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Sacred Mass of Chrism

‘Memory and image perfected’

Editor's Note: See Bishop Gilmore's homily in its entirety at bottom.

On April 2, representatives from each parish in the diocese gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the Mass of Chrism. Afterward, they took to their home parishes small containers of blessed oil 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.

“In the first preface for Lent we read: ‘As we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ, you bring the image of your Son to perfection within us,’” Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore said in his homily. “To remember is to be transformed. Memory and image perfected.
“...What great events?” the bishop asked. “The event of Healing. Not only were the ordained to do this in memory of Him, they were also to heal as he healed. We continue that today as we bless these oils. When we bless the oil of the sick, when we bless the oil of the catechumens, when we bless the sacred Chrism, ‘the image of Christ is brought to perfection within us.’ Memory and image perfected.”
The Chrism Mass is also an occasion to celebrate the ministry of priests, many of whom came from across the diocese to attend the event.
“Jesus sent the Apostles then to ‘do this in memory of me,’” Bishop Gilmore said. “He continues to send bishops to ‘do this in memory of me.’ Bishops continue to send priests to ‘do this in memory of me.’ In the pilgrim journey of our ordained priests, ‘the image of Christ is brought to perfection within us.’ Memory and image perfected.”
Bishop Gilmore invited the many priests gathered to renew the commitment they professed at their ordination. He asked all those gathered to support the priests through prayer.
The Mass also celebrated the jubilees of Bishop Gilmore, Father Gilbert Herrman, Father Lisle Pottorff, and Father Angel Dy, and it honored Ann Depperschmidt, superintendent of schools as she prepares to leave the diocese, and Virgil Gunter, for his years of service on the Catholic Social Service board. (See the article at right.)
Following Mass, a lunch was served in the Fellowship Hall.     

The homily of Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore on the occasion of the Holy Chrism Mass, 2009:

“In the first preface for Lent we read: ‘As we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ, you bring the image of your Son to perfection within us.’ To remember is to be transformed. Memory and image perfected.
“What great events? The event of the Last Supper, of the making of the Eucharist. Jesus sent the Apostles then to ‘do this in memory of me.’ He continues to send bishops to ‘do this in memory of me.’ Bishops continue to send priests to ‘do this in memory of me.’ In the pilgrim journey of our ordained priests, ‘the image of Christ is brought to perfection within us.’ Memory and image perfected.
“What great events? The event of Healing. Not only were the ordained to do this in memory of Him, they were also to heal as he healed. We continue that today as we bless these oils. When we bless the oil of the sick, when we bless the oil of the catechumens, when we bless the sacred Chrism, ‘the image of Christ is brought to perfection within us.’ Memory and image perfected.
“What great events? The event of every woman in the diocese, the event of every man in the diocese, the event of the laity. We are accustomed to think the Laity an invention of the Second Vatican Council, but you are as old as the first letters of St. Paul. There lay women and lay men collaborated with the great Apostle to the Gentiles, there they partnered with him. We continue that today when we ask you to sanctify the temporal order: your families, your work, your communities, your politics. We ask you to carry this sanctification from the Church into the world, you are making a society that is both more human and more Divine, and you are bringing ‘the image of Christ to perfection within us.’ Memory and image perfected.
“I shall pray, in the words of Gerard Manley Hopkins, that the Lord will ‘Easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-crested east.’ May the Holy Week to come allow that ‘Eastering’ to take place in each of our hearts.”

 

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