The celebration of the Easter season is a time when we reflect on the mystery of Jesus’ supreme sacrifice. He gave his life to win us our salvation. The empty tomb fulfils his mission on earth. What joy we all experience in the knowledge that we have been saved and, as faithful disciples, will one day share in his resurrection!
The Easter season concludes on the feast of Pentecost, often referred to as the birthday of the church. From the Gospels we know that after a time of despair and fear, the disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit of God, left the security of their hidden life to courageously proclaim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and the teachings that he had shared with them.
They faced much opposition from the established religious leaders but, accepting their mission to preach Christ Crucified, they were not deterred.
Over countless generations, men and women have heard the message of Christ anew, and like the early disciples have been compelled to preach the Gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth.
The Holy Spirit has inspired many Franciscan Friars to go beyond the security of their homelands to live and preach the Gospel as instructed by our Holy Father St Francis.
The feast of Pentecost has special significance for my province as it is under the patronage of the Holy Spirit. Franciscan Friars from Ireland established a community in Sydney in 1879. Then in 1970, the Australian friars assumed responsibility for the mission in Singapore. As more young men joined, it was declared a dependant custody of the Province of the Holy Spirit. It was my privilege to serve as the first Custos.
On 25 April, we celebrated the establishment of the Custody of St Anthony as an autonomous entity in the Order of Friars Minor. It was a momentous moment in the life of the friars in Singapore and Malaysia and for the entire Order.
We give thanks to God for the courage of our brothers from Singapore and Malaysia and pray that they will, by their faithful living of the Gospel life, inspire others to join in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel, just as the early Franciscans did, just as the first disciples did – free from all fear and despair, but full of trust and faith in the Paschal Mystery of Salvation.
May we always be inspired by Pentecost and marvel in the Spirit’s action in proclaiming the story of our Salvation. May we always be willing to accept our mission to proclaim the Risen Lord. May the Holy Spirit of God be alive and active in all we do.
Come Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew
the face of the earth.
Friar Phillip Miscamble
OFM Minister Provincial,
Province of the Holy Spirit (Australia)