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Pope says Holy Spirit brings newness, harmony and mission



20 May, 2013 - St. Peter’s Square in Rome was awash with some 200,000 pilgrims on Sunday, as Pope Francis celebrated the feast of the Pentecost, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Virgin Mary and the Apostles, an event regarded as the birth of the Church. Celebrating a solemn Mass with members of Catholic movements and associations from around the world, the Pope told them to be open to “God’s surprises” because they bring true happiness. “The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfillment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good,” he stated. Sunday’s Pentecost Mass wrapped up two days of celebrations by the Church movements and associations in the current year of Year of Faith, which included a pilgrimage on Saturday to St. Peter’s tomb, and a prayer vigil.
The Holy Father dedicated his Sunday homily to three ways that the Holy Spirit works in the lives of Christians: “newness, harmony and mission.” Speaking about “newness”, he explained that it requires letting the Holy Spirit be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision. The second aspect of the Spirit’s work is that he gives different gifts to people, creating diversity in the Church that ends up all being united in harmony by him. He warned that when “we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division.”
The key, Pope Francis taught, is to “let ourselves be guided by the Spirit” and live in and with the Church. Pope Francis’ final point centered on how the “Holy Spirit is the soul of mission.” Pope Francis warned the Catholic Church not to close in on itself, urging the faithful to be open and present in a new and changing world. The Church should ask itself daily whether it is resisting new challenges and remaining "barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new," he said. "Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control," Pope Francis said. He warned of the threat of an institution which is "self-referential, closed in on herself," and spoke of the courage to "take to the streets of the world" and reach "the very outskirts of existence".
At the end of the Mass, before the Regina Coeli prayer, the Pope thanked the various groups for their presence and noted that the Holy Spirit had transformed St. Peter’s Square into an open-air Upper Room. He said that the harmony inspired by the Holy Spirit was evident in the Square with the “variety of charisms” and the beauty of those being united in the Church. While thanking the communities and associations for the gift they are to the Church, he urged them to mission, the third aspect of the Spirit’s work in Christians’ lives. “Always carry the power of the Gospel! Always have the joy and passion for communion in the Church! The Risen Lord is always with you and the Madonna protects you!” he proclaimed.
The vast cobblestone square in front of St. Peter's Basilica is traditionally the Vatican territory where pontiffs greet the faithful at outdoor Vatican gatherings. But Pope Francis kept going in his pope-mobile beyond the Vatican border waving cheerfully and greeting the enthusiastic crowd, in a symbolic act of the Church reaching out to the margins. (Source: CNA/EWTN)




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