Priests serving in the Diocese of Raleigh and representatives from every parish in the Diocese took part in the annual Chrism Mass celebrated at St. Thomas More Church in Chapel Hill, Tuesday, April 19, 2011. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge was Principal Celebrant and Homilist. The Mass, one of the most important liturgies of the Church, celebrates the ministry of Priesthood and reflects the unity between Bishop and Priests. During the celebration, the Priests renew their commitment to service, with the faithful offering their prayers and support.
The holy oils used by the Diocesan Church in the coming 12 months are blessed by the Bishop during the celebration. They include the Blessing of the Oil of the Sick, the Blessing of the Oil of the Catechumens and the Consecration of the Chrism. Five large vessels of each are brought in to the sanctuary by members of the Diocesan faithful for blessing by the Bishop.
In his homily, Bishop Burbidge noted the significance of the individuals chosen to bring forth the vessels. One of those carrying the Oil of the Sick was Dr. Rob Deucher, who, Bishop Burbidge said, “continues, in such a compassionate way, to attend to the medical needs of our dear Bishop Gossman, for whom we pray in a special way at this Mass.” Another person carrying a vessel of oil for the sick was seminarian Philip Johnson, who the Bishop noted, received and continues to receive the prayers of the faithful in his time of need.
The Oil of Catechumens was presented by several individuals who were received into the Church in 2010 and several representing the approximately 600 who will be baptized this year at the Easter Vigil. Among those carrying the vessels with the Sacred Chrism was Deacon Brendan Buckler, who is scheduled to be ordained to the Priesthood on June 4. The Chrism will be used in his ordination.
“In a special way today, the priests and Bishop manifest our unity in the one High Priesthood of Jesus Christ,” Bishop Burbidge said. Expressing his gratitude to the Priests who serve and have served in the Diocese, the Bishop noted the 50th anniversaries of priestly service being celebrated this year by Msgr. Gerald L. Lewis, Msgr. John Wall and Father Donald Staib.
“I am in awe of the tireless ways our priests respond to the pastoral and spiritual needs of God’s people,” Bishop Burbidge said. “In the midst of the increasing demands and expectations placed upon our priests, they understand clearly that the most precious gift they can offer to you is their daily commitment to grow in holiness.”
Noting that the oils of the sick and catechumens and the Sacred Chrism will be distributed to all the parishes and communities of the Diocese, Bishop Burbidge reminded the faithful, “What we must also bring forth is the witness and example of our lives. So many we know carry heavy crosses and burdens. In the service and witness we offer, may they recognize our belief in the power of Jesus over all darkness, evil and suffering. “
In closing, the Bishop reflected on the recent Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Noting how many who participated entrusted themselves and the Diocese anew to the protection of Mary, our patroness, the Bishop concluded, “May we bring forth today...the witness and example of our lives so that others will come to see...that we can do everything in the One who is our Redeemer.”
Above: Priests serving in the Diocese of Raleigh renewing their commitment to priestly serving during Chrism Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Burbidge at St. Thomas More Church in Chapel Hill.
Above: Deacon Brendan Buckler carrying a vessel of the Chrism to the altar for blessing by Bishop Burbidge. The Sacred Chrism will be used in Deacon Buckler’s ordination to the Priesthood.
Above: Bishop Burbidge during the Rite of the Blessing of the Oils and Consecration of the Chrism.
Above: Representatives of each of the Diocese’s 95 parishes and mission churches receiving bottles of the holy oils and Chrism to take to their parishes.