It was first launched in 2016 by the Anglican Archbishops Justin Welby of Canterbury and Stephen Cottrell of York, and has grown into an international and ecumenical movement.
Christians from over 170 countries, including Catholics, have taken part in praying ‘Come Holy Spirit’ so that they are effective in their witness, following the example of the disciples after the very first Ascension Day.
Engaging with non-practicing Christians
The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) is supporting the initiative, which was joined in 2019 by Pope Francis.
In a message published on the CBCEW’s website, Bishop Mark O’Toole, Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Discipleship, calls on Catholics to engage with those who, for whatever reason, no longer come to Church or have never done so.
He encourages them to think about five people in their family circle, friends or colleagues, whom they might begin to have a conversation with about their Christian faith.
These, he suggests, might be people that during this time of the pandemic, have given up the practise of their faith “or somebody who’s searching for deeper meaning because of the experience of disease and death in this past year.”
Bishop O’Toole especially encourages the faithful to pray for those five people during the nine days of prayer between Ascension and Pentecost.
In the period afterwards, when Covid-19 restrictions will have eased in the UK, he suggests they invite these five individuals for a parish event, so that they might begin to make a journey to encounter Jesus more deeply.
Individuals, families, communities and Catholic parishes can find more information on the event at the website www.thykingdomcome.global which offers a number of resources for the 11-day celebration.