Church mass and picnic in the park to mark Pentecost in Lowestoft

Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic church, Gordon Road, Lowestoft. Photo: Nick Butcher.

Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic church, Gordon Road, Lowestoft. Photo: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Archant © 2008

Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost (Whitsun) which commemorates the birthday of the Christian church when it was first infused with the Holy Spirit. It is a day of great historical and spiritual significance for Jews and Christians alike.

The feast was first celebrated by Jews as Shavuoth (or Harvest Festival of weeks commemorating the giving of the Torah to Moses on Mt Sinai).

It was seven weeks after Passover (or Pesach) and adopted in Christian terms as the 50th day of Easter, hence the name Pentecost (a Greek word found in the Acts of the Apostles 2.1 and 20.16).

On that first Pentecost day of the Christian era, the 12 apostles including the newly elected Matthias who replaced Judas, were gathered for Shavuoth, likely to be praying in one room when an amazing event happened.

'...Suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.' Acts 2vv 1-4.

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Hearing the sounds and voices were many residents and visitors who gathered outside, astonished at witnessing ordinary Galileans speaking their native languages. Peter, emboldened by the spirit, spoke up to explain to them. After he had done so about three thousand were cut to the quick, repented of their sinfulness concerning their part in the crucifixion of Jesus and were baptised that very day to become the foundation of the Christian church in Jerusalem. You can read the details of the story in Acts 2.

At Our Lady's church tomorrow we shall mark this wonderful birthday with red vestments and clothing or national costumes at Mass and party afterwards with food from dishes around the world to celebrate our diversity yet unity with God's spirit.

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Also, at Fen Park, Southwell Road, South Lowestoft, all are welcome on Sunday to party with Christians Together in Lowestoft and District at 12.30pm for a picnic there.

Christopher Brooks

Parish Of Our Lady Star Of The Sea

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