Pentecost vigil fills cathedral with sea of red

Archbishop Allen Vigneron blesses the congregation at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament during the recessional of the Pentecost vigil Mass on May 23. The archbishop invited hundreds of Catholics from parishes across the archdiocese to celebrate the Mass to officially close out the Year of Prayer for a New Pentecost and turn attention toward an upcoming archdiocese-wide evangelization initiative, which will include a local synod in the fall of 2016. (Photos by Mike Stechschulte, The Michigan Catholic)

Archbishop Allen Vigneron blesses the congregation during the recessional of the Pentecost vigil Mass on May 23 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The archbishop invited hundreds of Catholics from parishes across the Archdiocese of Detroit to celebrate the Mass to officially close out the Year of Prayer for a New Pentecost and turn attention toward an upcoming archdiocese-wide evangelization initiative, which will include a local synod in the fall of 2016. (Photos by Mike Stechschulte, The Michigan Catholic)

DETROIT — Red was the color of the evening May 23 as nearly 900 people filled the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament for the second time in six hours on the eve of Pentecost Sunday.

Archbishop Vigneron gestures during his homily at the Pentecost vigil Mass.

Archbishop Vigneron gestures during his homily at the Pentecost vigil Mass.

The scene was a vigil Mass to officially close the Year of Prayer for a New Pentecost, and the mood was vibrant as Archbishop Allen Vigneron told a packed congregation just hours after ordaining five men to the priesthood that the same Holy Spirit who “descended on those five deacons he made priests” could also descend upon the Church to renew it like the fire of the first Pentecost.

“The New Evangelization requires that from each of us: that we become new and alive and burning again with the fire of the love of Jesus Christ,” the archbishop said during his homily.

Many in the cathedral were members of the Hispanic or charismatic communities — or both — and a good portion wore red to signify the flame of the Holy Spirit descending upon the Church at Pentecost. Many lifted their hands in prayer as upbeat, contemporary worship hymns were sung at points during the liturgy.

Though longer than a normal Mass with several additional readings, several people stayed late to pray and keep vigil even after the service was over. Fr. Eduardo Montemayor, SOLT, said members of the community had requested to keep the cathedral open for two extra hours so people could stay and pray.

The archbishop again referenced the synod that will take place in the fall of 2016 in the Archdiocese of Detroit, which he had announced during the ordination liturgy.

Members of the charismatic renewal movement lift their hands in prayer during the recessional song.

Members of the charismatic renewal movement lift their hands in prayer during the recessional song.

The synod, he said, “will be the product of months of preparation for the whole community of southeast Michigan.”

“Once again, we’ll take personal possession of our covenant with Jesus Christ. It’s a little bit like going through Retrouvaille between myself and Jesus, a marriage encounter with Christ. It will be on the basis of that that the members of the synod will begin to prepare for examining, discerning what we ought to do — what God calls us to do in order to be young again. In order for all of us to be on mission,” he said.

The archbishop thanked those who came to the vigil, but added, “there is no one in this cathedral tonight who will be just an observer, a bystander in the audience, so to speak, for the New Evangelization.”

“We are all to contribute,” he said. “How else could we behave once we know Christ and his love and the power of his mercy?”