I was chatting with a brother priest at lunchtime, and somehow we got on the subject of part of our liturgical tradition: the Pentecost Octave.
What is an "octave", you ask? This is a custom of celebrating a particularly important feast for a period of 8 days. In other words, the feast in question doesn't just get a feast *day*, it gets a feast *week*. An example is Easter, which is celebrated on a particular Sunday, but which continues in its celebration for the week afterwards. Even in secular parlance people are familiar with the notion of "Easter Monday". This expression doesn't just mean the Monday after Easter, it is referring to the idea that the Monday actually *is* Easter, prolonged!
The post Vatican II calendar has 2 octaves: Easter (already mentioned, which goes until Divine Mercy Sunday), and Christmas (which stretches until January 1, the feast of Mary, Mother of God). The older calendar also had an octave for Pentecost, however, which went until Trinity Sunday. For some reason this got dropped, so that the week between the two Sundays is simply a week in what we call "ordinary time".
I never grew up with this tradition, so I guess I don't miss it in any experiential way, but I must admit I do wonder why it was dropped and what we might be missing.
On a theological level, the Latin church is often accused of neglecting what we call "pneumatology", i.e. the theology of the Holy Spirit. Surely a week dedicated to the Holy Spirit would help in that regard!
On a pastoral level, there is something to be said for having a week dedicated to helping people be open to the Holy Spirit in order to better encounter Christ. We Catholics are discovering more and more that individual dedication to Christ, while at the heart of faith, needs to be completed by a personal, heart to heart encounter with Christ. The thing is, we can help people experience the former by means of reason (perhaps why we are more comfortable with it as an approach), but the latter can only be done via a gift of pure grace (and hence is, to a certain degree, out of our control). It is the Holy Spirit alone who permits the personal encounter with Christ, and so our New Evangelization will require a pastorale de l'Esprit Saint, i.e. a pastoral approach with the Holy Spirit being presented and proposed as the key protagonist of our relationship with Christ.