Priests renew commitment at Chrism Mass; tribute video
Even though Easter was still some days away, there was cause for rejoicing in St. Mary’s Cathedral last Tuesday as the priests of the Diocese of Peoria came together with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, to renew their commitment to their ministry in this Year for Priests.
As they did so, they were surrounded by permanent deacons, consecrated women and men, lay people and more than 250 students from a dozen schools around central Illinois, who filled every available space in the cathedral for the Chrism Mass. At the bishop’s invitation, the members of the assembly showed their appreciation for their priests by offering sustained applause.
The other purpose of the Chrism Mass became clear minutes later when three urns of olive oil were brought forward and blessed by Bishop Jenky to become the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens and the sacred Chrism that will be used for sacramental anointing in the year ahead.
After pouring the fragrant balsam into the oil that would become the sacred Chrism, the bishop stirred it and then breathed over the vessel as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s descent on these gifts for the people of God.
In blessing the Oil of the Sick, Bishop Jenky prayed that it would be a remedy for all who are anointed with it: “Heal them in body, in soul, and in spirit, and deliver them from every affliction.”
The prayer over the Oil of Catechumens sought God’s assistance for those who are preparing for baptism: “Bring them to a deeper understanding of the Gospel, help them to accept the challenge of Christian living, and lead them to the joy of new birth in the family of your church.”
The sacred Chrism is also used for baptism, as well as anointing priests and bishops and dedicating altars and churches. “By the power of Christ’s high priesthood, the Chrism truly becomes the visible means by which we receive all the invisible gifts of the Holy Spirit,” Bishop Jenky said in his homily.
‘CONFIGURED WITH CHRIST’
He noted that there are two ways of sharing in the one priesthood of Christ. One is through baptism and confirmation by which all the faithful are designated as a royal priesthood, he explained.
The other comes through the sacrament of holy orders, “which effects a recipient in the very core of his being and imparts a radical capacity to be configured with Christ,” the bishop said. This is why priests may preach with authority, absolve sins, celebrate the Eucharist and comfort and heal the sick in Christ’s name.
“And bishops, sharing in the fullness of the priesthood, ordain in Christ’s name and govern the local church, entrusted to their care, in Christ’s name,” Bishop Jenky told his listeners.
“Priests . . . are anointed in the Spirit, as was Jesus the Christ, not to be filled but to be poured out, not to be affirmed but to be denied, not to be satisfied but to be on fire, not to be safe but to be an oblation for the glory of God and the service of neighbor,” he said.
After Mass, the priests went to the nearby Spalding Pastoral Center for dinner and VIP showing of the new documentary about the life of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, “Servant of All.”