Jesus Christ was conceived by the Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:35). The Paraclete descended upon Christ in the form of a dove when He was baptized on the river Jordan (Matthew 3:16). After His Resurrection, Jesus poured out the Spirit upon the apostles (John 20:22), making them sharers in His own mission (John 20:21). The Paraclete descended on the apostles gathered in prayer with Mary on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) and stirred the apostles to the mission of proclaiming the Good News to all peoples. Christ continues active in His Church through the Holy Spirit.
The Fathers of the Church were aware that the Spirit of God plays a decisive role in the Eucharistic celebration, particularly in the consecration. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem had stated that “we call upon the Father in His mercy to send His Holy Spirit upon the offerings before us, to transform the bread into the body of Christ and the wine into the blood of Christ. Whatever the Holy Spirit touches is sanctified and completely transformed.” “The Holy Spirit, Who consecrates the bread and the wine, also gathers the faithful into one body” along with Christ and makes them a spiritual offering pleasing to the Father,” mentioned Saint John Chrysostom.
After Pentecost, the apostles and their followers converted and baptized, “devoted themselves to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). The Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem stated: “Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church from the beginning expressed and confirmed her identity through the Eucharist … In the sacrifice of the Son of Man the Holy Spirit is present and active … The same Christ Jesus in his own humanity opened himself totally to this action … Through the Eucharist, individuals and communities, by the action of the Counselor, discover the divine sense of human life.”
The primitive Church was a community founded on the teaching of the apostles (Acts 2:42). It was completely animated by the Holy Spirit who enlightened the believers to understand the Word, and gathered them in charity around the Eucharist. The Church grew into a multitude of believers who “were of one heart and soul.” (Acts 4:32)