Chrism Mass a call to be one again doing God’s work

| March 27, 2015 | 0 Comments
Archbishop John Nienstedt prays the Blessing of the Oil of Catechumens and Consecration of Chrism near the end of the Chrism Mass March 27 at the Cathedral of St. Paul. The annual liturgy features the consecration of holy chrism and blessing of other oils — the oil of catechumens and the oil of the sick. The Mass also includes the Renewal of Commitment to Priestly Service, in which priests of the archdiocese renew their dedication to the Church through a life of sacrifice, devotion and love. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop John Nienstedt prays the Blessing of the Oil of Catechumens and Consecration of Chrism near the end of the Chrism Mass March 26 at the Cathedral of St. Paul. The annual liturgy features the consecration of holy chrism and blessing of other oils — the oil of catechumens and the oil of the sick. The Mass also includes the Renewal of Commitment to Priestly Service, in which priests of the archdiocese renew their dedication to the Church through a life of sacrifice, devotion and love. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Song, prayer and humble supplications filled the incense-perfumed air of the Cathedral of St. Paul March 26, calling both for healing and consolation from the challenges of recent years and for Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to coalesce around a collaborate, unified vision to accomplish the work of the church.

The scene was the annual Chrism Mass, when sacramental oils used throughout the archdiocese for baptism, confirmation and anointing of the sick are blessed. Along with the verbal renewal of promises by scores of priests who minister in the 12-county archdiocese, the oils were tangible elements of a hope that Archbishop John Nienstedt expressed that those oils “bring us together” and be “an agent of strengthening, consoling and healing.”

Preaching in both English and Spanish, the archbishop said he prays that, working “in cooperation with one another,” the people of the archdiocese might recommit to “witnessing to the world our communion of faith, hope and love,” what he termed “the work of the church.”

The archbishop addressed the issue of the clergy sexual abuse scandal, which has led to the archdiocese seeking financial reorganization under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy rules.

“I fear a certain fragmentation and fracturing has been created,” he said, “between Catholic institutions and even parishes and the office of the archbishop. This division can be summed up in the saying, ‘I’ll support my parish but I will not support the archdiocese.’

“This sentiment is not of God,” Archbishop Nienstedt said. “The time has come for us together to re-envision the mission that has been entrusted to us. . . . Despite this time of crisis — or maybe because of it — we must come together like family to take charge of the situation and work together for its resolution. This local Church will only reach the potential of its mission if all of our members stand together, united in faith, love and compassion.

“I do not pretend that doing so is easy,” the archbishop said. “In fact, I believe it challenges us to find in the moment even deeper levels of both charity and of forgiveness.”

The archbishop added, “Let us be united in our common task of bringing Christ to the world and the world to Jesus Christ.”

It was a message that got through to Mealy Plumley, a young adult member of St. Joseph Parish in Red Wing, who was at the Chrism Mass with Alissa Bien, for whom she is serving as sponsor for confirmation.

She said what struck her most during the evening was “all the priests coming together (to renew their promises) and all of us being part of one same church. With all the trouble the church has had,” Plumley said, “we need to be stronger.”

It was the first Chrism Mass for Bien, 15, a member of Holy Trinity in Goodhue who will be confirmed at the Easter Vigil, and along with learning more about the oils that were blessed, she said she enjoyed the music and seeing the variety of people who took part in the liturgy.

Bob Vandenbroeke from Guardian Angels in Chaska took the opportunity before Mass to take a photo of two of his parish RCIA catechumens in front of the statute of St. Matthew, one of the writers of the gospels whose likeness fills a niche in the four pillars which support the cathedral dome.

With his wife, Julie, Vandenbroeke said they attended the Chrism Mass so that the teens would see how the oils are blessed that they themselves will be blessed with at the Easter Vigil.

“This is an opportunity for us to come together with the priests and the archbishop to celebrate this important period of our faith life, coming as it does just before the beginning of Holy Week,” he said. “It’s a great time to be centered in our faith life and focused on the symbols that help us stay closer.”

Father Michael Skluzacek, pastor of St. John the Baptist in New Brighton, spoke about the importance of the annual liturgy, for the blessing of the oils but also for the renewal of promises to God, to their bishop and to the people of the archdiocese by the priests who serve in the archdiocese.

“The Chrism Mass recalls the priestly ministry of Christ, which means the anointed one of the Father,” he said. “Through Christ we have access to the Father.”

 

 

Tags: , , ,

Category: Local News