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  • Apr
  • 5

Chrism Mass is a time for renewing priests

Posted By April 5, 2012 | 1:06 pm | Lead Story #1

By Tanya Connor

Priests are to reintroduce their people to the person of Jesus, especially as they celebrate the Year of Faith, Bishop McManus said in his homily at the Chrism Mass Tuesday at St. Paul Cathedral.
Last October, Pope Benedict XVI called for the Year of Faith to start Oct. 11, 2012 (the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II) and to conclude Nov. 24, 2013 (the Feast of Christ the King).
People often take health for granted until they get sick, and family members for granted until they lose one, Bishop McManus said. He said the same is true of the things of God, so the Church asks priests to gather annually at Mass with the bishop “to reflect carefully on the gift of priesthood.”
At the beginning of Mass, priests celebrating significant anniversaries of ordination were recognized, as was retired Auxiliary Bishop Rueger, who just marked his 25th anniversary of ordination as a bishop.
Bishop Rueger, Bishop Reilly, abbots, and diocesan and religious priests concelebrated the Mass, which included a renewal of commitment to priestly service.
The Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens and the Holy Chrism, with which they will anoint people throughout the coming year, were brought forward in a solemn procession for blessing or, in the case of the Chrism, consecration. Representatives of parishes and other institutions picked up their oils after Mass.
Bishop McManus told the priests they are ordained to continue the work of Christ the Good Shepherd. Chrism Mass Scriptures from Isaiah 61 and Luke 4 spoke of God anointing him to bring glad tidings to the lowly, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and announce a year of favor from the Lord.
The priest’s vocation is a life-long commitment to love God’s people as shepherds, to love them enough to preach God’s word when convenient and inconvenient, Bishop McManus said.
“Do you love me more than these?” Jesus asked Peter in John 21:15-17, instructing Peter to feed his sheep.
Bishop McManus spoke of priests loving people enough to teach them the truth of the Gospel, and of the restlessness of people today.
“Do we love our people enough to believe the Gospel can answer that restlessness?” he asked. “Do we love our people enough to want them to be saints? We cannot give what we do not have.”
He urged priests to pray daily for conversion and said people intuitively know a holy priest, not so much by what he is saying, but by how he acts. He spoke of meditating daily on God’s word. Priests have much to give because they have been given much, he said.
Today Christ’s question “Do you love me more than these?” is addressed “not to Peter, but to you and me,” Bishop McManus told priests, adding that they answer, “You know that I love you.”