Diocese’s priests renew their commitment at Chrism Mass

Photo Caption: With the newly blessed sacred oils before him and the priests of the Diocese of Peoria surrounding him, Bishop Jenky celebrates the Chrism Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on March 26.

By: By Jennifer Willems, The Catholic Post

Before they celebrate the sacred liturgies commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus this weekend, the priests of the Diocese of Peoria gathered around Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria to renew their commitment to follow where the Lord of Life would lead them.

The resounding applause and standing ovation they received at the Chrism Mass on March 26 assured them that they would not go unsupported as they did so. Nearly every inch of the cathedral was filled with permanent deacons, consecrated women, seminarians, students and parishioners from around the diocese, who offered their prayers as well as their affection for these faithful servants.

They also witnessed as the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens and the Holy Chrism — all of which will be used in sacramental anointing at parishes around central Illinois in the year to come — were brought forward to be blessed by Bishop Jenky.

The oil for the Holy Chrism and the balsam that would be mixed into it were brought forth by Deacon Jeremy Freehill and Deacon Jacob Rose, respectively. Both are preparing for ordination to the priesthood in May and they will be anointed with the sacred Chrism as part of the ritual.

The Oil of the Sick was presented by Deacon Bob Sondag of Immaculate Conception in Manito and vice chancellor of the Diocese of Peoria, while Deacon Nick Simon of St. Anthony’s in Atkinson carried the Oil of Catechumens to the front of St. Mary’s Cathedral.

In his homily, Bishop Jenky challenged his listeners to remain committed to the Gospel, stand strong in the face of opposition and heed the call to “bring back those who have fallen away and to bring in those who have never heard the Gospel.”

“We worship an awesome God, and we live and serve in an awesome church,” he said. “In this Year of Faith, in this first year of a new pontificate, we must become even more eager to announce an awesome Gospel to absolutely everyone we meet.”

Despite the serious nature of the liturgy, which is always celebrated during Holy Week, those who attended the Chrism Mass allowed their joy to fill St. Mary’s Cathedral after Communion when invited to sing a hymn of thanksgiving for the ministry of Pope Francis.

More than 350 students from 17 Catholic schools in central Illinois added their enthusiasm to the Mass and remained afterward to greet their current and former pastors, tour the cathedral and have their photos taken on the stairs in front of the bishop’s residence.

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