24 Apr 2020 • Articles
Whit Sunday this year is celebrated on 31st May. Whitsun is also called 'the Birthday of the Church' and another name for Whit Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost. Each year the Jewish people gathered in Jerusalem at Pentecost, presenting the first crops of the spring harvest to God. On this day, in the year 33 AD, the Holy Spirit came to the disciples and gave them courage and inspiration to go out and gather everyone in Jerusalem together to tell them about Jesus. In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke writes, "Those who believed this message were baptised, and about 3,000 people were added to their number. This first harvest of believers in Jesus Christ became the beginning of the Christian Church, the community of faith.
Since then, God's Holy Spirit has been inspiring many more people and gathering them into God's kingdom. There are many whose goodness, faith, courage and hard work have been known only to God and a few people around them, but those who have become famous are known as saints. Two of the most famous saints who lived in England are St. Augustine of Canterbury and St. Chad, the Apostle of the Midlands, who founded Lichfield Diocese and who was the Bishop of the Northumbrians and the Mercians.
St. Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome. One day the pope, St. Gregory the Great, was walking through the slave market in Rome, when he saw some fair-haired English children. He said, "These are not Angles, they are angels" When he discovered that they had never heard of Jesus, he sent St. Augustine and thirty of his monks to England to teach the Christian faith. After a long and dangerous journey, they landed in Thanet and were given permission to rebuild an old church which had been forgotten. The King of Kent and many of his subjects listened to St. Augustine's preaching and came to believe in Jesus, and they were baptised at Pentecost in 597 AD. Soon after this, St. Augustine was consecrated as the first Archbishop of Canterbury.