Chrism Mass Celebrates Priesthood, Sacred Oils
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 13, 2023
ROCKFORD—Representatives from all diocesan parishes and priests from across the diocese gathered on Holy Thursday at the Cathedral of St. Peter for the annual Chrism Mass.
Special to the morning Mass were the priests’ renewal of the promises they made at their ordinations and the blessing and distribution of the sacred oils — of the sick, of catechumens and the sacred Chrism oil, used for ordinations, baptisms and confirmations.
Before mixing the Chrism oil and blessing all the oils, Bishop David Malloy focused his homily on both the oils and particularly on the priesthood.
“As a presbyterate, we together renew our priestly promises,” he began, encouraging parish representatives and all who were gathered “to pray for your priests and then for me as Bishop. 
“This request is a living example of the joining of our vocations, clergy and laity … This reminds us and you of our mutual dependence on Christ and on the prayers of each other … we thank you for that prayerful demonstration of your witness as part of this Mass.”
The Chrism Mass, he said, “celebrates with gratitude the institution of the priesthood at the Last Supper …
“The sacredness of being configured to Christ, the holiness of pronouncing the words of Jesus at the consecration and handling the Body and Blood of Christ, the privilege such as we had last week on Be Reconciled Day … all of these considerations should be present to us not only on the day of ordination, but every day of our priesthood …”
Any struggles in his vocation reminds each priest of his own needs, but should not lead to discouragement, the bishop said.
“We are celebrating also who instituted the priesthood. Jesus and our priesthood are inseparable. And for this reason, we have great hope. … Cardinal Francis George commented some years ago to the priests of Chicago, ‘No matter what the world thinks of us, no matter how our position in society might shift, we are at the center for God’s plan for the whole world.  And what we do in celebrating the Eucharist is the most important thing that happens in this world … Every time the Mass is celebrated, the center of the universe is on this altar, and that’s what keeps us all going.’”
Bishop Malloy also warned against becoming too comfortable and losing focus.
“For that reason, it is good to recall, especially on this day, that is particularly the sacrifices of living our priesthood, sacrifices both small and large, that keep us from becoming self-centered, clericalists or just plain spiritually dull. In the Sacred Triduum we recall and enter into the sacrifice of the priesthood of Christ. We rejoice to be joined to His priesthood, in our joys and in our sorrows …
“Brothers, the challenges of the moment are many.  The culture is turning ever more against faith and against the Church. But we renew our promises, confident that they are the commitment that Christ has called us to: promises of fidelity, celibacy and obedience. We are a source of constant and undying hope for the faithful and for the world. And for this reason we recognize the importance of our calling and our witness.
“Thank you again brothers, for all you do. And thank you again, our lay brothers and sisters for your support and your prayers. Together, we are confident that the Lord who began a good work in us all will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”


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