The Mass of Chrism, held March 25 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, was a celebration of the ministry of the priesthood and the unity of the diocese.
Representatives from each parish joined in the celebration and returned to their communities with containers of blessed oils to be used throughout the liturgical year.
The holy oils are closely tied with sacred rituals of the Church. The Oil of the Sick is used to anoint those who are ill; the Oil of Catechumens is for the anointing of those preparing for baptism; and the Sacred Chrism is used for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination, and the dedication of a church and altar.
As bells from “The Inspirations,” a bell choir from Prince of Peace Parish in Great Bend, rang out, people from across the diocese filled the cathedral.
“A Chrism Mass is almost a language unto itself, almost an unspoken creed unto itself,” Bishop Gilmore told those gathered. “Our way of praying is our way of believing.”
Bishop Gilmore said that the Chrism Mass is “a feast, the feast perhaps, of our sacramental family. Bishop, priests, deacons, sisters, people, we come together on our sacramental way, in our spiritual life so tied to material, bodily things, so bent on seeking the only communion that finally satisfies. Sights, and sounds, and gestures, and symbols abound here today.
“See now, and hear, and smell, and touch, and taste now the Goodness of the Lord.” (The bishop’s homily can be found at www.dcdiocese.org/register.)
During the celebration, Father Frank Jordan, a native of Scotland, was honored as a 50-year jubilarian (see Page 3); as were six deacons for their 10 years of service (see Page 3). Also honored was a retiring parish life coordinator and representatives of the St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Larned, for 59 years of Catholic Health Care ministry.
“…Father Frank Jordan, celebrating 50 years, is a blessing from afar for … our family,” the bishop said at the dinner following Mass. “Frank had a very checkered career as a young man, moving on to study for the priesthood. He told me before Mass that one kindly abbot wrote back to Frank Duff (founder of the Legion of Mary), who had sent a letter interceding for Frank to go to the seminary.” Frank Duff, the bishop joked, was kind of like “the fourth person of the Trinity in Ireland.”
“The abbot wrote back to Frank Duff saying this man [Father Jordan] will never be a priest,” Bishop Gilmore said, drawing laughter from the crowd and a broad grin from Father Jordan. “Fifty years later, here he is with us. … Thanks for leaving land and home, Frank. Thanks for coming to the wilds of Kansas. And thanks for being a blessing to all of us here.”
To the deacons, who sat at special tables with their wives, family and friends, the bishop said, “Jesus came to serve, not to be served. These six deacons and all the rest of our deacons are sacramentalizations of that very fact. … We are meant to see them and to be reminded of that fact. We’re meant to see them and to be awakened to the implications of our own baptism. Plunged into the death and resurrection of Christ in the waters of baptism, we are, we must, be plunged into a life of service for our brothers and sisters. These deacons remind us of that obligation. They have served honorably and well in these 10 years.”
Marlene Miller, parish life coordinator at St. Stanislaus, Ingalls since 2006, is retiring after serving full time in parish ministry for 25 years. She also was honored during the meal. Prior to serving as parish life coordinator, Miller was pastoral assistant (1992-2006), and parish secretary/bookkeeper (1985-1992).
“Marlene was a parish life coordinator before that designation existed,” the bishop said, adding that a parish life coordinator is “a person who is a little bit like God. It’s a person who is in every place, as people in Ingalls will testify. It’s a person who is all seeing. Marlene was. It’s a person who is all knowing. Marlene was. It’s a person who is all powerful. Marlene could do anything. If there was a problem, Marlene would fix it….
“We thank you Marlene; we’re going to miss you.”
Also honored were those who ministered in Catholic Health Care at St. Joseph Memorial Hospital from the time the hospital opened in 1951 until the recent battle to keep the hospital open. Those representing the SJMH health care professionals were: Sharon Lind, Sister Irene Hartman, O.P., Sister Mary Ann Klein, O.P., Marilyn Bell, John Grummon, Betty Tauscher, and Mary Klinge.
“And we have at a table a group of representatives from Great Bend and Larned who have been very much involved in all that has been going on in the hospital, and they just recently won through to a wonderful success in partnering with the people in Hays to keep the critical access hospital open in Larned.
“When I think of them today I’m reminded of that absolutely fundamental primordial command of Jesus: ‘Heal the sick.’ …
“What made the episode in Larned such a lovely thing for me is that they stayed together, stayed with it; they refused to give up….
“So we have found again a house of hope, a house of healing. I’m grateful to them for their efforts over these trying months, and we rejoice with you today and wish you all the best as you continue carrying out that mission to heal the sick.”