Bishop Mark celebrated the Chrism Mass on Monday of Holy Week — March 26 — at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona.
The Chrism Mass, which the Bishop celebrates with his college of presbyters and at which he consecrates the holy chrism and blesses the other oils of catechumens and of the sick, manifests the Bishop’s communion with his Local Church, that is, with all the baptized, laity, and clergy. This special Mass surrounding the oils is a celebration of the church’s unity. With the Bishop as the Chief Shepherd, the community of believers assemble in the Cathedral church to celebrate our unity in Jesus Christ. Representatives of the Local Church – clergy and laity – gather to celebrate our oneness as baptized followers of the crucified and risen Christ. All eight counties comprising the Local Church are represented in the various ministries of the Chrism Mass.
Also as part of the Chrism Mass, priests of the Diocese renew their commitment to priestly service. In his homily, Bishop Mark offered inspiration to his priests.
“All of us who are priests are anointed to live and minister to God’s people in the person of Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to bring glad tidings to the poor; we are sent to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind; we are to let the oppressed go free; and we are to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
He continued: “My brother priests, we need this celebration today to be reminded that the people of God are crying out to be anointed. We need this day to rededicate ourselves to the mission and ministry for which we were ordained. Brother priests, we need this day to be reminded that no matter how much our time and energy they seek, our people love us and want us to be faithful to God and our call to holiness. I ask all of you to pray for our priests. As often as you can, encourage them to be living signs of holiness. Encourage them to do their part in making the words of Jesus a reality.”[Photos by Bruce Tomaselli/The Catholic Register]