Diocese unites at Mass of Chrism

Parish reps travel to Cathedral and return home with holy oils
Bishop Carl A. Kemme, in his homily at the March 27 Chrism Mass, talked about the symbolism of the assembly in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the bishop, the clergy, religious, and representatives from every parish in the Diocese of Wichita.
“During this particular Mass, the diocese prays as one, God’s holy people, united in prayer,” he said. “My heart is full of gratitude and pride as we gather in such great numbers and with such enthusiasm for the faith of our local church.”
After singling out all of the priests in attendance, who recommitted themselves in service to God and the people of God, he thanked the priest jubilarians for their service to the church.
“When Jesus emerged from that synagogue in Nazareth so long ago, he looked onto a landscape and among a people, who were his own , and saw that there was no little broken heartedness, no little captivity and oppression, no little mourning or sorrow,” Bishop Kemme said.
It was to them that Jesus had come to give comfort, to announce a year of favor from the Lord, and to give the oil of gladness, he said. “His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd. He set about then and there, as we know from the Gospel accounts, itinerantly preaching the Good news, healing the sick, forgiving sinners, and bestowing strength on the powerless.”
Jesus also taught about the fatherhood of God, of the compassion and tender mercy of the Lord, and invited them to follow him, the bishop said.
“And many did, becoming imbued with a message of truth, liberation and new life. They had been touched by the Joy of the Gospel and their lives were forever changed. In doing all of this, Jesus set in motion a cataclysmic movement, like the rock dropped in the ocean of human history, the ripple effects of wave after wave gaining strength with each passing generation. And so we come to our own day and time.”
Today, 21 centuries later, Bishop Kemme told a packed cathedral, the result of sin is still apparent.
“We look out across the landscape of our experience and we also know too much broken heartedness, too much loneliness and sorrow, too much captivity and imprisonment, too much discord and hate,” he said.
“Our generation, like theirs and each one in between, needs Jesus, his truth, his healing touch, his Gospel of Life, his ministry he entrusted now to the church, the mystical Body of Christ, sacramentally present and at work among us.”
The ministry belongs to all the baptized, the bishop said, but in a special way to the apostles and those who would be called to collaborate with them, the priests.
“This ministry, a true treasure in earthen vessels, a participation in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, offers everyone a real encounter with him who truly walked and lived in our world and who continues to be with us now in mystery and sacrament.”
Jesus left to the church the priesthood of the baptized and the ministerial priesthood, Bishop Kemme said, “the charge, the great commission to heal the sick, to comfort the broken hearted, to set the captives free and to announce a year of favor from the Lord.”
The oils blessed and consecrated at the Chrism Mass will be used in the ministry entrusted to the priests by Jesus, he said.
“Let these oils be oils of gladness, diffusing the Lord’s presence, his healing touch and his life saving and changing grace, to many throughout this part of the Lord’s vineyard,” Bishop Kemme said.
“May those who are anointed with these oils be an anointing themselves in a world that longs for the strength, the fervor, and the vitality they inwardly bring. For all of us, priests, deacons and laity alike, may we anoint those with whom we share life and ministry with kindness, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, peace and love, for when we do, Christ walks and works among us anew.”
Bishop Kemme closed the homily by praying that the oils taken to the parishes be a source of “continual blessing in this new year of sacramental grace, a year of favor from the Lord.”
During the Chrism Mass Bishop Kemme blessed the sacramental oils that will be used throughout the diocese this year. The representatives of the parishes in the diocese and others resulted in an overflow crowd in the Cathedral’s gathering space where the Mass could be viewed on a big screen monitor with the audio piped in through the ceiling speaker system.
Parish representatives enjoyed a lunch in Good Shepherd Hall while volunteers filled the oil containers brought by the representatives to the cathedral to take back to their parishes.

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: 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.