New York priest says Pentecost is a reminder the Holy Spirit is 'alive and at work'

Pentecost, said Fr. Louis Cona of New York, is the “preeminent celebration of the Holy Spirit” — and is celebrated on Sunday, May 19, seven weeks after Easter.

Cona is a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre and currently serves as associate pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Smithtown, New York.

Verses in the Acts of the Apostles (2:1-4) tell the story of Pentecost, Cona said.

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“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 Acts of the Apostles is traditionally attributed to St. Luke the Evangelist, according to the website BibleGateway.

Fr. Louis Cona of the Diocese of Rockville Center in New York, shown at left, reflected on Pentecost Sunday and what this “preeminent celebration of the Holy Spirit” means for Christians today.  (Courtesy Fr. Cona/Getty Images)

“In telling this story, Luke describes the emergence of Christianity from its origins in Judaism to its position as a religion of worldwide status and appeal,” the site added.

Pentecost, said Cona, which is celebrated 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday, is the “fulfillment of Jesus’ earthly mission,” as told in Luke 12:49, to “set the earth on fire.”

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“We see his desire fulfilled as tongues of fire descend upon his disciples,” said Cona. “The tongues of fire as recounted by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles remind us that God is alive, his Spirit is not stagnant, but dynamic, constantly reinvigorating and igniting the Church and her faithful.”

When he was in seminary studying ahead of his ordination to the priesthood, Cona said one of his professors “would often remind us that Pentecost is not the feast of the Holy Spirit, but rather, the feast of the sending of the Holy Spirit.”

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This, he said, “is an important distinction because it reminds us that the descent of the Holy Spirit is Christ’s greatest gift to his Church, a gift brought about through his Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension into Heaven.”

The Holy Spirit, said Cona, “gives the Church life, constantly renews her from within, and animates all of her members.”

The Bible describes how “tongues of fire” came to rest on the apostles, who were then “filled with the Holy Spirit.”  (iStock)

As a parish priest, Cona told Fox News Digital that he sees the “fire” of the Holy Spirit “alive and at work in the Church’s sacraments.”

He noted, “Quite often I am astonished by the movement of the Holy Spirit in the healing of the sick through prayer and anointing.”

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Cona continued, “I also see the fire of the Spirit alive in young people whose thirst for truth, goodness and authentic friendship can only be quenched when grounded in the truth of the Gospel.”

He added, “Where did their desire for deeper meaning and purpose to life arise but from the Spirit at work within their hearts leading them to all truth” — referring to John 16:13.

The Holy Spirit is often depicted as a dove or flame. Pentecost Sunday, observed 50 days after Easter Sunday, is a celebration of the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the apostles. (iStock)

On Pentecost, Catholic Mass has a special sequence called “Veni Sancte Spiritus,” or “Come Holy Spirit,” said Cona.

A sequence is a chant or hymn sung during a certain part of the Mass.

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“This marvelous hymn teaches us about the remarkable actions of the Holy Spirit within our hearts,” said Cona.

In it, “we learn that the Holy Spirit ‘melts’ our hardened hearts and ‘warms the chill’ of ego, sin and loneliness. In this way, by overcoming pride, fear and isolation, the Holy Spirit unites us, makes us one of heart and mind,” he said.

“On this Pentecost Sunday, we pray for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our world to ‘melt’ the hardened hearts of sin and violence, so that we too can experience peace, unity, and ‘joys that never end,’ said Cona.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

Christine Rousselle is a lifestyle reporter with Fox News Digital.

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