Week of 5/20/2018
This weekend we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, the final day of the Easter season.
We remember that the first confirmation took place at Pentecost, when the disciples
received the Holy Spirit. The ability and passion to preach the faith was greatly
empowered by the sacrament, from which they plunged into the town square and
baptized 3000 people in one day. What happened was that the Apostles could not
operate under their own power alone, but were opened completely to the Spirit.
They needed the grace of the Holy Spirit; the supernatural power of God to propel
them towards heroic deeds.
At its core, confirmation is taught in Catholic theology as completing baptismal grace; it
increases sanctifying grace in the soul, which enables the soul to grow more intimate with God
and therefore grow more powerful in spreading the word of Christ. The words of Christ alone
have power, but when preached by someone closer to God they carry extra propulsion. This is
why the word of God spoken by great saints like Mother Teresa carries tremendous appeal.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are seven; can you name them? Wisdom, understanding, counsel,
fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. These gifts enter the soul and thus fortify it in
terms of its ability to act in the name of God. In our scientific age one might ask where is the
difference in the person before and after confirmation? First, the supernatural can never be
measured scientifically; trying to measure God’s presence is like trying to take a ruler and
measure the universe. Secondly, an analogy helps us understand the sacrament and how it
truly becomes effective. Consider a sailing ship. The “ship” itself is the soul, the “sails” are the
gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the winds are the actual impulses of the Holy Spirit to drive us. When
a person honestly seeks God, to humbly live by all His commandments and pray to Him fervently
everyday, the sails unfold to a fuller extent, hence when the “winds” or impulses come, the ship
sails with greater power. When one does not practice their faith, or grows lukewarm in commitment,
the sails fold up and shrink, and thus the impulse of the Holy Spirit, as the “wind,” causes little
One must always remember, though, that when we grow closer to God it is not necessarily
emotionally perceptible, but we never grow closer to God by being lukewarm. Thus, let us
pray for over eighty eighth graders preparing for confirmation next year. That, they will use their
acquired knowledge to seek Jesus always; that they don’t fall into the devil’s sneaky trap of false
freedom, meaning freedom from the Church. Real freedom means overcoming worldly attachment
and putting God first. Confirmation gives us treasures far beyond the phony pleasures of this world.
May these teenagers, with strong encouragement from their parents, seek Christ more than ever;
may they grow more deeply attached to the mass and confession. May they seek Jesus Christ first
in all things. Only then will they discover true love, true friendship, and true happiness in God.
Many thanks to our great prolife committee for a beautiful May crowning with our second graders
and the gift of carnations to all women at the 9am Mass last week, and to our wonderful K of C for
great coffee and egg sandwiches in the gym! Over hundred and fifty people came to the gym for
fellowship and great breakfast! Please also note important upcoming dates including our
ever expanding Parish picnic on June 10th at 1pm, and Corpus Christi Mass at noon on June 3rd,
with a grand luncheon in the gym afterwards!! Also, Bible Camp begins June 25th, our great
Dominican sisters will be coming again to teach our children. See inside the bulletin for details!
God love you,
Fr. Brian Gannon