PENTECOST: The Mystery of Confirmation

Posted on May 11, 2018

RCIA Session, May 17 


READINGS for PENTECOST during the Day
Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
Galatians 5:16-25
John 15:26-27; 16:12-15


"Does this not show that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell and alters the whole pattern of their lives?  With the Spirit within them it is quite natural for people who had been absorbed by the things of this world to become entirely other-worldly in outlook, and for cowards to become men of great courage.  There can be no doubt that this is what happened to the disciples.  The strength they received from the Spirit enabled them to hold firmly to the love of Christ, facing the violence of their persecutors unafraid.  Very true, then, was our Savior's saying that it was to their advantage for him to return to heaven:  his return was the time appointed for the descent of the Holy Spirit."   -St. Cyril of Alexandria, regarding John 16:7, Office of Readings, Thursday of 7th week of Easter

CALENDAR:  Confirmation at Cathedral Sunday, May 20, please arrive by 9:30 am!

  • Thursday, May 17:  Usual class groups - reviewing the Sacrament of Confirmation; special dinner night for English-speaking adult group; Usual Parish Confession at 6:00 pm; two priests available from 7pm to 8pm
  • Confirmation Day, Ss. Peter & Paul Cathedral with Archbishop Charles Thompson, 10:30 am -- candidates and sponsors must arrive and check in at the door by 9:30 am
  • Thursday, May 24:  FIESTA!  Final night of RCIA - Certificates will be given -- there will be piñatas and food, door prizes and fun for all the families in RCIA - please celebrate with us!


  • To reflect on the readings of the upcoming Sunday, the Solemnity of Pentecost
  • To prepare the Confirmation Candidates for Confirmation Day at the Cathedral, this Sunday, May 20
  • To know the matter and form of Confirmation - and to memorize what to say and do during the Rite on Sunday
  • To understand Confirmation through the Pentecost story and our reflection on our own mission as Christians in the world

PRACTICE THE FAITH: Continue in your faith at St. Monica

  • For those who received the Sacraments during this Easter and through Pentecost - continue these last 2 weeks in RCIA and find a way to stay involved in the Parish beyond Sunday Mass (but including Sunday Mass as the center of your faith!)
  • Be sure to go to Confession before receiving Confirmation on May 20!
  • Be sure to make your first Confession, if you were just recently baptized!
  • For those who look forward to the Sacraments, continue in RCIA until you are ready for the sacraments

TOOLS this week:  love, joy, peace, patience, understanding...

REFLECTING TOGETHER THIS WEEK:  The fruit of the Spirit is...   

"Now the works of the flesh are obvious:  immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies and the like.   ...In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  ...If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit."  -Galatians 5:16-25

St. Paul is great at making lists in his different epistles.  Which of the two lists from this Galatians passage "strikes" you most today?   What is it that captures your attention - and why does God draw your attention to those particular words?

What "fruit" do you bear?  Do your actions cause dissension, rivalry, factions?  Do you lose your temper, act selfishly or have occasions of envy?  When do you find you are most patient, most kind, most generous, least selfish, most faithful and obedient?   Whatever is alive in our hearts is what will show on the outside -- how can you open your heart to the Spirit and close it to what is not from the Holy Spirit?

How does our St. Monica Parish bear fruit for those close to us?  Would our neighbors be any worse off if St. Monica Parish ceased to exist here at 6131 N. Michigan Road?  What would they miss?  If there is not much they would miss, what could we do to change that?  What will YOU do to change that?  How will you be involved in the work of St. Monica Parish?

Do you feel the Catholic Church is a source of goodness in the world?  What failures and sins do we have as a Church?  What evidence of the Spirit? 


EXPLORING MORE DEEPLY:   Christians in the World - like leaven, virtually invisible yet a powerful force within the dough

From a letter to Diognetus, unknown author, probably 2nd century, see full text

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs.  They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life.  Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men.  Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine.  With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

            And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives.  They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through.  They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens.  Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country.  Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them.  They share their meals, but not their wives.  They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh.  They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven.  Obedient to the laws, they live on a level that transcends the law.

            Christians love all men, but all men persecute them.  Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again.  They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything.  They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory.  They are defamed, but vindicated.  A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult.  For the good do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life.  They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

            To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body.  As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world.  As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen.  The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures.  Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

            Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred.  It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together.  The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven.  As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution.  Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

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