During his homily at the Mass of Chrism Tuesday, April 11, Bishop Carl A. Kemme talked about a thought-provoking movie he recently saw with friends about a Jesuit mission in South America.
The movie is a remarkable story about how faith was born there, he said, how the Jesuits in the 1740s “evangelized these people through various means, through music, education, formation, but most especially through the sacraments and through the personal witness and presence of the men in black robes – the priests and brothers – who shared their lives.”
Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, the Joy of the Gospel, teaches that disciples of Jesus are called to be missionaries, Bishop Kemme said, to go out to the peripheries of human society and provide people an encounter with Jesus Christ “whose love for humanity on the cross changed the destiny of human history forever.”
Speaking to a capacity crowd of representatives from throughout the Diocese of Wichita, he said the faithful of the diocese are also called to preach, teach, and to help people “encounter with the indescribable and perennial joy that those who love him already know and are called to share.”
Bishop Kemme said he would soon bless and consecrate the oils to be used in the administration of the sacraments this church year.
“These moments are encounters with the Risen Christ,” he said. “These oils will communicate in a deeply personal way the many graces that Jesus desires to bestow upon those to be baptized, those to be confirmed, and consecrated with an indelible character, conformed and ordained forever to the dignity of their office and role in the church, the altars and walls of churches, and those who are infirmed, extending the healing touch of Jesus to all who have faith in his power.”
The priests celebrating their jubilees were also honored at the Mass. Celebrating jubilees this year are Father Patrick Larkin, 60 years; Father Leon Kerschen and Father Raymond Joyce, 55 years; and Father Ned Blick and Father Ken Schuckman, 25 years.
The jubilarians and the other priests renewed at the Mass, the commitment they made on the day of their ordination to live a life of service, witness and dedication.
The service priests provide selflessly is “a precious oil of the New Evangelization,” Bishop Kemme said. “Pray for them fervently, forgive them readily, thank them personally, for their life and labor is not always understood or valued in the various communities in which they live and work.”
He closed his homily by explaining that both the priests and the laity are called to go forth as missionary disciples of the New Evangelization.
“May those who receive annointings from these oils meet Christ in them and in those who serve him as disciples,” Bishop Kemme said, “and may the joy of the gospel be spread far and wide in this diocese and beyond as we continue to encounter the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and friend.”
What is the meaning of the Chrism Mass?
The Mass of Chrism has a dual significance: it is a liturgy during which holy oils are blessed; and it manifests the unity of the priests with their bishop.
The bishop blesses three oils at the Mass: the oil of catechumens (oleum catechumenorum or oleum sanctorum), the oil of the infirm (oleum infirmorum), and holy chrism (sacrum chrisma), which will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the diocese for the year.
The unity and the connection of the priests and parishes to the bishop, and by extension to the Bishop of Rome, is symbolized by the dispersion of oils blessed by the bishop and taken from the cathedral, the seat of the bishop, to the various parishes throughout the diocese.