Although it is not a Holy Day of Obligation, the annual Chrism Mass during Holy Week is one of the most important dates of the Catholic year, as priests joined Bishop Richard J. Malone at St. Joseph Cathedral Tuesday night to renew themselves.
"It's one of the most festive, beautiful and meaningful liturgies of the year, both in every diocese and in our own," Bishop Malone said. "The Chrism Mass is a unique manifestation of who we are and what we are about as Church. It's just so good that we're here."
See a photo gallery of the Chrism Mass
The Mass is special as the bishop takes time to bless three oils used in parishes throughout the diocese all year. The oil of catechumens is used by clergy during the sacrament of baptism; holy chrism can be used for baptism, confirmation, holy orders and even the blessing of new church altars; and the oil of the infirm is used for the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.
"With all of this blessing of oils, one could say that it's the Church's annual oil change and tune up," Bishop Malone joked. "I wish I can claim that as my own line. That was (Boston's) Cardinal Sean O'Malley's line."
The Chrism Mass is also an opportunity for the priests and deacons of the diocese to renew the commitment of their ordination and loyalty to Bishop Malone. He praised the clergy during his homily, as they are essential to the celebration of the Eucharist.
"Without the Eucharist, there is no Church, and without the priesthood, there is no Eucharist," the bishop said. "For all of us, the Eucharist is the source of powerful, transforming grace. Just as bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, so we are changed to live as His body, His saving presence in the world, to carry out hHis mission now."
Bishop Malone also called on those in attendance to continue the Church's mission of evangelization.
"Our role is to evangelize, to find every way we can to announce the Good News of Christ to all who have ears to hear," he said. "The prophetic role calls us to critique in the light of the Gospel the sinful ways of our own lives and our world, to bring Christ's message of hope to the hopeless, and to welcome home to the Church family those who, for different reasons, are not with us. You and I can't hope to evangelize, to bring the joy of the Gospel to others, unless we ourselves are touched by the joy of the Gospel."