Diocese’s priests recommit to service at annual Chrism Mass
By: By Jennifer Willems
CAPTION: With the holy oils before them, the priests serving in the Diocese of Peoria gather around Bishop Jenky for the eucharistic prayer at the Chrism Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)
More photos from the Chrism Mass have been posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook.
Calling the priests of the Diocese of Peoria “my spiritual sons and my dearest brothers in priestly service,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, led the applause that followed their recommitment to priestly service at the annual Chrism Mass.
Offering their priests a standing ovation were 260 students from 15 Catholic schools around the diocese, as well as the permanent deacons, laity and many consecrated women and men who filled St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on March 31. They continued to show their appreciation even after the priests tried to curtail the applause by sitting down.
The Mass takes its name from the oils that are blessed by the bishop for sacramental use in the coming year: the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens and the sacred Chrism. All of them were presented by transitional deacons who are preparing for ordination to the priesthood on May 23.
Deacon Alexander Millar brought forth the Oil of the Sick, which signifies the mercy of God “that heals, that comforts and offers salvific meaning to human suffering,” Bishop Jenky explained in his homily.
He said the grace of God is signified in the Oil of Catechumens, which was presented by Deacon Joseph Baker. This is the oil “that encourages and strengthens, that purifies those hastening to the Easter sacraments,” according to the bishop.
Deacon Adam Cesarek brought forth the Chrism and Deacon Eric Bolek presented the fragrant balsam, which were mixed. Bishop Jenky then breathed over the sacred Chrism as a sign of infusing it with the Holy Spirit.
He noted that this oil is used not only in baptism, but to consecrate the hands of priests and the heads of bishops, as well as to anoint altars and bless churches.
Bishop Jenky praised the priests who would use the oils as men who fell passionately in love with God, follow Jesus as his disciples, and are “intoxicated” by the Holy Spirit.
“That is what inspires their generous ministry in parishes and schools and their other apostolates,” he said. “That is what sustains their own continuing conversion as daily they seek the Lord in prayer and in the daily needs of those they serve.”
The bishop recalled that Jesus once said he had come to cast fire upon the earth.
“I give thanks that the fire of God’s love blazes in the hearts and lives of these your priests, made holy by the holy things they celebrate,” Bishop Jenky said.
He encouraged all present to commit themselves entirely to God, listen intently to Jesus and boldly announce the Gospel, and to remember that the Holy Spirit is “the soul of this community, the breath that gives us life, and the fire that enkindles our hearts.”