How to Celebrate Pentecost
Q: I’ve never done any liturgical living in the home. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed at all the possibilities. Which feast days are most important to be celebrating?
A: As someone who celebrates a LOT of feast days throughout the liturgical year, I often get asked this question. My standard answer is that it’s best to start with an inward focus. Find out baptism dates and choose patron saints for yourself and the members of your household, and begin with celebrating those days. I’ve found this to be an accessible way to get started with liturgical living in the home, because who WOULDN’T want to get two all new days every year on which to be recognized as special?! I’ve got a whole post on that here.
But there IS an answer to the actual question you’ve asked, so today, I’m actually going to answer it. Because this month, it’s especially timely.
Now, there ARE families who actually are doing NO liturgical living in the home. But the venn diagram of “people who celebrate zero Christian holidays” and “people who read the Endow Voices column” can’t have much overlap. Almost certainly you are celebrating Christmas and Easter in your home, and that’s liturgical living. Of course, the deeper, more eternal nature of these holidays may have been overlooked in favor of the presents and candy parts. That’s not uncommon. These holidays are celebrated even by families who don’t consider themselves particularly religious. They are part of our culture.
It’s easy for practicing Catholics to lament the commercialization of our feast days, but I’d argue that even the secular celebrations of important Christian holidays give us a foot in the door to actual, meaningful liturgical living. All we have to do is take those days that we’ve already set apart as special, and on which we already expect to have family time and family activities, and tweak them to have a more Catholic focus. So on Christmas, we can have our trees and presents and “Frosty the Snowman” sing along, but we can add a nativity set and a Christmas novena and “Away in a Manger.” Our existing Easter dinner can be enriched by the addition of the Good Friday fast.
What’s maybe a harder pull against the current is to recognize and observe the very important feast days which are ignored by secular society, as there aren’t particular treats or traditions that we associate with them. Case in point is Pentecost, coming up on June 9th this year. The coming of the Holy Spirit to Mary and the apostles is a pivotal moment in the history of the Church and our salvation, but even practicing Catholics often see it as just another weekly Sunday Mass.
But this day upon which the Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity, came to dwell with us and in us, is a very big deal, and definitely a day that should be celebrated. Since our culture doesn’t have well-known traditions associated with it, it’s a chance to create something that’s a good fit for your own family. In our family, we like to wear red—the color associated with the Holy Spirit—and have a family bonfire to recall the tongues of fire which rested above those in the upper room that day. A quick and easy way to observe the day is with donuts! After all, they’re hole-y.
Kendra Tierney is a wife and a mother of nine children from little to teenager. She's a homeschooler and a regular schooler, and an enthusiastic amateur experimenter in the domestic arts. She writes the award-winning Catholic mommy blog Catholic All Year, is a contributor to the Blessed Is She and Take Up and Read Ministries, and is the voice of liturgical living here at Endow. She is the author of A Little Book about Confession for Children, the Traditional Catholic Prayers for Awesome Catholic Kids series of prayer books, and the Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life.
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