The archdiocese came together in unity with diversity at the vigil of Pentecost liturgy at the Church of the Holy Spirit June 8. Songs at the Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, were sung and lead by choirs in Congolese, Vietnamese, English and Spanish; and prayers of the faithful were proclaimed in Malayalam, Tagalog, German, Polish, Vietnamese, Igbo, and English, along with being translated into American Sign Language. The liturgy began with a banner procession with representatives of dozens of lay ecclesial movements.
Pope Francis has pointed out that the Holy Spirit “generates diversity, for in every age he causes new and varied charisms to bloom. Then [the Spirit] brings about unity; he joins together, gathers and restores harmony.”
However, continued Archbishop Gustavo in his homily, as creatures we are tempted to seek diversity without unity. “We take sides and form parties. We adopt rigid and airtight positions. We become locked into our own ideas, and ways of doing things, perhaps even thinking that we are better than other or always correct,” he explained. “The opposite temptation is that of seeking unity without diversity — seeking uniformity where everyone has to think and act alike.”
The archbishop told attendees that although they come from different generational and cultural backgrounds, we are united in faith — in part because five years ago the archdiocese was dedicated to the Holy Spirit.
Emphasizing that unity, the San Antonio prelate stressed that all were gathered in faith and fellowship, and in solidarity with sisters and brothers in hospitals and nursing homes; in orphanages, prisons, and detention centers; the homebound, the elderly children, young adults, those alienated and marginalized by poverty or substance abuse. He also spoke of the communion with Pope Francis and with all Catholics around the world, especially those who are suffering persecution for the faith — including those in Sri Lanka.
The Missionary of the Holy Spirit lamented that the world in which we live does not witness to gospel values, in that there is little search for truth, little enthusiasm for the good, little market for the beautiful. Meanwhile, he pointed out, the kingdom of God is a place of justice and peace, mercy and compassion, truth-telling and loving. “The gospel boldly proclaims God’s enduring, unconditional love for all of us and challenges us to live our lives in accord with the word of God — in accord with the readings we just heard proclaimed.”
Archbishop Gustavo underscored the need to stand up against the sins of racism and bigotry and to tirelessly proclaim that every human person is created in the image and likeness of God and has innate dignity and value. “We may lose heart in the face of today’s bad news about racism, hatred, bigotry, and violence. We may become discouraged and lukewarm to the dreams of the gospel,” he said. “But the Holy Spirit changes hearts — beginning with our own hearts — our attitudes, our thoughts, our prejudices that underlie our actions. The Holy Father urges us not to ‘try to find shelter from the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit!’”
The archbishop reiterated the need to join Pope Francis in prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit, change us within and renew the face of the earth! Ven, Holy Spirit, ven! Ven, Holy Spirit, ven!”
Prior to the conclusion of the Mass, Archbishop Gustavo led the congregation in renewing the Consecration of the Holy Spirit.
Photos by: Veronica Markland