The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the annual Chrism Mass, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, at Saint Michael the Archangel Church in Cary. Priests serving in every corner of the Diocese joined the Bishop in concelebrating the special Mass. Also vested were Deacons serving in the Diocese and Diocesan seminarians.
The Chrism Mass is one of the most solemn and important liturgies in the Church’s calendar. During the Mass, the Bishop blesses the Oil of the Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick and consecrates the Sacred Chrism, which is used in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Ordination of Priests.
The Chrism Mass is the one liturgy each year in which the entire Diocesan Church is represented. Faithful from every parish are present to receive the holy oils that will be used in the sacramental life of their parishes and mission churches during the coming year.
The Chrism Mass also celebrates the ministry of priests serving in the Diocese, who renew their commitment to priestly service, resolving to unite themselves more closely to Christ and to “be faithful ministers of the mysteries of God.”
“My brother priests, you try daily to be faithful to God’s call and to offer sacrificial service to His Church and all those entrusted to your care,” Bishop Burbidge said. “With all gathered today, I express profound thanks for the gift you are to me and our diocese.”
Bishop Burbidge went on to talk about how, in service to the Church, sometimes we fall—and that vulnerability exists for priests as well. Looking to the priests in attendance, Bishop Burbidge said: “Like all of us, you sometimes fall. So how blessed you are in just a few moments to renew your promises of Ordination, which no doubt, our merciful God receives with great joy. And dear friends in Christ, as you pray for your priests, also renew your commitment to love and serve God and one another.”
Pope Francis has designated this year as a Jubilee Year of Mercy. Bishop Burbidge spoke of this Jubilee Year and the great mercy that Christ continually offers to His children. “In a special way throughout this Jubilee Year, the Lord is reminding us that His eyes are always fixed on us. Whenever we fall, the Lord God is there to help us up with the promises: that no sin is greater than His mercy; that all suffering united to His will lead to glory; and that never is it too late to walk with Him in newness of life. No wonder we echo the words of the psalmist: ‘Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.’”
Continuing with the theme of a merciful Father, Bishop Burbidge spoke of the need to increase our outreach to the poor and vulnerable. He said, “…we know there are many people in our families, parishes and communities who are in danger of falling, including the poor, the sick and the vulnerable. We must be there to help them for as God’s Word tells us: ‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon us, and we are to bring glad tidings to the lowly and heal the brokenhearted.’”
He went on to announce that “as a sign of our ongoing support” for the Church’s corporal works of mercy, and in honor of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, $120,000 will be released from a special endowment fund to assist Catholic Charities.
Following the Mass, the blessed oils and chrism are taken back to each parish to be used in the Sacraments throughout the year.