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Father Muench Says...

A magnificent image for our church

April 16, 2014

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I attended the Chrism Mass last week along with people and priests from all over the diocese. St. Mary’s Cathedral was full as each parish sent representatives to join with Bishop LaValley in this important Mass.

You will be hearing a great deal about that Chrism Mass – especially Bishop LaValley’s proclamation
The Chrism Mass presents a magnificent image for the diocesan Church.  The bishop of the diocese blesses the sacred oils that will be used in the sacraments during the coming year; these blessed oils are then sent to each parish for this year’s sacraments.  This truly show the important connection of each parish in the diocese with the Bishop, our chief shepherd – the connection of each parish with the Cathedral Church.

In addition, the Chrism Mass each year is very meaningful to all of us priests as we renew our priestly promises and our communion with our Bishop. 

This ritual is set in a series of questions that the Bishop asks all the priests – let me share a bit with you.  “Are you resolved to be united with the Lord Jesus and more conformed to him?”  Then we are asked, “Are you resolved to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites and to discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching, following Christ the Head and Shepherd, not asking any gain, but moved only by zeal for souls?”

This is a very moving ceremony for me each year.  I always liked to repeat these promises in the presence of parishioners at the Holy Thursday Mass.  It is like an anniversary ritual, reminding me of exactly who I am as a priest.

Finally, the Chrism Mass was all about this new program that Bishop LaValley proclaimed for our diocese.  The bishop proclaimed this new five year vison with sincere enthusiasm and a sincere hope for success.  It certainly will be a challenge for all of us, priests and people.  Bishop LaValley declared his appeal for support and the involvement of all of us.

The program has three priorities that truly touch the real needs of our diocese.  Actually, these are needs of the whole Catholic Church in our present age.

The first priority is a call for a culture of vocation.  We truly need more priests so we need a program to reach out and open the hearts of potential priests. The Church also needs all priests and lay men and women to realize that we all are a called people. We all have a vocation.  This program hopes to emphasize to all that we are a called people with a real vocation from the Lord.  The challenge will be to lead us all to accept our vocation.

I like the second priority of reaching out to families.  I believe our Church is as strong as the strength of the families of our parishes.  The Church must help families to find the guidance and to lead them to a closeness of love and to live with that love and concern of the Lord.  The hopes for a strong youth program are an important part of this priority.

Finally, this huge diocese census will really be something.  Can you begin to imagine that all the homes of our diocese will be visited in an effort to search and seek – hoping to bring home Catholic that may have left for a time.

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