Wednesday, March 27, 2013


My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary shortly after I was ordained.  As part of the celebrations I asked my parents if they wanted to re-exchange their wedding vows.  Mom, who was fairly open to anything, gave her one adamant answer to all of the questions we asked:  “NO!”  She explained, “I gave my vows once and I meant it.”  (That's their wedding picture to the right at the old Sacred Heart parish.)

Concerning the priesthood I have the same theory as my Mother but not the practice.  Every year in Holy Week all the priests of a diocese who can make it gather with the bishop to celebrate the Chrism Mass.  It is the one time of year that the priesthood is officially celebrated.  The bishop’s homily, speaking to his sons, is given directly to or about priesthood.  And then, as when all Catholics are asked to restate their baptismal vows at Easter, priests are asked to reaffirm their vows.  As the bishop asks “Are you resolved . . .” the entire cathedral rings out with a resounding, “I AM!” from your priests.
Also at this mass, the sacred oils used in the entire diocese the upcoming year are blessed.  Each parish has properly disposed of their oils either by burying them or burning them, cleaned and prepared the containers for the oils which are called stocks, and then they bring them to the cathedral this day to have them refilled with the new oils.  These are the oils used for the sick, for those preparing for baptism, and the sacred Chrism used for baptism, confirmation, and priesthood as well as certain other uses.
The place where your oils are kept at your parish is called the ambry.  Sometimes they are in very public places with glass doors, and sometimes they are hidden away in the sacristy.  But if you lay your eyes on it, know the journey that those oils took and the celebration that was had so that they might be available for use in your parish.


Terry T said...

As a layperson, the best part of the Mass was hearing all of the priests and bishops reciting the Eucharistic prayers together. Very powerful. It brought tears to my eyes. I understand that they streamed the Mass online for the first time--I probably would have had a better seat for viewing from home, but it was worth the trip to be there.

Josh Miechels said...

I guess I'd argue that just because similar words are used doesn;t mean the same meaning is there: nb Aquinas distinction between two different acts which from the outside look the same.