Four Ideas for Celebrating Pentecost

Holy Spirit stained glass

Pentecost has long been one of my favorite feasts in the liturgical year. Who doesn’t love a story with fire, wind, speaking in tongues, and a bold proclamation of the Gospel? Unfortunately, though, by the time Pentecost rolls around in the calendar, many of our religious education programs have ended and our creative energy switches off into summer mode. Why not instead use this exciting feast as a way to end the faith formation year with a bang?

Birthday Party for the Church

Children love birthday parties, so what better way to invite them to celebrate and understand the birthday of the Church than to throw a party? Set the mood with red, orange, and yellow tablecloths, plates, and napkins. Each child can make and wear flame party-crowns. Some activities could include pin the flame on the Apostles, tongue twisters, and opening the gifts of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (wrapped boxes with the name of each gift inside, or an object to represent each gift). Make sure there is cake—the children can help the Holy Spirit blow out the candles!

Confirmation Day of Reflection

In Confirmation preparation we tell the story of Pentecost again and again, but often when the feast comes, it passes by with the students simply wondering why Father is wearing red this Sunday. Pentecost can be a perfect day of reflection for newly Confirmed students to experience mystagogy and reflect on their recent sacrament. How are they being filled with the Spirit and called to boldly proclaim the Gospel? If your parish has Confirmation in the autumn, a day of reflection on Pentecost can serve as a kick-off to summer preparation.

Family Faith Sharing

To encourage parents to share the faith with their children at home, send home a simple dinner-table talk sheet that they can use on Pentecost. This can include a brief telling of the story and reflection on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. After reading the reflection, prompt each member of the family to share which Gifts of the Spirit they see in one another. They can conclude with a prayer for the courage to proclaim the Gospel as a family using those gifts.

Celebrate Diversity

On Pentecost, the Apostles did not just proclaim the Good News; they proclaimed it in languages they did not even know to people who had gathered in Jerusalem from all over the world. Pentecost celebrates the diversity and unity of the global Church. Highlight the diversity of your own parish by hosting a pot-luck where people are invited to bring a dish representing their family’s ethnic origin. Hang signs saying, “Come, Holy Spirit!” in many different languages. The focus should be on our unity—that there are many parts to one Body, and many gifts but the same Spirit.

With a little creativity, Pentecost can be celebrated with the children in our programs, even when classes are over. How does your parish celebrate Pentecost?

About Darcy Osby 32 Articles
Darcy Osby is Director of Religious Education at St. Bernard Parish in Pittsburgh, PA. She has been involved in a variety of parish catechetical programs for over 12 years and loves working in ministry professionally. Darcy holds bachelor’s degrees in elementary education and theology from Carlow University in Pittsburgh, as well as a Master of Divinity from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She and her husband enjoy exploring God’s creation through hiking, canoeing, and kayaking.

3 Comments on Four Ideas for Celebrating Pentecost

  1. To emphasize the flame colors of Pentecost, we ask everyone to wear red, hot pink, orange, or other flame color to also show our unity as one assembly celebrating the birthday of the Church and the gifts of the Spirit.

    • Have done this in two parishes and it helps everyone to celebrate together and to understand that we, indeed, are all many and varied parts of the church.

  2. I did a half day Retreat last year on the Fruits of the Spirit. We read Scripture Galatians 5:22-23 listing the fruits: love, joy, peace, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Then I asked the students which one of the gifts they could feel strongly in themselves. Then I gave them a list of fruits they thought they were most like and why. Then we all cut up our fruits and made a fruit salad and ate it together. After they played ball together, ate lunch and at the end I had them write a reflection on what the fruits of the Spirit had meant to them.

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