of the Oils is all about God's generosity: Weisgerber
WINNIPEG — The Mass
of the Oils is all about God’s generosity, said Archbishop James
Weisgerber as he presided at the annual celebration, also known as the
Chrism Mass, at Winnipeg’s St. Mary’s Cathedral April 18.
Among the 700 worshippers
in attendance were the priests of the archdiocese who would renew their
commitment to priestly service. The entrance procession was led by the
archdiocesan 2011 World Youth Day pilgrims.
Weisgerber said the church
insists that the Mass of the Oils be held close to Easter “because
it is very much a part of the dying and resurrection of Jesus. This
celebration is all about the way in which God loves us and the oils
symbolize that as we use them to celebrate the mysteries of our faith.”
The three oils blessed by
the archbishop will be used in the celebration of sacraments at parishes
throughout the archdiocese during the coming year. The Oil of the Sick
is used in the sacrament of anointing the sick and dying. The Oil of
the Catechumens is used to anoint those called to the sacrament of baptism
at the Easter Vigil. The Oil of Chrism is used in the sacraments of
baptism, confirmation and holy orders.
“The most holy oil
is chrism,” the archbishop said. “It is olive oil and balsam,
rich and sweet smelling, as the gifts of God are sweet.”
Weisgerber said the Oil of
Catechumens transforms the anointed. “When we allow that gift
to transform our lives we attract others,” he said. “More
and more people are looking for meaning and purpose and if they look
at us and see that we make sense they come to us and meet Jesus.”
The archbishop described
the Oil of the Sick as a symbol of a community’s care for its
suffering members. “No matter how much technology is available,
when people are dying what is most comforting is the love of others
and that is what we as the anointed people of God pledge to each other.”
The priests renewed their
promises of prayer, obedience and celibacy and recommitted themselves
to the Lord’s service. The archbishop received their promises
and reminded them of their responsibilities.
The mass’s concluding
rite included the distribution of the oils, with representatives from
each parish, together with their pastor or administrator, being called
forward and entrusted with carrying the oils to their faith communities.
Each year a different organization is named as the recipient of the gifts collected at the Mass of the Oils. This year’s recipient is Quixote House, a facility operated by the Jesuits of Winnipeg that provides housing and other support for recently released inmates from Stony Mountain Penitentiary while they serve out parole and prepare to re-enter society.