Discipleship Encouraged at Pentecost, Pentecost Vigil Masses


WINONA--Bishop John Quinn celebrated Pentecost Vigil Mass at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Winona and the Diocesan Pentecost Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church in Rochester on June 3 and June 4, respectively.

The Vigil Mass included scriptual readings in French, Italian, German, Spanish and English, as well as testimony from representatives of ecclesiastical groups, as parishioners prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Some notable groups present at the Vigil Mass were the Neocatechumenal Way; the Communion and Liberation movement; the St. Vincent de Paul Society; St. Paul Street Evangelization; the Presidio movement; Teams of Our Lady; Lay Carmelites; Benedictine Oblates; and the Diocese of Winona's Institute of Lay Formation, whose 2017 class was commissioned and received certificates at the end of the liturgy.

"This is one of those days when we're allowed to see the work of the Holy Spirit," said Bishop Quinn as he recognized the groups.

In his homily, Bishop Quinn recalled the Apostles who hid behind locked doors at the first Pentecost.

"Without the Holy Spirit, and the flame of that Holy Spirit, how would those doors have ever gotten open?" he asked. "When would the assurance that they're safe enough to go out--when would that have occurred? Probably, most of us would have to almost be pulled out before we would leave. And yet, Jesus Christ comes through locked doors. He stands in their midst, and He breathes the Holy Spirit into His Church."

Bishop Quinn then called his audience to missionary action.

"In our time and in our day, I think you know how easy it is to say, 'Keep it in the church,'" he said. "But that cannot be the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit says, 'Unlock the door.' Get out there when it's uncomfortable. Go to the peripheries, as Pope Francis says. Go to those who are lost, those who feel abandoned. Get out there in a world that is increasingly secular, and bring the Gospel. Because the Church has always had to bring the Gospel, not into a community that was ready, but to a community in need."

"In order to do this," Bishop Quinn continued, "you have to open to the power and mystery of grace, and grace unsettles us. ...It helps us to know our true, authentic self; and the self that we try to pretend we are eventually has to go away. ...I think sometimes the best image for me is you've got to be a piece of velcro; something's got to stick. When we're too slick, grace slides off. When we think we know it all, when we begin to compare ourselves with others, or when we think, 'I'm pretty happy; I don't need to get messed up in this world of so many needs,' then we're not being a piece of velcro; grace is not going to attach. In fact, when [we're] slick, that grace and all that God wants to give us is going to slide right off. Along will follow our slickness."

The next morning at the Diocesan Pentecost Mass in Rochester, Bishop Quinn celebrated the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who had recently entered the Church. Their sponsors and families were also especially welcomed.

In his homily, Bishop Quinn encouraged the Church's new members to share their much-needed gifts; to "assemble" their lives in Christ, through the grace of the Spirit; and to keep a discipline of prayer, scripture reflection, and participation in the sacraments as part of their new Catholic lives.

The Diocese of Winona's Institute of Lay Formation - Class of 2017