Happy birthday, Catholic Church!: What you need to know about Pentecost

Published May 23, 2021, 11:46 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

May 23 is Pentecost Sunday and the Catholic Church is celebrating its “1,988th birthday”.


Pentecost, one of the important Catholic feast days, marks the end of the Easter season and celebrates the so-called birthday of the Church.

It happens 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus, and 10 days after his ascension into heaven.

According to accounts, Pentecost depends on the timing of Easter and it can fall between May 10 and June 13.

Pentecost comes from the Greek word “pentecoste”, which means 50th.

It is the “celebration of the person of the Holy Spirit” descending upon Jesus’ Apostles, Blessed Virgin Mary, and the first followers of Jesus.

“A “strong, driving” wind filled the room where they were gathered, and tongues of fire came to rest on their heads, allowing them to speak in different languages so that they could understand each other. It was such a strange phenomenon that some people thought the Christians were just drunk – but Peter pointed out that it was only the morning, and that the phenomenon was caused by the Holy Spirit,” according to the report published by the Catholic News Agency (CNA), which was shared by the CBCP News.

“The Holy Spirit also gave the apostles the other gifts and fruits necessary to fulfill the great commission – to go out and preach the Gospel to all nations. It fulfills the New Testament promise from Christ (Luke 24:46-49) that the Apostles would be “clothed with power” before they would be sent out to spread the Gospel,” it added.

The 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit are the following: Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness, Longanimity, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continence, Chastity.

While, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord are the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are Wisdom.

Based on accounts, St. Peter, the first Pope, preached his first homily to Jews and non-believers right after the Pentecost as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

“According to the account in Acts, about 3,000 people were baptized following Peter’s sermon,’ the CNA noted.

With this, Pentecost is considered the Church’s birthday.

On Pentecost, priests wear red vestments, which symbolises the “burning fire of God’s love and the tongues of fire that descended on the apostles.”

In some parts of the world, Pentecost is referred to “White Sunday” and sometimes called Pascha Rosatum (Easter roses).