Chrism Mass Again Welcomes Many
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 21, 2022
ROCKFORD—The annual Chrism Mass was held as usual the morning of Holy Thursday at the Cathedral of St. Peter.
“As usual” held new meaning after the pandemic forbade any guests in 2020 and in 2021 allowed only priests. 
This year the Chrism Mass again welcomed representatives from parishes and other entities who advanced after Mass to receive the holy oils for their parishes, monasteries, convents or health facilities. 
Two other “as usuals” added to the festivity: a return of the Diocesan Chorale and a light luncheon following the Mass.
Bishop David Malloy began his homily with a short reflection on the Chrism Mass.
“It is the Church’s tradition that prior to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is the last solemn Mass of the Lenten season: the Chrism Mass,” he said. “Our Mass today has several points of emphasis for us to consider.  
“First, for all of us, we will have the blessing of the oils. Those blessings will give us special cause to give thanks for use of the oils and the spiritual riches that they bestow upon the Church.  
“The Oil of Sick points to all of those who will be anointed with this oil during the coming year … as a safeguard for body, soul, and spirit; and the prayer of blessing will also ask that all so anointed be freed from all pain, all infirmity, and all sickness. Many of the faithful who have been anointed at one time or another, and we who as priests have been called to administer the anointing, know of the power and the grace brought by the Oil of the Sick.
“The Oil of Catechumens will also be blessed, remembering those who are to be anointed as catechumens entering the Church. That blessing asks that they will be granted divine wisdom and power to understand more deeply the Gospel as they are born anew and live in the Church.
“The blessing of the Chrism is the high point of this ceremony; hence the Mass bears its name. … The Sacred Chrism carries with it the strength of the Holy Spirit, given in baptism, confirmation and in the anointings of ordination.”
Bishop Malloy then turned to what he said is “also special about this Mass. That is the constant search for the strength that we as priests draw from the unity of the priesthood. That is the unity that we must have with Christ, with the Church and with each other … It is always before our eyes and it needs continual prayer, tending and deepening.”
The bishop spoke of “the beginnings of the priesthood” found in the Gospel that day, and he pondered the reactions of those first chosen priests, the Apostles.
“They were not chosen because they were always the most gifted, although some clearly were,” he said, noting that, “even after their calling to the priesthood much (personal growth) remained to be done. But it did not change the essential reason that the Gospels give for the calling of these men.  It was because Jesus wanted them … and the Father, in union with the Holy Spirit, wanted them …
“I cite for us these passages that are so well known to us because they remind us of the calling that we responded to on the day of ordination, some of us many years ago, some recently.  We, brothers, should feel both the crushing humility and the exaltation of being joined to those first priests … We are here because Jesus wanted us, He desired us for this task. Humility requires that we acknowledge our unworthiness. But we are exalted because whatever the task we face, the Master knows it. He is with us. He is at work in and through us. That mix of humility and exaltation is reflected in our coming renewal of our Commitment to Priestly Service. … ”
That renewal had the priests renewing their promises made at their ordinations, to be more and more united with and conformed to Jesus, and to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God. 
All who were gathered at the Cathedral were then called to pray for their priests and for the bishop, which is something everyone can do, each day, in their prayers as usual.
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