Easter Season

What is Pentecost and Why it Matters to You

What is Pentecost and Why it Matters to You

The Church celebrates Pentecost fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus and ten days after His ascension into Heaven. This holiday is one of the most important feast days of the year, concluding the Easter season and celebrating the beginning of the Church on earth. In the most simple of terms, Pentecost is the Church’s birthday – and because you are part of the Body of Christ, it is your second birthday as well. So, Happy Birthday!

The name “Pentecost” means “50th,” or the 50th day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, Mother Mary, and the first followers of Jesus who were all gathered in the Upper Room.

According to the Word of God, a “strong, driving wind” filled the upper room where they were all gathered and tongues of fire came to rest upon their heads allowing them to mysteriously and miraculously speak different languages. In this way, they were all able to understand each other and proclaim to others in others’ native languages. 

In addition to languages, the Holy Spirit gave to the apostles additional gifts and fruits necessary to fulfill the great commission – to go out and preach the Gospel to all nations. This commission fulfilled the New Testament promise from Christ that the Apostles would be “clothed with power” before being sent out to spread the Good News (Luke 24:46-49). For further study, the main event of Pentecost — the strong driving wind and tongues of fire — takes place in Acts 2:13, though the events immediately following (Peter’s homily and the baptism of thousands) continues through to verse 41. The three thousand people baptized the day of Pentecost were among the first Catholics, while Peter was deemed the first pope of Christ’s Church – the Catholic Church

In sum, on the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ’s Passover was fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine Person. On that day, the Holy Trinity was fully revealed to mankind.


The Symbols of Pentecost are the flame, wind, and dove, all representing the Holy Spirit. The color of Pentecost is red and the priests usually wear red vestments on this day.

The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to you

God is love and love is His first gift, a gift so incredibly glorious that it contains all of His other gifts in one. God’s love has been poured into the hearts of men through the Holy Spirit who has been given to as a free gift of His love.

Because we are all wounded through (original) sin, the first effect of the gift of love is the forgiveness of our sins. The communion of the Holy Spirit in the Church restores to the baptized the divine likeness lost through sin, giving us the “first fruits” of our inheritance. The very life of the Holy Trinity is to love as God has loved us (1 Cor. 13). This love is the source of all new life in Christ made possible because we have been given (and received) “power” from the Holy Spirit. Through this power we, as children of God, are able to bear much fruit of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

In the most general of terms, through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise; led back to the Kingdom of Heaven, adopted as children, given confidence to call God “Father,” and speak Truth regardless of consequence.

The Holy Spirit and the Church

The salvific (saving) mission of Christ is brought to completion through the Holy Spirit in His Church — the Body of Christ and Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Church’s mission is not an addition to that of Christ and the Holy Spirit, but is its sacrament. In her whole being and in all her members, the Church, the Bride of Christ, is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity. 

Because the Holy Spirit is the anointing of Christ, it is Christ who, as the head of the Body, pours out the Spirit among His members to nourish, heal, and organize them in their mutual functions; to give them life, send them to bear witness, and associate them to His self-offering to the Father and by His intercession for the whole world. Through the Church’s sacraments, Christ communicates His Holy and sanctifying Spirit to the members of the entire Body. The Spirit then helps us in our weakness, ‘for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes with sighs too deep for words.’ 

In conclusion

Because we are sons and daughters of God, “God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Gal 4:6). To echo St. John Chrysostom, “Today [Pentecost] we have arrived at the peak of all blessings, we have reached the capital of feasts, we have obtained the very fruit of the Lord’s promise.” Hallelujah! 

Being as though Pentecost is one of the most important feast days of the year, and because we have been given such a divine gift from God through the giving of the Holy Spirit, we would be remiss not to spend some extra time in prayer today. Between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday, the Apostles and the blessed Virgin Mary spent nine days in prayer, waiting for the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to send His Spirit. This was the origin of the novena prayer (nine-day prayer) which became one of the most popular forms of Christian intercessory prayer on earth — especially when asking God for something specific. 

From the earliest days of the Church, the period between Ascension and Pentecost has been celebrated by praying the Novena to the Holy Ghost, asking God the Father to send His Spirit and grant us the gifts and fruits of the Spirit. While the Novena to the Holy Ghost is most often prayed between Ascension and Pentecost, it can absolutely be prayed anytime we find ourselves in particular need of the strength the Holy Spirit grants through His special gifts and power.

There are many other prayers to the Holy Spirit that are appropriate both for Pentecost and for all year long. When the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, He appeared as tongues of fire. Living as Christians means letting that fire of Truth burn within us every day and, for that, we need the constant intercession of the Holy Spirit wrought about by prayer. 

As we conclude, here are four powerful prayers to pray during Pentecost or anytime you are in need of more of the Holy Spirit in your life:

Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The following prayer is from St. Alphonsus de’ Liguori. In it, we ask the Holy Spirit to grant us His seven gifts. The seven gifts are first enumerated in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah (11: 1-3) and appear in many Christian devotional works, including this prayer: 

Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God,
with God the Father and God the Son.
I adore You and unite myself to the adoration
You receive from the angels and saints.

I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving
for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.

O Giver of all supernatural gifts, who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with such immense favors,
I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love
and to grant me the gift of Holy Fear,
so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me
from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.

Grant me the gift of Piety, so that I may serve
You for the future with increased fervor,
follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations,
and observe Your divine precepts with greater fidelity.

Grant me the gift of Knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation,
in the path of eternal salvation.

Grant me the gift of Fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world
which threaten the salvation of my soul.

Grant me the gift of Counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive
to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.

Grant me the gift of Understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.

Grant me the gift of Wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life,
I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next. Amen.

Litany of the Holy Spirit

This litany reminds us of the many attributes of the Holy Spirit (including the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit), while asking for His guidance and grace as we struggle to grow in the spiritual life. While the litany is not approved for public use, it can be prayed privately, by yourself or with your family or a small group. It would be especially appropriate to pray the litany on Pentecost.

*In the central part of the litany, the italicized response (“have mercy on us”) should be recited after each line.

Litany of the Holy Spirit

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Father all powerful, have mercy on us.

Jesus, Eternal Son of the Father, Redeemer of the world, save us.
Spirit of the Father and the Son, boundless Life of both, sanctify us.
Holy Trinity, hear us.
Holy Spirit, Who proceedest from the Father and the Son, enter our hearts.
Holy Spirit, Who art equal to the Father and the Son, enter our hearts.

Promise of God the Father, *have mercy on us.
Ray of heavenly light, *
Author of all good, *
Source of heavenly water, *
Consuming Fire, *
Ardent Charity, *
Spiritual Unction, *
Spirit of love and truth, *
Spirit of wisdom and understanding, *
Spirit of counsel and fortitude, *
Spirit of knowledge and piety, *
Spirit of the fear of the Lord, *
Spirit of grace and prayer, *
Spirit of peace and meekness, *
Spirit of modesty and innocence, *
Holy Spirit, the Comforter, *
Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, *
Holy Spirit, Who governest the Church, *
Gift of God the Most High, *
Spirit Who fillest the universe, *
Spirit of the adoption of the children of God, have mercy on us.

Holy Spirit, inspire us with horror of sin.
Holy Spirit, come and renew the face of the earth.
Holy Spirit, shed Thy Light into our souls.
Holy Spirit, engrave Thy law in our hearts.
Holy Spirit, inflame us with the flame of Thy love.
Holy Spirit, open to us the treasures of Thy graces.
Holy Spirit, teach us to pray well.
Holy Spirit, enlighten us with Thy heavenly inspirations.
Holy Spirit, lead us in the way of salvation.
Holy Spirit, grant us the only necessary knowledge.
Holy Spirit, inspire in us the practice of good.
Holy Spirit, grant us the merits of all virtues.
Holy Spirit, make us persevere in justice.
Holy Spirit, be our everlasting reward.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, send us Thy Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, pour down into our souls the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, grant us the Spirit of wisdom and piety.

Come, Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
Let us pray.

Grant, O merciful Father, that Thy Divine Spirit may enlighten, inflame and purify us, that He may penetrate us with His heavenly dew and make us fruitful in good works, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, liveth and reigneth forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit for a Favor

O Holy Spirit, Divine Consoler!
I adore You as my True God.
I bless You by uniting myself to the praises
You receive from the angel and saints.
I offer You my whole heart,
and I render You heartfelt thanks
for all the benefits You have bestowed
and do unceasingly bestow upon the world.

You are the author of all supernatural gifts
and who did enrich with immense favors the soul
of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
the Mother of God,
I beseech You to visit me by Your grace and Your love,
and grant me the favor
I so earnestly seek in this novena…

[…state your request here…]

O Holy Spirit,
spirit of truth,
come into our hearts:
shed the brightness of Your light on all nations,
that they may be of one faith and pleasing to You.

Come Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

V. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.

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.

See also:
7 Most Effective Prayers to the Holy Spirit for Power and Intercession

Miracle Prayer of St. Padre Pio
Powerful Prayer to Saint Jude the Apostle
Most Powerful Psalm of Protection: Psalm 91
The Warrior’s Prayer: Putting on the Armor of God
10 Best Psalms of Praise and Thanksgiving
19 Best Psalms for Healing
7 Powerful Psalms for a Financial Breakthrough
28 Best Bible Verses for Answered Prayer
Powerful Prayer for a Miracle
The Warriors Prayer: Putting on the Armor of God
3 Powerful Psalms for Forgiveness
19 Most Powerful Psalms for Healing
18 Best Bible Verses for Financial Prosperity

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