Sorry for the long silence, gang. This week was an administratively-heavy week. We have several consultative bodies that meet semi-annually, and this was a week for many of those meetings.
I want to encourage this local Church of Cheyenne to attend this Thursday’s Chrism Mass. There are a couple very important celebrations each liturgical year, with significance for the local Church, and the Chrism Mass is at the top of that list.
Each year, the Bishop along with all the preists and deacons of the diocese gather for this Mass. Part of the symbolism of this Mass is the unity between the bishop and his priests.
Ideally, this Mass is to be celebrated on Holy Thursday in the morning, but for more and more dioceses due to very practical considerations such as distance to be travelled, another day in Holy Week is chosen. For some reason, the tradition in this diocese is to gather the Thursday prior to Holy Week.
This Thursday, our priests and deacons will gather in Casper for a day of prayer. Fr. John Horn, SJ will be our presenter. The day will culminate with the Chrism Mass at St. Patrick in Casper at 5:15pm. I want to encourage as many of you as can make this celebration to please make arrangements to be present.
In most places, this Mass is always celebrated at the Cathedral, because it is one of “the celebrations” of the local church each year. However, in this diocese, due to the significant distances to be travelled, we make an accomodation. Two major things happen during this Mass, other than the most significant elements of every Mass, which is the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
During the Chrism Mass, the priests annually renew their priestly promises. This is a powerful moment in the life of every priest, as well as for the faithful of the diocese present to witness these public promises. The Church in her wisdom provides this marvelous moment every year to renew and strengthen her priests, in a liturgical atmosphere that also serves to stir a deeper sense of understanding and appreciation within the Church of the gift of Holy Orders.
The second major focus of the evening is the blessing of the Holy Oils to be used in the Liturgical Year following Easter. In this celebration, the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick, and the Chrism Oil are blessed by the bishop. This is another reason why it is so important that the local church be well represented at this Mass, because the Chrism Mass is a sort of “font” from which flows essential elements that will touch the sacramental life of the Church in the coming year. It is a Mass which not only symbolizes, but “forges” the unity of the church.
Ultimately, the Easter Vigil is the true “font” of the liturgical year, but the Chrism Mass is intimately connected to this “living font” of the Church. So, again, I hope to see a large crowd present at St. Patrick this Thursday evening at 5:15. It is a great celebration!
For the readership from other parts of our Church, I encourage you, if you have never attended a Chrism Mass, find out when yours will be celebrated. Give yourself a treat. Give yourself a real spiritual shot in the arm, and attend the Chrism Mass at your local Cathedral this year!