Chrism Mass Precedes Start of Triduum
Bishop blesses and distributes oils, priests renew their vows at annual Chrism Mass.
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 25, 2019
ROCKFORD—“The Sacred Triduum, the three days of celebrating intensely Christ’s love, His suffering and His Resurrection, begins this evening,” said Bishop David Malloy at the start of his homily at the annual Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter.  
“Those three elements, love, suffering and the Resurrection, go together,” the bishop added, “and because they did so for Jesus Christ, they do so for us as well, who follow Him and His example.”
At the Chrism Mass each year, the priests in the Diocese of Rockford renew their commitment to priestly service just before the oils of the sick “for those whose weaknesses in health or body join them to Jesus in His suffering,” and of catechumens “for those who will enter the Church” were blessed, and the chrism oil mixed and consecrated, ready to be used in the coming year “for baptism, confirmation and sacred ordination,” the bishop said.
In his homily, Bishop Malloy spoke about the priesthood, encouraging the laity who were present to join, he said, “your bishop and priests in our prayer of gratitude for the gift of our calling and in the renewal of our promises.”
Gratitude was at the heart of the bishop’s message. 
“For all of us, lay faithful and priests, this is a time and place in history that we need to be particularly grateful for the graces and the gift of faith that we have received,” he said. “While we are all witnesses to (the) truth revealed by Christ, in a special way, brothers, it is our task as priests to live that truth and to remind the world of God’s saving plan.  And the world needs our witness.”
With God absent in the public sphere, with divisions within and outside the Church, and with “the shadow of misconduct ... and the disobedience of some of our brothers,” Bishop Malloy said, “we cannot grow tired as workers in the harvest.”
He reminded his priests about the moment of ordination when “we were changed forever.” Their task is spiritual, and fulfillment of their ministry, he said, is because “the Spirit of the Lord is upon us and we have been configured to Christ Himself.”
The bishop briefly spoke of a novel by Graham Greene about a priest during the Cristero War of Mexico in the late 1920s. Called by Greene a “Whiskey Priest,” the character struggles as an all-too-earthen vessel, but eventually is able to provide the sacraments when called upon in time of danger.
“That power and glory (of God) shines through even that priest’s human weakness,” the bishop said. “We don’t need figures of literature to appreciate the power and the glory that fills our priesthood and shines through our weakness.  We are part of a calling and a fraternity that has real examples in our own lifetime ... on this day we double down in our trust in Christ, in our love for the Church, in our confidence that grace will do what unaided we cannot.”
Turning to the laity who filled the Cathedral pews, Bishop Malloy asked them to “please pray that the power and the glory of Christ fill not only the oils blessed at this Mass, but also each one of us as priests.” 
Representatives from each parish and some other Catholic entities came forward after Communion to receive holy oils for use this coming year. A reception and fellowship followed the Mass.