Sign-up for free e-newsletter

Viewpoint from Rev Henry McCarthy 05/06/09


Father Henry
St Peter’s Catholic Church, Gorleston
 Dove right
Some teenagers from our church are due to be Confirmed in July this year when the Bishop visits us. This Sacrament will complete their entry into the Church.   In order to prepare to receive this Sacrament, the teenagers are attending some instruction sessions.  Confirmation, along with Baptism (Christening) and 1st Holy Communion, the three Sacraments of entry into the Church, are special moments in the life of a Christian Community. Central to Confirmation, is the Coming of the Holy Spirit
I mention this as Eastertide has just ended with the Great Feast of Pentecost or  Whitsunday, which was celebrated on Sunday, 31st May, when we celebrated the Coming of the Holy Spirit…one of the loveliest Feast of the Church’s Year
What is encouraging about the Holy Spirit is that all can receive it. It is not confined to a particular church, or to any church. “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound, of it, but you do know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit”, Jesus tells Nicodemus, in chapter three of St. John’s Gospel
When we get a bit dispirited, which is not difficult in our world at the moment, it is good to remember this. The Holy Spirit is open to all willing to receive it. Christ promised that when He left us He would send the Holy Spirit to teach us all things. The Holy Spirit will not force us to comply but if we open ourselves in prayer, then the Spirit has a chance to get a ‘word in edge ways’ to help us
The Holy Spirit has been likened to the wind blowing across a cornfield on a summer’s day creating beautiful patterns as it does so, or perhaps tossing the leaves of the trees. We feel the wind and we see it’s affects but we do not see the wind. The wind is mysterious but it is beneficial, too, as it helps to bring rain and cooling breezes. So it is with the Holy Spirit
 dove left
The young people I mentioned above have their lives before them. But there are many confusing things in our world, which they will encounter: so many different views and opinions of what is right or wrong. They will learn of ‘grey areas’ at school, at work and in moral matters, where they have to make decisions; informed decisions, we hope
We believe that the Holy Spirit helps to give guidance here. And for us in the Church, we believe that the Holy Spirit guides us in moral and spiritual matters. This is not ‘brainwashing’ but explaining what Christ’s wishes are for us all. These young people will be free to choose to stay or to leave the Church. But, whatever they decide they will have been given some guidelines about the Christian Faith as they set out on their respective journeys through life
When the Bishop lays hands on them and anoints them with the Oil of Chrism, he will be asking that the presence of the Holy Spirit, already present, will be awakened in each one of them. Whether they continue to follow Christ in his Church will be there decision. But whatever they do, hopefully, they will retain a sense of the wonder of the world, the beauty of life and have a sense of purpose in their lives and remain open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in this lovely, but at times, uncertain world