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This Pentecost remember the Pope in your prayers and Malta’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest

I hope that Gianluca Bezzina brings Malta to victory in this year’s contest

By on Friday, 17 May 2013

Malta's Gianluca Bezzina, centre, performs during the second semifinal of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest Photo: PA

Malta's Gianluca Bezzina, centre, performs during the second semifinal of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest Photo: PA

And so we come to that time of year again. It is Pentecost, the third greatest feast in the Christian calendar, but one that has only vestigial importance in the contemporary mind. I wonder if anyone under the age of seventy ever talks of ‘Whit Sunday’ these days, or even ‘Whitsuntide’? Until 1971 Whit Monday used to be a holiday in England, when it was replaced by the late May bank holiday, thus sweeping away another of our ancient traditions.

In the quiet suburb where I live, we are having an all night vigil on the eve of Pentecost, before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. This strikes me as an excellent idea, for there is much to pray for at this time of year.

First of all, the Pope, as he starts his ministry.

Secondly, we need to pray for evangelisation, something that Catholics are not particularly keen on, but need to be much keener on. Let us remember the disciples gathered in the upper room: they viewed the holiday crowds in Jerusalem with dread, assuming them to be hostile. But the Holy Spirit came, and transformed their perceptions: the anonymous crowd became a potential congregation, and the timid disciples became bold proclaimers of the Word. That is the sort of transformation that the contemporary Church needs.

Thirdly, we need to pray for vocations, and we need to realise that these do not grow on trees. We will only have vocations if we have clear and unequivocal Catholic teaching and Catholic practice, especially in the place that these two are most visible: at Mass.

So that is a lot of praying that needs to be done!

I have also noticed, alas too late, that the eve of Pentecost clashes with the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Well, something has got to give, and there is always a cost to discipleship.

I first watched the contest in 1971, when I was allowed to stay up late to do so. This was the year when Malta first entered and came bottom. I was very young, but the disappointment was very hard to take, even then. And over the years I have hoped that one day Malta would win. Now, 42 years later, is it possible that her time has come? I have not listened to all the songs by any means, but the Maltese entry, sung by Gianluca Bezzina, strikes me as excellent. Just what the doctor ordered – and of course, the man singing it is a doctor!

Have a look here and judge for yourself. It is nice that the Daily Mirror is supporting Gianluca; now he’s got the unshakeable allegiance of this paper, he must be unstoppable.

  • James Moriarty

    Yes, I’m under 70, even under 60, and I talk of Whitsun. But I prefer “Pentecost”.

    Being a music-lover, I’m not really interested in the song contest, but I am happy if Malta wins it.

  • From Rabat

    All the maltese are behind Gianluca the doctor. We pray that he will leave a good impression TOMORROW.

  • Knight John

    May the Holy Ghost fill the the Church with the fire of His love, this Pentecost.

  • Malta

    As a Maltese Catholic, coming from a country where faith has such an important meaning in our lives, I will surely pray for our humble Pope this Pentecost and a humble singer with a contagious smile, Gianluca. Pope Francis and Gianluca has certainly something in common! They let God lead their lives! and this certainly reflects through their characters and happiness.

  • Sinner and Believer

    never mind who wins really ; ( but we leave it in His hands and we all hope we keep the fire burning for His love. Although we are a small nation we have a big heart with the best review for hospitality found in Acts ( when Paul shipwrecked on to Malta) was it a tragedy or a grace?

  • Tanja Cilia

    Is there a doctor in the house? Yes, there is – so let’s ask our foreign friends (that’s you!) to vote for him…

  • Scyptical Chymist

    The older I get the more I miss the old English usages like Whit Sunday – so short and evocative compared to the Greek derived Feast of Pentecost. I liked the Latin and occasional Greek of the Mass but I liked also the distinctive Englishness that paradoxically thrived in those days.Most of all though, I do miss “Holy Ghost” referring to the third person of the Trinity (still used by the Anglicans of course and I hope by the Ordinariate too). Who vandalised our liturgy when deciding to present it only in the vernacular?

  • NYer

    Yes indeed, pray for the Pope, and for the Pope Emeritus too!!

  • Wolverine Logan

    Check out my Doctor Who fan music video crossed with Gianluca’s song..

  • isabel

    I am Maltese and I would love Gianluca to win this concert, not only because of my nation but because it is really a great song. However, and I am also Catholic, I do not see why we should mix religon with a eurovision song contest entry!

  • Nicholas

    Gianluca and his family are testimony to Gods Love for us!

  • Jane Deguara Hughes

    I really wish Gianluca all the best of luck tonight… (keep smiling and signing), he is one happy Doctor, and what ever you place you come tonight you will still be our happy signing Doctor……..

  • gannic

    This article is very interesting:

    Also if you are Maltese (or understand/can find someone to translate it for you the Maltese language) you MUST see this, its very inspiring (For those who cannot understand Maltese the title is: “My heart is full of [God's] Love and I want to share this joy with everyone” Gianluca Bezzina :

  • Joanie Goggi

    Very interesting article …….. smiling cause I truly wish this young charismatic gentleman will win. It’s not just the song it’s his smile which captures everyone. Good luck Gianluca Bezzina!!!!!

  • Louise

    Besides being an ambassador to Malta with his interpretation of ‘Tomorrow’ Gianluca has shown that he is a fervent catholic and wherever he goes he takes God with him. As far as I know he is the only representative of his country to have travelled to Malmo with his entire family (7 siblings + parents) and a priest so as to celebrate daily mass to them whilst there. Good Luck Gianluca and may God be always at your side wherever you go

  • Malta from Attard

    May all the Church Bells ring in Malta TOMORROW!
    God bless the whole team.

  • Marie Louise Giusti

    Besides being our ambassador to Malta with his interpretation of ‘Tomorrow’ Gianluca has proved to be a fervent catholic wherever he goes. His entire family (7 siblings + parents) has gone to Malmo to support him, together with a young priest to celebrate daily mass whilst there. Gianluca best of luck for tonight and may God be with you this evening and wherever you go !!

  • Joe Zammit

    Gianluca has arrived in Malta after his excellent performance in the Eurovision Song Contest and his first words at the Malta International Airport was a sincere and moving thanksgiving to God for all that he has done to him all his life.

  • S.E.Gregg

    Not only is today Pentecost Sunday,but it is also the anniversary of the Christian Olympics.