By Mat de Sousa
The congregation of Holy Cross Church, Hamilton Hill Parish, celebrated the feast of Pentecost with flowers of red, white and green – the colours of the Portuguese flag – on 20 May.
Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey celebrated the Mass with Hamilton Hill Parish Priest Fr Nicholas Nweke and Fr Ted Miller.
In a tradition that’s symbolises the arrival of the Holy Spirit, two flag bearers processed into the Church while waving flags above the heads of the parishioners.
These flags, which were embroidered with imagery of the Holy Spirit, was touched by each person as if they were receiving the Holy Spirit.
Following the flag bearers were two girls in traditional Portuguese costume who carried in the “Crown of the Holy Spirit” and placed the crown at the foot of the altar.
This Silver Crown is a mark of Portuguese devotion to the Holy Spirit and a tradition dating back to the 13th century when St Elizabeth of Portugal offered her crown as a votive gift to the Holy Ghost, begging for the famine ravaging her country to stop.
During his homily, Archbishop Emeritus Hickey spoke about how at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came down on the apostles and gave them gifts to help them witness the love they shared for Jesus Christ to the world.
Archbishop Emeritus Hickey said that knowing that this same Spirit was to enter each child, who made their Confirmation at City Beach just hours earlier, gave him hope for the future.
“For the Holy Spirit instils in us these same gifts so that we too may be a witness to this secular world,” he said.
After Mass, which was beautified by traditional Portuguese hymns dedicated to the Holy Spirit, there was Benediction and each member of the congregation received a loaf of blessed bread as a reminder of St Elizabeth’s generous gesture to the poor.