On the 50th day after Easter, we celebrate Pentecost (May 27), commemorating the Holy Spirit’s descent onto the Apostles.
Jesus remained on Earth with His disciples for 40 days after His Resurrection then ascended to heaven. The Bible’s Book of Acts tells us that 10 days after Jesus’ Ascension, the Holy Spirit, came onto the apostles in the form of tongues of fire, accompanied by a rush of wind, empowering them to speak in foreign languages and enabling them to preach the Gospel in different lands.
A large crowd witnessed this amazing event. The Apostle Peter urged them to turn to Christ. Many did so. Therefore, on Pentecost Christians celebrate both the feast of the Holy Spirit and the Church’s birth.
Pentecost is colloquially referred to in the Ukrainian Catholic Church (UCC) as Zeleni Sviata (Green Holidays). Symbolically, green is the colour of life, so on Pentecost churches (and homes) are traditionally decorated with green foliage and priests wear green vestments. It is a custom for families to gather at the graves of their loved ones on this day to pray for those who have passed on to eternal life.
On Pentecost, we do not simply celebrate a past event, but also that which happens to us in the Church today. We, as baptised members of the Church, have received in the Sacrament of Chrismation, “the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit”. Pentecost happened to us! That means that we, like the apostles, are called to preach the Gospel. One way that we can do that is to live our daily lives according to Christ’s teachings.