Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the birth of the Church. The Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles gathered in prayer and transformed them from fearful men to great witnesses of the love of God for all people.
Today we will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation, which invites each confirmed person to witness to the love of Jesus Christ in family and society. We pray for those who are confirmed today and for all the confirmed that our witness may be courageous and strong, guided by the Spirit. At the end of Mass the Holy Father has given me the privilege of granting the Blessing in his name with a Plenary Indulgence.
I welcome such a wonderful diversity of Movements in the Church, gathered under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for this special celebration of renewal and mission. I commend to you these words of prayer from the Holy Father -
"O Lord may my soul be flooded with your light and know you more profoundly. Lord, give me so much love that will unite me with you always. Lord, let me serve you and serve you well on the paths that you wish to open to my existence here below."
I am honoured to be with you to celebrate the Eucharist, which is the sign of our unity in faith and worship and our sharing in the mission of the Church to teach the message of Jesus to all people.
In paying tribute to your staff and students I remember with gratitude the contribution of the Centre over many years, the skill and zeal of staff, the faith-filled witness of students.
Eleven weeks ago I was privileged for the first time to welcome those who were reflecting on becoming members of the Catholic Church at the Rite of Election. Today I welcome you back after the wonderful moment of your baptism or reception into the Church to congratulate you, to join with you in thanking God for the gift of faith, to pray that he will sustain you in that journey.
Today too, as it is the first Sunday of May, we are joined by the Legion of Mary to honour Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who brought us the Saviour, in a simple ceremony of crowning, which reminds us of the care of the Mother of God for each of us. She is also Mother of the Church.