The Renewal We Long For

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations,through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

One of the most famous buildings on the face of the earth is the Pantheon in Rome, long ago re-claimed as a Catholic Church dedicated to Our Lady and the Martyrs. One of the most noteworthy aspects of the Pantheon’s breathtaking structure and perfect proportion of this is the oculus, or 27-foot-wide circular opening in the roof. One of the most honored groups of people in Rome are the vigili del fuoco—the firefighters. One of the most beloved tasks that they undertake each year (besides of course putting out fires and making sure Rome doesn’t burn down again as it did in 64 A.D.) is their role on Pentecost. As the ancient chant of the Veni Creator Spiritus is sung at the end of Pentecost Mass, the firefighters let fall dozens of garbage bags full of red rose petals through the opening in the dome which cover the entire floor of the Basilica with a brilliant and aromatic blanket. Gently fluttering to the ground, these petals catch the sun pouring through the opening and they are visually set on fire with a radiant glow, beautifully evoking the tongues of fire which came to rest upon the Apostles in the Cenacle. I attended this unforgettable Pentecost Mass once during my five years of seminary studies in Rome and still remember it like it was yesterday. I wish we could experience it together; or maybe we do.

We make the above prayer our own as we celebrate, Pentecost, the fiftieth day of Easter. As the Sanctus bells ring at the epiclesis or calling down of the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine that will become the Body and Blood of Christ, we would do well to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is truly released, outpoured to bring about transformation and change. We ask for an overshadowing of the Holy Spirit on our altars, our sanctuaries, our neighborhood, our world. The Holy Spirit is given freely in the Sacraments and makes possible the renewal for which we hope. In a particular way we ask that the Holy Spirit would stir in the hearts of those who visit St. Clement throughout this ART-A-WHIRL ® Weekend. May all who set foot in that sacred place come to glimpse the ‘something new’ that the Lord is doing in our midst and the way that human hearts are so readily inflamed through the transcendentals of the beauty, goodness and truth for which we are made. Many thanks to all of our artists, our musicians, our organizers, hosts and collaborators. What a splendid occasion to rally at Lowry and Central to bear witness to the renewal of hearts and souls that the Lord so desires to bring about in us! In the words often on the lips of our shepherd, Archbishop Hebda: “The Lord has given us so much, but we dare to ask for more.”

Just a few miscellaneous notes on the theme of sacred newness:

+ Archbishop Hebda came to bless the volunteers who helped to assemble the playground and spread mulch this past Tuesday. The students from St. John Paul II School are beaming at the new place to play. A couple of final stages of the overall project are still in the works. Thanks to all who helped.

+ We are blessed that Kyle Etzel, a major seminarian of this local Archdiocese has chosen to call Holy Cross home for the summer as a parish intern. He will live in the rectory at Holy Cross and get involved with many of the new summer activities involving our youth and young adults. He arrived this weekend and dove right into ART-A-WHIRL ®. Welcome him as you meet him around throughout the summer.

+ The children’s Faith Formation year closed this past Wednesday with a final Mass and ice cream social! Our First Communicants were still radiant from their first encounter with the Eucharistic Lord last Sunday as many of them received their second Holy Communion. May the sacred newness of Holy Communion never fade for them. Thanks are due to David Piskorski and Caroline Lyngdal in their efforts to prepare our children as well as to the other Wednesday catechists and St. John Paul II teachers, especially Theresa Mahowald. We are eager to see our new Family Catechesis and Adult Formation coordinator, Morgan Smith get involved through the summer months to help prepare for a new year of serving and forming children and parents together with our team of volunteer catechists. Contact Morgan if you are interested to serve. We plan to offer a summertime pre-registration opportunity for Family Catechesis which will begin in the fall.

+ Beginning on Sunday, June 3, the Feast of Corpus Christi, a new 7:30 AM Mass will be offered at Holy Cross church each Sunday. It will be a reverent ‘recited’ or ‘quiet’ Mass without music. An early Mass is a great way to dodge the full heat of the summer months and provides added flexibility on making sure we stay close to the Eucharist. As you do travel throughout the summer or spend time at cabins, build Mass into your plans. One of the great resources is www.MassTimes.org and remember you can always find our parish bulletin online to stay connected when you are away.

In all the new that the Lord is bringing about in our midst, let us rejoice in His consolations and continue to hope in the renewing and revitalizing force of the Holy Spirit at work in the Church.

God bless,

Fr. Howe

One final note: Masses on Memorial Day—

Monday, May 28—there will be at 9 AM at Holy Cross and 10 AM at St. Hedwig. There will be no normal 6:45 AM Mass at Holy Cross or 5:45 PM Mass at St. Clement. The parish office will be closed on Memorial Day.