Priests renew promises, sacramental oils blessed, consecrated at Chrism Mass

Transitional Deacon Daniel Dionesotes, who is preparing for his priestly ordination in May, presents the oil for the Sacred Chrism at the Chrism Mass April 4. He is accompanied by those who support vocations -- Carla Oliver and Anne Lucas. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

The Lord has anointed each of us for a purpose, for a mission — namely to bring Christ to others. Bishop Louis Tylka said the Chrism Mass that was celebrated on April 4 made that clear in several powerful ways.

In calling down the Holy Spirit, Bishop Louis Tylka breathes over the opening of the vessel containing the Sacred Chrism. The prayer was a powerful moment at the Chrism Mass, traditionally celebrated during Holy Week, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on April 4. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

The first came when he and the priests of the Diocese of Peoria renewed the promises they made at their ordination. The second was when he blessed and consecrated the oils that would be used in the sacramental life of the church in the year to come.

In his homily, Bishop Tylka said he looked forward to anointing the hands of “four of our brothers” who would be ordained for priestly service in May. They are Deacon Ignacio Cárdenas Morán, Deacon Daniel Dionesotes, Deacon Nathan Hopper and Deacon Patrick Wille, who are completing their studies at Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and served in a variety of ways at the Chrism Mass.

But what happened in the cathedral on the Tuesday of Holy Week wouldn’t stay there, the bishop said.

“Our gathering today will ripple out from this cathedral into the lives of the faithful and beyond, knowing our encounter with Christ is not just for our own benefit, but for the sake of the Kingdom of God,” he said. “We are here and how good it is that this is so!”


Bishop Tylka led the renewal of priestly promises, asking the priests if they were resolved “to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to Him.” They were also asked to affirm that they were resolved “to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites and to discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching, following Christ the Head and Shepherd, not seeking any gain, but moved by zeal for souls.”

As part of the Chrism Mass, Bishop Louis Tylka and the priests serving in the Diocese of Peoria stand and renew the promises they made at their ordination. When they have done so, the permanent deacons, religious women and men, and lay faithful present are asked to pray “that the Lord may pour out his gifts abundantly upon them, and keep them faithful as ministers of Christ, the High Priest, so that they may lead you to him.” (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

In addition to the priests, the cathedral was filled with parish representatives who would receive the holy oils to take back to their faith communities, as well as permanent deacons, consecrated women and men, members of the diocesan staff, and lay faithful from around the diocese. After the priests renewed their promises, Bishop Tylka encouraged those gathered to “pray for your priests, that the Lord may pour his gifts abundantly upon them, and keep them faithful as ministers of Christ, the High Priest, so that they may lead you to Him, who is the source of salvation.”

The bishop also asked them to pray for him, “that I may be faithful to the apostolic office entrusted to me in my lowliness and that in your midst I may be made day by day a living and more perfect image of Christ, the Priest, the Good Shepherd, the Teacher and the Servant of all.”

“These promises, and how they are lived, are a sign of God’s enduring grace at work in our world, in our church,” Bishop Tylka explained in his homily. “We are most grateful for those who have answered ‘yes’ to the calling to be priests.”

He led a round of applause for the priests, which was quickly picked up and extended by all present.


When it came time to bless and consecrate the oils, they were carried up the main aisle of St. Mary’s Cathedral by those representing the purpose for which they would be used. They included:

  • The balsam: Mixed into the Sacred Chrism and giving it its distinctive aroma, the balsam was presented by Deacon Robert Rodriguez of the Galesburg Catholic Community. He was accompanied by Joseph Wizieck, youth minister, and MaryBeth Steinkoenig, who coordinates family faith formation, both from Blessed Sacrament Parish in Morton.
  • The Oil of the Sick: This is used “to bring comfort and support to those who are ill in the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.” It was carried by Deacon Joe Knapp, who ministers in pastoral care at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. Accompanying him were Dr. Greg Tudor and Dr. Brian Bamberger.
  • The Oil of Catechumens: Used with candidates for baptism, this oil was presented by Deacon Joseph LaHood of Holy Family in Peoria. He was accompanied by Matt Faley, chief of mission for the Diocese of Peoria, and Jack Conley, campus minister at Peoria Notre Dame High School.
  • The Oil for the Sacred Chrism: This is used to anoint the newly baptized, to seal the candidates for confirmation, to anoint the hands of priests at their ordination and the heads of bishops at their consecration, and to dedicate altars and churches. It was presented by Deacon Daniel Dionesotes, who was accompanied by Carla Oliver, coordinator of the diocesan Office of Priestly Formation, and Anne Lucas of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Peoria Heights, the mother of Father Kyle Lucas.

Before blessing the Sacred Chrism, Bishop Tylka poured the balsam into the pure olive oil and stirred it. He breathed over the opening for the vessel, praying for the Holy Spirit to come down on it, and then consecrated the oil. The priests joined him, extending their right hands.

The oils remained on pedestals in front of the altar for the rest of Mass.


Alex Danko receives the box of holy oils for St. Mary Parish in Lexington from Terri LaHood after the Chrism Mass. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

As has become the custom, the readings were proclaimed in more than one language, with the first reading in English, the second reading in French. Deacon Cárdenas Morán sang the passage from Luke’s Gospel in Spanish.

The choir from Chesterton Academy of the Sacred Heart in Peoria, directed by Dr. Joshua Russell, added Russian to the mix by singing Rachmaninoff’s “Bogoroditse Devo” as a prelude. They would also offer “If Ye Love Me” by Thomas Tallis as a Communion meditation.

Music for the liturgy was provided by Jon Kroepel, cathedral organist, and the Pontifical Brass. The cantor was Aria Main, director of music at Sacred Heart Church in Peoria.

Those serving at the altar included the seminarians of the Diocese of Peoria.

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