more staggering number. There are an estimated 2.2 billion Christians in the world today, therefore making up 32% of the world’s population, making Christianity the largest “social network,” by far.

As Christians, it is not a network of computers, servers, and mobile devices that connects us to each other but the Holy Spirit, whose descent upon the Church we celebrate today. Our unity in the Holy Spirit is the strong bond that unites Christians of all denominations. This sacred bond enables us to be united in not only our compassion for each other but our desire to be the presence of Jesus Christ in the world. The Holy Spirit dwelling within us is a tremendous resource that transforms, heals, and animates us with the power of the risen Christ. The Holy Spirit converted a small band of fearful followers to a global presence that has transformed the world. While we have increased from a few hundred who witnessed the first Pentecost to billions who live this faith today, we are still in need of that abiding presence of the Holy Spirit who unites and empowers us.

Social networks, and the internet as a whole, are tools that we Christians use to communicate Christ, just as radio and television, and the printing press before them, benefited the apostolic mission of the church. The ultimate communication of Christ, however, comes from the personal interaction of Christians in the world sharing the spirit of Jesus with all whom they meet. Peter and his fellow disciples didn’t shrink from that on the first Pentecost. And neither should we on this Pentecost day.

Pentecost is also celebrated as the birthday of the church. It was in the giving of the Holy Spirit that the apostles and disciples were empowered to become a community that proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ. The church at its birth harvested the fruits of the Holy Spirit and distributed them to the world. That mission continues today as we recognize that our world is in desperate need of these fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. As we celebrate Pentecost today, we acknowledge that we are not simply remembering a single historic event but are celebrating the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit who continues to bear fruit for us.

As we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit among us, let us pray that together as church we cultivate, harvest, and generously share these fruits with a broken world and a hungering people who long to taste this sweet fruit alive in its midst.

BLUE MASS CELEBRATION – At this Sunday’s 10:00 a.m. Family Mass we are honoring our First Responders. This community began this Easter Season with the Funeral of NYPD Detective Jonathan Diller and today we conclude this Easter season with an opportunity to give thanks for all our first responders. We were brought together in sorrow and throughout these last 50 days, we have placed our hope in the power of the Resurrection of the Lord. Today as we celebrate Pentecost, we pray that the Holy Spirit may descend upon all who protect, defend, and rescue us from earthly harm.

SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION – During our 12:00 p.m. mass two parishioners will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, Valentina Lally and Marysa Fernicola. As they complete their initiation into the church and now are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live their faith, may their example draw others into a relationship with Jesus and the Church.

FIRST HOLY COMMUNIONS – This weekend we celebrate the last of our 10 First Holy Communion liturgies.  I congratulate the children and their parents on these blessed celebrations. I also express my thanks to the catechists of these children as well as our Faith Formation Administrator Grace Rozea and the Faith Formation staff for their dedicated efforts.