Never an empty seat in the house! Otherwise known by many as the most prolific Mass of the year, you surely would not be dissappointed if you are called to attend.
Traditionally, in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana the bishop gathers together with the priests of the diocese at the Cathedral to celebrate Chrism Mass on Tuesday evening of Holy Week. This beautiful and symbolic Mass manifests the unity of priests with their bishop when these holy men renew their priesthood vocation, annually. On March 31, 2015 Deacon Mike Mescall from SLDM was an assisting Deacon to the bishop and his five concelebrants.
The bishop blessed three oils, the oil of catechumens, oil of the infirm and holy chrism which are used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the diocese for the year. Representatives from each parish in the diocese come forth to receive the Holy Oils from the bishop. Any unused oil is burned with old palms used in the distribution of ashes, when Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.
Throughout the Bible, various references indicate the importance of olive oil in daily life. Sacred Scripture also attests to the spiritual symbolism of oil. For instance:
Psalm 23:5 reads, “You anoint my head with oil,” signifying favor and strength from the Lord.
Psalm 45:8 reads, “You love justice and hate wickedness; therefore, God your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellow kings,” signifying the special designation from God and the joy of being His servant.
To be “the anointed” of the Lord indicates receiving a special vocation from the Lord and the empowerment with the Holy Spirit to fulfill that vocation: Jesus, echoing the words of Isaiah, spoke, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore, He has anointed me” (Lk 4:18).
St. Paul emphasized “God is the one Who firmly establishes us along with you in Christ; it is He Who anointed us and has sealed us, thereby depositing the first payment, the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Cor 1:21).
It is safe to say, the symbolism of oil is rich in sanctification, healing, strengthening, beautification, dedication, consecration and sacrifice.
Let us join in daily prayer for all priests:
Lord Jesus, we your people pray to You for our priests. You have given them to us for our needs. We pray for them in their needs.
We know that You have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood. You have consecrated them, set them aside, anointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood.
We ask that You give them this day the gift You gave Your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus: Your presence in their hearts, Your holiness in their souls, Your joy in their spirits. And let them see You face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread.
We pray to You, O Lord, through Mary the mother of all priests, for Your priests and ours. Amen.
John Cardinal O’Connor
(January 15, 1920-May 3, 2000)