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Father Muench Says...

At the Chrism Mass

March 27, 2024

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Each year as our liturgical year approaches Holy Week, I decide to write a column concerning the Chrism Mass. I want you all to remember all that is celebrated at the Chrism Mass. It is that important. All the priests of the diocese gather for the Chrism Mass. While everyone is invited, the Chrism Mass is essentially for the priests of a diocese.

This Chrism Mass includes a special blessing ceremony for the sacred oils that will be used in the sacraments of our Catholic Church in all the parishes of the diocese during the coming year. Our bishop, Bishop LaValley, will bless the Oil of the Sick, the oil that is used to anoint those who are dying as well as those who are seriously ill or facing serious surgery; the Oil of the Catechumens,  used in the celebration of baptism; and he will consecrate the Sacred Chrism, oil used in the celebration of Baptism and Confirmation, as well as the ordination of a priest.
Each of the priests at the Chrism Mass will take some of these oils back to their parishes to be used in the celebration of the sacraments during the coming year. This is a special sign. Our Bishop will be connected with each parish in his diocese; his blessing and support will be united with each sacrament that is celebrated in his diocese.

Also, there is another ceremony that is added to the Chrism Mass. All the priests of the diocese at the Chrism Mass will renew their Priestly Promises, the promises that they made for the first time at their ordination to the priesthood.

So, each year at this Chrism Mass, the priests in the presence of their bishop and also in the presence of the people of their parishes, the people of the diocese, will solemnly renew their Priestly Promises.

In their Priestly Promises, the priests resolve to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more conformed to the Lord Jesus. In addition, the priests resolve to deny themselves and to continue to dedicate themselves to celebrate their sacred duties as priests of the Catholic Church. They resolve that they will do all in their priestly service in the love of the Lord God; they will continue this resolve as they did on the day of their priestly ordination. Then the priests again dedicate themselves to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and all the other liturgical rites. The priests again promise to discharge their sacred office of teaching, following the lead of Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd. The priests make certain to resolve to do all as ministers of the Word of God, not for any personal gain but rather being moved by a zeal for souls.

Then, as part of this ceremony, our bishop turns to the people, those present at the Mass and those at home in their parishes, to pray for their priests. In addition, the bishop asks for prayers for himself so that he will exercise his office as bishop and serve and live in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.

This Chrism Mass presents an important message for the people of God in the Catholic parishes of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. Our bishop would like to unite our diocese through the celebration of this Chrism Mass with the priests of the diocese and the people of all their parishes. During the Chrism Mass, Bishop LaValley has a unique opportunity to present a message to all the priests for this coming year, promising his support as they again renew their Priestly Promises.

The Chrism Mass is a call for all the priests and people our diocese, the Diocese of Ogdensburg, to work together in union with the Lord Jesus and with our bishop.

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