‘The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.’ (Invitatory antiphon)
Numerous young people prepared to receive the sacrament of Confirmation during these weeks and months. However, because of restrictions put in place due to Covid-19, the celebration of the sacrament was temporarily postponed. Naturally, this is a great source of disappointment for the young people, their families, friends and all associated with the conferring and celebration of the sacrament. These young people in partnership with their parents/guardian, families, priests and teachers worked diligently for this great event of the coming of the Holy Spirit with the sevenfold gift.
This preparation is ongoing from the time that the young person received Baptism. In Baptism, the first sacrament of initiation, a person becomes a member of God’s family and receives the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith. Confirmation is the second sacrament of initiation which by a ritual enables a baptised person to confirm the baptismal promises made on their behalf at baptism. Confirmation signifies the strengthening of a person’s faith enriching it with the sevenfold gift which helps bear fruits of love in daily life.
In the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today (Jn 14:21-26), which can be heard on the webcam or read in the New Testament, tells of the coming of the Holy Spirit. We hear that the Holy Spirit is the Helper who will be sent by the Father in the name of Jesus. He will teach the disciples all things and remind them of that Jesus has told them. (Jn 14: 26).
What a blessing to have the Holy Spirit as a helper! The Holy Spirit is also a teacher. The Gospel tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things and remind us of all Jesus has taught us. That is why it is important to pray to the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit, encourages young people when he invites them, ‘to ask the Holy Spirit each day to help you experience anew the great message….the Holy Spirit can change your life, fill it with light and lead it along a better path….the Holy Spirit helps you find all that you need in the best possible way… let yourself be prompted by the Holy Spirit.’ (CV, no.131).
In these days of lockdown, perhaps young people and their families might continue to prepare to receive the sacrament of Confirmation by praying to the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is a helper they might ask the Holy Spirit to remind the people of the world to pray for an end to the pandemic. By way of preparation, they might also continue to do acts of love at home and be patient and kind.
The Fifty days of Easter concludes with the celebration of Pentecost Sunday. This year the Church celebrates Pentecost Sunday on 30 May 2020. At Pentecost, ‘the Church was made manifest to the world, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.’ (CCC, 1076).
THE GROW IN LOVE PROGRAMME AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
From Junior Infants/P1 of the Grow in Love Religious Education programme, the children are taught about the Holy Spirit.
From the Catholic Preschool and Primary Religious Education Curriculum for Ireland (2015), Level 1, the children engage with the following concepts in learning about the Holy Spirit; that Christians are baptised in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; view the objects in the church such as holy water, holy water font and baptismal font; that when children are baptised they become members of the Church family; that at Baptism water is poured on the person’s head and the priest says, ‘….. I baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’; that blessing oneself with holy water reminds a person of their Baptism.
From Junior Infants/P1 there is much to be learned about the Holy Spirit. What is taught at this class standard will be reinforced as children progress through the school.
In Junior Infants/P1, children are taught about Baptism and the pouring of holy water on the person’s head; they will describe the uses of holy water; they will bless themselves with holy water and they will pray. Some of the children in the class are baptised. Though they may not remember the experience, it may be recalled through chat with family or prompted by images taken on the day of Baptism.
At school in Junior Infants/P1, children hear stories about water and Baptism which are central to the experience of the sacrament. Children pray the Sign of the Cross and Glory be to the Father. They engage in the ritual of blessing themselves with holy water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They are taught about the priest who blesses holy water. They can bless themselves with holy water by dipping their finger in the holy water font in the church or at home. On a visit to the church, the children may have seen the baptismal font. They will sing the song ‘Water’.
At home with their families/parents/guardian the children can chat about their Baptism. They might have photos of people who were at the celebration and shared a meal. The Grow in Love e-book for Junior Infants will be helpful for discussion, prayer and activity. This e-book and other resources are available on the VERITAS Grow in Love website.
Resources on the dashboard of the website that may help in understanding Baptism include, a vimeo on ‘Enestina’, lyrics for songs ‘Quiet and Still’, and ‘Water’; a link to ‘Water Conservation for Kids’, and an interactive online activity on ‘Caring for Water’
PRAY from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
SIGN OF THE CROSS
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
COMHARTHA NA CROISE
In ainm an Athar, agus an Mhic agus an Spioraid Naoimh. Áiméan.
GLORY BE TO THE FATHER
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.
GLÓIR DON ATHAIR
Glóir don Athair,
Agus don Mhac,
Agus don Spiorad Naomh,
Mar abhí ó thus,
Mar atá anois
Agus mar a bheas go brách,
Le saol na saol. Áiméan.
PRAYER TO THE TRINITY
Praise to the Father,
Praise to the Son,
Praise to the Spirit,
The Three in One.
PAIDIR DON TRÍONÓID NAOFA
Moladh do Athair,
Agus don Mhac,
Agus don Spiorad Naomh,
An Triúr ina aon.
PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Holy Spirit, I want to do what is right. Help me.
Holy Spirt, I want to live like Jesus.
Holy Spirit, I want to pray like Jesus.
PAIDIR CHUIG AN SPIORAD NAOMH
A Spioraid Naomh, ba mhaith liom an rud ceart a dhéanamh.
A Spioraid Naomh, ba mhaith liom maireachtáil mar a mhair Íosa.
A Spioraid Naoimh, ba mhaith liom
guí mar a ghuigh Íosa. Múin dom é.
‘Work not for the food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life, alleluia.’ (Benedictus antiphon)
‘The Holy Spirit, the Advocate, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you, alleluia.’ (Magnificat antiphon)
‘Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, for the sake of your love and faithfulness.’ (Psalm 113B:1)
Sr Anne Neylon