Local priests to renew promises at annual Chrism Mass

| March 26, 2014 | 0 Comments
Archbishop John Nienstedt prays during the blessing of the oil of catechumens and consecration of chrism near the end of the 2013 Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop John Nienstedt prays during the blessing of the oil of catechumens and consecration of chrism near the end of the 2013 Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

The annual Chrism Mass at which Archbishop John Nienstedt blesses the sacramental holy oils for the upcoming year also serves another essential purpose for priests — renewing the promises they made on their ordination day.

Priests from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will again profess their promises at 7 p.m. April 10 at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

All of the archdiocese’s priests are invited to attend, according to Father John Paul Erickson, the archdiocese’s director of worship. The public is also invited to the Mass.

“A good showing of the faithful would be a marvelous gift,” Father Erickson said.

Mark Croteau, director of faith formation and discipleship at St. Hubert in Chanhassen, has attended a dozen Chrism Masses because for him, they “emphasize the unity within the local Church.”

“I’m inspired to remember the great sacrifice these men are making for the benefit of the Church,” Croteau said. “[Priests], once again, being willing to lay down their lives for the Church. I love to see that. It really helps me wonder about my own role in the Church and how I can support them and the entire archdiocese. It really widens the scope for me.”

The Chrism Mass is a reminder for priests to serve Jesus and to allow his name to be known and loved, Father Erickson said. It also gives the people of God an opportunity to express their support for priests and bishops in a visible, tangible way.

“That Mass, in some way, is intensely focused upon priesthood, not only the priesthood of us broken, frail human beings, but most especially the priesthood of Jesus,” Father Erickson said. “And the way in which that priesthood reaches out via the oils — which really are, in some sense, an extension of the priesthood of Christ . . . this is his anointing his people in various ways — the sick, the newly baptized, the confirmed, those to be ordained.”

Archbishop John Nienstedt will bless three different oils:

  • Oil of catechumens — for adults preparing for entrance into the Church and for infant baptisms.
  • Oil of the sick — for the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.
  • Oil of chrism — a fragranced oil for baptisms, confirmations, the ordination of priests and bishops, and consecrating altars and churches; only the bishop can bless the oil of chrism.

During the ceremony, different communities are represented in the procession of oils. For instance, members of the Little Sisters of the Poor will bring up the oil of the sick.

Croteau has worked with people in the RCIA program for more than 20 years and encourages them to attend the Chrism Mass to experience the Church on a larger level and get an appreciation for what’s happening in the local Church.

“They’re able to get a sense of how the blessing starts in one spot and spreads throughout the entire area,” he said. “After having had this experience, their eyes are opened wider to what they’ll be entering.”

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Category: Local News