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Voices Online Edition
Pentecost 2001 --- Volume XVI No. 2
Inside Voices (editorial)
Pentecost arrives just at the beginning of the long growing season of summer. The Church season following this solemn celebration of God's gift of His Holy Spirit to His people is rich with reminders both of the Father's abiding love for us and of His expectations of us.
The sacrament of Confirmation often takes place on Whitsunday (the old name for Pentecost). We recall the gifts we have been given at Confirmation: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord.
Our Lord's words to His followers, "of him to whom much is given, much will be required" (Luke 12:48), suggest the duty of every Christian believer. We are charged with evangelizing the entire world - of "preaching the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
The liturgical color for Pentecost is red, the color of the Holy Fire which inflamed the tongues of Peter and the other apostles whose inspired teaching made 3,000 converts within the first half-hour. But red is also the color of blood, reminding us that we are called to give our lives for the faith we have been given. Red is always used by the Church for the feasts of martyrs - which includes nearly every one of the Apostles as well as thousands of Christians down to the present day who accepted the Lord's call.
After the blaze of Pentecost Sunday, the Church year "greens" - literally. The color green used for vestments symbolizes the long season of the Church's growth until the New Advent. We celebrate the deepening of the roots of faith, the flowering of the Gospel through the missionary activity of the Church, and the maturing fruit of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which nourishes Christians until the end of time.
The Church's celebrations following Pentecost symbolize this flourishing and nurture of the Christian faith throughout the world: Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, Sacred Heart, the Birth of John the Baptist, the feasts of Apostles, Peter and Paul, Thomas, James and Bartholomew, and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary . (See the Calendar inside back cover.)
The post-Pentecost season is now called "ordinary time"; however, it is filled with extraordinary reminders of the obligations of all Christians to use God's gifts wisely and well for others in this life, of the reward Our Lord has prepared for His faithful servants, and of the great blessings that God's love continuously bestows upon His people.
This issue of Voices is as varied as the season, and we think it will provide much food for reflection and meditation, and for thoughtful action.
We are immensely pleased to announce two more members of our new editorial board, Mary Ellen Bork and Margaret Whitehead - both stalwart workers in the Lord's vineyard and long time members of Women for Faith & Family. (See brief bios, p 35.)
We are grateful for the contributions to this issue of board members, Mary Jo Anderson (p 30) and Sheila Liaugminas (p 21), and our columnists, Donna Steichen and Nancy Valko.
A major event this year was the appearance on May 7 of the Holy See's Fifth Instruction on the Liturgical Renewal, Liturgiam Authenticam (Authentic Liturgy). Our news release on this extremely important Instruction on biblical and liturgical translation appears on page 36. It was sent to major secular and Catholic media on May 7, and appeared on the WFF web site, along with a complete English translation of the document on the same day. Several reporters contacted us in the days following the appearance of Liturgiam Authenticam, and some of you have seen us quoted in other press accounts.
The Diocese of Lincoln graciously allowed us to reprint their Little Catechism on Confession, which begins on page 6. It is an excellent review of the Church's teaching on this Sacrament.
The Holy Father's reflection on this same Sacrament (page 17), combined with the Little Catechism makes this issue of Voices a valuable teaching (and learning) resource.
By the time you receive this, Susan Benofy and I will have attended the bishops' Spring Meeting in Atlanta (June 14-16). Among the items on their agenda are proposed "American Adaptations" to the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, rules for the celebration of Mass. The Institutio, made public last July, is part of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Official publication of the Missal has been delayed for nearly a year, principally because some liturgists in this country objected to the new rules to become effective when the new Missal is published. (Those who wish to know more about this and other liturgical matters might visit the web site of Adoremus - www.adoremus.org - for our reports in the Adoremus Bulletin.)
During July, my husband and I plan to be in Australia where we will speak to groups of Catholics in different parts of the country.
We pray that you and your family will have a most fruitful Pentecost season, and an enjoyable summer.
Sincerely in Christ,
Helen Hull Hitchcock
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