Pentecost from Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
By Fr.David Steffy,L.C., Chargé of the Holy See
June 3rd, 2022 - Pentecost Newsletter I Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Photo by David Delgado, Ceiling of Mosaic Suite at Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Greetings from the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center as the Church celebrates the feast of Pentecost.
This feast reminds us that the Holy Spirit is the gift of the creating and redeeming love of Jesus Christ to each of us. His love is eternal and is alive in us through His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is often referred to as the companion of our soul, the compassionate consoler of our affliction, and the counselor who inspires our conscience and enlightens us to make the right decisions. Trying to define the Holy Spirit is not an easy thing to do, but experiencing his presence is easier than we often imagine.
The Holy Spirit is often referred to as the companion of our soul, the compassionate consoler of our affliction, and the counselor who inspires our conscience and enlightens us to make the right decisions.
I experience this presence every day as I move throughout the center and greet the staff and guests. Each day several members of the staff remind me concretely of God’s loving presence. After a happy or perhaps sad conversation about some of the challenges of their lives in this uncertain political and social environment, there is one constant refrain, “Thank God.” This summarizes the very recognizable spirit of charity and service of the mainly Christian, but also Muslim, staff. Their dedicated service and hospitality is rooted in their trust and confidence in a loving God. Their kindness and hard work are an outward expression of the interior power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
In my mind, it would be normal that they would doubt His loving presence when confronted with daily sufferings and challenges that those of us who were raised in the West could never imagine. Walls, soldiers, checkpoints, off-limit areas, and discrimination; are all part of the daily fabric of their lives. Yet, they do not blame God for these things. They are a people of hope and each day the words, “Thank God”, sum up their Spirit-filled lives.
As you can tell, I am very inspired by the faith-filled culture that our staff has created here at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. It is a true gift of the Church of the Holy Land to the entire Universal Church. It is a message of constantly “thanking God,” living with a sense of hope, and trusting God’s plan.
The presence of pilgrims is a sign of strong support for the local Church here and is essential to her growth and sustenance both spiritually and economically.
Since March, we have been experiencing an increase of pilgrims to the Center from all parts of the world. The presence of pilgrims is a sign of strong support for the local Church here and is essential to her growth and sustenance both spiritually and economically. Now is a wonderful time to visit since the Holy Sites are not so crowded.
My prayer is that all of us will be renewed by the Holy Spirit this Pentecost. This renewal can start with those simple words, “Thank God”. As well, I ask you to remember the Holy Land in your daily prayers and especially the local Christian men and women who keep the Spirit alive in circumstances that can be overwhelming at times.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. David Steffy, L.C.