Chrism Mass fills cathedral as bishop and priests renew promises, holy oils blessed
Sixth- and seventh-graders from St. Mary School and Parish in Pontiac will be confirmed this fall, and on April 16 they watched as Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, consecrated the Sacred Chrism that will be used to anoint them.
They also saw him bless the Oil of the Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick as part of the annual Chrism Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, and heard the priests of the diocese, including their pastor, Father David Sabel, and parochial vicars, Father Adam Cesarek and Father William Keebler, renew the promises they made at their ordination and recommit themselves to priestly service.
“We felt attending the Chrism Mass would add to their confirmation journey,” said Karen Jones, principal of the Pontiac school, who brought 60 students from St. Mary School and the parish faith formation program and their teachers. “I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks.”
They were among 380 students, faculty and chaperones from 22 Catholic schools around the Diocese of Peoria who joined the priests, women and men religious, permanent deacons, and lay people that filled St. Mary’s Cathedral for the liturgy. There were students in the choir loft, too, with the Concert Choir from Central Catholic High School in Bloomington, under the direction of April Myers, singing throughout the Mass.
Musical leadership was also provided by the St. Anthony Camerata Chorale Festival Choir, under the direction of Mary Ann Fahey-Darling; Jonathan Kroepel, director of sacred music for the Diocese of Peoria, on the organ; and the Pontifical Brass.
In his homily, Bishop Jenky said knowing about the Lord is good, but that our faith depends on knowing the Lord.
“If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and your God, and as the very love of your life, you are still looking at Christianity from the outside rather than from the inside,” he said.
“Knowing the Lord should mean falling desperately in love, not a theory of love, but true love, real love, lasting love,” Bishop Jenky explained. “And that love should be so all consuming that it becomes the driving force of our entire existence.”
He called the oils that were to be blessed at the Mass “the outward signs of the Christian vocation to know and share love.”
For the sake of love, he said, the Oil of the Sick signifies care and healing for those suffering illness. Deacon Roger Hunter of St. Jude in Peoria brought forth this oil to be blessed by Bishop Jenky.
The Oil of the Catechumens, brought forth by Deacon James Heatwole of St. Mark in Peoria, strengthens those preparing for the Easter sacraments, Bishop Jenky said.
“And for the sake of love, and with manifest power, the most holy Chrism is an outward sign of the transforming love of the Holy Spirit,” he said, noting that it is used not only in baptism and confirmation, but also to consecrate the hands of priests and the heads of bishops.
The oil for the Sacred Chrism was presented by Deacon Daniel McShane, who is in his fourth year of studies at Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, May 25. The balsam that is mixed with the oil and gives it its distinctive aroma was presented by Deacon Gene Triplett of St. Philomena in Monticello and St. Michael in Bement.
Before Mass ended, the priests who serve as vicars for each of the Diocese of Peoria’s 12 vicariates were called forward to receive the holy oils for their parishes. The rest of the priests received sets of the three oils as they processed out. (See the related story here.)
The priests weren’t the only ones sent forth with work to do, however.
Before he led the clergy in the renewal of their commitment to priestly service, Bishop Jenky addressed everyone else sitting in St. Mary’s Cathedral.
“I also invite our deacons and consecrated religious, all the married couples, single folks, younger people and older people to all renew in your hearts the loving promises you once made to God,” Bishop Jenky said.
“In this Holy Week and for the rest of your lives, may you serve the Lord and hold on to Him, as the greatest love of your lives,” he told them.
EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos from the Chrism Mass have been posted to an album on The Catholic Post’s Facebook page.