Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pentecost shows universality of the Church, Pope declares

Pentecost shows the Holy Spirit shaped the Catholic Church for all people, Pope Benedict said in his homily to mark Pentecost Sunday June 12.
“From the first moment, in fact, the Holy Spirit created (the Church) as the Church of all people. It embraces the whole world, transcending the boundaries of race, class, nation - it breaks down all barriers and unites people in the profession of the Triune God. From the beginning, the Church is one, catholic and apostolic,” said the Pope to a packed congregation within St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Pentecost is the one of the most well-known feast days in the Christian calendar. It is frequently referred to as the “birthday of the Church.”

It marks the day, nearly 2,000 years ago, when the Holy Spirit descended ahead the Apostles who had been living in fear for 50 days following the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. The Holy Spirit emboldened them and the same disciples then set forth to tell all people in Jerusalem of the Resurrection. All nationalities present could appreciate them in their own mother tongue.

“With this we are told something very important: that from the outset the universality of the Catholic Church is not the result of the enclosure of subsequent communities,” explained the Pope.

He added that the Catholic Church refers to itself as holy “not because of the merits of its members, but since God himself, with his Spirit, is always creating and sanctifying.”

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