The word “vigil” comes from the Latin word vigilia, which means “a watching” or “keeping watch.” In the language of the Church, this term is used to designate the day falling before a prominent feast or solemnity, a day set apart by the Church as a preparation for the greater day that follows it.
In the early centuries of Christianity, the faithful customarily gathered in or near a church on the evening preceding great feasts, there giving themselves to prayer in honor of the mystery or saint who would be venerated on such feasts. The observance of a fast for the entire day before these feasts became part of the discipline of Christianity.
The Greek word Pentecost means “fiftieth day.” Fifty days after Easter Sunday, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and their followers, and the beginning of their earthly ministry to make disciples of all nations.
The descent of the Holy Spirit ushered in a new era for the people of God; as such, Pentecost also celebrates the birth of our Church. From that point on, the apostles carried the message of Christ to the whole world.
In addition to honoring the coming of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost is the festival celebration of our New Covenant with God; it’s also the last Sunday of Easter. Continue reading “May 22, 2021: Pentecost Vigil (ABC)”