Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Visitation of the Ark of the New Covenant – by Deacon Marty McIndoe

Israel 369Statue of Mary and Elizabeth at Ein Karem in Israel, the place of the Visitation.  Plaques of the Magnificat, in various languages, are on the wall behind them.

I know, the title of today’s Feast is The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  But in all actuality, scripture and the Church see the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant.  You have to really appreciate the links between the New Testament and the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) to fully understand this.   I won’t go in to the full explanation of TYPOLOGY, but suffice it to say that many things in the New Testament point to the Old Testament.  Many things in the Old Testament are better understood because of the New Testament.  Saint Augustine said that “the Old Testament is the New concealed, but the New Testament is the Old revealed” (Catechizing of the Uninstructed 4:8).  One easy example of TYPOLOGY is when Jesus himself refers to the bronze serpent of Moses (that was hung on a pole to bring life to the Israelites) as a type of his own crucifixion.

If you remember the stories from the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was seen as God’s own presence to his people.  It was carried forth in battle to assure victory and was kept in the Holy Temple to be worshipped.  It was so holy that no one could touch it.  When Uzzah, the son of Abinadad touched it, he immediately died.  The Ark of the Covenant contained three items; the tablets on which God wrote the ten commandments, a piece of manna from when God fed the Israelites in the desert, and the rod of Aaron, the symbol of priesthood of the first priest of Israel.  This ark was prominent in the life of David and Solomon and many others until it was hidden when invaders came in to Israel.  It was never found and is still hidden somewhere in Israel.  Just in case you are wondering, Indiana Jones did not find the Ark of the Covenant; that was just fiction.

So why do we consider the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant?  There are many reasons, but I will list a few.  First of all, when Mary was told that she would give birth to Jesus, the angel told her that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her.  This word overshadow is the same word that the Old Testament used for God’s Spirit overshadowing the Ark of the Covenant.  The only place this word is used in the New Testament is here, overshadowing Mary.  This shows the parallel of the Holy Spirit overshadowing the Ark of the Covenant and that same Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant.  Today’s Feast shows another very good example of TYPOLOGY.  Mary comes to visit Elizabeth when both of them are carrying child.  Mary is pregnant with Jesus and Elizabeth is pregnant with John the Baptist.  As soon as Mary greets Elizabeth, we are told that John the Baptist leapt for joy in the womb of Elizabeth.  This makes us look back to King David when he danced before the Ark of the Covenant and leapt for joy.  The words, “cried out for joy” here for both Mary and the King David before the Ark of the Covenant are the words used for liturgical dance and joy.   The readers of that day would have understood this.

Another interesting thing is that when King David was able to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant he said, “How can the Ark of the Covenant come to me?”  Elizabeth said to Mary, “How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”  See how close these are.  Luke also tells us that Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months in the hill country.  The Old Testament tells us that David kept the Ark in the hill country for three months.  There are other parallels, but I would like to end with one final thought.  Let us compare what the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant contained and what the New Testament Ark of the Covenant (Mary) contained.

The Old Testament Ark of the Covenant had within it the very Word of God, written on stone.  The New Testament Ark of the Covenant had within it the Work of God, made flesh.   The Old Testament Ark of the Covenant had within it the Manna that God sent to feed the Israelites.  The New Testament Ark of the Covenant contained the Bread of Life, Jesus, who feeds His people with the Eucharist.  Finally, the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant had within it the rod of Aaron, the first high priest of Israel.  The New Testament Ark of the Covenant had within it the New High Priest, Jesus.  Isn’t God AWESOME?

A Look at Memorial Day – by Deacon Marty McIndoe


Memorial Day, and the whole Memorial Day weekend isn’t just about the beginning of summer and having great BBQ parties.  It is a time for us to stop and remember and pray for those men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to our country.  Pray also for their families and friends who still miss them.  I think about my grandmother who sent all three of her sons off to war in Europe (WWII).  My birth-father was in the Normandy Invasion and even though he physically came home, he suffered from “shell shock” (now called PTSD).  His brother, my uncle Milo, came home missing one leg.  My birth-father’s youngest brother, Karlo died in WWII in Italy when he was only seventeen years old.  I can’t help but to see how this has affected my family.  My birth-father and my uncle Milo suffered a lifelong disability, and my uncle Karlo never had the chance to get married, have children, or live life.  War is terrible.  Unfortunately, mankind is still violent and we need to have armies to protect us.  I myself am a U.S. Army Vietnam era veteran and proud of my service, but I always pray for PEACE.  I ask you to join me in honoring those who gave up their lives for freedom and to also pray for an end of war and terrorism.   Remember that this freedom that we have, came at a great cost.  I think that this weekend is a great time to look at some statistics that reflect that cost.  Below I have cited the war death statistics for the major wars since WWI.  Please note that there have been numerous deaths in smaller conflicts not listed.  This does not include those who were wounded.

Some very sobering statistics:

WWI                                      116,516

WWII                                     405,394

KOREA                                    52,246

VIETNAM                                58,209

AFGHANISTAN                        2,229

IRAQ                                          4,488

ALSO:  Every day approximately 22 veterans commit suicide.  This is part of the price of war.  We need to do whatever we can to keep this from happening.

I would like to ask you to join me in a prayer.

Memorial Day Prayer – by Deacon Marty McIndoe

Heavenly Father, you inspire strength in men and women to protect and to fight for freedom.  On this Memorial Day we remember, in a very special way, all those men and women who gave their life so that others might be free.  We think of the words of your son Jesus when he said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  Father, we offer you a prayer of thanksgiving for the sacrifice that these men and women have made.  We thank you for the freedom that we have because of them.  We thank you for the freedom that so many other countries have because of them.  We ask you Father to bless their family and friends who miss them so much.  Help them to take comfort in knowing that their lives helped bring about freedom.  Help all of us to never take for granted the freedom that we enjoy, or forget the tremendous price paid for that freedom.  We earnestly ask that war stop.  We ask you to help all of the leaders of the world to find ways of seeking peace instead of war.  We ask you to soften the hearts of those who want to take freedom away or who want to impose their own rules upon others.  We ask you to destroy terrorism.  We know that there are so many threats to our freedom.  Help and protect all those who currently serve in our Armed Forces.  May we always be proud of them.  May you lead and guide our Country in all things.

Trinity Missions – a Look at Serving God through Serving the Poor by Deacon Marty McIndoe

20160209_133340Behind altar is a stained glass that has both Indian and Christian symbols

20160209_133746St. Kateri Tekawatha, for whom the main Parish is named

20160209_142445Martha and me and Fr. Dono, ST, in front of one of the mission altars.  They really love the Saints and dress them up very colorfully.

20160209_142554Native made crucifix

We, as Catholics, should be very proud because our Church feeds, clothes, heals, educates and cares for more people than any other organization on the face of the earth.  We do this because this is what Jesus asks us to do.  The Church has many different charities that do this.  On this Trinity Sunday, I would like to share with you about one charity that I have supported for over thirty years.  They are Trinity Missions, also known as Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity.  They describe themselves; As apostles – our missionaries preach and live the word of God to bring hope, comfort, and relief to the suffering of the poor, the abandoned, and the most neglected by:

  • Spreading the Gospel;
  • Responding to the needs of the poor, isolated, marginalized, and those without hope; and
  • Guiding, forming, and ministering with lay missionaries in parishes, neighborhoods, and communities across the United States and Latin America.

I have firsthand knowledge that they really do this quite well, with very limited resources.  Over thirty years ago, I read about the work that they do with Native Americans on reservations throughout the United States.  Since I have some Native American blood in me, I became quite interested.  We started donating to them and each month kept looking forward to the letters that we received from some of the Priest Missionaries that were on the reservations.  These letters described all the work that they did, and all the work that they really hoped to get done.  There was no doubt that they had a formidable task, but they learned to do as much as they could with what they had.  Personally, I think that they do very well in serving the Lord in His poor.

In the early 80’s, I attended several Priests and Deacons Conferences at the Franciscan University in Steubenville Ohio.  At one of these conferences, I was in a small discussion group with other priests, deacons, and bishops.  We all introduced ourselves and where we were from.  After the introductions, one of the Missionary Priests from Trinity Missions asked me if I were the Deacon Marty from Patchogue, New York.  I told him that I was, and he told me that he had heard about what a great preacher I was.  Now I was ordained only a few years them and I wondered how a missionary priest living on an Indian reservation out West could possibly have heard about me.  It turns out that his parents lived in my parish and liked my sermons and had told him about me.  This began a very good friendship with him.  This last winter, my wife and I visited with him on his missionary post at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in South Tucson, Arizona.  He and another priest and one brother serve seven local Indian reservation Parishes.  All, but one, of the reservations are quite poor.  The other is starting to come out of poverty due to a local Casino that they had opened up.  It seems that the Lord can draw good out of gambling.  We spent five days touring all seven reservations and spent time with the peoples and attended different liturgies there.  It was a beautiful, loving, learning, faith filled experience.  I was very impressed by the faith that these Native Americans had, thanks to the work of many missionaries.

We must not forget the mission that God gave to us; namely, to spread the Gospel and to care for His people.  The Church does a wonderful job of this, but needs the help of all of its members.  We have to personally do this in our own lives with the people that are around us.  However, we cannot forget that the Church reaches out to all peoples and needs us to join in on its global missionary call by our financial support and by our prayers.  On this Trinity Sunday, where we celebrate the Three in One, bound together by perfect love, let us remember that we are all one and called to be bound together in love.  We certainly can do this by supporting our Church missions and charities through prayer and financial assistance.  God bless.

Check out Trinity Missions at:


Goodness – Language of Evangelization by Patrick Sullivan

Israel 185Church of the Beatitudes on the Sea of Galilee in the Holy Lands

What is goodness if not the human struggle to be like God? Not in some demonic usurpation or mutiny among men bent on overthrowing our most loving and benevolent Creator, but to actually try with all that we have to be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect. To speak the way Jesus has spoken. To love who Jesus loves. To recognize Jesus in our day to day in order to be recognized by our Lord as we pass from this world to the next.

You know, before the new and everlasting covenant in Jesus Christ, it was the Torah (the Law) given to Moses that lifted humanity out of the mire and the inconsistencies of the pagan world; but today the law will no longer do.

To quote the law to someone with the aim of bringing them to God, whether the Mosaic or canonical, or even what the philosophers have called the natural law, seems to shut down rather than open up a dialogue on what we were all meant to be. We have to understand that to many, trying to teach goodness through the law is like teaching them that music is only as profound as the notes on the page; never to be played. To try to teach the ethic and not the ethos, it is like we have been trying to convince the world of a brilliant theatrical performance by showing them the program with its lovely cast of performers.

No, no, goodness is caught when it is found in a person and not a checklist. When it reveals rather than reflects.

What I mean is, if you are trying to evangelize a person, and all they can see is someone who is just as good as they are; just as generous; just as patient; just as forgiving; if it seems like you  have checked off the same boxes as they have; you will not win them over in the least.

But if they look at you and rather than reflect their own level of moral achievements; you reveal a greater generosity; a greater patience; a greater willingness to forgive; in short if you show them real, concrete examples of one striving to be like God, what happens?

It poses a question. And while the question in their minds may take many forms, essentially what they want to know is this: why are you so good?

So, If you are evangelizing someone and their language is goodness, your job is a straightforward one. Stop quoting the law, and begin surpassing the day to day sacrifices and social programs of the unbeliever. Our God can do better, it’s time to show them.

Patrick Sullivan is a Catholic Lay Evangelist, author and speaker.  He has written two books, Dare to Be an Evangelist and Four Monks Walk in to a Pub and has many you-tube videos.  Check out his website at

What is the Big Deal about the Holy Spirit by Deacon Marty McIndoe


The last four articles I posted were about the Holy Spirit and Pentecost.  So many other bloggers have spent a great deal of time talking about the Holy Spirit at this time of Pentecost.  There is good reason for that.  Pentecost itself is a Feast of the Church that is of major importance (along with Easter and Christmas), and the day the Church celebrates as its “birthday”.  Pentecost is all about the Holy Spirit coming down upon the Apostles, Mary and other disciples.  It brought a dramatic change to them, and should also bring a dramatic change to us.  St. Cyril of Alexandria (born 376), in his Commentary on John says, “The Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell; he so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life”.  This was definitely seen in the lives of the disciples.  How about your life?  Has the Holy Spirit caused you to live a new life?

First and foremost I believe that the Holy Spirit EMPOWERS us to be the person that God has called us to be.  Both the Scriptures and the Church have tried to put words to what the Spirit does.  We hear about the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as the Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  I would like to briefly take a look at these to help us all better understand the role of the Spirit in our lives.  Jesus himself told us that it would be better for us for Him to leave so that the Holy Spirit would come to us.  That tells us how important the Spirit should be in our lives.  Frankly, we don’t always think about the Holy Spirit.  It should be thought about and called upon in our normal living, not just at Pentecost.

All of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to us in Baptism and later strengthened and sealed in the Sacrament of Confirmation.  The gifts are given to us to build us up as well as to build up the Church.  The Church (and Isaiah 11: 1-2) tells us that there are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.  They are Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment (or Counsel), Courage (or Fortitude), Knowledge, Reverence (or Piety) and Wonder (or Awe).   When we use these gifts, there is a definite change in our attitude and in our very being that manifests itself as the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.  The scriptures (Galatians 5: 22-23) and the Church tell us that these Fruits are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-control, and Chastity.  It is no coincidence that these Fruits are the very attributes of God himself.  It only makes sense that as His children, we are like him.

In 1st Corinthians 12: 1-11 we find listed the Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  These are sometimes referred to as the Charismatic Gifts.  These gifts are given for the building up of the Church.  St. Paul makes it very clear that there are a variety of Gifts that are given.  He says that some Gifts are given to some people and not all receive or use the same Gifts.  He makes it very clear though that all of the Gifts are given by the One Spirit for the building up of the One Church.  Throughout the ages, these Spiritual Gifts have manifested themselves in various ways.  You only need to read some of the lives of the Saints to see how these gifts have come forth in various times.  In today’s Church, the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church has brought in a new emphasis on these gifts.  St. Paul lists these Gifts as, Speaking in Tongues for private prayer (Romans 8:26), Tongues and Interpretation for the Community (1 Cor 14: 1-17), Prophecy (1 Cor 14:32), Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, Discerning of Spirits, Faith, Healing, and Miracles.  For more information about these gifts, go to the National Catholic Charismatic website at .

So how can we grow in our openness to the Holy Spirit and its Gifts?  First of all, ask.  It is so important that in our daily prayer life we ask to be open to the Spirit and the gifts It has to give us.  Secondly, it is the Eucharist that can help us to be more open and to reflect the Fruits of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit.  Receive the Eucharist as often as you can.  Thirdly, study the scriptures.  It is the Holy Spirit that inspired the scriptures.  Start by looking up and praying those scriptures I have mentioned in the article.  Fourth, read the lives of the Saints.  They lived out a real openness to the Spirit and its Gifts.  Fifth, put yourself in to a small community of believers that are also trying to grow in their relationship to the Lord and His Spirit.  If you haven’t already done so, try attending a Catholic Charismatic Prayer meeting.  I would suggest one associated with your Parish, or a nearby Parish.  It might seem a little different to you at first, but try it out a few times to see the real source of growth that can be found there.

God’s Gift to us of His Holy Spirit is so very precious and so important to our spiritual growth.  It gives us life and helps us to grow into the child of God that He wants us to be.  God bless you in your journey.



A Most HOLY room, the Ark of the NEW Covenant, the Holy Spirit, the Sequence and a little bit of Typology by Deacon Marty McIndoe

Israel 624 Israel 628 Israel 629 Israel 630In these pictures of the Upper Room, you see first, the interior; second signs of the Muslim Mosque; third,  a brass olive tree donated to Israel by the Catholic Association, and lastly, a column showing a Pelican feeding its young by taking blood from its side.  This was an early Christian symbol of the Eucharist.  When the Ottomans took over Upper Room, they removed all Christian symbols but this one.  They did not understand its meaning.

In Jerusalem there is a building known as the Upper Room (or Cenacle).  The present day structure is in Jerusalem on Mount Zion and dates to the 1200’s.  It is a reconstruction made by the Crusaders using three out of the four original walls of the original structure from the time of Jesus.  There were earlier reconstructions as well.  It is a very HOLY building since it was used by the disciples for The Last Supper, The Washing of the Disciple’s feet by Jesus, Several Resurrection Appearances by Jesus, and the Election of Matthias as an Apostle to replace Judas.  Lastly, it was the place where the Holy Spirit descended upon the Disciples on the Feast of Pentecost.  It is such a Holy place that the early Christians used it as a place of worship, a synagogue (remember the Early Christians in Jerusalem practiced Judaism).  In 384 the first large Christian Church was built right next to it and was known as the Church of the Apostles.  The traditional Tomb of David is right below it.  The Church of the Apostles, next to the Upper Room, was torn down by the Muslims in 1009 but Crusaders later took back the area and built the present reconstruction of the Upper Room.  The Franciscans kept custody of it until 1552 when the Ottomans overtook it and they turned the Upper Room in to a Mosque.  You can still see signs of the Muslim usage.  In 1948 the government of Israel took it over and gave the Franciscans administrative control again.

This Holy room, the Upper Room is where our Church first began.  The Disciples were unable to do much of anything after Jesus Ascended in to Heaven.  They seem lost and powerless.  However, with the Blessed Virgin Mary amongst them, the Power of the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost and they were given the power to go out and form the Church.  It is interesting here to throw in a little typology.  In scripture study, we use the term typology to show the way that the Old Testament (Hebrew scriptures) and the New Testament are related.  I would like to point out one thing about Pentecost regarding this.  In yesterday’s post, Dan Gonzalez showed how Pentecost is a Jewish feast day.  We, as Christians, see it as the birthday of our church.  In looking at this we should look back to the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles where we hear the story of the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem that Solomon built.  In this account, the scriptures tell us that 120 priests gathered for the dedication and a sacrifice was put on the altar.  We are told that when the Ark of the Covenant was brought in to go in to the Holy of Holies, God sent fire from the sky to burn the sacrifice on the altar.  When we look at the New Testament book of Acts we hear that the disciples and other followers, totaling 120 people, gathered in the Upper Room.  The mother of Jesus, Mary, who is known as the New Ark of the Covenant gathered in the center of them all.  God sent down the Holy Spirit upon them all as tongues of fire.  In both accounts of the beginning of the Temple and the beginning of the Church, 120 people gathered with the Ark of the Covenant and God sent down fire.  Our Lord is awesome.

As we celebrate this Holy Feast of Pentecost, let us give thanks to God for giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit and for the gift of the Church.  Our Pentecost liturgy has a Sequence put in along with the normal scripture readings.  This really should be read at every mass of Pentecost, but is quite often skipped over.  Here is a copy of this Sequence.  Read it over and see the precious gift that God has given to us in the Holy Spirit.


Sequence — Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;

In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;

Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.


Note: Veni Sancte Spiritus is a true masterpiece of Latin poetry. In rhyme scheme, it is complex and gorgeous; lines one & two rhyme with each other, and line three always ends in the syllable –ium. In meter, the sequence is a very faithful example of trochaic dimeter. In content, it is a magnificent meditation on the Spirit’s guidance through consolation & desolation. So much is lost when this sequence is not sung in its original Latin.


Happy Shavu’ot! by Dan Gonzalez

Israel 419Model of Jerusalem as it appeared at the time of Jesus, in the Israeli Museum, Jerusalem

For six years I was fortunate enough to design for a graphics firm that specialized in creating calendars for the Jewish market. After designing over 50 of them, I’ve acquired first-hand knowledge of how they differ from international calendars (also known as Gregorian, Western or Christian calendars). To begin with, rather than starting on January 1 with New Year, Jewish calendars begin in September with Rosh Hashanah—the Jewish New Year. Jewish calendars list the candle lighting times for Shabbat & holidays as well as the assigned weekly Torah readings (Parashat ha-Shavua). In a Jewish calendar (for the U.S. market) you’ll also find, right along side the familiar holidays of Labor Day and Presidents Day, some unfamiliar ones such as Tu B’Shevat, Lag B’Omer and Tisha B’Av.

My boss was a kind Orthodox Jewish Rabbi who had a love of teaching. His extensive knowledge of Judaism, coupled with my thirst for it, proved my stint at the firm to be incredibly edifying. I learned about the roots and reasoning for each and every holiday I placed on the calendar. And, if I had a question that needed clarification, I had a mentor who was more than willing to share what the Scriptures, Mishnah‎, Talmud or sages had to say about that particular holiday.

This weekend we celebrate one of the three most important festivals on the Jewish calendar, Shavu’ot (The Festival of Weeks or Pentecost)—the other two being Pesach (Passover), and Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles).

At the time of Jesus, pilgrims would travel to the temple in Jerusalem to offer sacrifice on these three festivals. In fact, as we will hear in the first reading this Sunday, that’s why all of Jesus’ followers were gathered together in the upper room, to celebrate the Jewish festival of Shavu’ot:

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” —Acts 2:1–5

To some it may come as a surprise to learn that Pentecost is not of Christian origin. The roots of Shavu’ot—both agricultural and historical—lie in ancient Israel.

Agriculturally, it celebrates the wheat harvest—the most important grain for the ancient Jewish people. Some historians suggest that wheat, in all its forms, provided nearly 80% of the daily caloric intake for the Israelites. It’s no wonder that a holiday to commemorate it’s gathering would be celebrated.


Historically, it marks the giving of the Torah to Moses by God on Mt. Sinai. After the exodus from Egypt, the Jewish people wandered the desert before arriving at the foot of Mt. Sinai 7 weeks later. The Hebrew word Shavu’ot means “weeks.” In Jewish tradition 7 is the perfect number (the number of creation) and 7 times 7, even more so. It is a week of weeks or 7×7 which is 49 days. The Ten Commandments were given by God on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan, which was 50 days from the crossing of the Red Sea.

Greek Jews gave the festival the name Pentecost or fiftieth day. The same Greek prefix pente, meaning 5, is in the words:

  • Pentagon: A five-sided polygon
  • Pentagram: A five-pointed star
  • Pentameter: A line of verse consisting of five metrical feet
  • Pentathlon: A contest with five different events

Shavu’ot commemorates the time when God gave the Israelites the 10 Commandments, the way by which they were to live their lives. It is on that day that the Hebrews became a nation.

For the first Christians, Pentecost was the day they received the Holy Spirit, which dwells in the hearts of all believers, commanding the way they are to live their lives. Pentecost celebrates the unity of the first Christians and the birth of the Church.

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A Very Special Gift by Deacon Marty McIndoe

Israel 632Looking up to the Upper Room (Cenacle) in Jerusalem

As we approach Pentecost this weekend, it is important for us to see what a precious gift God has given us in the Holy Spirit.  This feast dates back to the first century and finds its beginning in the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Disciples nine days after the Ascension of Jesus.  In all actuality, Scripture shows us that this Spirit has been promised to us by God since the earliest times.  The Old Testament is filled with references to the Holy Spirit beginning with the second verse of Genesis where it is said that the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.  When the Church blesses the water to be used for Baptism it says, “At the very dawn of creation your Spirit breathed upon the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness”.  The prophets are continually making reference to the Spirit.  The prophet Joel tells us that God will POUR out His Spirit upon us.  The prophet Ezekiel says, “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life”.  There are too many references to the Holy Spirit within the Old Testament to cover in this short article.

The prophet, John the Baptist, when seeing Jesus tells us that He will BAPTIZE us in the Holy Spirit.  Jesus himself promises us the gift of the Holy Spirit.  He tells His disciples, “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”  Right before His Ascension Jesus tell His disciples, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Paraclete, Advocate or Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”  There are so many New Testament references about the promise of the Gift of the Holy Spirit that we could not list them all here.

After the Ascension of Jesus, His Disciples, and His mother Mary all gathered in the Upper Room (Cenacle) to pray.  They were saddened by His leaving and seemed lost as to what to do next.  I think that it is so important to remember that the Blessed Virgin Mary was there praying with the Disciples.  She is the Chosen Spouse of the Holy Spirit and her prayers are so very powerful.  As I grow in my own faith and openness to the Holy Spirit, I grow in my love and adoration of Mary.  The Disciples were so blessed to have her join them in prayer.  We too are so blessed to have Mary join us in prayer.

At his Ascension Jesus told His Disciples to go out to every nation and spread the Good News.  The Disciples were totally unable to do this command and just sat in the Upper Room and prayed.  They prayed for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit for nine days (this is the source of our own nine day novenas) and on the feast of Pentecost it came to them.  Luke, in Acts Chapter 2 tells us, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.  And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.  Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.”  This Holy Spirit empowered them to be able to do the command of Jesus and to go out to the entire world to proclaim the Good News.  You only have to look at the Disciples demeanor before and after Pentecost to see how this Holy Spirit can really EMPOWER us. The Church considers Pentecost its birthday, because the Disciples were now empowered to form the Church.

So what does all this mean to us today?  We are given that very same Spirit that the Disciples were given and it should EMPOWER us too.  We are given the Spirit in Baptism and are called to see it released more within us at Confirmation.  The truth is that many people do not know the POWER that is within them.  Do you?  St. Paul tells us that Spirit that is within us is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.  Now that is a powerful Spirit.  So why do we not always see this?  I believe that quite simply it is because we don’t know about it that much and don’t ask to be baptized, or fully immersed, in the Holy Spirit.  It is like someone gives you one million dollars and puts it in your savings account.  Unless you know that it is there, and ask to use it, it just sits there.  We need to learn that not only is the Holy Spirit within us, but we need to learn how to use it.  A good study of the Scriptures and Lives of the Saints can help us with that.  Even better is just learning to call upon the Holy Spirit.  When is the last time you did that, and when is the last time you prayed to the Holy Spirit?  Also, ask your mother Mary, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit to join you in prayer for the Holy Spirit just as she joined the Disciples at Pentecost.  Another great source to opening up to this Spirit is by attending a Life in the Spirit Seminar.  Many parishes offer this, especially through their Charismatic Prayer meeting.  Seek one out; it will change your life.  I know that it changed mine.


Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.


When Being an Easter People is a Bad Thing – by Meg Hunter-Kilmer

PentecostKimHappy Easter, friends! We are an Easter people over here–all 50 days of it. So along with my feasting (and there has been plenty of feasting) all during the Easter season I’ve been trying to use the stories from Acts as much as I can. After all, Acts is our Easter book, right? We read from it every day of Easter. So let’s be all about the Apostles and the amazing work they did, especially during this Easter season!

Until last week when I realized: almost none of the Acts of the Apostles takes place during Easter.1 Because during Easter, the Apostles weren’t out doing anything. For forty days they were being taught by Jesus, learning to forgive sins and feeling their hearts burn within them as he opened the Scriptures to them. And then he ascended. And maybe they felt empowered by the great commission or maybe they felt afraid and alone or maybe they wondered if this wasn’t another 3-day psych-out. But whatever they were feeling, here’s what they did:

They kept to themselves.

“They were continually in the temple praising God,”2 which is great. They “devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”3 They were in fellowship and in prayer amongst themselves, but they weren’t going out. They weren’t preaching Christ crucified or offering his mercy to the nations.

They had an excuse: they hadn’t yet received the Holy Spirit.

What’s our excuse?

We received the Holy Spirit at baptism and his presence was strengthened in confirmation. We claim his name over our lives every time we cross ourselves. We’ve been called and filled and sent out.

But most of us are still locked in the upper room.

We’ve met the risen Christ and many of us have been transformed. Like Peter our sins have been forgiven, like Mary Magdalene our broken hearts healed, like Thomas our doubts satisfied. We’ve been made new. And now we’re sitting around doing nothing about it.

Oh, we might be in the temple day in and day out. We might be meeting in fellowship and even praying together. But we’re not reaching out to the world.

I wonder what happens when the Spirit comes down as tongues of fire and we refuse even to open the windows, let alone go out into the streets. My hunch is that it doesn’t look pretty and doesn’t end well.

That’s where we’ve been as a Church for far too long. In the West, at least, we’ve been focusing inward, trying (halfheartedly, in most cases) to take care of our own. But when a missionary Church locks itself in an upper room, nobody gets fed.

This year on the Vigil of Pentecost, people all over the world are praying in a special way for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They’re praying that the power of God will be released in their lives, that they’ll live in the freedom of the Spirit. I think one of the most powerful ways that we’ll experience this is by giving God permission to touch hearts through us. If we decide that we’re going to unlock the door and walk out into the streets, proclaiming Christ and living the book of Acts, we’ll be transformed just as much as those we meet. We’ll move past Easter (still filled with Alleluias) and live in Pentecost as though it were Ordinary.

This Pentecost, the Spirit is coming down. Let’s open our lives to him and go out to set the world ablaze.



1- That we know of anyway. Certainly not during the first Easter season.

2 -Luke 24:53

3-  Acts 1:14, though they weren’t really his brothers

Meg Hunter-Kilmer is a hobo missionary. After 2 theology degrees from Notre Dame and 5 years as a high school religion teacher, she quit her job in 2012 to live out of her car and preach the Gospel to anyone who would listen. 49 states and 16 countries later, this seems to have been a less ridiculous decision than it initially seemed. She blogs at


The Two Most Sacred Places in the World by A.J. Avila


Goodness, how God loves women!

God loves women so much; I’m tempted to say He’s unfair to men.

What is God’s greatest work of creation? It’s not stars and planets. It’s not plants or animals. It’s sentient beings with immortal souls. And we know of only two kinds of those: angels and humans.

Well, angels don’t reproduce. Cherubim might be portrayed as chubby little babies, but they’re nothing of the sort. Angels don’t have sexual relations with each other. Angels don’t get pregnant, and they don’t give birth.

But women do. God has allowed women the biggest role (next to His own) in the incredible work of bringing new immortal souls into creation.

Oh, men have their part in that, and I don’t mean to downplay it. But it is a fact that if, after a man and women have relations, the man gets hit by a bus, any baby can survive that. If the woman gets hit by a bus, however, both mother and child die. Her role, biologically speaking, is far more crucial.

Twice I’ve been pregnant, and both times I was amazed at what I was doing. Those first little butterfly-like kicks in my body signaled that the life growing inside me was indeed a separate entity. In time the kicks grew stronger, and I could sometimes even tell where an elbow or a knee was. Yes, I had morning sickness, swollen ankles, and of course a painful labor at the end of it. But it was worth it. Oh, how it was worth it! You can never feel as close to another human being as you do to the child growing inside your body.

Sometimes I think the reason God allows only men to become priests is because He had to give them something to make up for denying them all of that.

And when you think about it more deeply you can see that these two roles: mothers and Fathers (as in Catholic priests) are complementary. Mothers, through childbirth, bring the people to God. Fathers, through the Eucharist, bring God to the people. As Dr. Peter Kreeft once put it, the two most sacred places in the world are wombs and altars.

Only once has this role been changed, and it was for a very special occasion. The Blessed Virgin Mary, through childbirth, brought God to the people.

My own mother has been gone almost ten years now. So that means I have two mothers in heaven: my biological mother and the mother Jesus gave me from the cross.

This Mothers’ Day let us pay homage to both of our mothers, for they both co-operated with God’s great work of creation.

Athanasius Against the World by Deacon Marty McIndoe

Nicea5The Ancient Church of Hagia Sophia in Nicaea where the Council was held in 325.

May 2 marks the feast day of St. Athanasius who was often called Athanasius Against the World.  He was also called Athanasius the Great and Athanasius the Confessor and Athanasius the Apostolic.  Athanasius was born around the year 293 in Alexandria, Egypt.  It appears that he came from a very devout Christian family who were able to provide him with a very good education.  He was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria and served as bishop for 45 years.  However, 17 of those years were done in exile.  He is a doctor of the Church.  He was a great champion of the Faith, especially against the heresy of Arianism.

Athanasius grew up in a time when the church was in significant turmoil.  The Roman government had just stopped their terrible persecution of Christians, but there was significant disagreement in the Church about some of the beliefs that we now take for granted.  One of the heresies that flourished then was Arianism.  This heresy says that Jesus is not divine; he is not of one substance with God.  In Arianism there is no Trinity.

In the year 319, Athanasius was ordained a deacon.  In 325 he served Alexander, his Bishop as his assistant.  Alexander had helped train Athanasius and they worked well together.  The two of them had to deal with the Arianism heresy that had sprung up in their home city of Alexandria and was starting to spread to other areas of the Church.  In 325, the Emperor Constantine the Great, and Pope Sylvester convened the First Council of Nicaea to deal with this heresy and so that civil peace might prevail in the empire and the Church.   This was a large council that had as many as 2000 participants, 250 of them being Bishops.  The others were mostly priests and deacons.  The main purpose of the Council was to deal with the heresy of Arianism, but many other items were discussed and ruled upon such as rules for ordinations, the election of Bishops, how to deal with those who left the faith and then returned, and general rules for clergy.

There is no doubt that Arianism was the “hot” topic.  Even St. Nicholas of Myra, who our present day Santa Claus is based on, became so upset that he punched Arius, the priest who was saying that Jesus was not divine.  Because of this First Ecumenical Council, we have the Nicene Creed which affirms that Jesus is of one substance with the father.  Take a moment to look at and study the Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Saint Athanasius fought hard to stand for this truth.  Three years after the Council, Bishop Alexander died and Saint Athanasius was made the twentieth Bishop of Alexandria.  Unfortunately, Arianism still plagued the Church and Athanasius continued the fight.  He also came at odds with succeeding Roman Emperors and fought against other heresies.  During his 45 years as Bishop, he was in exile for 17 years. After many years of virtue, and suffering, Athanasius died a peaceful death in 373.  Here are two of his quotes that I particularly like:

“The body of the Word, then, being a real human body, in spite of its having been uniquely formed from a virgin, was of itself mortal and, like other bodies, liable to death. But the indwelling of the Word loosed it from this natural liability, so that corruption could not touch it. Thus is happened that two opposite marvels took place at once: the death of all was consummated in the Lord’s body; yet, because the Word was in it, death and corruption were in the same act utterly abolished.”
― Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation

“There were thus two things which the Savior did for us by becoming Man. He banished death from us and made us anew; and, invisible and imperceptible as in Himself He is, He became visible through His works and revealed Himself as the Word of the Father, the Ruler and King of the whole creation.”
― Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation