I have always loved the Easter season, particularly the way it crescendos at the end, culminating in the feast of Pentecost.
Our community of the Daughters of St. Paul, and all the Pauline Family, have a special Marian feast that falls between the Ascension and Pentecost—the feast of Mary, Queen of Apostles. Mary is the mother, teacher, and queen of all those who are sent to bring the good news of Jesus to the world. In some images, she is depicted among the apostles as they are gathered in the upper room, where the Holy Spirit descends upon them. A simpler form shows Mary with the child Jesus—not holding him close to her, but holding him out, as if handing him to someone. She is giving him to the world.
This year, the last few weeks of the Easter season have been special for me for two reasons. For one thing, I have begun the celebration of the 25th anniversary of my first profession. In the diocese of Arlington where I am stationed right now, the sisters of the diocese gather for a Mass and dinner for the jubilarians each year. I say “begun” because the actual date is in late June, and then in August I will have a celebration with the other Daughter of St. Paul jubilarians (25th and 50th) in Boston.
The other very special thing is that my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary is also this year, and my immediate family all gathered for a celebration with them—six children, 5 spouses of children, and 22 grandchildren.
Time passes so quickly. For me, it doesn’t seem like it’s been 25 years since I made my first vows. An anniversary can be a great opportunity to “pause” time for a moment—pause to look with gratitude on all God’s gifts. It can happen that a person feels regret more than gratitude in looking back over the years. In that case an anniversary is a great time to repent, and then to place everything, the good and the bad, trustingly in God’s hands.
The annual feast of Pentecost, with its promised gifts of the Holy Spirit, reminds us that God showers his love and gifts over and over, without growing weary. Each day we receive an abundance. Each day we can begin again to respond and, like Mary, to bring Jesus to the world around us.
Sr Maria Grace Dateno, FSP
Credits for the photograph of Sr. Grace and Mr. and Mrs. Dateno: Maria-Pia | Catholic Herald