Pentecost 2017: When is it and what does it mean?

Pentecost Sunday is a Christian event which marks the end of the Easter Season and is considered as the birthday of the Christian Church. This year, it falls on June 4.

(REUTERS / Edgar Su)Worshippers attend a church service at the City Harvest Church in Singapore March 1, 2014.

The word "Pentecost" traces its roots back to the Greek word "pentekostos" which means "fifty." In Leviticus 23:16, God's people were told to count seven weeks (50 days) after the Feast of the Passover. Jewish Pentecost is celebrated 50 days after the Passover, while Christian Pentecost is observed on the 50th day after Easter, Beliefnet details.

Acts 2:1-13 chronicles the Pentecost, the time when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus' early followers and caused them to speak in tongues. People who heard their strange utterances thought that they were just drunk, but the people who heard the miraculous messages in their own languages were filled with awe.

Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would arrive after He leaves. True enough, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit happened 40 days after Jesus was resurrected.

On the day of Pentecost, the Apostles started spreading the Gospel of Jesus to people. For this reason, the occasion is considered as the birthday of the Christian church.

Pope Francis is planning to celebrate Pentecost 2017 --- which also marks the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal --- with Pentecostal and Evangelical believers. On the eve of the occasion, the pontiff will lead a prayer vigil at the Circus Maximus in Rome and will hold Mass in St. Peter's Square on June 4, the National Catholic Reporter relays.

The International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services is the organizer of the upcoming anniversary event. The celebrations will kick off with prayer meetings, workshops, youth festivals, and other activities on May 31.

ICCRS president Michelle Moran said the pope had asked them to make the jubilee celebration "as inclusive as possible." While Francis admitted in 2014 that he is quite uncomfortable with the way charismatics and Pentecostals pray, he later came to see the good things that they were doing for Catholics and other people.

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