What Pentecost Means for Christians

The Meaning of Pentecost

Pentecost marks the birth of the Christian Church. It is the reason why Pentecost is important. When the Holy Spirit filled the apostles of Jesus, God gave them a gift to speak in multiple tongues so that they will be able to evangelise the works of Jesus to other nations. These acts of the apostles herald the birth of the Christian Church. In the early stories of the Church, the story of Pentecost is the most significant one.

Today at Pentecost, Christians may greet one another Happy Birthday. Pentecost is on 4 June 2017. Next year, it will be on 20 May 2018. Pentecost means 50th day, counting 50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday inclusive.

The Story of Pentecost

The story of Pentecost begins in the Acts of the Apostles. In the New Testament of the Holy Bible, the Acts of the Apostles tells the story of the beginnings of the Church. You can find the Acts of the Apostles between the Gospels and the Letters (Epistles).

Pentecost In The Bible

The Gospels end with a glimpse of the Ascension of the Lord, that is when Jesus ascended into heaven. The Acts of the Apostles, on the other hand, begins with it. Then, the story continues to the story of Pentecost – the Coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles of Christ.

Acts 2:1-4, The First Pentecost

Jesus was crucified and died in AD 33, according to scholars of history. Three days after, Jesus resurrected. The Ascension of the Lord happened after Christ's Resurrection. The Pentecost happened after the Ascension of the Lord, and before the conversion of St Paul. Scholarly estimate of St Paul's conversion took place sometime in AD 33-36. Therefore, the first Pentecost must have happened between AD 33 and AD 36.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability.

What Happened at Pentecost

Upon descending of the Holy Spirit and rested as tongue of fire on the crowns of Jesus' disciples, they all started to speak in different languages. For that reason, Jesus' disciples were able to evangelise to people of other nations, giving birth to the Church that Jesus commissioned them to build.

Pentecost In the Catholic Church

Pentecost in the Catholic Church is a special day. It marks the birthday of the Church. It is a fitting occasion for the sprinkling rite of infants and for infant baptism.

Pentecost Sunday starts with a Vigil Mass, celebrated on Saturday evening. The Eucharistic celebrations follow the next day, Sunday. The readings and Gospel of the Vigil Mass are not the same Readings and Gospel of the Sunday Mass. In all masses on Pentecost Sunday, a sequence is sung or recited.
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the Poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine!


Pentecost culminates the end of the Liturgical Season of Easter. After Pentecost Sunday, the Ordinary Time continues, so is the recitation of the Angelus.

On Pentecost Sunday, the Easter Candle is lit at all Masses. The Easter Candle is displayed with honour, placed near the baptismal font. This is the best time for infants to be baptised. The candles of the newly baptised are lit from the Easter Candle. The colour of Pentecost solemnity is red.

The Pentecost is meditated on the Third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary Descent of the Holy Spirit.


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