Bishop Solis at Chrism Mass: ‘Pray for our priests’

Friday, Mar. 29, 2024
Bishop Solis at Chrism Mass: ‘Pray for our priests’ + Enlarge
During his homily at the March 21 Chrism Mass, Bishop Oscar A. Solis asked those present to pray for the priests of the diocese, most of whom were present as concelebrants.
By Marie Mischel
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — The Chrism Mass on March 21 brought a standing-room only crowd to the Cathedral of the Madeleine for the annual celebration during which the priests of the diocese renewed their vows, the holy oils were blessed and the sacred Chrism consecrated.

The Mass was attended by the priests of the diocese, many of the deacons, the religious women who minister here as well as members of the laity. Deacon Gerardo Marrufo and Deacon Tom Devereux presented the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of Catechumens, respectively, for blessing; Deacon Bernardo Villar presented the Chrism Oil for consecration.

As he opened his homily, which was given in English and Spanish, Bishop Oscar A. Solis asked the priests to stand. “My dear friends, these are God’s ministers and servants, brought to us for the people of God in order to bring the Good News,” he said. “They have given their lives, left their homes, to be with you. This is a special day for them. We not only pray for them, but we extend our sincerest congratulations and commend them for the wonderful job they do in our diocese.”

After the congregation had applauded the priests, the bishop went on to explain that the Chrism Mass was an occasion for the clergy to renew their vows and commitment to serve the people of God. The occasion brought back memories of the priests’ ordination, when they “were anointed as God’s servant and configured as an ‘alter Christus’ (another Christ) to bring the oil of gladness to the people through the sacraments and through the proclamation of the Gospel,” he said.

Included in the liturgical celebration was the blessing of the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens, which will be distributed to all the parishes and missions of the diocese for use during the sacraments of Baptism and Anointing of the Sick. In addition, the sacred Chrism, a mixture of olive oil and balsam, was consecrated; it is used in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders, as well as during the dedication of churches and altars.

The priests who concelebrated the Mass with the bishop “are witnesses and cooperators in the blessing of the sacred oils and the consecration of the sacred Chrism, as they share with the bishop the sacred office of building up the Church and sanctifying the people of God,” Bishop Solis said.

“The Chrism Mass reminds us of the dignity of priests as God’s servants, their responsibilities as ministers of the Church to be true to their calling with fidelity and enthusiasm for the glory of God and for the salvation of his people,” he added.

The readings for the Mass, Isaiah 61:1-3a, 6a, 8b-9; Revelation 1:5-8 and Luke 4:16-21 “clearly indicate our mission, which is to bring the Good News to the world,” the bishop said.

However, “This is quite a difficult task these days,” he said. “The growing global culture of indifference and insensitivity to the plight of the poor and those in need impels us to put extra effort to proclaim the joy of the Gospel by helping people encounter the living, loving and saving presence of God. That will not happen in our rectories, in our parish offices and in your own homes. Pope Francis challenged us to get out of our comfort zones and go to the peripheries, and today we will respond to the challenge and exhortation of our Holy Father to bring the sacred oils to your parish communities as an expression of God’s love and divine mercy to his people. He encourages us to make our parishes field hospitals, where those souls wounded by sin and brokenness will receive the balm of Christ’s healing grace. Let the oil of gladness that you will bring from this cathedral to your parishes and missions give them strength, restore their health, find peace, that they may discover a greater meaning of their lives and existence when they consecrate their lives to God.”

It may be that these are difficult times, “but there is always hope in God, so let us remain committed to our vocations as God’s people and as shepherds of souls,” the bishop said. “Let us pray for our priests, that God will bless them with strength and perseverance in their mission; and for the laity, for your continued support and collaboration with our priests. Please, pray for our priests, pray for our deacons, pray for our religious men and women. Without them, we don’t know what will happen to the Church.”

Bishop Solis also encouraged the laity to pray for themselves, to “pray for the people of God, that they will remain open to the outpouring of God’s grace in their lives, that we may all build a civilization and a kingdom of love, justice and peace in this world.”

He also asked those present to pray for him, that “unworthy as I am, you may find a humble shepherd true to the ministry that God has entrusted to  me, to build a people of God, to bring souls to heaven, to find God in what I do and what I say.”   

At the end of the Mass, Bishop Solis thanked the congregation for joining the celebration of the Chrism Mass. “We are so pleased that the people of God here in Utah gathered today in this way,” he said. “If you look at it, it is manifestation of how beautiful our Church is.”

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