Happy Pentecost!

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place…

The Pentecost, Waldburg-Wolfegg Collection at ...

…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit! and began speaking in other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability.

Happy Pentecost, everyone! I’ve had a wonderful day: my parish had a multicultural celebration of Pentecost at the noon mass, jointly organized by the diversity and liturgy committees. Both the Anglo and the Hispanic choirs sang at mass, and so did a visiting African American gospel choir, who were fabulous. Our first reading was in English, second in Spanish, gospel in both; the general intercessions were in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French Creole, Igbo, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. The mass was concelebrated by all our clergy, and the consecration chalice was the chalice that was given to the parish at its founding 35 years ago.

Then after mass, there was more celebration, with food and entertainment! The food was generic American lunch, but I heard African-American rhythmic spiritual song, and then saw all kinds of dance: Irish step dancing (traditional and not), and dances from Peru, Colombia, India, Hawaii, and Tahiti. There was a map of the world in the lobby and pins so we could mark where we came from or the country of origin with which we identify. My table had a mixture of folks who were Anglo, African American, Peruvian, and Mexican.

Then, this evening, there was a concert. It was mostly a nostalgic walk through 50 years of Catholic music since Vatican 2, although there were a couple of choral Latin pieces, and some discussion of the Reformers’ practice of setting various texts to the same hymn tunes, for a little bit of historical framework.

But mostly it was a romp through the last 50 years: the good, the bad, and the ugly. 🙂 To my great delight, we were invited to sing along when we knew the music, and oh boy did I: there were songs I had entirely forgotten about until I heard them, and then it all came back. Songs I loved, and songs I fondly hated. I gleefully sang Sons of God, which my college folk group used to joke about featuring in the tacky, worst-possible-taste mass lineup we could imagine. The children’s choir did a bunch of pieces I’d forgotten, too: my favorite was Rise and Shine, complete with visual aids for the Noah’s flood verses.

Some of the pieces brought tears to my eyes: All Good Gifts from Godspell, and the setting of the Magnificat to Wild Irish Thyme. Some were just fun – the mixed setting of Hail Holy Queen from Sister Act, that starts straight and then mixes it up. There were some pieces we didn’t sing but that were talked about: one was the rock version of the Lord’s Prayer that made the top 10 in 1970-something — I don’t remember hearing it on the radio, but I’m pretty sure I sang it in college! so I sang that on the way home. (And just picked up my guitar and mostly worked out the chords again, too.)

What fun! My pastor, who has only been at this parish for a couple of years, said at the end of the concert that this was the best Pentecost he’d ever had.

What did you do for Pentecost?

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4 Responses to Happy Pentecost!

  1. amyspen says:

    That’s awesome! I really like how your parish celebrated the diversity through music and food. My parish was pretty low key for Pentecost, except for the fact there was red everywhere!
    http://obeautyeverancient.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks! Yes, I was excited to see how the celebration of Pentecost was expanded. The pastor picked up the quote from Acts 2 that people “from every nation under heaven” were present at the first Pentecost, and emphasized several times that this is much more true now than it was then, and how beautiful and exciting that makes the church!

      My old parish used to encourage everyone to wear red on Pentecost, but this one didn’t. We did have red and white balloons in the hall though!

  2. Andrew says:

    Happy Pentecost (belatedly). I like the old British word for the day “Whitsun Day” (I think I learned it from a German to British English dictionary back in high school). It’s not clear whether the name refers to the wearing of white on that day, or the gift of wisdom (wit) from the Holy Spirit on the original day.

    • Happy Pentecost to you too, even more belatedly! 😀 I like the word too, and the related word Whitsuntide for the season of Pentecost, which I believe is still observed in some liturgical calendars. (The Roman Catholic church just entered the season of “ordinary time.”)

      Wearing white on that day… hmm! I know that traditionally, those who had been baptized and then dressed in white at Easter Vigil wore white all Easter week (thus it is sometimes called “Bright Week”) as well as on the following sunday, which concluded their formal process of mystagogia or initation into the mysteries. It would be interesting if the tradition of wearing white on Pentecost Sunday was contemporaneous with that, ie, that not only the recently baptized but the whole church wore baptismal white on Pentecost. I’ll have to look that up…

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