Pope Francis on Pentecost: The Holy Spirit’s work in us is powerful


Pope Francis participates in Mass on the solemnity of Pentecost, May 19, 2024. | Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City: (By Courtney Mares for CAN) On the solemnity of Pentecost, Pope Francis said that Christians are called to proclaim the Gospel to everyone with gentleness and the power of the Holy Spirit. Speaking in St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope explained that the Holy Spirit’s “work in us is powerful, as symbolized by the signs of wind and fire,” but it is also gentle and “welcoming to all.”

“From the ‘upper room’ of this basilica, like the apostles, we too are being sent forth to proclaim the Gospel to all,” Pope Francis said in his homily on May 19.

“Thanks to the Spirit, we can and must do this with his own power and gentleness,” he added.

Pope Francis underlined that this power is not arrogant, calculating, or imposing but is “born of fidelity to the truth that the Spirit teaches us in our hearts.”

“Consequently, we do not give up but tirelessly proclaim peace to those who desire war, forgiveness to those who seek revenge, welcome and solidarity to those who bar their doors and erect barriers, life to those who choose death, respect to those who love to humiliate, insult, and reject, fidelity to those who would sever every bond, thereby confusing freedom with a bleak and empty individualism,” he said.

“Nor are we intimidated by hardship, derision, or opposition, which, today as always, are never lacking in the apostolate.”

Cardinal Arthur Roche, the prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, served as the main celebrant for the Pentecost Mass.

In his homily, Pope Francis explained how the Holy Spirit helps us to overcome sinful passions, like impurity or envy, and then gently plants the seeds of virtue and helps them to grow.

“He lovingly protects these virtues, so that they can grow stronger and so that, after the toil of combatting evil, we may taste the sweetness of mercy and communion with God,” he said.


“As a beautiful prayer of the early Church says: ‘Let your gentleness, O Lord, and the fruits of your love abide with me,’” he added.

Thousands were gathered inside St. Peter’s Basilica for the Pentecost Mass. After the Mass, Pope Francis appeared in the window of the Apostolic Palace and prayed the “Regina Caeli” in Latin.

The pope told the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square that listening to the word of God helps to “silence the chatter” and provides space for one to hear the consoling voice of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit repeats in us “transformative words of love,” he added, that help us to realize the eternal love of God. The pope recommended that people spend time praying in silence in Eucharistic adoration to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. 

Pope Francis also prayed for the Holy Spirit to bring communion between Christians, harmony in families, and an end to the wars in Ukraine and the Holy Land.

The solemnity of Pentecost, which is celebrated 50 days after Easter, marks the descent of the Holy Spirit.

At the end of his Pentecost homily, Pope Francis prayed: “Come, Creator Spirit, enlighten our minds, fill our hearts with your grace, guide our steps, grant your peace to our world.”


(Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees) 

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