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Homily for Pentecost Novena

By Fr. Robert J. Carr
©Catholic Online 2005

Inauguration homily for the Pentecost Novena

(This homily was delivered in Spanish on Friday May 6, 2005)

I was at an Archdiocesan priests’ meeting the other day. As I was waiting for it to begin, I organized the notes on my Palm Pilot. I found one that I wrote last year As you have used them to show us your holiness, you us to show them your glory. Sirach 36:3

This is what brings us here today. We are beginning a nine day novena calling for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our Church and our Archdiocese. The catalyst for this action is two things. First, Cardinal Law called for a similar novena in 2002 and the response to that is something called the Pentecost Miracle. Where we experienced a powerful manifestation of the Spirit during the then 9:00 AM Pentecost Sunday mass in 2002. This became a source of encouragement for many of us as the protests and harassment against all parishioners continued. Further, the entire community Anglo and Hispanic, Rich and Poor, Black and White, Brown and Yellow testified to their faith in Christ by simply attending mass despite having to endure as many as 500 protesters OUTSIDE the church.

The second is that the Rainbow Sash Movement has called for a protest in Catholic Churches across the country demanding the Church change her teaching to be pro-gay. This is despite the fact that such protests are illegal.


I was thinking the other day about an event that happened several years ago. A Salvadoran, communist drifter came to me looking for money. I asked him if he knew Archbishop Oscar Romero and he said, yes and that the prelate was a great revolutionary. After a few minutes of talking with the man, I walked across the street to the church where Salvadorans were in the midst of a prayer meeting. I asked if I should give the man any money. I told them how he described Oscar Romero.

"Oh no Father, Oscar Romero was not a revolutionary." They told me the word that did accurately describe him, then said "Do not give him any money."

I was thinking of that story in light of some of the words of Archbishop Romero. One of the things he said was that if he was killed he would rise in the Salvadoran people. Here I am in this Church preaching to exactly those people. We are here asking for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We cannot fight the current attacks on us as would another organization and we will not be protected by the government (at least on the state or federal level.) What can we do? We use the situation exactly as that verse from Sirach teaches. We pray that now God has shown us His morality, he uses us to show them His glory.


We are here to call upon the power of the Holy Spirit to glorify His Name in our Church. Why? because in this country many of the Catholics are lost.

A friend pointed out to me recently that Voice of the Faithful has as its target group the middle ground Catholic. When I heard this I was surprised. She pointed out it is on their website. Sure enough it is. They seek the middle ground mediocre Catholic. Yet, it is just this person who is lost already. Look at what Jesus says about the mediocre Catholic:

"I know your deeds, I know that you are neither hot nor cold! How I wish you were one or the other—Hot or Cold! But because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I spew you out of my mouth."

"You keep saying, ‘I am so rich and secure I want for nothing.’ Little do you realize how wretched you are, how pitiable and poor, how blind and naked. Buy from me gold refined from fire if you would be truly rich. Buy white garments in which to be clothed. If the shame of your nakedness is to be covered. Buy ointment to smear on your eyes if you would see once more. Whoever is dear to me I reprove and chastise. Be earnest about it, therefore, Repent!"( Rev. 3:15ff)

Unfortunately, this describes well many Catholics in this country.

Too many are more concerned with the gay rights than their opportunity for salvation in Jesus.

They are more concerned with women’s ordination than their opportunity for salvation in Jesus.

They are more concerned about getting degrees from prestigious universities than their opportunity for salvation in Jesus.

They are more concerned with the fruits of consumerism, a consumerism that is bringing a moral collapse to this country than their opportunity for salvation in Jesus.

They are lost. Many in the English speaking Catholic community in this country are just plain lost. I cannot describe it in any other terms. The question is why should we care? The answer is simple. We are all one body in Christ. It does not matter ...

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