A Vincentian View: Pentecost Season

by | Jun 7, 2023 | Formation, Reflections | 2 comments

We call the several weeks that follow the celebration of Christmas, the “Christmas Season.”  Similarly, many weeks follow the solemnity of Easter, and we refer to this stretch as the “Easter Season.”  These “seasons” express and extend the great feasts with which they are associated.  In these days, I have wondered at the need for a “Pentecost Season” that embraces and emphasizes the meaning of the wondrous feast of Pentecost.  During this time, the Church focuses our attention on the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Christian Community.

In my last essay, I spoke about the Spirit and Mary.  My consideration centered on an opening passage from the Acts of the Apostles:

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. (Acts 2:1-4)

The story is not content to draw our heed solely to the speaking of the Apostles and disciples; it also directs our notice toward those who listen to them.  Each person, of whatever background hears them speaking in his own language (vv. 6, 8, 11).  Speaking and listening both serve to capture God’s message for humankind.  This dynamic receives its impetus from the presence of the Spirit.

Speaking and listening.  They form the most natural of pairs.  I confess to finding them particularly attractive for the current era in our country, our Church, and among friends.  My hunger for this type of communication is not original or unique.  Many, many people feel the lack.  It challenges each of us to consider how much contribution we make to that effort in our own relationships and reflections.

Once again, we can find ourselves drawn to Pope Francis’ desire for understanding and practicing synodality.  He summons the Church and its people to learn to attend to one another.

Thus, Pentecost and the Holy Spirit.  Our Pentecost Season would encompass the Ordinary Time that we begin in these weeks.  “Ordinary” would describe the nature of the welcome of the Spirit into our conversation, our study, our decisions.  Yes, Jesus promised us this extraordinary gift of the Advocate, the Counselor, the Comforter.  We should seek and attend to her.  As fire, wind and water symbolize this Spirit and are part of our everyday experience, so should be her guidance and our positive response.

Come, Holy Spirit,
fill our hearts,
make us faithful,
kindle in us the fire of your love.


  1. Ross

    RE: Speaking and listening.

    I find in today’s Office of Readings a suggestion from St. Gregory the Great that speaking is not enough. I quote:

    “The teaching of the arrogant has this characteristic: they do not know how to introduce their teaching humbly and they cannot convey correctly to others the things they understand correctly themselves. With their words they betray what they teach; they give the impression that they live on lofty heights from which they look down disdainfully on those whom they are teaching; they regard the latter as inferiors, to whom they do not deign to listen as they talk; indeed they scarcely deign to talk to them at all — they simply lay down the law.”

  2. Tom M

    “Ordinary Time,” the Listening Season. Thanks,…