Catholic Activity: Celebrating Pentecost in the Home
Therese Mueller provides ideas for celebrating Pentecost at home, commemorating the Birthday of the Church and our own personal "Pentecost" at Confirmation.
Pentecost is not "just another Sunday," but the second culmination, the highfeast that concludes the Easter celebration. Another task is therefore ours, — to find a worthy expression of it in the home. The symbol of the Holy Spirit (a simple folding cut in red craft paper) dominates the home altar, and red roses are blooming in our backyards now to glow radiantly beside it, symbols of love and devotion. (One time we tried to express the Introit: "the Spirit of the Lord hath filled the earth", in simple silhouettes. Under the dominating dove with the seven gifts streaming forth from it, we arranged the symbols of the universe, from sun and moon to the monsters in the depths of the sea. It expresses the blessed assurance that there is no sphere in the universe which is hidden or cut off from the unceasing activity of the Spirit of the Lord. Deo Gratias.) Let us listen to the Voice of him who breathes where he will: in restored nature, in the prayer of a child, on the battlefields of the world.
A dove made of silver or gold foil or red construction paper or sheet aluminum hanging from the chandelier is easy to make. How about a mobile with the dove in the midst of fiery tongues? A seven branched candleholder or seven red candles lined up as table centerpiece can remind us of the seven holy gifts, in the midst of flowers and greens to represent nature rejoicing with us.
In our family we like to have a dove (of red paper or gold foil) hover over the dinner table. On the table are seven red candles, decorated with red ribbons and red flowers. The sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit are called to mind with the place cards: each card names one gift of the Holy Ghost, and each person has a turn to explain or question the meaning of "his" gift and its effects. For the evening meal, we may trade cards and each may formulate a short prayer to call down this gift upon the members of the family. These Pentecost decorations are repeated and elaborated for each Confirmation feast.
On the eve of Pentecost we gather for a two-fold celebration: the birthday of the Church and the anniversary of our "personal Pentecost," confirmation. Solemnly we vow love and faithful obedience to her, our Holy Mother, through Christ our Lord, who in the hour of the death of Christ went forth from his opened side as the new Eve, mother to all that are born from the water and the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost for the first time she opened the locked doors of the "upper room," she was made known to the great multitude of pentecostal visitors in the Holy City, as chosen by Christ and fortified by his Holy Spirit to bring the message of the Redemption to all mankind, until time is no more.
Then we recall the day when we were confirmed with the Spirit of the Lord, the day when we were sent forth by the bishop to testify for Christ in our everyday life. We repeat what happened and what was said to us on that great day and ask God to renew in us the grace and power of our confirmation.
All through the octave, we pray the Veni Sancta Spiritus, the sequence from the Pentecost Mass. One year we made it a "game" during the dishes to learn the text in Latin, because the children were attracted by the rhythm and sound. Now we hope to be able to chat it, since several of the children have become choir-minded.
Send forth thy spirit and they shall be created and thou shalt renew the face of the earth, alleluia, alleluia!
Activity Source: Our Children's Year of Grace by Therese Mueller, Pio Decimo Press, St. Louis, Missouri, 1955