2011
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Pentecost Sunday Wraps up Easter Season

In what can be considered the birthday of the church, Pentecost Sunday is coming up on June 12 with special processions and masses celebrating the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which occured first in Jerusalem.

Celebrated 50 days after Easter, Pentecost wraps up the lengthy Easter season, which begins 40 days before Easter with Lent, and brings the church into the regular season. After Easter, the church marks the the ascension and Pentecost.

The word Pentecost means 50 in Greek, and just like Shavuot is counted off seven weeks from Passover, Pentecost is counted 50 days (seven weeks) from Easter, so the Jewish and Christian holidays consistently fall within the same week.

When Pentecost first occured, Jews from around the world were gathered in Jerusalem for Shavuot, one of the three pilgrimage feasts. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the disciples began speaking in other tongues then began to preach the Gospel in the languages spoken by the Jews gathered there. Some 3,000 believed in Jesus and were baptized after Peter addressed the crowd.

“Pentecost is considered to be a significant solemnity of the Catholic and Orthodox churches,” Father Athanasius Macora told Travelujah. “It is the end of Easter time … and it is one of the most important feasts of the entire calendar.”

 

On Pentecost, most of the Holy Land’s special events center on Mount Zion. Special prayers at the Holy Sepulchre and masses at the Church of the Dormition and the Franciscan Monastery of Mount Zion are held. At the Franciscan monastery, just south of  Zion Gate on Mount Zion, services will be as follows: 8 a.m. (French); 9 a.m. (Spanish); 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. (Italian) in the main chapel; and 8.30 a.m. (Polish); 9:30 a.m. (Spanish); 10:30 a.m. (Arabic) in the small chapel.

At 3:30 p.m. a procession will take place from St. Savior’s Monastery to the Cenacle, the site of the first Pentecost. Finally, at the Cenacle (also known as the Last Supper room), a solemn evening prayer will be presided over by Rev. Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, at 4 p.m.

The Upper Room – after being used for Jesus’ last supper – was the place where the disciples waited for the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit after their savior ascended into heaven. When Jesus ascended, he promised his disciple that he would send them “power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”Acts 2:1-3

The Upper Room, near or actually where this very event is believed to have taken place, is atop a site holy to the Jews – the traditional location of David‘s tomb.

While Easter stands as the single most important feast of the Christian calendar, Pentecost marks the beginning of the church itself.

“Jesus ascended into heaven and now the church is to be guided by the Hoy Spirit,” Macora said. ”This represents the church in its beginnings – it has the experience of the risen Christ and now the power of the Holy Spirit.”

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

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