Catholic Free Press

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  • Mar
  • 28

Priests honored at Chrism Mass

Posted By March 28, 2013 | 12:34 pm | Lead Story #2
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By Tanya Connor

WORCESTER – This year’s Chrism Mass, held Tuesday at St. Paul Cathedral, was marked by special features beyond the usual celebration.
It fell during the universal Year of Faith, right after the election of a new pope (a pope of surprises), during a significant jubilee year for all three bishops, as well as numerous priests. And the priests and deacons wore new matching vestments.
As has been customary at the Chrism Mass, the bishops, Trappist Abbot Damian Carr of St. Joseph Abbey in Spencer, and certain other priests and assisting deacons wore vestments of historical significance to the Diocese. Bishop Wright, the Diocese’s first bishop, had had the Benedictine Abbey of Stanbrooke in Worcester, England, make vestments with the Diocese’s seal.
“On the occasion of this Chrism Mass, we honor our brothers who are celebrating a significant anniversary of their ordination,” Bishop Reilly said at the beginning of Mass. He offered thanks and congratulations to Bishop McManus on his 35th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, praising his use of “extraordinary spiritual, pastoral and intellectual gifts” here and in the Diocese of Providence.
A standing ovation for Bishop McManus drowned out Bishop Reilly. After the applause died down, he wished Bishop McManus many happy, grace-filled years to come, “doing all in the splendor of truth,” a reference to Bishop McManus’ motto: “Christus Veritatis Splendor” (Christ, the Splendor of Truth).
Bishop McManus welcomed Bishop Reilly, Bishop Rueger and others to the Mass. He told Bishop Rueger, who has been recuperating after surgery, “Good to see you up and running there, Bishop.” The congregation applauded.
Jubilarians and their significant anniversaries were announced, including Bishop Rueger’s 55th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, and Bishop Reilly’s 60th.
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 for blessing or, in the case of the Chrism, consecration. Representatives of parishes and other institutions picked up their oils after Mass.
Everyone present has been anointed with at least two of the oils, which are used for baptism and other sacraments, Bishop McManus said in his homily.
He told listeners that in these sacramental anointings “you encountered the person of the crucified and risen Christ.” Then, he said, the first reading was applied to them: the Lord anointed them to bring good news to the afflicted, to announce a year of favor from him. (Is. 61:1-2)
Holy Week 2013 falls during the Year of Faith, which is a time to step back from ordinary life and recommit oneself to proclaiming Christ to others, Bishop McManus said. Christians pass on their faith by the witness of their lives, he said. This often starts in one’s own household, for many have left the faith.
Addressing the priests, Bishop McManus said that Pope Francis has already demonstrated that he has a heart filled with tender love that draws from his relationship with the Good Shepherd.
But, the bishop said, he would suggest that there are “surprises waiting for all of us,” challenges for priests and bishops to “reclaim with conviction the joy and passion which we possessed on our ordination day.”
For example, he said, Pope Francis told the cardinals, “When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are worldly:  We may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but we are not disciples of the Lord.”
Bishop McManus called on the priests to remember they are Jesus’ disciples, committed to bringing him to a world that desperately needs him.