Bishop consecrates holy oils at Chrism Mass

Bishop Carl A. Kemme breathes into the opening of the Chrism Oil at the Chrism Mass on Tuesday, March 26. (Advance photo)
A slide show of the Chrism Mass. (Catholic Advance)

Bishop Carl A. Kemme welcomed those visiting from the 90 parishes of the Diocese of Wichita at the Mass of Chrism on Tuesday, March 26, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.

“Few Masses in the course of the liturgical year bring such a gathering of God’s people more than this one, the annual Chrism Mass,” he said in his homily.

Representatives from religious congregations, Catholic hospitals and health care institutions, and Catholic schools and campus ministry programs, celebrated the liturgy with most of the priests of the diocese.

Priests renew their commitments

“We come from a variety of cultures. Together with our priests, who in the presence of the bishop, the successor of the apostles, will renew their priestly commitments. We come to offer the Father right worship and praise and to bless the oils to be used in the administration of the sacraments,” the bishop said.

“We truly come as one family, fully alive in Christ and desiring to be more united and more alive in the power of the Holy Spirit, to be the Lord’s anointed disciples, sent on a mission to go forth faithfully to preach the Gospel to all God’s children and to evangelize today’s culture. With gratitude for each of you in my heart, I welcome you here this day to be a participant in this liturgy, which I pray will give you apostolic courage to live the faith you have received and to help us build up God’s kingdom in this part of his church.”

Bishop Kemme said ten years into his episcopate, the diocese in a unique moment, a truly Catholic moment “when we are being called to exercise no ordinary faith and no ordinary discipleship, but a renewed faith and a bold and dynamic discipleship that calls us to be greater stewards of the many blessings that have been entrusted to us.”

The hope of the diocesan capital campaign

That is why he has announced the diocesan capital campaign, One Family, Fully Alive in Christ!, he said.

“This campaign, I believe, has the power to ignite a fire of discipleship, stewardship, and evangelization that will set us in good stead for our future, a future that I believe is full of hope and promise, a future in which all our parishes can thrive, a future when more and more of our young people with the help of qualified and well-compensated teachers and others to accompany them in their encounter with Jesus Christ in various ways and places of formation, a future where we will continue to help the underprivileged as a mandate of the Gospel and where our Mother Church, this beautiful Cathedral, will complete its restoration so that succeeding generations will come here as we do today to worship as one family of faith.”

It is our time to accomplish great and greater things for the church, Bishop Kemme said. “I desire so much that every member of this diocese will do their part, in simple and profound ways and degrees to help us truly become One Family Fully Alive in Christ!”

Holy priests are needed

To do so we need priests, not ordinary priests, but healthy and holy priests who serve with humility, perseverance, and confidence, he said.

“I join you today in giving thanks to God for our priests with whom I am honored to serve. Each of them is a sign to us of a bright and promising future. I thank them for their selfless service, for not thinking of their own interests but that of the people entrusted to their care, for being obedient to me, to my predecessors, and to my successors.”

Such obedience models the obedience of Christ to his Father, the bishop said, who came not to be served but to serve. “I urge you dear priests as I must also do, to offer our lives day after day to the Lord, to allow the Lord to direct us and grant us the graces we all need to fulfill his will in our lives and do this with joy, for without joy in our hearts in this ministry, we risk leading souls astray by a cold and impersonal service or worse still with a bitterness that is clearly the work of the devil.”

Priests: live lives of prayer

He urged the priests, gathered on the east and west sides of the altar, to protect their vocations by living lives of assiduous prayer, by resisting the temptations that take them away from what is holy, true, good, and beautiful, and by living healthy lives and fostering fraternity among themselves.

Bishop Kemme said he was especially grateful for the jubilation priests in attendance. “You who are 55-, 50-, 40-, and 25-year jubilarians stand among us as faithful and persevering priests, models of selflessness, zeal, and priestly love. May this day and our celebration that will follow our Mass in your honor give you much encouragement and hope.”

Here are the jubilarians honored at the Chrism Mass:
55 Years: Fr. H. Patrick Malone, Fr. Thomas A. Welk, C.PP.S, and Fr. John P. Sherlock
50 Years: Fr. Chrysostom Ah Mung
40 Years: Fr. Larry J. Parker, Fr. Michael E. Nolan, and Fr. Daniel J. Spexarth
25 Years: Fr. Darrin M. May and Fr. Theodore Khin

The bishop then talked about the oils he would later consecrate.

Breathing the Holy Spirit

“The Sacred Chrism, the oil into which I will breathe the Holy Spirit which will be used to anoint the baptized, the confirmed, the hands of the newly-ordained, the heads of bishops, and the altars and walls of new and renovated churches, speaks to us of what it means to be consecrated to the Lord, set apart for holiness,” he said.

“Brothers and sisters, as we go forth from this Chrism Mass, back to where we live the faith and serve, let us recall that we who have been anointed with Chrism are set apart for God’s mission of salvation, as a priestly, prophetic and kingly people, a people dedicated to the Lord in every way and that all that we do here in this life as missionary disciples of Jesus in this time and place will find its fulfillment in that heavenly realm, where God’s entire family, fully alive in Christ, will gaze upon him whom we call, the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”