CHARLESTON — Christian life is a series of new beginnings, according to Father Andrew Apostoli, and those renewals can be seen during Advent, Christmas, confession or the beginning of a new church year.
Father Apostoli was the homilist for the annual chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist held March 18. He is a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal from St. Leopold Friary in Yonkers, N.Y.
Especially before Easter “we begin again a season of more serious reflection, prayer and penance,” Father Apostoli said. “We prepare for the Paschal mystery — Christ, our Lamb, our victim, offered himself in sacrifice for our salvation. By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life!”
He noted that the Mass of the chrism, which includes the renewal of priests’ vows,
is another opportunity to begin again for priests.
“Hopefully he is renewed through this Mass in a special way with his brother priests,” the friar said during an interview with The Miscellany after Mass. “Our lives are merged with Christ through ordination even closer than through baptism. Priests must be aware of the dignity of a priest; that his dedication be continued through love and fidelity to his vocation.”
This year, the chrism Mass was celebrated by Bishop David B. Thompson, retired bishop of the Diocese of Charleston; concelebrated by Msgr. Martin T. Laughlin, diocesan administrator; Trappist Abbot Stanislaus Gumula; and approximately 60 priests.
Bishop Thompson led the priests in their renewal of commitment to priestly service, which includes the resolve to become more Christ-like and selflessly bring peace and love to the faithful, celebrate liturgies with sincere devotion and teach the faith for the well-being of others.
Bishop Thompson blessed the oils that are for sacramental use throughout the diocese over the next year. They are the oil of catechumens, sick and chrism. The chrism oil, a mix of olive or other vegetable oil and balsam, is used in baptism, confirmation, holy orders and blessing an altar.
At the end of the Mass, Bishop Thompson led priests in a blessing for the laity. A reception was held for the priests after Mass at which Father Apostoli was the guest speaker.