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Divine Liturgy at the Basilica of St. Ann, Scranton, Pennsylvania

A Divine Liturgy is celebrated annually at the Basilica of St. Ann, Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The annual novena to St. Ann draws thousands of faithful pilgrims from July 17 through July 26, the feast day of St. Ann on the Latin calendar (July 25 : Dormition of St. Ann on Eastern rite Calendar).  Novena week is observed with multiple daily Roman Catholic Masses and daily novena prayer services with inspirational preaching. Each year for four decades, a Byzantine Catholic Liturgy has also been featured.

The Bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersery  presides at the Divine Liturgy with area priests and deacons as concelebrants, and altar servers and choir members assisting.   The photos seen below are a sample of the annual event, taken at the 2018 Liturgy with Bishop Kurt Burnett as the main celebrant.  The Passionist preachers for the 2018 novena were Rev. Don Ware, C.P. and Rev. Michael Rowe, C.P..   The Rev. Don Ware, C.P. is pictured below with Bishop Kurt.

Photos appear in sequential order including:  the great incensing of the church and faithful, chanting of litanies, the Epistle and Gospel readings, homily, singing of the Nicene Creed, the Anaphora (Eucharistic prayers) and Epiclesis (consecration of the Holy Eucharist), and following the Liturgy were the closing with novena prayers and blessing with relic of St. Ann.


   For a description of the history of the Divine Liturgy during St. Ann novena week: click here.

†   Click on any photo to open to Slide Photo View

2018 – Annual Flea Market

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Father Gary and the parishioners of St. Michael’s invite you to visit our 22nd Annual Flea Market on Saturday and Sunday.   A special “treasure” might be waiting just for you!


Saturday August 4     9 am to 4 pm
August 5       9 am to 3 pm


The Flea Market is in the lower level church hall.

Use left side entrance from Main Street next to parking lot.  The line forms early Saturday morning in front of the church.  Saturday start time is the busiest.  There is always plenty to explore and plenty of food both days.   It’s exciting to be part of the fun!   Doors open at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Take a break after hunting for bargains and interesting “stuff” and visit the food bar for ethnic food. 
Or purchase a Ziti and meatball dinner ticket to eat in or take out.


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A ziti dinner with fresh homemade sauce and meatballs, salad and bread will be a featured item.

Saturday  12 pm to 3 pm
Sunday     10 am to 3 pm

Cost: $10 Adults; $6 Children under 12
Tickets sold at the door; orders are taken in the seating area.



BAKE SALE: Saturday only
Under tent outside.  You are sure to find something temptingly delicious!  Items sell fast.  Be sure to stop by early for the best selection.

     St. Michael’s is known for outstanding homemade ethnic food:

Piggies (stuffed cabbage)
Potato Pancakes

Or try a sampler with a little bit of each!  Fast food items such as hot dogs, whimpies, and more.  Eat in or Take out on all items.   With all these delicious selections there is no need to cook at all.


CLICK ON ANY PHOTO below for larger images in slide show view


We Appreciate Our Visitors and Volunteers

Everyone at St. Michael’s thanks all who visit or volunteer in supporting this event each year and look forward to seeing all of our returning and new friends alike.    God bless each of you.



Byzantine Liturgy at St. Ann Basilica, Scranton – to be held on July 23, 2018

Byzantine Liturgy at St. Ann Novena 2017

2018 Divine Liturgy at Basilica of St. Ann will be held on Monday, July 23 – 4:30 p.m.


†   For full description and additional photos:  Click Here for Photos of Liturgy with Bishop Kurt Burnette

The annual novena to St. Ann draws thousands of faithful pilgrims from July 17 through July 26, the feast day of St. Ann on the Latin calendar.

Bishop Kurt Burnette of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersery will preside at this year’s Liturgy with area priests and deacons as concelebrants, and area altar servers and choir members assisting.

The Liturgy will be in the upper main church.  All are invited to attend in witness to the beauty and expression of our Eastern rite traditions at this blessed and historic site.   Everyone attending will receive the traditional blessing with a relic of St. Ann following the Liturgy.

Pope Saint John Paul II declared St. Ann Monastery and Church as a National Shrine to be a Minor Basilica on October 27, 1997. The novena has a long history dating back to the early 1900’s when the monastery was founded by the Passionist order and the Roman Catholic diocese of Scranton.

Novena week is observed with multiple daily Latin rite Masses and novena prayer services with inspirational preaching.  This year’s Passionist preachers are Rev. Don Ware, C.P. and Rev. Michael Rowe, C.P.

Over four decades, every bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic since Bishop Michael J. Dudick, has visited the monastery and celebrated Liturgy at the Basilica. Through the vision of Bishop Dudick, the Byzantine Liturgy during novena week became an established tradition at the Shrine.   The entire Passionist community, staff, and parish family at the Monastery have continued to be gracious hosts and friends.  It is a gift and blessing to be united as Catholics in worship to God and with reverence to St. Ann.

Opportunities for Sacrament of Reconciliation are available before and after the regular daily novena services; it is recommended to arrive very early for parking, or to have time for a visit around the Shrine; or prayer time in the lower church before the icon of St. Ann and the Holy Theotokos, an icon presented from our Eparchy of Passaic.  A food stand is located at the lower end of the grounds courtesy of St. Ann’s parish volunteers.

Hope to see everyone in Scranton for novena week!


Directions and additional information may be found online.

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Novena Week Services include:

Novena Preachers : Fr. Michael Rowe, C.P. & Fr. Donald Ware, C.P.

Novena can be heard on local Catholic EWTN affiliate radio:  JMJ 98.9 FM 12 noon and 8 to 9 pm daily

Novena Devotions after each Mass : 8:00 & 11:45 am 5:30 & 7:30 pm & Novena Service only 3:30 pm daily in the Basilica   — Solemn  Adoration Blessed Sacrament 12:30 to 3:15 P.M. Daily – Lower Basilica — Confessions Before all Masses & after all Services

SUNDAY JULY 22  —–  Schedule: 8:00, 9:30 & 11:45 A.M. 5:30 & 7:30 P.M.  ** 9:30 am in TAMIL Language in Lower Basilica

THURSDAY JULY 19 —–  1:30 pm Mass of the Anointing of the Sick Thursday – Basilica
SATURDAY  JULY 21 —–  10 am  Children’s Mass & Novena     Special Blessing for Families and Grandparents

MONDAY  JULY 23  ——–  4:30 pm Divine Liturgy Eastern Rite of Catholic Church
Bishop Kurt Burnette, Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, NJ
This Liturgy is in place of the 5:30 pm Mass/novena

All Night Adoration (Eve of the Feast) 9:00 pm until first Mass at 4:30 am

THURSDAY  JULY 26  St. Ann’s Feast Day ——–  Mass Schedule:  4:30, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, & 11:45 A.M. 3:30 (Novena only) & 5:30 pm 7:30 pm **  Pontifical Closing with Bishop Joseph Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.  **  Language Service – 1:15 pm – Polish (Upper Basilica) **


Visit St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church, Pittston home page  https://stmichaelsbyzantine.com  for additional topics


SUNDAY    JANUARY 28 , 2018
CANCELLED for 2018
Nesbitt Park Boat Launch, Kingston, Pa

CLICK HERE to see photos showing the severe ice jam on the river in Jan 2018


With the recent unpredictability of ice jams in the river, we were very
concerned about continuing with this event .  Even as the ice jam threat has lessened at this time, it is far too dangerous to proceed.  Our prayers were and continue to be for all those living along the river and in other potential flood zones.  River flooding and threats of flooding are very stressful for everyone in our area, and our focus at this time is on prayer for all who are affected in any way, and for future protection of all.  

We especially thank all workers in emergency management,
disaster relief and preparedness, law enforcement and all first responders, and public officials for the services provided during this time.  We thank also those volunteers and workers who served in any other way, including our local media broadcasters for their role in communication.












Remember to check our Home Page for news, links, and the latest weekly podcast





Blessing the water that will be intermingled with the river.  In addition, a blessed ice cross will also be tossed into the water.




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A view of the Susquehanna in Pittston looking south.  A tranquil river in late summer.



Celebrate Christ is Born !

We Celebrate Christmas !

Christ is Born!   Glorify Him!
Razdajestsja!  Slavite Jeho!


God is with us! God is with us! Give ear, O you nations!  Be humbled, for God is with us!”

God is with us!  God is with us!   The words of the hymn sung at the Great Compline, the evening prayer service introducing the Vigil of the Nativity (Christmas Eve) announce the joy which is Christmas: the coming of a Savior, the Messiah, for which all Christians gratefully rejoice.  What a marvelous gift, a mystery and event of such magnitude that the entire history of the world is changed forever.

Pause for a moment and consider that.  The history of the world transformed by the arrival of a tiny baby  — a plan of God so amazing and actualized in such a way that transcends all human reasoning.   In our limited vision we find ourselves at a loss to understand, and like our Blessed Mother Mary, we can only repeat, “How can this be?”

This is the timeless gift that God gives us in His mercy and desire to bring all to eternal life.  This is the perfect gift that has no equal.   No product or act of human creation can approach God’s gift to us, and we deceive ourselves if we believe otherwise.  This is a gift freely given, but ours to receive, if we so choose to live in relationship with Christ Jesus.

In Christmas, hope becomes reality.  God comes to us.  God lives among us.  Christmas is the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Old Testament.  The wait is over.  God takes on humanity to save humanity.

The words chanted in the Liturgy on Christmas Day:

I see a strange and marvelous mystery, heaven is a cave; the cherubic throne, a Virgin; the manger has become the place in which Christ the incomprehensible God lies down. Let us praise him and extol Him.

We celebrate Christmas on December 25.  Our Orthodox brothers and sisters also celebrate on January 7.   Christmas does not end on those days.  The world puts an end to Christmas on December 26th, but our celebration is different.   Our celebration is more than all that Christmas has become.

When we continue to keep holy in our hearts and minds the revelation of our Lord in His Nativity in the days following Christmas, we are proclaiming that we are different.  We do not follow what the world wants us to be.  We are more.  We are encouraged to be a visible sign to others of who and what we are, just as God came to us as a visible sign.

With the end of pre-Christmas distractions and Christmas Day, the post-festal period of Christmas begins.  This post-festal time is from December 26 to December 31.  We now have the time to spiritually reflect in the peacefulness found between Christmas and the Feast of Theophany.    But if we are not careful, we might become sidetracked again in the post-holiday frenzy or the rush to hide it all away as no longer relevant, and in our haste to clean it all up and push it off, totally miss the special holiness of this time.

Our guide to growing in the virtue of perseverance is found in the familiar stories from the bible. The Wise Men were single focused and intent upon finding Baby Jesus, the real treasure.  And they would not allow anything to lead them off course.  Or to give up in the many months their travels must have taken.

We might consider ways to find the treasure of the Christ Child not just before and on Christmas, but in the post-festal days also. God comes to us when all is calm, all is bright.   No one can do it for us, that is, to experience God.  But we can make the time in sitting quietly for a few minutes, listening to beautiful music, talking to God in prayer, reading a spiritual book we had no time earlier, or just pausing in the middle of the day and being aware of God.    And all that Jesus in the form of a little baby really wants from us is simple. Why do we find it so difficult?  Jesus only asks us in to cradle him close to our hearts and offering our “self” as a gift in return.

Don’t celebrate everything else and miss the best gift of all.

Keep Christ and Christmas in your heart and soul – alive and renewed!

Christ is Born!  Glorify Him!



Royal Doors – Annunciation; Nativity Icon on the tetrapod (table); Theophany Icon (Christ’s Baptism) right side altar

Christmas Carol:                   Angels From Heaven

Angels from heaven came to you shepherds; Have no fear! Have no fear! Hasten to honor Him, born near in Bethlehem; Offer gifts, though poor and small.
There in a manger, you will behold Him, Son of God, Son of God.  Child whose humility, veils his Divinity, our true Savior, Christ the Lord.


Merry Christmas from the parishioners of St. Michael and St. Nicholas parishes!


The Nativity Fast: A Time of Hopeful Expectation

Candles (473x170)One of the lesser known fasting cycles in Eastern churches begins on November 15 and ends on December 24, Christmas Eve.

Many people readily identify Advent with the approach of Christmas. So it may be new to learn of another fasting period called Phillip’s Fast. It is also called the Nativity Fast, and like Advent, is a period of time focusing on spiritual preparation for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Phillip’s fast overlaps with Advent – the four weeks prior to Christmas traditional in the Roman Rite. The Eastern tradition starts earlier on the liturgical calendar – the day after the feast of St. Phillip (which is the source of its name but only that in common). Phillip’s Fast is a full 40 day period in which abstinence and penance are recommended disciplines. Unlike the Great Fast of Lent, this pre-Nativity fast is voluntary.

Voluntary fasting allows the faithful the option to abstain or not abstain from certain foods on days aside from what is normally required on Fridays. One of those options is to abstain from meat on Mondays and Wednesdays in addition to Fridays. As with any fasting cycle, spiritual value is seen in formative practices such as acts of charity or service, and reserving time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The intention of Phillip’s Fast is to contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the significance to our redemption and salvation. All throughout the Old Testament prophecies, the hopes and promises of a Messiah are foretold with long awaited anticipation, the span of which can only be realized in looking back in time. In the New Testament, we see again, many examples of waiting and hopeful expectation, of disciplined patience expressed by Jesus himself, even exasperation over human misunderstanding of his message to others. Jesus emphatically reminds his own apostles and disciples of the importance of prayer and fasting in affecting change, whether in self or others.A Light in Darkness

Hopeful expectation requires slowing down and patient acceptance of the wait. The goal of the Phillip’s or Nativity Fast period is to move deeper in personal interior preparation at a time when everything is moving faster. This involves using our time and resources in ways different than what others want us to believe is important. Jesus came in complete humility and in doing so modeled to his followers the Way to eternal life. The challenge during Phillip’s fast is to enjoy the anticipation during this season (as there is much joy in it) while retaining what makes this waiting time distinctly Christian. It’s also a reminder that the church recognizes this time before Christ’s birth as a penetenial period, with the true celebration of Christmas reserved for Christmas and the time following.

An even greater challenge is keeping and making time amid the busyness of shopping, decorating, and gathering with others, to reflect on what God wants, and less on what we want that is apart from God. Doing so is to grow in Christ and the means to do this is through prayer, reading Scripture, participating in the Sacraments including Confession, making sacrifices, and sharing with others (almsgiving). But hardest of all, is finding distraction free quiet. Noise and distractions pull us in other directions, and these are the background static we habitually lean upon to avoid what we fear, and that is realizing the personal relationship God wants with each of us. What God desires is very different than the temptations that are more prevalent at this time of year.

♥ It is necessary to make a conscious choice to see past what the world identifies as Christmas and instead see with spiritual eyes.

One of the benefits of a fasting period before Christmas is it helps us form this deliberate awareness. With renewed awareness, and without contradiction in enjoying this time of year, is found the ability to maintain a clear focus. The world may glorify a manufactured joy, but we as Christians can celebrate the Glory of Our Lord in the time appropriate for celebration. Our joy then becomes the “joy of the Gospel” — the kind expressed by the early disciples of Christ — a joy that is continued in our present age, in our discipleship as Christians now. In doing so, we affirmatively acknowledge that Christ’s birth celebrated on Christmas Day is just the beginning. The Nativity of Jesus Christ is not merely a one day event, but a revelation leading to the greatest gift of all.

♥ Let us prepare our hearts to welcome Jesus, the true Light of the World.


Light of the World Graphic

We Thank You

21st St. Michael’s Annual Flea Market/Ethnic Weekend

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Our 2017 annual St. Michael Flea Market Weekend came to a close Sunday, August 6. Whether you were a patron or a volunteer, we at St. Michael’s say THANK YOU ! 


We appreciate you!  

And we sincerely mean that!

Who are the people who made a difference?


Here’s a partial list :

♥    The patrons who come back year after year.   Our good neighbors and faithful friends come for the food (yes, it’s that good) and to shop. You are a blessing to us. We are moved by your show of support.

♥    The drop-by shoppers/visitors who “take a chance” for the first time to enter our doors and are pleasantly surprised.  We can only hope we served your needs satisfactorily and returned the value of your time with us.

♥    The Day One bargain shoppers – the scouters of “good stuff” who willingly wait in that long line for the opening on Saturday.  We hope you found the surprise treasure that made your day!
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♥    The volunteers who gave up any part of their free time, day or night, or even their precious weekend “off” for their church. May you find some rest in the weeks ahead, knowing you served your church well.

♥    Our food team volunteers who labored for hours in prep and cooking.  Where would we be without the great food you create for all to enjoy? You are our success makers!

♥    Our “senior” volunteers (especially those 70 plus) who are willing and able to help even though they deserve to say they’ve done enough; they understand every available volunteer is needed, and respond in kind.   Our prayers are with you in every challenge you face.

♥    The people who don’t even belong to St. Michaels, who volunteer … beyond what they are obligated to do! You get a heartfelt hug and our prayers of gratitude.  You are a role model for all of us !

♥    Every other role played by volunteers: the bakers, flea market “pricers” and organizers, the errand runners, setup, donors of supplies, and on and on.

We thank everyone.

May God bless you in the role you served.  

Because in the end, it’s all about serving others and serving God. 


Flea Market Time

Flea Market St Michaels

If you love scouting flea markets, but not the extra travel driving from place to place

Flea Market St Michaels

, St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Church, Pittston should be on your agenda.



Father Gary and the parishioners of St. Michael’s invite you to visit.  Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6 are Flea Market Days and this year you will find an abundant amount of items.  A special “treasure” might be waiting for you!

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The Flea Market is in the basement hall of the church.  Entrance is on Main Street next to the side parking lot.  The line forms early Saturday morning outside the church.   Arrive early if you must, or any time either day.  There will be plenty to explore yet if you visit on Sunday.   It’s exciting to be part of the fun!   Doors open at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Take a break from hunting for treasure and visit the food bar.

Known for Traditional Ethnic Food

Select something as eat in or take out.   St. Michael’s is known for outstanding homemade ethnic food:  “Piggies” (stuffed cabbage), pierogis, and halushki (cabbage and noodles).  Or try a sampler with a little bit of each!  Fast food items such as hot dogs, whimpies, and more.

A ziti dinner with fresh homemade sauce and meatballs, salad and bread will be a featured item.  The Ziti Dinner will be Saturday (12pm to 4pm) and Sunday (10am to 3pm).  The cost of the Dinner is $10.00 for Adults and $6.00 for Children.

Bake Sale Tent

With all these delicious selections there is no need to cook at all.

Don’t forget to pick up something sweet at the Bake Sale: Saturday, August 5th only.  You are sure to find something temptingly delicious!  Items sell fast.  Be sure to stop by early for the best selection.

We Appreciate Our Visitors and Volunteers

Everyone at St. Michael’s thanks all who visit or volunteer in supporting this event each year and look forward to seeing all of our returning and new friends alike.  Volunteers:  We cannot do it without you.  Your hours of time and devotion do not go unnoticed.   Visitors: You make a difference with your support and return patronage.  God bless each of you.

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Byzantine Liturgy at St. Ann Basilica, Scranton, Pennsylvania


  To view the complete article & photo gallery for:
Divine Liturgy at the Basilica of St. Ann, Scranton


2017 Divine Liturgy at Basilica of St. Ann (Tuesday, July 18 – 4:30 p.m.)

A Byzantine Liturgy is held every year at the Basilica of St. Ann in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  This has been a long-standing tradition to provide an opportunity for all Catholics to participate in a Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Rite.

It is most gracious for the Passionist Community of Scranton to host the Byzantine clergy in recognition of the unity of all Catholics in devotion to St. Ann at this historic site and shrine.

The (2017) Liturgy will be held in the upper main church.  Right Reverend Archpriest James G. Hayer, Protosyncellus of the Byzantine Ruthenian Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersey, will be the main celebrant.  The Liturgy will be concelebrated with other Byzantine area clergy, deacons, and altar servers.  The traditional blessing with the relic of St. Ann will follow.


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Icon of St. Anne and the Holy Theotokos (in the lower church).  The icon was donated by the Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic, NJ to the Basilica, Scranton, Pa.

The Basilica of St. Ann is best known for St. Ann’s Novena held July 17 to July 26 each year that draws thousands of Catholics from near and far to the Shrine and peaceful site.  The monastery was dedicated to St. Ann in the early 1900’s by the Passionist priests and is their home community.  St. Ann is the patron saint of miners, appropriate to the history of coal mining in the area.  Mine subsidence has a history in the region due to the way anthracite coal was mined underground.  A miracle occurred at the monastery and church property in the early 1900s.   There were two major mine subsidences on the grounds of the monastery and the church itself was threatened as a result.  Miraculously, just 2 days after the July Novena in 1913, a subterranean slide of boulders occurred and this unusual event reinforced the foundation of earth under the church in a manner that permanently ended the danger to the church.

Many prayers have been answered since the inception of the public devotion to St. Ann, and faithful in the area and beyond, return unceasingly to St. Ann’s for the Novena.  For many familiar with the novena, this special week in July has become a family tradition that continues to be passed along through generations.  Saint Pope John Paul II declared St. Ann’s National Shrine to be a Minor Basilica on October 27, 1997.

The preachers for the 2017 novena are Father Melvin Shorter, C.P., and Father Paul Ruttle, C.P.

DailyIMG_2240 (600x800) (Latin Rite) services include: 8:00 AM – Mass and Novena Service (outdoors, weather permitting)
11:45 AM – Mass and Novena Services (in the Basilica)
3:30 PM – Novena Service only (in the Basilica)
5:30 PM – Mass and Novena Service (outdoors, weather permitting)
7:30 PM – Mass and Novena Service (outdoors, weather permitting)

Confession is available before and after each Mass and Novena Service.

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A food stand and dining tent is located on the lower section on the shrine grounds during the annual novena.















In the Spirit Of Pentecost

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PLEASE CLICK HERE to go to our website page about PENTECOST.

Or find “Pentecost” under Traditions on the Main Menu.


Pentecost is a major Feast Day that marks the traditional beginning of the Universal Church referred to as One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.    Pentecost was originally celebrated as an ancient Jewish festival known as Shavuot, referred to with other titles such as the “Feast of weeks” or the “day of first fruits”.

It is no coincidence that 50 days after Christ’s resurrection, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to the apostles and others present in the upper room, just as Jesus foretold.  In this act of supernatural presence, the Holy Spirit imparted to each the special gifts needed to declare the Gospel with an urgency and understanding in what they were about to do – risk their very lives to preach the love of God to the world.

In the Eastern Churches, we have a beautifully simple prayer to the Holy Spirit that we pray throughout the year.  This is a prayer of petition and acknowledgement of how we rely on God for the graces we have received from the Holy Spirit.  We also pray to continue to remain in those graces.  As we do so, we remember that the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity, and we pray to Him for guidance and to seek comfort and wisdom.   And since these are all things we always need, we might wish to say this prayer as often as we can.

Pentecost may be a short period of time on the liturgical calendar.   But the Holy Spirit is with us at all times.   Our journey forward would be incomplete without putting our trust in the Holy Spirit, who guides us gently and quietly, even in times of difficulty.   We should make every effort to be aware of the actions of the Holy Spirit in our lives and always express gratitude for His Presence in the ways we are blessed.

See also on this site:  Our Traditions / Pentecost

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth
You are everywhere present and fill all things.
Treasury of blessings and Giver of Life,
Come and dwell within us,
Cleanse us of all stain,
And save our souls O Gracious One.