Author Archives: stjosaphat

The Apostles’ Fast

The 70 Apostles
Monday, June 12, the day after the Sunday of All Saints.

This Fast period focuses on the mission of the Church and our personal role in the world as Christ’s witnesses and missionary disciples. It concludes with the celebration of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on Wednesday, June 29th.

The minimum obligation is to abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Pentecost Sunday the Theotokos with the Apostles

Holy Pentecost

In the Church’s annual liturgical cycle, Pentecost is “the last and great day.” It is the celebration by the Church of the coming of the Holy Spirit as the end—the achievement and fulfillment—of the entire history of salvation. For the same reason, however, it is also the celebration of the beginning: it is the “birthday” of the Church as the presence among us of the Holy Spirit, of the new life in Christ, of grace, knowledge, adoption to God and holiness.

This double meaning and double joy is revealed to us, first of all, in the very name of the feast. Pentecost in Greek means fifty, and in the sacred biblical symbolism of numbers, the number fifty symbolizes both the fullness of time and that which is beyond time: the Kingdom of God itself. It symbolizes the fullness of time by its first component: 49, which is the fullness of seven (7 x 7): the number of time. And, it symbolizes that which is beyond time by its second component: 49 + 1, this one being the new day, the “day without evening” of God’s eternal Kingdom. With the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s disciples, the time of salvation, the Divine work of redemption has been completed, the fullness revealed, all gifts bestowed: it belongs to us now to “appropriate” these gifts, to be that which we have become in Christ: participants and citizens of His Kingdom.

THE VIGIL OF PENTECOST

The all-night Vigil service begins with a solemn invitation: “Let us celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the appointed day of promise, and the fulfillment of hope, the mystery which is as great as it is precious.” Continue reading