Hebda: Holy Spirit ‘has blessed us’ with church filled with diverse gifts

By Barb Umberger | Catholic News Service

ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) — The Holy Spirit “has blessed us” with a church filled with diverse gifts, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis told the congregation at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul for the Pentecost vigil Mass June 4.

“It’s only when we engage all of those gifts that we can hope to move forward on all cylinders. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love,” he said.

The congregation was estimated at more than 2,000, nearly filling all cathedral pews and including many of the estimated 500 participants from the three-day archdiocesan synod.

In his homily, Archbishop Hebda said those who had spent the day at the synod assembly building up the archdiocese can’t have the attitude of those building the Tower of Babel, interested in making a name for themselves.

Instead, they must assume the attitude of humble servants, disciples of the Lord Jesus and vessels of the Holy Spirit.

Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph A. Williams of St. Paul and Minneapolis, along with priests and deacons, lead the eucharistic prayer during the Pentecost vigil Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul June 4, 2022. (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit)

“It’s when we’re humble that the Lord, as on the day of Pentecost, is going to help us understand one another, rather than separate us by diverse languages,” Archbishop Hebda said.

“It’s the Holy Spirit who enables us to converse, to say the things we need to say and to hear the things we need to hear, to accompany one another in even the most difficult of circumstances,” he said. “The Lord does that, not through the proud and the powerful, but through the lowly and the humble.”

During the liturgy, the four Scripture readings were read in Spanish, Vietnamese, Polish and Hmong, which are among languages spoken by Catholics in the archdiocese, Archbishop Hebda said.

Synod delegate Mary Kennedy, a parishioner of Ascension in Minneapolis, attended the Mass, and estimated that about two-thirds of the delegates were there, “even though it was a long day and we were there from 8 this morning,” she said.

Asked what stood out during the first full day of the synod, Kennedy said she sensed the Holy Spirit was present.

“It was palpable,” she told The Catholic Spirit, the archdiocesan newspaper. “You could feel the Holy Spirit’s presence in our work today. And such a positive outpouring of faith in the archdiocese. It was really just exhilarating.”

Kennedy, 63, said the presence of the Holy Spirit was obvious the previous day and she felt it at Mass, too. “It’s like we were all one big communal spirit and it’s so wonderful to celebrate on Pentecost weekend. It was a great day.”

It has been more than 80 years since the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has hosted a synod.

Dave Rinaldi, vice president of mission for National Evangelization Team Ministries, best known as NET Ministries, led a Pentecost prayer gathering following the Pentecost vigil Mass.

He invited people to come forward if they felt they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to share a word of knowledge for the assembly. Designated people in the front row of the church wrote the words in notebooks.

Young people to seniors took part in the prayer gathering, many lifting their hands in the air while a group played worship music on guitar and sang.

Father Jonathan Kelly, rector of St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, participated in the prayer gathering and believed the recorded words likely would be shared with Archbishop Hebda “and the rest of the team.”

“We invite the Holy Spirit to want to speak to us in the same way we’ve been doing it throughout the synod,” Father Kelly said. “But this is just an explicit time of prayer and praise where the Lord sometimes uses gifts that people have called ‘words of knowledge.'”

“And those words of knowledge are for the church,” he said. “They’re not for that person; they’re for the body (of Christ).”

In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels June 5 for Pentecost Sunday and to close his archdiocese’s synod held as part of the churchwide process of preparing for the world Synod of Bishops on synodality in Rome in 2023.

“The church was born in the fire of the Holy Spirit!” he said in his homily. “And the church here in Los Angeles is alive, on fire with the Spirit. … On this birthday of the church, we ask for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our times, and a new flowering of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.”

Pentecost reveals the Catholic Church’s universal mission,” he said. “On that first Pentecost there were people gathered ‘from every nation under heaven.’ And everyone there that day heard the apostles’ preaching ‘in his native language.’ That is, my brothers and sisters, what ‘Catholic’ means. It means universal.

“And that’s our mission. As members of the body of Christ, of his Catholic Church, we are called to proclaim his Gospel to every nation.”

Like Mary and those apostles at Pentecost, “we have the beautiful opportunity to tell others of the marvelous work of God, the beautiful friendship that we can have with Jesus,” Archbishop Gomez said. “This is our beautiful mission and this is what every soul is longing for! … Pentecost continues in your life and mine. Christ is alive in you.

“Let us live with that confidence. Let us live as he lived. And let us love as he loved!”

Author: Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ news and information service.

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