Pentecost is a defining moment in the Church and the lives of all Christ’s followers

Laura Keener, Editor:
Bishop Roger Foys conferred the sacrament of confirmation on 21 candidates from parishes across the Diocese of Covington, May 23, the solemnity of Pentecost, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. The solemnity of Pentecost celebrates the time that, as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles filling them with the gifts of the Spirit.
“Today we are celebrating the solemnity of Pentecost which is known and celebrated as the birthday of the Church,” said Bishop Foys as he began his homily.
Bishop Foys encouraged those present to think about “defining moments” in their life.
“In all our lives we have defining moments, something or someone impresses us so that it makes a difference in our lives, for the rest of our lives,” Bishop Foys said. “It can be something positive and joyful or unfortunately it can be something difficult or sad. It can also be something as simple as a sunrise or a sunset. It can be meeting someone, being married, answering a call to a religious vocation, getting a job you have always dreamed of — defining moments that changed our lives.”
In Jesus, Bishop Foys said, the apostles experienced many defining moments.
“Certainly a defining a moment in their lives was when Jesus called them to be his followers — he handpicked them, he called them by name — so much so they left everything behind and embarked on a whole new life.”
The apostles experienced unfortunate defining moments too: when Jesus was arrested, beaten, bloodied, crucified and died on the cross and buried.
“Buried with him were their hopes and their dreams, everything came to a crashing halt. Jesus was no more,” said Bishop Foys. “Then another defining moment, Jesus appears to them in his glorified, risen body three days after his death. They were overjoyed but not quite sure. Even though they saw him they, were still, St. Luke says in his Gospel, ‘incredulous.’”
Jesus’ ascension to heaven was another defining moment for the apostles. Jesus told them that he had to go back to the Father, but promised that he and the Father would send them the Spirit, “and the Spirit is going to be with you until the end of the world; and there is nothing, no one, not even the gates of hell, that will prevail against you.”
“How did the apostles react to these defining moments?” Bishop Foys said. “They went and hid. They were afraid and didn’t know what to do. They didn’t quite understand who Jesus was and the message that Jesus entrusted to them. That’s significant, he entrusted his Father’s message to them — to carry that message to the ends of the world.”
When the Holy Spirit came to the apostles, “That was the ultimate defining moment in the lives of the apostles,” said Bishop Foys. “Once they received the gifts of the Holy Spirit they finally understood the message that Jesus had entrusted to them and they carried that message out unto the ends of the earth. They go out and begin to preach and teach to the very same people they were hiding from … Nothing would stop them from proclaiming Christ and bringing the message that God loves us with a love that we do not have to earn and a love that we can never lose. And the Church was born on Pentecost.”
“Today I will administer the sacrament of confirmation and the Holy Spirit will come down and fill the hearts of those to be confirmed with the seven gifts that the Holy Spirit possesses and that he distributes among God’s people … Every gift, every talent he gives us, is to build up the kingdom of God. We, in our own time, are called to be apostles — to carry this message to the ends of the world by what we say, yes, but more importantly by what we do and how we live. We are entrusted, all of us, with that message that Jesus entrusted to the apostles and to make that message known.”