Finding Inspiration in Every Turn
Pentecost Vigil Project
The Pentecost Vigil Project models the original Pentecost Vigil, the 9 day Upper Room Novena that took place between Jesus’ Ascension and Pentecost. Women, men and young people, laborers, theologians and mothers… all Intentional Disciples of the Risen Jesus, gathered to share their faith experiences, listen, pray for inspiration and then act on it!
The logo is the initials PVP for Pentecost Vigil Project. The two “P”s are Chi Rho symbols, the symbol for Christ, joined together by the cross bars (forming the “V”). The Chi Rho was chosen as a reminder that Christ is already present within all of God’s Children. The two Chi Rho symbols are leaning toward each other in active listening/conversation, and, when two or more are gathered, the Holy Spirit (dove) shows up.
The Pentecost Vigil Story
Two People Prayed
In the Spring of 2021, Debbie Stollery (West Virginia) and Pat Clement (Virginia) were both praying to the Holy Spirit for guidance. Both had been blessed with years of grassroots Catholic ministry experience. Both were anticipating future opportunities for change. Pat was due to retire from full-time parish ministry in July, and Debbie’s ministry consultant service was re-structuring, due to COVID limitations.
In July, they met on Zoom for 2 hours and discovered that they had a common concern. When Church leadership gathers to discern important issues, only bishops had a seat at the table, a voice and a vote. \What could be done to provide all of God’s People a genuine opportunity to have a voice when Church leadership gathers?
Debbie had read about a similar situation in the secular world: the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. The “Davos Week” was an invitation-only event for global giants in technology and economics. Many young, talented entrepreneurs wanted to be “in the room where it happens," but were never invited to the event.
So, they simply created a New Room Next Door!
The first year, a handful of these entrepreneurs arrived in Davos, all wearing matching shirts and met in the public areas outside of the official Forum gatherings. They held their own conversations about what they could be saying at the “big table.” They shared their conversations with colleagues throughout the year on digital platforms.
More entrepreneurs arrived the next year. By year four, the parallel gathering caught the attention of Adam Grant, one of the invited Forum participants. The outcome: the structure of Davos changed completely. (see: Power Moves: Lessons from Davos by Adam Grant)
Pope Francis & Synodality
At the same time, Pope Francis called for the Church to reclaim our synodal roots for the third millennium. He asked us to find new ways to learn to listen together to the Spirit, and embrace the truth of the Sensus Fideii. He challenged us to find creative solutions to journey together, away from the power of hierarchical clericalism, toward a more dialogic, Spirit-driven Church for the future.
The Pentecost Vigil Project is Born
Debbie and Pat decided to start with a simple idea and 4 goals:
Create a small digital platform for God’s People to freely share what the Spirit is saying
Create a simple format for gathering when Church leadership gathers
Create a means to share with Church leaders the ideas that “rise to the top” during the sharing/listening process
Create a prayer renewal, calling all God’s People to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance
The Spirit takes over
By the end of September, three events converged. Other ministry professionals asked to join the design process, Pope Francis issued the guidelines for Synod 2023, and it became evident that many American dioceses were unprepared for the synod’s Oct 2021-June 2022 Diocesan Listening Process. So, at a second Zoom meeting on Sept. 29, 2021, the growing team agreed to take a leap of Faith and launch a beta version of the Pentecost Vigil Project filled with tools and resources to assist dioceses, parishes and all God’s People with the Synod 2023’s journey of faith, dialog and listening.
Once the diocesan phase of the listening process was complete, it was time for PVP to re-iterate itself so that we can support the embrace of synodality in the US Church. We are now a Virginia nonprofit corporation, called by the Spirit to connect others embracing the spirit of synodality, and providing resources to enable us all to become more synodal. And just as the Spirit led Pope Francis to extend the Synod on Synodality to 2024, we expect the Spirit to further guide our work!