After I hand over my ID and have my belongings checked, I receive clearance to enter the local correctional facility where I serve as a Chaplain to the men and women’s unit.
Each time I pass the row of heavy doors, I calmly walk in and call on the Holy Spirit for guidance, wisdom, and protection.When Jesus appeared to his disciples, he said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The readings from Pentecost Sunday remind me that the Holy Spirit is with me and within me, and likewise, the Holy Spirit is with the correctional officers, in the correctional facility, in the cells with our brothers and sisters who are incarcerated, and all around. Throughout my week, I can often forget this. But as soon as I enter past the main door, I immediately seek the intercession of the Holy Spirit. I recognize that there is no way I can engage in this ministry on my own.
When engaging in pastoral ministry work or completing a task towards social justice, like making a flier or buying supplies for an advocacy event—whether large or small—I believe we have been empowered and emboldened by the Holy Spirit to move forward and keep going.
In all sacred moments, I am convinced that we will be given the words that we need to speak, even when we may see ourselves unworthy or weak. But first, I need to listen and call upon the Holy Spirit for this gift.
Jesus greets and affirms the disciples by saying, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And I think the same goes with each one of us. As we individually answer our unique call to serve as active vessels of peace, justice, and love, we can call on the Holy Spirit and the confidence of Jesus to keep us going. And together, we will be that much more able to move forward as one human family.
Crystal Catalan serves as the director of community involvement and the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Presentation High School in San Jose, CA. She has degrees from University of San Diego and Eastern University, and previously served as a missioner with Cabrini Mission Corps in New York, the Philippines, Swaziland, and Radnor, PA at Cabrini University. She is currently pursuing her masters in pastoral ministries with an emphasis in restorative justice and chaplaincy at Santa Clara University.