Bishop expresses hope of reunification at Chrism Mass
What is the Chrism Mass?
During the Chrism Mass, the bishop blesses three oils: the oil of catechumens (oleum catechumenorum or oleum sanctorum), the oil of the infirm (oleum infirmorum) and holy chrism (sacrum chrisma), which are used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the diocese for the year.
The technology that allows the faithful to connect via the internet is a blessing Bishop Carl A. Kemme said Tuesday, April 7, during the Chrism Mass, but it is a greater blessing to be connected by the virtues of faith, hope, and love.
“Virtues which have and always will transcend the boundaries of space and time, those virtues which unite us as one family in the Body of Christ,” he said. “Let us be grateful for these gifts from God, which allow us and encourage us to be one in a far greater and more powerful way than technology could ever offer.”
Bishop Kemme looks forward to the Chrism Mass
Since his ordination almost 34 years ago, Bishop Kemme said he has always looked forward to the Chrism Mass because it unites the people of the diocese with their bishop and priests, “reflecting on the priestly mission of the church which is to bring glad tidings to the lowly, healing to the brokenhearted, liberty to captives, release to prisoners and announcing a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God.”
During the annual Mass, the bishop said, we ponder the mystery of Christ, the eternal priest, who has chosen weak and frail men to share in his ministry through the laying of hands.
“It is Christ’s priesthood that is at work each time one of the ministerial priesthood offers the Mass, preaches the homily, confesses the penitent, and anoints the faithful. It is always and forever his priesthood that is at work in our world.”
Priests ‘unworthily’ share in Christ’s mission
He told his brother priests that they unworthily share in Christ’s mission to teach, to govern, and to sanctify the people of God.
“We always do so in his name and not in our own. It is his mission we must keep ever before us in obedient fidelity. If we consider any of this our own or put our personal agenda ahead of the mission of the Savior, we will be doing the church and the people we are called to serve, a tragic disservice. Our service, our life as priests, demands a true spirit of humility.”
Not only are the oils blessed at the Mass, he said, the priests also renew the commitment they made on the day of their ordinations when they offered their lives to Jesus and promised to serve as he did.
Bishop thanks the priests of the diocese
“I also desire to thank you most sincerely for the gift you are to our local church, for the inspiring manner in which you live Christ’s priesthood – especially under the trying circumstances in which we find ourselves,” the bishop said.
“I wish to thank you, dear priests, for the joy of collaborating with you in the mission of advancing the Kingdom of God. It is a privilege and honor to serve as your bishop and to call and consider you, brothers and friends.”
Bishop Kemme told the faithful of the diocese that he doesn’t need to tell them how blessed the diocese is with the quality and the quantity of the priests. “In each and every one of them, we are truly blessed. Please continue to pray for them and me. Your prayers and support, coupled with God’s grace are all we need.”
The priests are reminded during this pandemic, during the separation and suspension of public Masses, he said, how much they need their people.
“We desire to be once again close to you, the sheep of the Lord’s flock, whom we have pledged to serve and to anoint with the oils that I will soon bless, to preach to you in our pews and most of all to offer you, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Eternal Priest, Jesus Christ.”
We’ll soon be together
Bishop Kemme said he knows all are praying that soon “we will be together again and that this sad reality of social distancing and pandemic fear will soon become a distant memory.”
Until that reunification, he said, “let the active faith of a church which has faced these and far worse challenges over her extensive history, continue to unite us as one, one with Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, one with Him who has made us into a Kingdom, priests for his God and Father; to Him then and not to us, be glory and power forever and ever.”