In my inaugural column Jan. 23, I invited readers to share their own experiences of Spirit. Since Pentecost is Sunday, it seems a great time to share some of your heartfelt responses. There isn't room to print them all, but this sampling should satisfy the curiosity of anyone who's wondering if the Spirit is still alive and well in our world!
Jane Francisco writes: "Having lived in Philadelphia all my life, I went into a deep mistrust of our Catholic clergy after the priest scandals and wanted to remove myself from all of it. Mass, the sacraments, did not hold the same meaning, and I felt so alone and struggling with faith. Through a series of events, my husband and I packed up with my 90-year-old father and moved to Charlotte, N.C. We signed up in a local parish with 30,000 parishioners.
I begged God for a new beginning. I asked the Spirit to kindle in my heart the fire to live and love again my church. I really felt like I was testing Him. How could one ever find anything in a congregation this big? Then we met John McSweeney, our pastor, who welcomed us and told us to get to work because everyone in this parish has talent and treasure. We have seen the Spirit at work every day since. It was not until two years after we arrived that I happened to look up during Mass at one of the stained glass windows because the sun was shining through. You guessed correctly – the beautiful Holy Spirit was shining on us. We are so very grateful."