Annual Mass Celebrates Priesthood, Consecrates Oils
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 4, 2024
ROCKFORD—The annual Chrism Mass took place on Holy Thursday, March 28, at the Cathedral of St. Peter, welcoming priests and laity from throughout the diocese in addition to hundreds more who watched via livestream.
The priests of the diocese were joined by some special guest priests including Abbot Joel Rippinger, OSB, of Marmion Abbey in Aurora, Father Michael Fuller, general secretary for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., as well as Bishop of Rockford David Malloy’s brother, Father Frank Malloy of Florida. 
Following the Mass readings, Bishop Malloy called for prayers as he began his homily on a somber note, saying, “It is also important to focus, for a moment at least, our attention on the tragedies happening here in the City of Rockford, with the violence in the last several days and some of the resulting deaths and injuries and the sadness and loss.”
He called those present “to embrace our love of God and (to) find God in each other, in our families and our society.” Those recent losses included the death of Jay Larson, 49, whose funeral was celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Peter April 3. Others killed in Rockford’s violent stabbings during Holy Week were Ramona Schupbach, 63, Jacob Schupbach, 23, and Jenna Newcomb, 15. In a separate stabbing, Jason Jenkins, 18, was killed at a local Walmart while he was working there.
The bishop then offered his welcome to all, noting those designated by their parishes to received the blessed oils: of the sick (for the sacrament of anointing of the sick), of catechumens (to anoint those soon to be baptized), and of the holy Chrism oil, which is olive oil mixed with balsam used in the sacraments of confirmation, of baptism, and of ordination, and also for consecration of a church and the blessing of an altar and the vessels used at Mass.
“This is a Mass filled with reflection and anticipated joy,” Bishop Malloy said, adding, “These blessed oils already point ahead, in anticipation, to priestly ordinations, to confirmations, to baptisms, and to anointings of those who are sick or even close to death.  
“Even in that last situation, so often filled with sorrow and suffering, there is the deep Christian joy of knowing that the grace of Christ administered with the Oil of the Sick is with those who are in need …
“All of this points to our great hope and signals the riches, of grace and of the Church, that are beyond any treasure of this world.”
The bishop noted the priests’ renewal of promises that followed his homily. 
“That renewal is a cause for joy for us as priests, because beyond the merit of any of us, the Lord has called us forth, by name, just as He called Peter and Andrew, James and John as He walked along the Sea of Galilee.
“It is also a cause for joy for the lay faithful.  By Christ’s will, through the means of often frail and humble humanity, Jesus makes Himself and His ministry present to all the ages, including to our own.”
He spoke also directly to the priests about their call to the priesthood, and how “Our calling is a mystery, even to ourselves” and that “To know Jesus in our calling is to know that He is with us.  As a result, we are not afraid of the challenges, the confusion, of the darkness, of the uncertainty that seems to be everywhere in the world and, even at times, in the Church.”
The bishop also noted that, “you the lay faithful are also priests according to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council … Your priesthood from baptism is essentially different from that of the ordained priesthood. But both priesthoods are life-giving and true … (and) are oriented toward each other in service and love … joined to be channels of the grace of the Holy Spirit for the life and good of the Church Herself.”
Bishop Malloy encouraged all, “in this time of Eucharistic renewal,” to participate with understanding and faith in the Mass, and “join in the offering of the Eucharist.”
Following the priests’ renewal of their promises, the oils were brought forth and blessed, and the Mass continued. The bishop distributed boxes of oils to parish representatives before the final blessing and dismissal. A reception followed the Mass.


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