Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity Pentecost Sunday and the Coming of the Holy Spirit Share Flipboard Email Print MATTES RenÃ© / Getty Images Christianity Catholicism Holy Days and Holidays Beliefs and Teachings Prayers Tips Worship Saints Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Latter Day Saints View More By Scott P. Richert Catholicism Expert M.A., Political Theory, Catholic University of America B.A., Political Theory, Michigan State University Scott P. Richert is senior content network manager of Our Sunday Visitor. He has written about Catholicism for outlets including Humanitas and Catholic Answers Magazine. our editorial process Scott P. Richert Updated April 09, 2018 Pentecost Sunday is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, celebrated early enough to be mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (20:16) and Saint Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians (16:8). Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter (if we count both Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday), and it supplants the Jewish feast of Pentecost, which took place 50 days after the Passover and celebrated the sealing of the Old Covenant on Mount Sinai. Quick Facts Date: Fifty days after Easter Sunday; learn the date in this and future years.Type of Feast: Solemnity.Readings: Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13, or Galatians 5:16-25; John 20:19-23 or John 15:26-27; 16:12-15 (full text here)Prayers: Novena to the Holy Ghost; Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit; Come Holy Spirit; Litany of the Holy SpiritOther Names for the Feast: Whit Sunday, Whitsun, Whit The History of Pentecost Sunday The Acts of the Apostles recounts the story of the original Pentecost Sunday (Acts 2). Jews "from every nation under heaven" (Acts 2:5) were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish feast of Pentecost. On that Sunday, ten days after the Ascension of Our Lord, the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary were gathered in the Upper Room, where they had seen Christ after His Resurrection: And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. [ Acts 2:2-4] Christ had promised His Apostles that He would send His Holy Spirit, and, on Pentecost, they were granted the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles began to preach the Gospel in all of the languages that the Jews who were gathered there spoke, and about 3,000 people were converted and baptized that day. The Birthday of the Church That is why Pentecost is often called "the birthday of the Church." On Pentecost Sunday, with the descent of the Holy Spirit, Christ's mission is completed, and the New Covenant is inaugurated. It's interesting to note that Saint Peter, the first pope, was already the leader and spokesman for the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday. In years past, Pentecost was celebrated with greater solemnity than it is today. In fact, the entire period between Easter and Pentecost Sunday was known as Pentecost (and it still is called Pentecost in the Eastern churches, both Catholic and Orthodox). During those 50 days, both fasting and kneeling were strictly forbidden, because this period was supposed to give us a foretaste of the life of Heaven. In more recent times, parishes celebrated the approach of Pentecost with the public recitation of the Novena to the Holy Ghost. While most parishes no longer publicly recite this novena, many individual Catholics do.