Dozens of priests from across the Diocese of Buffalo stretched out their hands to join Bishop Richard J. Malone Tuesday evening in a blessing of sacred oils at St. Joseph Cathedral.
"We gather here as the Catholic community in Western New York to hear God's Holy Word, and bless sacramental oils," said Bishop Malone. "We are nourished in Eucharist, strengthened by our solidarity, and all of it to be sent forth once again on 'mission. That's what the church is all about; to live God's mercy and share the joy of the gospel."
Bishop Malone acknowledges that on the other side of the world, many people are not feeling hope and joy in their hearts, as they feel the sorrow of a terrorist attack in Brussels, Belgium. Bishop Malone paused for a moment of silence asking the hundreds in attendance to pray for an end to terrorism, injustice and war.
Following the Mass, priests, deacons, religious and laity from the eight counties of Western New York bring the oils back to their parishes, hospitals and universities throughout the year. The oil of catechumens is used to bless those who are about to be baptized. The oil of chrism is used in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders. The oil of the sick is used in the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick. They express the vital link of each sacrament to the priesthood, especially the High Priesthood of the Bishop, the center and sign of unity of each Diocese.
"Whatever our role or responsibility in the church, anointing with oil is a sacred and powerful reality with profound inner effect," said Bishop Malone, who thanked the priests, deacons, religious and laity for the ways they live out their consecrations. To the priests, who renewed their the ordination promises at this Chrism Mass, the bishop said "I thank you for your faithfulness and your compassion, for your people and your generosity of service. Our people expect much of us and I have asked much of you."
Bishop Malone thanked the priests for their hard work on evangelization and the new Upon This Rock capital campaign to help keep parishes sustainable. "From the bottom of my heart, Thank You."
Bishop Malone closed his homily with the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, "Having been anointed with this holy ointment, keep it unspotted and unblemished in you, pressing forward by good works and being made well, pleasing to the Captain of Your Salvation, Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen."
Holy week continues in all parishes. At St. Joseph Cathedral, Holy Thursday will be observed with a Mass of the Lord's Supper at 7 p.m. Good Friday includes a Liturgy of the Lord's Passion at noon. There is an Easter Vigil Saturday at 8 p.m. Easter Sunday masses will be celebrated at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.