The pattern of the liturgical year has the potential to provide both momentum and pause. For many parishes, the season of Easter to Pentecost is marked with the reception of first Holy Communion. It is a time of year which provides us with good cause for reflection. For some, it will prompt memories of their own first Holy Communion, or, confirmation. For others, it will arouse memories of a time when, at parish level at least, the Catholic faith expressed itself within the community as public acts of faith and solidarity: parish missions, rosary crusades, novenas and public processions to mark devotion to Our Blessed Mother, the Feast of Corpus Christi, or, devotion to the Sacred Heart. It is not possible to reflect upon these events without, at the same time, being reminded of those who were instrumental in our introduction to and instruction in the faith: priests, religious, teachers, parents, grandparents and others. No matter what their position, status, or role, each was committed to the transmission of the gift of the faith as their most precious possession.
In our present times, there is extensive media coverage in which we are told the church has lost all credibility. Within Western Europe, the Church is presented as having lost its voice, its meaning and/or relevance. Moreover, it would be a mistake to assume that these sentiments are expressed only by those who are external to the Church.
As children, we were taught to pray for the gift of faith. We were also told of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; including courage and fortitude. As we reflect on the feast of Pentecost, perhaps we would do well to remember whilst "our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth" we are aided in our journey by those who have themselves responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and that we too are called to do likewise. A short pause may be enough to fortify us so that we have the faith and courage to say:
"Come Holy Ghost, Creator come, from thy bright heavenly throne;
Come, take possession of our souls and make them all thine own."