During his Easter vigil homily, Pope  Francis encouraged us all to roll away the tombstones from our hearts, to stop looking for the living among the dead, to encounter the “living stone” — Jesus. We are in the final days of the Easter season and while we still celebrate the risen Christ, it is also a time to look forward to Pentecost Sunday and reflect on the events of that day and what it means for us today.  On that day, the disciples had been gathered in an Upper Room in Jerusalem for at least nine days in prayer and most likely, in extreme fear and apprehension for they did not know what was coming next. Then, on Pentecost, they encountered the Holy Spirit, the one who stirs the sparks of the Resurrection into the flames of Pentecost, the Advocate that Jesus promised He would send. They were no longer afraid, in fact, they were changed–animated–emboldened to live again, to go out and share the good news of Jesus!

They were changed, a metanoia or “change of heart” had occurred.  The same should be for us. Fellow pilgrim, Fr. Dave Pivonka, has a ministry called  “The Wild Goose” that focuses on the third person of the Holy Trinity and encourages us to develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Recently, this was received from him regarding the upcoming solemnity:

On Pentecost this year, let’s make this our story as well. Let’s gather together in prayer and seek to encounter the Holy Spirit. It’s great to watch a video that might help us to open our Spirit to God’s Spirit, but let’s not stop there. Let’s commit to taking time to stop and pray, to ask for a new outpouring of God’s Spirit on us, our parish and faith communities, our clergy, and the entire Church. Let’s come together in Faith, trusting that God may not always change the circumstances we find ourselves in, but that He continually desires to change us. Let us pray for His healing, freedom from fear, and a peace that is beyond all telling.

We are convinced that many of the unplanned encounters that occur during our pilgrimages are arranged by the Holy Spirit — these encounters amaze, enrich and change us beyond anything that we could have planned.  

Many of our pilgrimages that start in Rome begin with a visit to the Basilica di Santo Spirito – the Basilica of the Holy Spirit – for mass and confessions.  (Photo, right) The basilica also serves as the official sanctuary of Divine Mercy. What a wonderful way to begin a pilgrimage — Come Holy Spirit!

For a listing of our pilgrimages in Italy, click on this LINK.