Gathering at the ‘Doorway’ to Easter
Bishop David Malloy (seated) presents holy oils to a parish representative at the annual Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, March 29. He blessed the oils earlier in the Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rockford. (Observer photos/Amanda Hudson)
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 5, 2018
ROCKFORD—The Cathedral of St. Peter was filled with the faithful from all parishes and Catholic entities of the Diocese of Rockford the morning of March 29 for the annual Chrism Mass.
“We are standing at the doorway of the Sacred Triduum,” said Bishop David Malloy as he began his homily, which was addressed in turn to the priests of the diocese, deacons and laity. 
The bishop expressed his gratitude to his priests, calling the day “the Feast of Priests!”
“Our union and unity is one of prayer, of mutual encouragement and support,” he said to them, noting their “service to the faithful that you render day in and day out,” calling it a “sacred task to carry out for the good of your own soul, and most especially for the salvation of others.”
The bishop mentioned an example of how he hears of his priests’ “silent sacrifices.” A woman had recently quietly thanked him for her parish priest and his commitment to providing them with daily Mass including on his day off.
“She saw and recognized the eternal value of the Mass and the sacrifice of a priest whose actions spoke louder than any words he might speak,” Bishop Malloy said.
He reflected on the challenges in modern society for all the baptized. “We feel in a special way how those difficulties confront our priesthood,” he said. “Our calling is to bring the message of Jesus to a world that often does not want to hear Him, or us.”
Calling discouragement and a loss of heart “Satan’s weapon of choice,” the bishop reminded all gathered that “our calling is rooted in faith and an undying hope. Discouragement is not for us!”
Bishop Malloy concluded his homily just moments before the priests renewed their commitment to priestly service.
“Shoulder to shoulder,” he said, “we remind ourselves and each other, He is with us always, until the end of the age.”
This annual Holy Thursday Mass includes the blessings of the oils of the sick, of catechumens and of the chrism. Small bottles of the blessed oils were distributed after communion to designated parish representatives and those from 14 other Catholic entities of the diocese for use throughout the upcoming year.