Last night went with our High School Church Youth Group to the Archdiocese of Baltimore Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen The Chrism Mass serves 2 purposes;
1) to bless the 3 oils:
The Oil of Catechumens used in Baptism along with water, in the consecration of churches, in the blessing of Altars, in the ordination of priests, and, sometimes, in the crowning of Catholic kings and queens.
The Holy Chrism used in Confirmation, Baptism, in the consecration of a Bishop, the consecration of a various things such as churches, chalices, patens, and bells.
The Oil of the Sick which is used in anointing the sick & in last rights.
2) for the Priest to reaffirm their commitment to God and the church.
The church is always packed the faithful representing a good part of the 153 parishes in the Archdiocese. Part of the Mass is the procession in with all the Priests from the Archdiocese, the Bishops, the Archbishop, the Deacons and Seminarians. It is quite impressive and it's cute how the Priests look around the pews to look for their "sheep". And also how the "sheep" look for their "shepherd" waving, smiling and sometimes reaching out to shake their hand or to hug them. I always look forward to seeing Priests who have served our Parish over the years and have moved on to other assignments.
This was an especially joyful year. We have a new Pope (Francis) and a new Archbishop (Lori). And last night was the first Chrism Mass for each of them.
The Mass was beautiful. The Bible readings were in English and Spanish. Many parts of the Mass were sung in Latin. As I was singing the Pater Noster (Our Father in Latin), I was taken back to when I was in Rome at the Vatican where we also sang it...all the people from many countries..The Universal Church.
And the sentimental fool that I am, my heart was touched thinking about how many many generations of my family did the same and how this Mass follows the traditions of the early church. I could almost see one of my ancestors in the catacombs participating in the Mass. It makes me feel so connected to Jesus and the Apostles and so thankful for my Church and the men who heard their calling from God and said yes to the Priesthood.
On the back of our program was a quote from Blessed John Paul II, "The priestly vocation is essentially a call to holiness, in the form that derives from the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Holiness is intimacy with God, it is the imitation of Christ, poor, chase and humble. It is unserved love for souls an self-giving to their true good. It is love for the Church which is holy and wants us to be holy, because such is the mission that Christ has entrusted to it. Each of you must be holy also in order to help your brothers and sisters pursue their vocation to holiness."
Have a Blessed Holy Week!
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