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Blessed Pope John Paul II called for a New Evangelisation in the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI in Verbum Domini, 2010 said “We cannot keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ: they are meant for everyone, for every man and woman. … It is our responsibility to pass on what, by God’s grace, we ourselves have received.” In 2010 he also established the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation. Ralph Martin who has been appointed one of the fourteen consultors to this Council has often said, “If we want a New Evangelisation, we need a new Pentecost.” Successive Popes including  Pope Leo XIII, Pope John XXIII and Pope Benedict XVI have called for a New Pentecost in the Catholic Church.

In his apostolic letter Provida Matris Caritate, Pope Leo XIII ended by asking all the faithful to celebrate a solemn novena to the Holy Spirit between the feasts of Ascension and Pentecost. A second document was an encyclical letter on the Holy Spirit in 1897, Divinum Illud Munus, again he ended by drawing the attention of the faithful to the solemn novena he had requested in 1895. He stated that the novena was not to be limited to only one year but was to be a perpetual novena, done every year between the feasts of Ascension and Pentecost.

In order to prepare for the Year of Faith, and with it a period of growth in our parishes, why not encourage those in your parish to participate in a period of prayer not just during the nine days between Ascension and Pentecost, but for the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost. Encourage your parishes to purchase copies of a guide to prayer during this period, called “50 Days of Freedom” which can be obtained from the Goodnews office on 020 7352 5298 or by writing to Goodnews, PO Box 67138, Goodnews CCR Centre, London SW11 9FD (Price £2 but 25% discount for 100).

Finally, you could also consider holding a weekly period of Adoration – unless this already exists in your parish, for the intention of the New Evangelisation.