Our Cathedral in Fort Wayne is in Honor of Mary, The Immaculate Conception. Every window shows a scene of Mary's life, and the largest and greatest window is found behind the altar and beautiful wooden raredos in the sanctuary. Picture of Dove (Holy Spirit) is directly above that window, to show that without the Holy Spirit, Mary' slife would have been ordinary and unimportant, since every event of her life, including her own conception without sin and her later consent to bear Christ in her womb, was overshadowed with the blessing of His Grace.
As He was the source of her holiness, so today we see that The Holy Spirit is the source of the Church's life and mission. The dynamic of life in the Church is from the top-down, not from the ground-up, just like the Cathedral shows us.
As the Church first prayed nine days for the coming of the Spirit, so do we unwaveringly beg from God the gifts that we need for our life.
And those prayers are always answered. Any studying of Church History will show you in hundreds of ways how the Holy Spirit knows what we need and gives us the Grace to carry out His Mission, indeed Christ's mission entrusted to us: to be witnesses to the Resurrection in our own time and place.
Today, Deacon Jacob Meyer became a priest. He is now called (and I know this will sound a little frightening), Father Jacob Meyer! This new priest who grew from our own parish community, especially over the past six years of his time in seminary formation, is a concrete sign that the Holy Spirit can work and is indeed working in the lives and hearts of the faithful here in this parish. If we open our hearts to God's plan, we will find God doing wondrous things in our hearts, too. They won't necessarily have all the flare of tongues of flame, speaking in new languages, or administering the sacraments in the person of Christ the High Priest, but they are not for that reason any less real, nor less remarkable, nor less important. A father or mother who loves his or her children so perfectly that he gives up his own hobbies and plans that they may have time with mom or dad and know they are cherished and fostered, they are just as critical to the life of the Church. A teenager who prays daily that God will help him or her to be a saint and prepare their hearts to make a gift in their later vocation, they are exactly what the Holy Spirit needs to work with to change our world. A faithful Christian whose life of constant prayer becomes a source of intercession for the Church in her mission to be a light to our world, that is the most important part of the Church's future - for if we are to have any future at all, it has to come from above. We cannot fulfill this mission on our own. We need God. We need the Holy Spirit, the one gift that bears all others unto us. With Him, all things are possible.
That Holy Spirit comes to us through prayer and the sacraments, particularly Sunday Mass. And where would we receive the sacraments if we have no priests? Where would priests come from without a seminary formation? As I also celebrate my own ordination to the priesthood and my first Holy Mass last year on Pentecost Sunday, I give thanks to God for my years in seminary where I grew in the Holy Spirit's Graces so that I could one day be a vessel, as unworthy as I am, of Christ's priestly power for His Church. As we recall how The Holy Spirit is the source of the Church's life and mission, I beg you to pray for priests and to consider generously donating to the Pentecost Sunday Collection for seminarians.
May the Holy Spirit of Fire, of Courage, and of Love, continue to strengthen the Church for its mission by uniting us more deeply to Christ, Our Head and Shepherd!