PentecostToday is Pentecost Sunday, called by some "the birthday of the Church." It celebrates the day when the Holy Spirit fell upon the apostles and on those assembled at Jerusalem who received the spirit with them. St. Luke's account of the incident (Acts 2:1-40) recounts that onlookers thought the folks were intoxicated, while Peter was keen to inform them that "these men are not drunken as ye suppose."
It is also the patronal feast of our current Parish church, Holy Ghost, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary as a canonical parish next year.
Pentecost holds a very special meaning for me, because I was baptized on Pentecost Sunday eight years ago. In 1998, Pentecost fell on May 31, so this past Wednesday was the actual anniversary of my baptism, although I always celebrate it on whatever day Pentecost happens to fall. Catholics who read this blog will probably ascertain that I received all three Sacraments of Initiation that day, and they would be correct. Father Chris Rohmiller was the celebrant and homilist at the Mass in which I was baptized, confirmed, and received for the first time the Holy Eucharist.
Since today not only celebrates the birth of the Church but also my rebirth in Christ, it is more significant to me than my own birthday. It also behooves me to call upon the help of the Holy Spirit to guide our household through what has become a rather hefty and unusually complicated process of buying a new home.
Christ promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church. People have asked me if I am concerned about the "problems" that the Catholic Church has had to deal with over the last few years. What they mean, of course, is the clergy sex abuse scandal. As difficult and as evil (I believe it came from Satan himself) as that has been for the Church in America, priests who abuse innocent children are a tiny minority of the whole of the clergy. In terms of percentage, less than 2% of all priests in America have had an allegation made against them. That is a lower percentage than the percentage of Protestant ministers and religious teachers who have had an allegation made against them (3%). Allegations are just that, and what you don't hear in the press is that an allegation was proven to be baseless, which happens more often than not. The revelation of the terrible abuse in Boston has set off a huge number of abuse claims all over the country, and it has been discovered that the vast majority of these claims are groundless-but you don't hear that in the press. Instead, people are milking dioceses of millions of dollars in settlement money so the dioceses can avoid even costlier litigation to clear themselves and their priests.
The Church will survive and will grow, because in 2,000 years the Church has survived much worse than this. The Holy Catholic Church is like a Timex watch: It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.