Thursday, October 30, 2008

Receive the Power of the Holy Spirit

This past weekend I travelled to the eastern part of the diocese to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for young people in Windthorst, Stockholm and Esterhazy. The gift of the fullness of the Holy Spirit is an incredible gift to receive from the Father. It gives the follower of Jesus great power to be a light to our sometimes very darkened world. The World Youth Day gathering this past summer was a dramatic witness to the power of God's Spirit dwelling within us. Its theme song, "Receive the Power of the Holy Spirit," continues to pop up in my mind, especially in liturgies which celebrate the Spirit of God such as these celebrations of Confirmation. I will share it with you.

The first Confirmation Liturgy was in Windthorst with twenty five young people from the parishes of Kennedy, Kipling, Wawota and Windthorst being confirmed. The pastor, Fr. Joe Strohhofer gave us a warm welcome and assisted Deacon Louis Kim Nguyen and myself in the liturgy.

So here we all are, a little out of focus after the big ceremony. And afterwards we gathered in the church hall for a very pleasant get together. Fr. Joe was a good host.

Well nourished and content we drove on to Stockholm where we were welcomed with a wonderful supper with the Parish Council. Five young people received the fullness of the Holy Spirit in St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church. It is a beautiful church and clearly displays with great pride the history of the first parishioners who came from Hungary and founded the parish community. Here we all are with Fr. Francis Plaparampil, the parish priest in this lovely church. And afterwards we gathered for another lunch.

On our way then to Esterhazy we drove through a little bit of snow! But nothing serious! And the next morning the pastor, Fr.Albert Schmitz presented twelve young people from his parish to be confirmed.

On these trips around the Archdiocese there is always some manifestation of the beauty of this prairie province. After a cloudy drive from Windthorst to Stockholm we were blessed with another spectacular sunset in the western sky. The fire of the sunset and the windy day were nature's reminder of the wind and fire of the Holy Spirit who entered the hearts of forty-two beautiful young people this weekend. I pray that they will be good and hope-filled witnesses of the beauty of our Faith and the love that God has planted in their hearts. There are many people in our communities who search for that love and meaning in their lives.

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