Priests renew vows, holy oils are blessed during Chrism Mass at cathedral

Consecrated women and men, lay faithful and Catholic school students and administrators offered an extended round of applause for their parish priests and chaplains after the clergy renewed their commitment to priestly service at the Chrism Mass April 11. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Every Mass is holy beyond compare, but the Chrism Mass is “an extraordinary moment of grace” in the life of the church, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, told those who filled St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria for the annual Holy Week liturgy on April 11.

It is a time when Catholic priests throughout the world come together with their bishops to renew the vows they made when they were ordained to serve “as ministers of Christ the Head, for the glory of God, and the service of his people,” Bishop Jenky said.

Deacon Lee Brokaw carries the oil that will be consecrated as the Sacred Chrism down the main aisle at St. Mary’s Cathedral to Bishop Jenky at the annual Chrism Mass on April 11. This is the oil that will be used to anoint Deacon Brokaw’s hands during his ordination to the priesthood on Saturday, May 27. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

The Chrism Mass is also the time when the oils used for sacramental anointing throughout the year are blessed and are sent back to the parishes with priests.

“The oils become outward signs of the inward reality of the Holy Spirit,” Bishop Jenky said, “blessing the church and gathering the church into that gift of boundless grace that is freely offered in the Mass.”

The Oil of the Sick, which was presented by Deacon Joseph LaHood of Holy Family in Peoria, “comforts and often heals those who are ill, restoring them to the eucharistic assembly,” the bishop said.

The Oil of Catechumens, brought forward by Deacon Paul Neakrase of St. Patrick in Washington, is used to anoint new believers at their baptism, “powerfully strengthening those called to the Easter Sacraments,” the bishop explained.

Presenting the oil that would be consecrated as the Sacred Chrism was Deacon Lee Brokaw, who will be anointed with it at his ordination to the priesthood on Saturday, May 27, at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The balsam that is mixed with the oil and provides its distinctive fragrance was brought to the bishop by Deacon Roger Hunter of St. Jude in Peoria.

In addition to the hands of priests, the Sacred Chrism is used to anoint the heads of bishops, altars and “those sacred spaces set aside for the praise, thanks, and worship of the Lord,” Bishop Jenky added.


More than 450 students from Catholic schools around the Diocese of Peoria traveled to St. Mary’s Cathedral for the Mass and offered extended applause after their parish priests and Bishop Jenky renewed their commitment to priestly service. It is believed to be the largest number of students yet to attend the Chrism Mass.

Joining them were the permanent deacons, consecrated women and men, and lay people who filled every available space in the church, including the Lady Chapel, St. Thomas More Chapel and balcony.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, acknowledges the applause of the people who filled St. Mary’s Cathedral for the Chrism Mass after it was announced that he is celebrating several milestone anniversaries this year: 50 years of profession with the Congregation of Holy Cross, 20 years as a bishop, and 15 years as spiritual leader of the Diocese of Peoria. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Students also helped to provide musical leadership, with the Peoria Notre Dame Choir singing from the main floor of the cathedral. In the choir loft were children from Immaculate Conception School in Monmouth, who offered a prelude song and sang with members of the Cathedral Schola and the Pontifical Brass.

After Communion, Msgr. Stanley Deptula, rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral, singled out the Franciscan Apostolic Sisters for serving the Diocese of Peoria for 25 years. With support from “a few friends,” they sang a song of thanksgiving in Tagalog, a language spoken in the Philippines, which is where their religious community is based.

Before the final blessing, Msgr. Paul Showalter told the assembly that this year marked the 50th anniversary of Bishop Jenky’s profession of vows with the Congregation of Holy Cross, his 20th anniversary as a bishop, and his 15th anniversary as spiritual leader of the Diocese of Peoria. Wishing the bishop many more years, Msgr. Showalter led a round of applause for the bishop, which soon turned into a standing ovation.

As they processed back to the cathedral sacristy, the priests picked up the oils for their parishes and then reconvened at the nearby Spalding Pastoral Center for fellowship and dinner.

EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos from the Chrism Mass have been posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook.   


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