UPDATED: On Pentecost, Bishop exhorts faithful to follow the example of the first Apostles

May 28, 2023 at 10:02 p.m.
UPDATED: On Pentecost, Bishop exhorts faithful to follow the example of the first Apostles
UPDATED: On Pentecost, Bishop exhorts faithful to follow the example of the first Apostles

By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor

“Happy Pentecost Sunday!” Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., exuberantly said in greeting the congregation in St. Dominic Church, Brick, where he celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of Pentecost May 28.

“What a beautiful day, a joyous day!” the Bishop said. “I’m so thrilled and honored to be here with you to celebrate this great feast of the Church throughout the world.”

Photo Gallery: Bishop celebrates Pentecost  Mass in St. Dominic Church, Brick

Bishop O’Connell was invited by Father Brian Woodrow, pastor of St. Dominic Parish, to celebrate Mass on the feast that marks the end of the 50-day Easter season and the beginning of the Church. The parish had completed a major renovation project and “we felt it would be a wonderful time for Bishop to  celebrate Mass on the church’s newly consecrated altar and conclude the Easter season,” Father Woodrow said.

“To have our Bishop with us for the feast of Pentecost was truly an incredible gift,” Father Woodrow added.  “He is so loved in our parish and we are so grateful for his tireless shepherding of our Diocese.”

In his homily for Pentecost, Bishop O’Connell reflected on similarities and differences between the First Reading (Acts 2:1-11) and the Gospel (John 20:19-23).

While both Readings indicate that the apostles were gathered in the Upper Room when Jesus appeared, the Gospel references that it was on Easter Sunday. “The apostles were huddled together in fear and when Jesus appeared, he showed them his hands and feet,” the Bishop said. It was also in in the Gospel, that Jesus twice said, “Peace be with you,” and when Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

In the First Reading, the day was not Easter but rather 50 days later, “and the breath of God, the Holy Spirit of God, was not a gentle breath but a noise, like a driving wind and tongues of fire” that came and settled on them, he said.

“Suddenly, these first apostles, who were huddled and locked away in fear, burst out expressing themselves in foreign tongues and making bold proclamations as the Spirit prompted,” Bishop O’Connell explained, saying that the Apostles could express themselves in foreign tongues even though they were languages the Apostles neither knew or learned.

“It was the Holy Spirit that enabled them to speak in languages that were not their own. And when they spoke, no matter what the language, everyone who heard could understand the marvels of God,” he said, emphasizing that the Apostles spoke messages of peace,  forgiveness and unity.

Christ’s command to forgive was not restricted to the Apostles; his command is “addressed to all of us in every age again and again,” he said.

“Let’s open ourselves to the Holy Spirit so that we, like the first apostles, might learn the language of Pentecost and speak it boldly and speak it always in word and action, to a waiting world.”

Before Mass, students from St. Dominic School presented the Bishop with gifts of a Crucifix and a bouquet of flowers. Father Woodrow explained that it’s an ancient tradition for parish churches to greet their bishop with a Crucifix for him to reverence with a kiss before the Bishop begins the celebration of Mass. Though given to the Bishop, the flowers were “symbolically offered to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” he added.


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“Happy Pentecost Sunday!” Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., exuberantly said in greeting the congregation in St. Dominic Church, Brick, where he celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of Pentecost May 28.

“What a beautiful day, a joyous day!” the Bishop said. “I’m so thrilled and honored to be here with you to celebrate this great feast of the Church throughout the world.”

Photo Gallery: Bishop celebrates Pentecost  Mass in St. Dominic Church, Brick

Bishop O’Connell was invited by Father Brian Woodrow, pastor of St. Dominic Parish, to celebrate Mass on the feast that marks the end of the 50-day Easter season and the beginning of the Church. The parish had completed a major renovation project and “we felt it would be a wonderful time for Bishop to  celebrate Mass on the church’s newly consecrated altar and conclude the Easter season,” Father Woodrow said.

“To have our Bishop with us for the feast of Pentecost was truly an incredible gift,” Father Woodrow added.  “He is so loved in our parish and we are so grateful for his tireless shepherding of our Diocese.”

In his homily for Pentecost, Bishop O’Connell reflected on similarities and differences between the First Reading (Acts 2:1-11) and the Gospel (John 20:19-23).

While both Readings indicate that the apostles were gathered in the Upper Room when Jesus appeared, the Gospel references that it was on Easter Sunday. “The apostles were huddled together in fear and when Jesus appeared, he showed them his hands and feet,” the Bishop said. It was also in in the Gospel, that Jesus twice said, “Peace be with you,” and when Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

In the First Reading, the day was not Easter but rather 50 days later, “and the breath of God, the Holy Spirit of God, was not a gentle breath but a noise, like a driving wind and tongues of fire” that came and settled on them, he said.

“Suddenly, these first apostles, who were huddled and locked away in fear, burst out expressing themselves in foreign tongues and making bold proclamations as the Spirit prompted,” Bishop O’Connell explained, saying that the Apostles could express themselves in foreign tongues even though they were languages the Apostles neither knew or learned.

“It was the Holy Spirit that enabled them to speak in languages that were not their own. And when they spoke, no matter what the language, everyone who heard could understand the marvels of God,” he said, emphasizing that the Apostles spoke messages of peace,  forgiveness and unity.

Christ’s command to forgive was not restricted to the Apostles; his command is “addressed to all of us in every age again and again,” he said.

“Let’s open ourselves to the Holy Spirit so that we, like the first apostles, might learn the language of Pentecost and speak it boldly and speak it always in word and action, to a waiting world.”

Before Mass, students from St. Dominic School presented the Bishop with gifts of a Crucifix and a bouquet of flowers. Father Woodrow explained that it’s an ancient tradition for parish churches to greet their bishop with a Crucifix for him to reverence with a kiss before the Bishop begins the celebration of Mass. Though given to the Bishop, the flowers were “symbolically offered to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” he added.

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