Pentecost offers gift of unity in the Church

BRIDGEPORT– “We are not meant to be a sea of strangers or of polite neighbors… but to be members of one single, beautiful divine body–the mystical body of Christ,” said Bishop Frank J Caggiano on the Feast of Pentecost.

The bishop’s Mass was live-streamed from the Catholic Center chapel, where he has been celebrating Mass online for the faithful during the pandemic.

In his homily he said that one important gift that may come out of the terrible suffering and isolation of the pandemic is that we no longer take for granted the unity of the Church, which is struggling with many of the same divisions experienced by the larger society.

“Let’s be honest, do we want everything to go back to what we once considered normal?” the bishop asked, referring to the vitriol and personal attacks that have characterized much social media.

He said that disagreement should not be a license to attack the other person and that we need to work on mutual respect within the Church and society.

The bishop began his homily by quipping that when he celebrated his 50th birthday with friends eleven years ago, one of them said that at 50, “The body’s warranty expires and you start paying your dues.”

He added that we often take our own health for granted and “the gift of our body, this beautiful mysterious unity that allows us to be who we are.”

Yet one little ache or pain can cause discomfort in the entire body, he noted, likening it to division within the Church.

Describing Pentecost Sunday as ‘the birthday of the Church when the Holy Spirit came into our midst,” the bishop said the Church is a unity of believers and that the peace and forgiveness of Christ are offered to all.

“St Paul spoke of the Church as a body, the presence of Christ’s mystical body in the world… Just as there is this unity in our own individual bodies, so should there be unity amongst ourselves – we who share this great single Holy Spirit,” he said.

More than 1,600 years ago St. Augustine addressed disunity in the Church and taught that “the suffering of one is suffering of all. The glory, honor and dignity given to the one, is the glory, honor and dignity given to the all,” the bishop said.

At the end of Mass the bishop said that the diocese will soon begin the second phase of its reopening plan, and asked for prayers “the Holy Spirit will guide us step by step as we gradually emerge from the pandemic,” he said.

On Friday he announced the resumption of socially distanced weekend Masses inside church buildings beginning the weekend of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (June 13th and 14th) Click to read the Bishop’s entire letter: Many parishes have been celebrating outdoor Masses since May 21, when the bishop formally gave permission and issued a set of health and safety guidelines.

“As we take steps to share community together, let us remember the promise of Pentecost. If that becomes the new normalcy, what a great gift will be given us to us.”
To join in the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, live-streamed weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist.