Pentecost Vigil
May 18, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.







Almighty ever-living God,
who willed the Paschal Mystery
to be encompassed as a sign in fifty days,
grant that from out of the scattered nations
the confusion of many tongues
may be gathered by heavenly grace
into one great confession of your name.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.

Liturgy of the Word (Each reading is followed by a responsorial psalm and collect).

First Reading Genesis 11:1-9

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” 5 The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Responsorial Psalm I PSALM 33:10-11, 12-13, 14-15


Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that your Church may always remain that holy people,
formed as one by the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
which manifests to the world
the Sacrament of your holiness and unity
and leads it to the perfection of your charity.
Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Second Reading (Exodus 19:3–8a, 16–20b)

Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: 4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6 but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.” 7 So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8 The people all answered as one: “Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.” 16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God. They took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended upon it in fire; the smoke went up like the smoke of a kiln, while the whole mountain shook violently. As the blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder. 20 When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

Responsorial Psalm II  DANIEL 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R/. Glory and praise forever!


O God, who in fire and lightning
gave the ancient Law to Moses on Mount Sinai
and on this day manifested the new covenant
in the fire of the Spirit,
grant, we pray,
that we may always be aflame with that same Spirit
whom you wondrously poured out on your Apostles,
and that the new Israel,
gathered from every people,
may receive with rejoicing
the eternal commandment of your love.
Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Third Reading (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” 7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. 11 Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm III PSALM 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9



May your people exult for ever, O God,
in renewed youthfulness of spirit,
so that, rejoicing now in the restored glory of our adoption,
we may look forward in confident hope
to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection.
Through Christ Our Lord.
R. Amen.

Fourth Reading (Joel 2:28-32)

Thus says the Lord: 28 I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your elders shall dream dreams, and your young people shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. 30 I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 32 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.

Responsorial Psalm IV PSALM 104:1-2, 24 AND 35, 27-28, 29-30



Fulfill for us your gracious promise,
O Lord, we pray, so that by his coming
the Holy Spirit may make us witnesses before the world
to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

Epistle (Romans 8:22-27)

Beloved, 22 we know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Verse Before the Gospel


Gospel (John 7:37-39)

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing in the temple, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Catena Nova (see entry for Pentecost Sunday)


     Tomorrow is the last and greatest day of the feast? (G)  Meaning the feast we've been celebrating for seven weeks?  So greater than Easter?  Well, in a sense, yes, I think. Overshadowed by Christmas and Easter, Pentecost comes in third place and often ends up the orphaned feast of the liturgical year.  So let me give it some love and for this reason: the Christmas and Easter mystery concern the Lord Jesus primarily and us secondarily.  True, in the Incarnation human and divine natures are united in one Person and in the Resurrection we are  given promise of our own.  Yet these feasts are naturally focused on the Lord himself.  Pentecost, on the other hand, is, you might say, all about us.  For it extends the mystery of union with the Divine and of new life to all those upon whom the Spirit rests.  That's one reason Pentecost is sometimes called "the birthday of the Church." 
     And yet, the effects of the Spirit's outpouring are often as elusive as the selfsame Spirit.  Maybe you don't feel this Spirit coursing within you, empowering new speech to overcome the babble that divides the human race as it builds ever-taller towers of dominance over others.  Maybe you haven't felt the tremors Pentecost caused when a driving wind shook the house where the first disciples were gathered more than at Mt. Sinai shook when the Law was given to Moses amidst smoke, thunder and fire.  Maybe you've never burst forth into prophecy or dreamed dreams or seen visions prompted by the Spirit like Joel said you would — or even know anyone who has.  Or maybe your bones still creak, like mine do, despite Ezekiel's promise of a new spirit to restore them!  Or maybe you're still waiting for a tongue of fire to rest on your own head as Luke portrayed the first Pentecost.  That didn't even happen when I was confirmed!  In other words, all these ways of God’s presence manifesting itself might make you wonder, "But what about me?" 
     Fortunately, John tells us something else about the Spirit.  He records a more subdued outpouring.  For one thing, in John's gospel Jesus says the Spirit would flow from within those who believe in him (G — Vigil).  And then, on the night he rose from the dead, Jesus appeared to the disciples and, through a simple gesture, bestowed the Spirit: He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Day — G).  So no fire this time, no driving wind, just the breath of life, indeed, new life.
     Paul too emphasizes this more interior bestowal of the Spirit and this in reference to prayer.  Indeed, for Paul the Spirit dwelling within us — though whom the love of God has been poured into our hearts (Introit)— is the only true "pray-er."  Only the Spirit searches the deep things of God such that, apart from the inexpressible groanings of the Spirit in labor within us, aiding our weakness, there can be no prayer.  For we do no know how to pray as we ought. (II).
     And while we might wish for more flashy signs of the Spirit — and they have their place —  after all, as Luke told the rest of the story, the early church, including Paul's preaching, was flush with miracles and the gifts of the Spirit were manifest in those first communities  —  we nevertheless need to be careful lest we prefer the effects to their Cause. 
     I read a passage recently from one of St. John Henry Newman's sermons that points out the dangers and, if I may, would like him to preach the remainder of this homily.  He says,

that this great gift, whatever it be, is of a nature to impart illumination, sanctity, and peace, to the soul to which it comes, far from disputing, I would earnestly maintain. And, in this indirect way, doubtless, it is in a certain sense apprehended and perceived; perceived in its effects, with a consciousness that those effects cannot come of themselves, but imply a gift from which they come, and a presence of which they are, as it were, the shadow, a voice of which they are the echo.

But there are persons who desire the inward manifestation of Christ to be much more sensible than this. They will not be contented without some sensible sign and direct evidence that God loves them; some assurance, in which faith has no part, that God has chosen them; and which may answer to their anticipations of what Scripture calls “the secret of the Lord,” and “the hidden manna” which Christ invites us to partake. Some, for instance, hold that their conscience would have no peace, unless they recollected the time when they were converted from darkness to light, from a state of wrath to the kingdom of God. Others consider that, in order to possess the seal of election, they must be able to discern in themselves certain feelings or frames of mind, a renunciation of their own merit, and an apprehension of gospel salvation; as if it were not enough to renounce ourselves and follow Christ, without the lively consciousness that we are doing so; and that in this lies “the secret of the Lord.”

Others go further; and think that without a distinct inward assurance of his salvation, one is not in a saving state. This is what men and women often conceive; not considering that whatever be the manifestation promised to Christians by our Lord, it is not likely to be more sensible and more intelligible than the great sign of his own Resurrection. Yet even that, like the miracle wrought upon Jonah, was in secret, and they who believed without seeing it were more blessed than those who saw.

     There you have it.  Not inexpressible groanings, but something tangible and concrete.  Yet in a time when people clamor for extraordinary things in matters religious -- whether the latest apparition of Mary (about which the Vatican published some warnings of its own on Friday), or the most entertaining liturgy, or New Age quackery -- Pentecost reminds us of a God who comes as surely in gentle breath as in forceful wind or fire.  Indeed, it seems God often prefers the former, as with the simple Galilean fishermen who on a long-ago Pentecost announced the divine grace that was at work when the Gospel was first proclaimed, and fills now once more the hearts of believers. (cf. Pentecost Day Collect).  Through the gift of the Spirit, who with the Father and the Son, live and reign, God, forever and ever.  Amen.


Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church:  that God will pour out the Spirit in a new and abundant way to renew all believers and strengthen us to further the mission of Jesus.

For healing of the human family: that God will heal the divisions between women and men, poor and rich, and every race so that we may work together for the good of every person and the fulfillment of God’s plan.

For a flourishing of the fruits of the Spirit: that we may manifest love, joy, peace, and all the fruits of the Spirit in our lives.

That we may fully use the gifts of the Spirit to encourage one another on our journeys of faith and build up the Body of Christ.

For all who have been initiated into the new life of Christ this Easter season: that they may continue to listen to God, build up the Church, and grow in love.

For Christian unity: that the Spirit will bring forth forgiveness for past wounds, a new spirit of trust, and opportunities to work and pray together for God’s glory.

For all who are ill: that the Spirit will heal all who are suffering, restore them to their loved ones, and give strength to all who care for them.

For Peace: that God will curtail the violence, protect the innocent, and open dialogue between opposing groups, particularly in the Holy Land and Ukraine.

God of majesty and glory, you bring us to the day that crowns our joyful Easter feast. Open for us the fountain of living waters promised to the faithful, that the outpouring of the Spirit may reveal Christ’s glory and enlighten all who wait in hope for the glorious day of redemption. We ask this through Jesus Christ, the resurrection and the life, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Hymn

Listen sweet Dove unto my song, 
And spread thy golden wings in me; 
Hatching my tender heart so long, 
Till it get wing, and fly away with thee.

Such glorious gifts thou didst bestow, 
That th'earth did like a heav'n appear; 
The stars were coming down to know
If they might mend their wages, and serve here.

The sun which once did shine alone, 
Hung down his head, and wisht for night, 
When he beheld twelve suns for one
Going about the world, and giving light.

Lord, though we change, thou art the same; 
The same sweet God of love and light: 
Restore this day, for thy great name, 
Unto his ancient and miraculous right.

 Communion Antiphon

Closing Hymn

Come down, O love divine, seek Thou this soul of mine,
 And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing.
 O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear, 
And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn,
 To dust and ashes in its heat consuming; 
And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
 And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
 And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
 True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
 And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
 Shall far outpass the power of human telling;
 For none can guess its grace, till he become the place
, Wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling.