National Catholic Register

User’s Guide to Sunday
By Tom and April Hoopes

Sunday, May 23, is Pentecost Sunday.

Pope Benedict will celebrate Pentecost Sunday Mass at 10am in St. Peter’s Basilica.


May 26 is the feast day of St. Philip Neri, known for the oratory movement that helps parish priests team up. Some interesting facts: He was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. His childhood nickname was “Good little Phil.” He started an organization to help needy pilgrims in Rome which later grew into a hospital. He was a late vocation, becoming a priest at age 36. He became a sought-after confessor. He was known for his sense of humor, and legend has it that a painting of him made a goofy face at investigators during his canonization process.

May 27 is the feast day of St. Augustine of Canterbury, who was serving as the abbot of St. Andrew’s monastery in Rome when Pope St. Gregory the Great sent him to evangelize the fierce people of England. Although Augustine initially chickened out, the Pope insisted, and Augustine arrived in 596. The mission was wildly successful. King Ethelbert was baptized a year later. Catholicism stuck for centuries until …

May 28 is the feast day of Blessed Margaret Pole, born in 1471. Both King Edward IV and Richard III were her uncles. King Henry VIII arranged her marriage to Sir Reginald Pole. When she was later widowed, Henry called her the holiest woman in England. She was made a countess and helped raise Princess Mary, King Henry and Queen Catherine’s daughter. But when Henry tried to marry Anne Boleyn, Margaret objected and was forced to leave the court. One of her sons, a priest who would become Cardinal Reginald Pole, also opposed Henry. He tried to get rid of the whole family.
Margaret was sent to the Tower of London, where she suffered from the cold and damp until she was executed on May 28, 1541, beheaded at age 70.

Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23

Our Take
We surveyed some Hoopes kids about what they meditated on during the Pentecost mystery. Their take on it was refreshing. Their answers show what in their teaching has stuck — and includes some new insights as well.

One insight is an excellent metaphor (perhaps remembering a lesson from summer camp last year): the apostles as explorers. Pentecost for this child was the beginning of a great adventure. “I was thinking of how the apostles were like explorers — exploring something new — and the Holy Spirit was giving them the strength to go and help the Christians who were undiscovered. The Holy Spirit helped them a lot to give them the courage to carry on.”

Another child saw in the different languages speaking to each other an analogy for the universality of the Church: “They all spoke in different tongues, and that showed that Jesus didn’t expect people to speak in one language. With the Holy Spirit, Christianity was open for all people to understand.”

Another focused on obedience to God’s will with a safe answer: “I was thinking about how the Holy Spirit sent the apostles out, and how powerful it was, and how the disciples were willing to do whatever the Holy Spirit wanted them to do, willingly and with faith.”

The youngest in the group made an excellent observation. Something special was happening here — something more powerful than the Annunciation: “I was thinking about how the Holy Spirit came instead of an angel or anything. They sent angels all the time. But this time they sent the Holy Spirit.” Yes, “they” did. How awesome is that?

Next, we asked them how to apply these lessons to our lives. Said the explorer: “We can learn that Jesus will always be there to help you even if you’re in a foreign place and even if you’re doing something big. You can learn from the apostles’ example to accept the mission that God sets before you, and the Holy Spirit will always conquer over your fears.”

Said another: “We can learn to be faithful in all matters because the disciples were so faithful, and they went out to teach the Christians and other people about Jesus. They were not afraid.”

Well said!

Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas.